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The best kept secret in music




State your name and age.
Jordan: Jordan Bimm 23, my eye colour is blue and I enjoy taking long walks in the subway system.

What’s your favourite station?
Jordan: My favourite station is Lower Bay station, it’s a secret station they abandoned years ago, but you can still get to it, if you have cunning.

Nevin: Nevin Douglas, 22.

So your name Debaser, the definition of the word base is something negative and bad, so Debaser, are you coming from a negative aspect? What’s the meaning behind your name?

Jordan: We destroy pop songs, we debase pop music. That’s our prerogative yeah, we just take it down. Debaser is a song by the Pixies, quite possibly the greatest rock song of all time. I initially suggested the name Debaser and everyone shot me down like right away. Then about four months later, the drummer was like, “Hey uh, wouldn’t Debaser be a good name for the band?” Then everyone was like, “Yeah.” And I was like, “What the fuck?” Also, because other bands have taken their names from song titles like Radiohead is a song by Talking Heads. That was sort of our idea.

What alternative names did you guys have before that?
Nevin: No comment.

Jordan: Our drummer wanted to call our band Tender. We will never let him forget it was like seven years ago.

Obviously you’re influenced by the Pixies, they had a certain style that you seem to enjoy, other major influences?

Nevin: In a case like the Pixies, it’s that we like them, more than we sound like them. We’re just fans of them. We all listen to tones of different bands. I think the stuff that you hear from us is more often stuff like Joy Division and really early U2. That’s the stuff that people will try to compare us to. We like The Clash, I’m a big Hendrix fan, and he’s like a hero of mine.

Jordan: The rhythm section likes a lot of Cap ‘N’ Jazz, they’re from Illinois or something. Bill and I, the drummer, we’ve taken after them a lot. We named one of our songs after one of their songs.

So have you toured?

Jordan: We played shows in London, Ajax, Guelph, we have shows in Oshawa and more in London. So, we’re touring, if you use the term really loosely. We’re touring around southern Ontario.

What’s the favourite place you’ve played so far?

Jordan: So far probably London, we got a pretty good response there and people dig us. The radio station played us; our shitty home recorded EP actually charted there in the summer. We were number 14 for a week; we were ahead of Bloc Party and stuff.

If you had the money and the opportunity, where would you like to go?

Nevin: As far as specific place, I’d love to play in New York, as far as a whole tour, go over to Europe and spend six months there, it would be amazing, so many completely different places so close together. I know a lot of people who have played over there and every single one tells me the crowd response there is generally far better than your average show in Canada. People there are enthusiastic about going out to see shows there. So that’s something that we’re aiming for. Obviously, as a band you’re always drawn to that. We’re trying to get more people into it here because it’s a really important thing to be excited about, going out and seeing bands play. Too many Toronto crowds, everyone just stands at the back of the room with their arms crossed looking all jaded, instead of getting up front and dancing.

Jordan: Yeah, dance motherfucker.

What are you currently listening to?

And what are you currently reading?
Jordan: Right now I’m currently listening to Tournament of Hearts, by the Constantines and The Family Myth by the Tangiers, both, two excellent albums. Right now I am reading a book called Spreading America for my class, which I am ridiculously behind in now.

Nevin: I am listening to also, the Constantines, I am a big fan of them. I’ve been listening to the Evil Doers new album a lot. They’re playing with us tonight, they’re great. The Postage Stamps have some great new stuff that they’re working on right now. The Early Morning, they have a little EP from last year, a three song one that I’m always listening to. I don’t really read much, so I’m not reading anything right now.

What is the message that you want people to understand about your music, what is the feeling you want them to have?

Jordan: I want to listen to that again.

Nevin: I think I’d have to second that, that’s a good one. -

"DEBASER (no-fi) NNN"

Nov. 18 2004

I'd half expect these Mimico boys to call themselves the Monarchs, but a nod to the Pixies probably attracts a better crowd to their shows. More in debt to English gloom rock à la Radiohead than to thrashing guitaro western bands, Debaser do a good job here of creating a gothy landscape built on solid, sometimes funky bass lines, reverberating guitars, splashy drumming and a vocal style that sounds like it was recorded in another room. At times they sound like the Hip - if the Hip's favourite bands were Bauhaus and Gang of Four, which is actually a compliment in this case. - Brent Raynor

- NOW magazine

"They're Singing our Song"

They've been working the local indie circuit for over four years now, but this quartet of old friends who met at the Etobicoke School of the Arts in the late 90s has finally just released their debut full-length CD, Blackouts, a catchy blast of dark punk-influenced indie-rock. You've probably seen their gig posters on a pole near you, but recently the band has been venturing out beyond our local borders to play sold-out gigs across Ontario.

They've even caught the ear of infamous booker-'round-town Dan Burke. To hear the band tell it, they were doing one of their first rehearsals in their former practice space, and when they exited, Burke, slumped into a sofa in a dark corner, beckoned them over, told them they had a good sound, and (even though they hadn't played any gigs to date) offered to set up some shows for them.

Though the Pixies (the band is named after one of their classic songs) are clearly an influence, bassist Jordan Bimm describes their sound as "dark and hooky and rocked-out," noting that all four guys bring their own musical backgrounds to the mix.

Aside from the fact that they're a great up-and-coming local act, Debaser were the ideal choice to open the Varsity's 125th anniversary show, as bassist Bimm (a U of T American Studies student) just happens to be the paper's indefatigable associate arts editor and chief financial officer (no, really-it says so right on his business card). - The Varsity

"BLACKOUTS (no-fi) 3/5"

Toronto quartet Debaser bring their brand of moody Brit-influenced rock to fruition with their debut Blackouts. Singer Luke Higginson, an intermittent mumbler, will have you leaning closer to your speakers to make out tormented lyrics ("Miles") or religious allusions ("If I had religion / I'd sell my soul / Takes more than a deity / To make me whole"). Sombre slow jams at the album's opening give way to full-on rock-outs ("Idaho," "Full Circle"), where amped-up guitars and throbbing basslines sometimes obscure Higginson's increasingly tortured vocals. Things go down easier when they're accompanied by a spoonful of agony and vocal reverb, but less so in the beat-driven miss "Video Games." Emotive wailing and heavy distortion make the tracks bleed into one another, but this is a promising start. AM - Eye Magazine

"BLACKOUTS (no-fi) 4/5"

Debaser, a rising indie rock quartet, produces an original, striking sound. Its album, Blackouts, offers powerful lyrics and dark, meaningful music.

With songs such as “Miles,” which produces a melancholy atmosphere, and “Video Games,” which is more upbeat and soft, Debaser provides a wide range of sounds throughout the album. Although most songs sound very ’80s inspired, the heavy bass and muffled lyrics make for easy listening.

Debaser’s unique sound, coupled with a lead singer who sounds like David Bowie, gives the convincing impression that the band has played for decades. The lyrics are mature, meaningful and relatable.

This CD is definitely worth a listen, as its songs provide a refreshing change from an often repetitive music culture.

—Ali Borun - The Gazette

"NXNE Preview"

indie rock:

DEBASER at the El Mocambo (464 Spadina), tonight (Thursday, June 8), 10 pm. $8. 416-777-1777.

Just for the record, the verb "to debase" has been around a whole lot longer than the Pixies, who wrote a song with the same name as the Toronto-based gloom-rock foursome. But just to be on the safe side, I asked bassist Jordan Bimm what the deal is with their name.

"No, we are not a Pixies cover band, although rumour has it there's a cover band on the West Coast called Debaser as well, but the only thing influencing us about the Pixies is their volume and energy."

Anyone familiar with Debaser, also made up of singer Luke Higginson, guitarist Nevin Douglas and drummer Bill Turnbull, must suspect that these guys drink gallons of Red Bull before playing. How else can you explain their frenetic energy and enthusiasm?

"We love Toronto. It's a great place to play. Even if only 20 people show up, we still have an awesome time this city is conducive to that."

Last year the initial run of Blackouts, their first indie full-length, financed by Higginson's summer job as a garbage collector and Turnbull's commercial acting gigs (he's the guy whose face gets sunburned when he watches his pizza rise in the oven), sold out fast enough to warrant a reprint, which encouraged the shit out of Bimm and his bandmates.

"We ended up charting at stations everywhere from Kamloops to St. John's, which was great cuz we sent them the CD but we didn't call them up to ask them to play it or anything." -- Evan Davies - NOW Magazine


Then came Debaser, a band that packs a considerable punch, especially when compared with their studio efforts. They certainly have a lot of obvious pop sensibility that might theoretically take away from underground cred, but they temper it with just enough post-punk sophistication, not to mention the immediacy of their live show, to dispel all concerns. Frontman Luke Higginson goads the audience without ever directly soliciting a greater crowd response, and the entire band has enough removed charisma to rival the greats of the genre. The booming swell of the rhythm section holds tightly together with the epic sweeps of effects-whipped guitar moans and majestic vocal wails. Debaser was significantly more ethereal than the other acts, but they didnt let that halt their attack, jaggedly reviving the old favourite The Rest Of Us before they were through. --Dan Keeler

"NXNE Review 2006"

Well, it was another great start to a show. Even though it was not a review for the band, it fits quite perfectly. Sweat smells and pretty, ornate and ornamental lights twinkled. Locals, Debaser's guitar warming up into the opening riffs brought a full crowd in where only a short line of fans had been. Dirty, melodic, driving rhythms kept them solid. Thick dripping wonderful. Rampant hand clapping audience rhythms previewed a sexy deep vocal intro a few songs into the set. Even when they slowed it down, the bass and drums kept it moving with shimmering guitars. You'll want to be Debased." -- Heather Rayment - Spill Magazine

"NXNE Review 2005"

Debaser, 11pm - Club OV's

The band may be named after a Pixies' song, but rising young local indie-rockers Debaser take their cues from the dark, angular sounds of the 80s, minus the synths. Singer Luke Higginson's distinctive wail adds to the moodiness of Debaser's anthemic rock songs, which are anchored by a killer rhythm section.

The lyrics still need work, and the band needs to learn that not every song has to be an epic statement. But any group that can nicely pull off a Joy Division cover ("Transmission") has got to be doing something right.

By the time Higginson dedicated aptly-named set closer "So Long" to The 360, Debaser had managed to fill Club OV's dancefloor with their loyal local following. The quartet of old school chums has been together for a few years now under various band names, but their dynamic NXNE set showed that they've gelled into a tight unit that deserves to find a wider audience when their debut album is completed in the fall. -Tabassum Siddiqui - Toronto Star

"Wavelength 301"

// WL 301 - Sunday, February 19
Purveyors of: Wicked shows and democratic rock

Since their formation in 2003, the four longtime friends that make up Toronto’s Debaser have enjoyed a growing following and an expanding musical legacy. Their self-titled EP, released in April of 2004, was followed by their debut full-length release, Blackouts, in October of 2005, which was itself followed by a North American promotional tour. Eric Arthur spoke to Luke Higginson, Bill Turnbull and Jordan Bimm by email.

You just completed a fall tour in honour of Blackouts, your debut full-length, and you’re already back on the road. Other than Wavelength, where are you playing these days?

Jordan: We just played a wicked show at the Rivoli with The Postage Stamps – who are awesome – on January 6, and we will be playing in Toronto again at Canadian Music Week in early March. As a band we love to travel and play in different cities and towns, so we’re definitely going to be heading out on the road again soon, probably in the spring. We’ve played awesome shows in places like Guelph, Peterborough and London, so we want to do that again. Hamilton is high on our list too. We try to play every out-of-town show that comes our way, just to see what happens.

Does it surprise you that the record is charting in cities and towns where you’ve never played a show?

J: Yeah, it totally does.

Luke: I never had a reason to visit New Brunswick before now. This is a new chapter in my life.

There are a lot of different things happening on Blackouts. Songs like “Full Circle” and “Money Maker” might get you compared to groups like Echo and the Bunnymen or The Jesus and Mary Chain, while “Video Games”, for example, has a much more electronic sound. Is that the result of different group members competing to bring their own tastes in, or do you more often find yourselves moving in a given direction together?

J: When we write songs it’s a very democratic process. Everyone in our band has written, or majorly influenced, a part of every song we play. So if you hate it, hate us all equally.

L: At the same time though, while there’s overlap in our tastes, we also each listen to a lot of stuff that the other guys don’t. It makes for four distinct ideas on how to write a song, and I think makes for better music.

Does the fact that you’ve all been friends for years make it easier to work together? Has the band been more cohesive as a result than previous groups that you might have been in?

J: It really just makes it easier for us to make fun of each other. We have no secrets.

L: Plus, none of us were ever in bands before this one. We were literally just friends who learned to play our instruments so we could start one. Except me – I was lazy, and that’s why I’m the singer.

These days your drummer, Bill Turnbull, is more likely than ever to be recognized for his work as a commercial actor. Has that presented any challenges to the band?

B: Speaking as Bill Turnbull I’d have to say nope. I don’t think we’ve ever even thought of that as being a problem. I guess if I started doing more prestigious ads, like for condoms and stuff, then maybe cuz I mean, who wants to have “that condom guy” in their band? It’s just something I do so I don’t have to do real work. Hardly anyone has said anything when we play a show. Actually, people don’t really say anything to me at all after a show. I thought it was just cuz I’m pretty short, but maybe you’re onto something here, maybe it’s the pizza commercials. All I’m saying is if more people come talk to me it means more moustache rides for the ladies.

J: Yeah, it’s challenging to manage all the groupie requests for Bill’s cock. Rumour has it that it tastes like pizza. -- Eric Arthur
- Wavelength Music Zine


DEBASER (EP) 2004 (out of print)
FULL CIRCLE / VIDEO GAMES (SINGLE) 2005 (out of print)

Multiple tracks off of BLACKOUTS and BETWEEN HOUSES have been played all over Canadian campus radio, CFNY, and a myriads of online podcasts.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Born and raised in downtown Toronto the four friends who make up Debaser met in highschool while studying at the Etobicoke School of the Arts.

Their mutual appreciation for the rock-noir sounds of Talking Heads, The Cure, Gang of Four and Radiohead led them to form Debaser in earnest after local booker Dan Burke literally stumbled upon their rehearsal space. He booked the barely-legal band to play the Silver Dollar on the spot.

That show led to more shows, which led to sold-out shows, which led to steady offers to play out of town. Touring led to campus radio playing the shit out of their debut LP Blackouts in 2006. Charting led to Blackouts selling out it inital pressing after only three months. Their reputation as a wickedly energetic live act earned them showcases at NXNE, CMW and Wavelength, plus gigs with The Mark Inside, The Most Serene Republic, Magneta Lane, Cities in Dust, Put the Rifle Down, Fjord Rowboat, Spitfires and Mayflowers, Disraelis, Spiral Beach, Frontier Index, Tin Bangs, The Coast, and In-Flight Safety, to name a few.

Crafting a diverse, dark and catchy sound which draws on elements of dance-punk, shoegazer and classic retro rock, Debaser comes out sounding like the love child of early U2 and Joy Division married with modern influences like Uncut, I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness, and Interpol.

Their hyper and frantic live shows, which routinely push club crowd capacity, have earned them a unique reputation as an indie band that can fire on all cylinders. This up-and-coming outfit are currently writing, demoing and performing new material for their sophmore record.