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"Eve Rice - From Vav Jungle to DJBeekeeni"

Eve Rice – From Vav Jungle to DJ Beekeeni

By Cindy Doyle


Eve Rice is no stranger to Winnipeg’s music scene. Whether you know her as the electro-charged, sex kitten Vav Jungle or as DJ Beekeeni, if you’ve been to dance parties, various openings or even fundraisers around the city this past year, it is likely that Rice has made you dance at least once. Rice was part of the lineup for Stylus’ 20th birthday bash this past October; this January, Stylus sat down and talked to one of Winnipeg’s most renowned music veterans about her plans for the future and her ideas about making and loving music as we embark on a new decade.

Stylus: From headlining this year’s annual winter solstice party, Element Sircus, and playing Stylus’s birthday party to regularly DJing at various events around the city, from private parties at The Orphanage to the fundraiser Chutney Mayhem, 2009 was a busy year for you. What can we look forward to in 2010?

Eve Rice: The new album, or albums, I suppose, is coming. There are twenty-two tracks in total, all danceable stuff that will be on iTunes and a few other digital companies that I can trust. It’s a mix of both electo-exotica and electro-wigout-dance. I’ll be touring back to Quebec and hopefully across the world if I have time. There will also be two videos, maybe three, directed by Damien Ferland.

Stylus: Damien also directed the video for “Let’s Make Love” from your 2007 release Pap Rock, which got some attention on YouTube. But you’ve never been a stranger to using the internet for promotion. As a performer playing in Winnipeg and Canada’s music scene for over a decade and also having a fan base which stretches to Quebec, New York and beyond, how has the internet influenced your career?

ER: The internet has helped immensely. I’ve been on it for a long time—since ’93. People have found me and become fans that way, on YouTube people find me, buy songs, ask me to play etc. Simple advertising helps, too, but the more we’re on the computer the more we tend to delete things in our heads. So you still have to have other, more gentle reminders about what you’re up to as well. Make it interesting, even if you’re quiet for a bit in the business, throw up a nude picture of yourself or a friend. Remind them you’re still having fun and haven’t “crossed over” to the other side. “Where are they now?” articles are really scary to me.

Stylus: At the end of 2009, you started your own podcast under your DJ moniker, DJ Beekeeni. It’s awesome, but podcasts are curious, because like Facebook or MySpace, anyone can set one up. Considering Facebook with it’s fan pages and event postings, MySpace where anyone can start and promote a band sans cost, and podcast sites where every DJ hopeful can send out playlists, do you think that the internet is playing a positive role in getting the music of independent artists such as yourself out to the public or is its accessibility to anybody with programs like Garageband just creating a larger wall between you and potential fans?

ER: I think all these things are good—I have Garageband on my computer and I’ve used it, it’s neato, but it becomes too easy and starts to sound like something I’ve heard already too quickly. I suppose that’s the thing—MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Hula etc. are just money-makers for the people who made the software. It’s always a sell, folks. You can promote until you’re blue in the face and there will be shitloads more of new sites popping up regardless. But what are we going to do? Be on the computer all f’ing day long?! Nope, can’t do. I believe that there are ways to control your promoting without looking like a hoser as well.

Stylus: Getting back to your upcoming album(s), this will be your sixth release. How do you feel your music has evolved over the years and how does it compare to your last release, Pap Rock, as well as your earlier work?

ER: Pap Rock was f’ing great to me. I mastered my mixing with the help of genius mix/mastering man Al Hunnie. He is a honey! And let me tell you, the knowledge of recording, to me, is of the utmost importance. I try to keep things simple and precise, I don’t want to be a tech-head if I can avoid it because otherwise it becomes way too much talk and less music making.

I’ve found many people researching and comparing how to make hit songs over the years and I just didn’t dig it. That’s tech-y to me and I just can’t listen to it anymore. What I have learned from what I do with keyboards and sampling is [the importance of] warmth. The psychology of people listening or not listening, regardless of [a song’s] popularity, is the thing I find most interesting about making dance-type music. If it’s recorded nicely, people listen. But people can get lazy, too, so a good recording helps make people get it.

Some of my earlier stuff was hard to get down in a few studio settings—nobody got what I was doing, and neither did I. The knowledge I have now would have been an a - Stylus Magazine

"The Winnipeg Sun"

It can be a jungle out there.
But when you're Eve Rice, queen of Winnipeg's space-pop-meets-performance-art pioneers Vav Jungle, you learn through perseverance that there is a way out of this jungle - through simple drive, determination and the magic of the Internet.
The sci-fi keyboard noodlings and rhythmic beats of musician Rice and the "interpretive dance" of her performance partner Grace Martini have enjoyed a following since Rice formed the project in 1990 (Martini signed on in 1994). Their Jetson-style stage gear and kitschy kool personae have always seemed the perfect complement to just about every offbeat musical trend from avant garde to retro to lounge. Having fans such as former CBC deejay David Wisdom (who hosted Nightlines until 1997 and RadioSonic until earlier this year) and Grant Lawrence (singer with The Smugglers, head of Mint Records and new host of Radiosonic) hasn't hurt either.
Through regular contact with like-minded musical souls, most recently over the Internet and through the band's web site, Rice has managed to maintain it's following and has landed the Vav Jungle name in some high places.
For example, the song "Spaceflight" from the 2000 CD "Models For Jelly", was featured an episode of The Chris Isaak Show, which airs regularly on MuchMoreMusic.
Another Models for Jelly tune, "Putalidonit (John Water's Lament)" is featured in the movie "Jane white is Sick and twisted" ( which stars Maureen McCormick (Marcia from The Brady Bunch). Now Vav Jungle is on the verge of releasing a new album which will be available for purchase and download on its Web site soon.
- John Kendle

"Stylus Magazine"

A veteran of the Winnipeg music scene, Eve Rice played keyboards and drum machines as a member of the new-wave girl group Just Ducky, founded in 1983. Eve started Vav Jungle in 1990 with Murray Toews, who wrote the lyrics and sang. By 1993, Toews was no longer involved with the group live, and Eve had begun singing and writing the lyrics. Vav Jungle has 2 releases to date: 1997's Zig A Dig and 2000's Models for Jelly. Eve has also created music for radio, television and film, including the theme song for "Open Wide", a short film/video show that was on CBC. The song "Putalidonit (John Waters' Lament)" from the CD "Models For Jelly" is on the soundtrack of the film "Jane White is Sick and Twisted" ( Eve is currently producing a new CD, which should be available online in the new year. I spoke to the enigmatic Eve Rice late last September.
STYLUS: Describe Vav Jungle's sound
EVE RICE: Well, a lot of it is electronically produced, but I like acoustic sounds too - so it's a mix. Style-wise it's a mix of latin, lounge, electronic, science fiction Barbarella music.
STYLUS: What things influence your music?
ER: I'm 35 now, so a lot of stuff. I'd say a lot of '60s and '80s music. I like Grace Jones, Nina Hagen, The B-52s. I saw the B-52s perform on Saturday Night Live the first time: "I was in grade 5: I thought, "I wanna be like them!" I don't know (laughs), there was just something very interesting about it. The B-52s have changed a lot over the years, but I think initially they really shaped my music.
STYLUS: How do other types of art influence your music - like performance art?
ER: It affects me a lot more than it used to. I never thought I would be all showy, and doing all these little things like dressing up, bringing wacky toys and props on stage: all of a sudden it became more fun. Pop art has really affected my music too.
STYLUS: In what way?
ER: Andy Warhol, for sure. To go beyond and not think too much. Don't stick (to) the old same thing. Just kinda do it and see what happens. So things kinda fall out of nowhere.
STYLUS: What is your experience with media and music?
ER: CBC has been really important to me as well as University radio like CKUW and CJUM here in Winnipeg. David Wisdom (of CBC Radio 2) has been great. For his first show, "Nightlines", I sent him a theme song and he really liked it and he's always kept in contact with me, since '89 or '88. I've been on his show a few times.
STYLUS: What were the first bands you got involved in?
ER: Myself and the Chilas sisters had a band called "Just Ducky". We basically had big hair and played keyboards. Our first show was for "Rock Against Racism", 1986 I believe, at the Universtiy of Winnipeg. There was this buzz about us, even though we hadn't played yet. When we played for the first time, the lights were flashing in my eyes and everything was out of sync. The Uniter (U of W's student paper) reviewed us and the headline was "Just Ducky: Just Yucky" (laughing). But later, we were the opening act for Severed Heads and Skinny Puppy when they were here. Our promoter got us in, even though we really weren't supposed to be there. But we had this cult following. So that was my great claim to fame with Just Ducky. And then in '89, we were moving to Toronto to meet long haired guys and meet industry people and be in music. I didn't go. I didn't want to go.
ER: I didn't say goodbye to my dog and my family properly. I really wasn't ready to leave Winnipeg at the time.
STYLUS: So leaving Just Ducky allowed you to start Vav Jungle?
ER: (After not going to Toronto), I slept for 2 days. Then I met my friend and said "I've got some $ - I gotta' buy a keyboard!" (laughs). So I just worked on this one keyboard over and over. It was a Yamaha PSS-680. It's got a synth on it, and it just has all these bizarre sounds you can make. I like boing-y sounds. I was kinda' addicted to the gospel rhythms on it and it had cheapy organ sounds on it. Zig A Dig is basically comprised of my 680, attached to another synth & 2 drum machines. That's my toy CD, my first one from '97. I was originally going to call Zig "Toy Jazz".
STYLUS: Why did you pick Zig A Dig?
ER: There's one point on the CD where you'll hear me say something that sounds like 'zig-a-dig'. You go nuts when you're recording for 6 months, and you're like "uhh, this music is really getting to me!" We were listening and John Gurdebeke, who co-produced it, said "what the hell are you saying?" And I said ZIG A DIG (laughing) Then I said "That's a good name for the CD!" Check out the web page at The upcoming CD will first be available on-line SOON via, along with past Vav Jungle CDs for a lower price than in CD stores (since you provide your own case and CD to burn, the price will be extremely good). Artwork can also be - Tom


"The sci-fi keyboard noodlings and rhythmic beats of musician Rice and the "interpretive dance" of her performance partner Grace Martini have enjoyed a following."
Winnipeg Sun

"Break out the blue cocktails and orange chiffon, VAV Jungle is here to groovify your dreary existence."

Eve Rice is the founder of VAV Jungle, an innovative and original electronic group that emerged from Canada, Winnipeg. Eve creates an electronic and techno music that is combined with psychedelic, new wave, rock and salsa influences. She is about to release her second album, "Faux". Eve brings a breath of originality and humor to the electronic world, by creating incredible onstage costumes, zany lyrics and using keyboards that resemble the sixties cartoon, The Jetsons. VAV Jungle is always comprised of Eve Rice and different guests for "loud" or "soft" volume shows: Salt & Battery (from the band Nathan), Za'ina (who is the group's belly dancer when they perform live), Baba Gigi and others. Eve's mastering skills have led her to engineer her third CD, "Faux".

Her previous album, "Models for Jelly" has been used in films such as "Jane White is Sick and Twisted" (, "Marine Life" and has also been featured on "The Chris Isaak Show". Songs such as "Spaceflight" and a rendition of The B-52's "Planet Claire" are impressive in their mixing as much as in the rhythm.

Eve is intelligent, talented and charming.

Interview by Mauricio Saravia

ARTIST INTERVIEWS: Eve, can you tell us about your last album "Models For Jelly"?

Eve Rice: I am producing everything now and I am constantly being influenced by things around me. It's a sort of weird sixties techno. It's a little more strange in some aspects. I'm using a lot of really weird stuff that you wouldn't expect to be in a song.

Before, I had worked with Stephen Falk. He's the one that told me that it was better for me to start recording myself! I was being a picky little thing at the time . . . He told me: "You know exactly what you want to do, why don't you start producing yourself?" He was totally helpful. A great friend. I started using Pro Tools and mixing the last album. I feel that it was totally worth it. It's just mind-boggling what you can do. I think, sometimes if you start tweaking things too much, that starts to destroy what you wanted to do in the first place. I don't want to be mixing, and mixing and mixing. It has to be a little bit raunchy and I like to leave a little bit of leftover stuff, because it creates an atmosphere. As long as it has loudness to it, that's the most important thing. If you keep fooling around with it, sometimes you destroy what you really liked when you heard it in the headphones or on the speakers the first time.

If it works for me, I just leave it that way. Strange but true workings in electronic sound, but it works for me.

AI: Your songs feature a lot of keyboards.

ER: I use a Yamaha keyboard right now, a PSR - 8000 and a Tribe unit. I've used a variety of keyboards, samplers and drum machines in the past. The new CD will be mainly those two instruments. I just mix until I am happy with it and I may have one or two things. I don't want it to get too heavy for some things.

I'm into sounds and I like to sample things. It depends. Sometimes, you do things and it gets to be too much, so you start again. It's fun to do that.

AI: I like the song "El Coco".

ER: That will be in the album. I really like it too. A lot of people think it should be the single for the new album. I have a different version than the demo you have heard. With electronic stuff you can change it and make it sound different.

AI: VAV Jungle creates a fashion image, as much as music.

ER: Yes. It's a bit bizarre! I used to put cassettes in the late eighties, and had all this cheap clothing and jewelry, but if you wear it the right way, it works. (Laughs). Image wise, I have been influenced by the sixties, seventies, and eighties and old sitcoms I guess. I have also been influenced by a corny style, such as Lawrence Welk. He show was very bizarre. The girls and the guys would wear these matching outfits and had their hair done in unusual ways. I find it really fun to take those things.

I have kids come up to me and ask me: "Where did you get that?" I like that there is a style created out of music. Years ago, I wasn't into image at all. I had another band. I actually left that band because everyone was concerned with their image, and I just wanted to do music. Over the years, I found it's really important to have a style to make it fun and wild.


AI: I like the shades that you use.

ER: Yes! Like Roy Orbison, hiding behind his shades. I love sunglasses! I have about a hundred of them. I'm very addicted - Mauricio Saravio


- "Gusher" - TBR, late October, '10
- "Pap Rock" - Oct. '07 release
- "Canadiana Striptease" - '05 release
- "Cream Corn Bath" - Nov. '02 release
- "Models For Jelly" - '00 release
- "Zig a Dig" - '97 release



DJBEEKEENI - Eve is the producer and musician in this fortress of music who has merged her act "Vav Jungle" with other DJ selections to become "DJBeekeeni" (a singing DJ). Styles ranging from electronic dance, old-soul, hippy to weird lounge, German-electronic exotica, Japanese rock, organ, stripper, old/new wave, disco and funk are some of the styles she plays. Eclectic is good way to describe music choices during sets. Eve selects her own tunes as well, sometimes singing them and mixes them with other music from around the globe with effects for a different kind of song transition within a set. For a lighter, lounge type show, bossas to sparkly exotica may be the theme - for a louder, club type show, electro. mixed with 60's boss beat, 50's stripper with early dirty psych-out and of course other variations - it depends on the venue and is adaptable. The "theme of the evening" is her specialty and has been known to wow the audience with intuition. "Form and function dj mixes are fun babycakes . . . plus, I can expose people to tunes they may not have heard before" - DJBeekeeni

PURCHASE TUNES on iTunes under the name "Vav Jungle" or look to the djbeekeeni website for a new album and digital download links to come.

***INFO on the NEW RELEASE? Check:

- mixing with Otis Fodder of "The Bran Flakes" (TBA) -'10
- mixing for "The Superions" (Fred Schneider (The B52s), Noah Brodie, Dan Marshall) electronic dance
act - mix tune out in '11.
- film music for "The Lady of the House" directed by Damien Ferland - '09
- regular dj at The Orphan Dancehall (location changes)
- Soundscapes for "VV I T C H", "Godbox" ('05-'09)
- DVD archives and commentary for "Winnipeg Babysitter". Contribution of VJs past and some
commentary by Eve as well - created by artist Daniel Barrow (contact "Video Pool" in Wpg. for copies
of this piece of history is also presented by Daniel across the world and has been shown in New York
to Prague - it is a spectacular view on local access television from the 70s, 80s, 90s in Wpg.) - '07
- Radio, theme music and bumpers for "Shaken Not Stirred" - CBC Radio ' 06
- Film music for "Blow Me", directed by Jaimz Asmundson - '06
- Television's "Food Network" - Surreal Gourmet - '06
- "I'm your man" piece for Deb Patterson, artist/actor/playright - Fringe, - '05
- Television - music used in "The Chris Issaks Show"
- DVD nationwide in the movie "Jane White is Sick & Twisted", directed by David Latt, winner of the
"Hollywood Underground Music Festival" - '02
- Video: "Rawk Rawk Chicken Hawk" (a video release in Winnipeg produced by Stephen Lawson and
Erika McPherson)
- commerical bumpers for WTN, now known as W Network in Canada for their '98 season
- Local television theme and bumpers for the series "Blender", produced by Murray Toews'95
- Video for the song "Beauty Love Chant" from the album "Zig A Dig" - funded by Manitoba Film &
Music and Videofact. Shown primarily on the Bravo Network.- '97
- Music for CBC television's "Open Wide" - '94
- Film music for the feature "Marine Life"- '93
- Many radio themes for the national radio show "Nightlines" hosted by David Wisdom ('89-'97)