Dandi Wind
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Dandi Wind


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Dandi Wind unleashes electronic terrorism


Dandi Wind wasn't raised by wolves. It's not exactly a rumour, just an overheard joke about her "alternative childhood," and she finds it pretty hilarious. Born Dandilion Wind Opaine Schlase to hippie parents, her father a sculptor, her mother an antiwar activist, she spent her first 12 years in a northern B.C. cabin minus mod cons (like running water), next to a taxidermy museum shaped like a giant igloo - hence the title of Dandi Wind's upcoming CD/DVD, Concrete Igloo.

Shortly after the family relocated to Vancouver, she met Szam Findlay, a budding musician who would spend eight years creating a sinister experimental LP called Die Hautfabrik (released in 2001), about which one BBC reviewer said, "Listen to this and cross yourself before you go to sleep." Wind's sculptures were featured in the CD booklet, marking the start of the duo's artistic alliance.

That same year, they prepped and performed Morior, the prototype for their band, at the Emily Carr Institute.

"The music had no rhythm and was more caustic [than what we do now]," she explains. "I didn't sing, but did a movement-based performance to the sound in a large set with a Butoh-esque costume. We got 50 heating grates and created a giant Einsturzende Neubauten-style percussive wall."

Less abrasive, but sometimes no less aggressive, the duo's current incarnation is crash-test electro with coarse synths, jackhammer beats, supple melodies and honey 'n' jalapeño vocals, as heard on their EP, Bait the Traps. Dandi Wind is the ideal mix-tape segue from Duchess Says (with whom they're playing at Diver/Cité's Sex Garage) to Les Georges Leningrad, which was part of the impetus for moving here three months ago. They were drawn to Montreal by like-minded artists, repelled from Vancouver by a meagre music scene.

These days, their love of Montreal is matched by their loathing of Toronto, where they've been cheated and mistreated. Wind tends to let negativity possess her when faced with hateful promoters or deadbeat crowds, or both, as at a recent corporate gig in T.O. that essentially ended with her attacking people.

"I'm either spastically angry or spastically jubilant," she says. "We have enough songs to do a set [where] I'm just dancing with the audience and sharing their energy. If there's no energy to draw from, I have to exaggerate my negative feelings. Then, performing is like being a caged animal."

That may explain those wolf-girl rumours. But the real canine content in the Dandi Wind project is the influence of their hometown heroes, Skinny Puppy.

"Skinny Puppy is the greatest band to come out of Vancouver, without a doubt, and probably the best from Canada," she says, forecasting a more experimental, industrial future for Dandi Wind, both sonically and visually. "[Skinny Puppy] must be one of the most bizarre groups to have ever achieved the success they did without getting really shit," she gushes. "[They're] Szam's favorite band and, for me, their live show is unparalleled. We'd like to incorporate a set and videos into our show, though it's extremely tough given the size of the venues we're playing now. But we'd love to move in that direction."

- Montreal Mirror

DANDI WIND / Pop That Pricks

by Sarah Lévesque / photo John Londono

] Dandi Wind is a strange creature, a funny animal between peacock and porcupine that is attractive yet repellant.

Right, so... it’s difficult to be clear about a group that desires above all else to be a live experience. To properly grasp the duo, it’s necessary to make your way to a nearby venue – where you’ll often find the Dandis - and to experience the supernatural trance that possesses singer Dandilion Wind Opaine for yourself. She climbs the walls, walks on tables, sits in the audience’s lap and rolls around on the floor. She vibrates, quivering with a slight indecency... Mainly, she seems unstoppable. Sitting down for the interview with her partner Szam Findlay, she confesses to an aching body, a frequent complaint the day after a show. "Every muscle in my body is sore,” she declares straight away. “I stretch well before going to sleep, but it does nothing. The colder and more distant the audience, the more I put myself in dangerous situations. When there’s a good rapport, I try to use the energy of the crowd and my body reacts better."

It’s been two years now since the couple of Dandilion Wind Opaine and Szam Findlay came together as Dandi Wind. After several years attending the same high school in Vancouver, at 17 Dandi confessed her weakness for the melancholic and shy Szam. "He always fascinated me. He was already making music and was very concentrated on what he was doing," remembers Dandi. Szam played with keyboards, releasing both electronic and industrial solo albums. For her part, Dandi devoted herself to visual art, from video animation to sculpture. However, she couldn’t find her niche at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. "I think that if the school had fulfilled me I wouldn’t have had the need for this group. But there, I felt trapped. Then one day we started to play together in our apartment in Vancouver; we recorded and we practiced constantly. After several months of isolation, we really exploded into action."

Though things quickly fell into place onstage, Dandi Wind’s first complete album materialized slowly. Started over a year ago in Vancouver, Concrete Igloo was wrapped up in Montreal and is to be released on their own label, Todtenschlaf, on the 28th of November. Completely home-made, the packaging sports images by photographer John Londono, a regular in the magazine that you’re holding.

"Todtenschlaf means a sleep of death, like a coma,” explains Dandi. “At home we have an old German dictionary from 1906 which includes a ton of words which don’t really exist anymore. We like to dip into it for inspiration." There is certainly plenty of that with the duet: a somber side, almost gothic, a seeking out of rarely frequented places. It’s not for nil that Dandi Wind often prefer to perform in art galleries, lofts and otherwise obscure venues...

Cold, brutal and slyly provocative, Concrete Igloo seems to reflect the industrial district of Vancouver where Dandi Wind lived before they arrived in Montreal. Rife with itinerants and junkies, the Downtown East Side is also a refuge for young artists seeking affordable rents. "Take a song like 2010,” replies Szam. “We’re talking about Vancouver and the gentrification that’s been encouraged by the Olympic Games of 2010. So, we left the city for exactly these reasons. We were condemned to unhealthy places, because the downtown area was being quietly sanitized. We never feel that in Montreal." (note: Naive!) A lone Sputnik on the West Coast, the Dandis discovered kindred spirits, like Les Georges Leningrad and Duchess Says, in Montreal.

Role Playing
Although Dandi Wind already have a maxi and a vinyl 12” release to their credit, on top of their upcoming album, their reputation is growing mainly due to the many characters that Dandilion incarnates onstage. The small, soft, young woman, normally rather timid, explores new facial expressions, stares the curious straight in the eyes, dances non-stop... In short, she is a truly natural performer who spontaneously combusts, who burns passionately, without drugs nor alcohol. The singer confesses that, because the terror can be so overwhelming, she doesn’t always recollect her explosive performances.

The secrets of Dandilion’s transformations are found in a suitcase filled with costumes and make-up, which she carries ready to create the character of the moment. "I always loved the theatre,” admits Dandilion. “Depending on my mood, I choose something gothic, black, or I go the opposite way, that’s to say a very colorful costume." As inspirations she quotes Iggy Pop, Kate Bush and the district of Harajuku, in Tokyo - the place to which Gwen Stefani dedicates a song on her solo album and where young teenagers get dressed as characters from comic strips in getups that they buy in the local shops. Heaven for Dandilion!

In Montreal, the young woman calls instead upon Yso, who designed the eccen - Nightlife Magazine


It’s great being among the first to write about an artist. You get to sound like you’re cool and down with the scene, whether or not this is actually true. You get to interview them in person, and maybe even hang out. But most of all, you can make obvious puns with the band name before everyone else does. Such is the case with 2004 Shindig winners Dandi Wind. Hot on the heels of releasing their new EP Bait the Traps, I was able to indulge in all of the aforementioned perks. Dear reader, bear with me as together we ride the torrential force of… Dandi Wind! (Ahem.)

A Dandi Wind performance is an unforgettable event. Szam Findlay is dapper and reserved in a dark suit, competently manipulating his Korg and sequencer while contributing occasional backup vocals. Physically and stylistically somewhere between Bjork, PJ Harvey and Peaches, enrapturing vocalist Dandilion Schlase dances, shrieks and fl ails, each performance an impassioned, cathartic labor of love. Both band members come with a history in theatre, and it shows.

On record, the music holds its own even without the consummate show. Made “with a few unpopular decade old synths, a single mic and a monophonic Pentium 2 soundcard,” Bait the Traps fuses industrial, IDM and rock, striking a satisfying balance between unpredictable rhythms and delicious melodies. Dandi’s vocal style flies above it all, reminiscent of ‘80s new wave greats like Lene Lovich, Kath Bush or Lora Logic.

At this point in their career, Szam and Dandi are still obliging enough to invite a humble local writer into their private digs in the north–east of Vancouver. Dressed in a one–piece ‘80s short–suit number, Dandi ushered me graciously into a spacious studio. I was impressed to note that her wild on–stage steez is not a stretch from her everyday loungewear. The live/ work space was stuffed with their tools of one of their many trades: selling clothing on the internet. While we chatted they jumped up more than once to show me items of interest, ranging from a set of buttons about eating meat (Szam: “Here’s a really cool one: It’s two people with aerobics outfits on, and the guy’s holding a tray. He’s putting a fork of meat in her mouth! Its totally new wave.”), to Dandi’s current sculptures (gleefully ghoulish heads, self–contained in glasstopped wooden boxes), to Lene Lovich’s 1978 record Stateless.

As we talked, Dandi Wind revealed an industrial aesthetic. Vancouver electronic–rock greats Skinny Puppy came up more than once, as did plans for a “Ministry–inspired” record after their upcoming fulllength release. While their music strikes a balance between heavy and dance, Dandi Wind’s lyrics reveal an underlying darkness. Szam told me that, “We have some songs that are political, but only in the sense of day to day life inspiring us to feel something politically.” Of course, the sights and sounds of life in Vancouver’s eastern harbor can be depressing. From their new EP, “O Todo o Dia,” depicts the suffering of low–wage laborers, and “Ms. 45” describes a sex worker killing her clients (“Thanks for letting me fulfill a dream / Watching you beg is such a scream / I’ve always wanted to use my crossbow / To kill a john like you driving by real slow.”)

While Dandi Wind may be newcomers to the local live scene, they are old hands in the world of art and creativity. Szam has been playing piano and writing music since childhood. As he told me, “I’ve always been creative, but it’s not hereditary. My parents don’t even like music. They put me in piano lessons. I did ice–skating, I did swimming, and none of them had any influence on me, but I liked piano. I hated the lessons, I hate playing transcribed music, but I enjoyed making noise.”

According to Dandi, “I had an alternative childhood, and worked on lots of stuff with my dad.” Like her father, Dandi’s first and eternal love is sculpture. While she studied at Emily Carr, Dandi created a series of elaborate sculptures to accompany Szam’s music. They were photographed and included as the artwork for his 2001 release, Die Hautfabrik, (translation: “Skin Factory”) released on UK–based Resonant Recordings.

Following the record’s UK release, the BBC’s Colin Buttimer wrote a lengthy and poetic review: “Melodies appear to be always on the edge of nightmare: as the Golem escapes the rabbi’s servitude to spread fear and chaos, so does Szam Findlay’s music threaten to run amok into dischord. The photographs on the CD booklet appear to capture inbred plantlife, effigies erected by superstitious peasants far from big city ‘civilization’, folk memories of the victims of natural but inexplicable disasters.” The album received attention from The Wire, All Music Guide and Muzik, but not much local coverage. While the response may have been disappointing, Die Hautfabrik fi rmly established Szam’s solid musicianship.

The current EP is a teaser for the upcoming full–length, which wil - DISCORDER MAGAZINE



Break The Bone and Suck The Marrow From It (12" EP) Summer Lovers Unlimited

NoFunCity (CD) alt-delete/noize



Dandi Wind, hot off recent releases on SLUM and the excellent UK-based alt.del label, have been honing even more their uncompromising post-no-wave sound lately with the addition of drummer Ean, and the world is taking notice, if they haven’t already. This summer, Dandi will be playing alongside the likes of fellow noize-dance terrorists Justice and Les Georges Leningrad. Dandi’s brilliant debut full-length, Concrete Igloo, originally hand-made and released on their own Todtenschaf imprint, will be re-released, among other mind-blowing new material, on SLUM records. As Chuck D once said, BRING THE NOISE. So we can dance.