Flash Palace
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Flash Palace

Band Alternative Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Best of Vancouver Issue: sounds-underground"

Bassist and singer Ellis Sam is one of the fertile minds behind Flash Palace. The band—which also features MacRae Lawrie, Samuel Dzierzawa, and Jonathan Scherk—recently put out a double-cassette release, some Misinterpreted sunsets, a collection of postrock soundscapes that are expansive and mind-altering but still oddly accessible.

Best local release besides yours:

“My Friend Wallis, When the Blue Turned Yellow. She [Crystal Dorval] moved here from Victoria. You can download it on-line for free. It’s got this really awesome tropical-beach vibe, but it doesn’t feel like she’s trying to jump on that really cool vibe right now. All the sounds are really baked in her head, and really close to her heart, so it comes across as really honest, and a really warm, awesome EP.”

The year’s best gig:

“I saw this band Cloaks, from Portland, at Solder and Sons bookstore [247 Main Street]. They host really small DIY shows and ambient shows, and this really awesome band from Portland, Cloaks, came up [on September 25]. It’s a two-piece with a Steve Reich influence, and they did the most minimal—but maximal-sounding—ambient music I’ve ever heard.”

With apologies to Ke$ha, who would turn you on if they took it off?

“If I was to wake up in a bedroom with someone, I would wake up with Sarah McLachlan next to me, and I would rope her into a boyfriend-girlfriend band called Sarah McShaman. And it’s going to be an epic drone band with lots of grand piano, long-form drone pieces. I think once the magic got cooking, we could really tap into some intense improvised zones together.”

Michael Buble donated the profits from tonight’s show to you. Where’s the party?

“I think we would all like to go to Mongolie Grill [467 West Broadway], as usual. It never gets old. So many different sauce combinations. We definitely all hang out there a lot. We always try to decide to go somewhere else but then end up at Mongolie Grill.”

What classic album needs a 180-gram-vinyl rerelease?

“Azeda Booth’s In Flesh Tones album. They’re this band from Calgary who put out that record about four years ago. Not that many people have heard it. When we were in high school we would always put on this record when people would be blasting Black Eyed Peas, and it would be really awkward most of the time, but it made so much sense to us. It’s ambient electronic pop, but it’s got this really weird quality to it that’s not like anything else.”

Your Lotto Max numbers came up. Where are you opening a venue?

“Bloedel Conservatory. I always call it ‘the dome’. There’s always that fear that Little Mountain Gallery will have to shut down, but if I won the lottery I would give all the money to Little Mountain so they could make a real little mountain in Queen Elizabeth Park and take over the dome and put on shows there, and sell the plants for crazy PA gear.” - Georgia Straight newspaper

"Discorder Magazine Feature:"

If a never-ending laser beam were unleashed inside the Taj Mahal, would it make a sound?
Though they have no scientific evidence to back it up, all four members of Flash Palace are willing to bet it would sound like an intricately woven post-rock jam with carefully hidden Josh Groban samples. At least that’s the soundscape bassist Ellis Sam described while discussing his band’s debut EP Some Misinterpreted Sunsets.
“There’s probably a guy from Peru or Poland walking around and everyone has their shoes off,” explained Sam, who also supplies electronic samples and “vocal drones” on the record. “And this laser is just constantly bouncing around.”
Bouncing light is an appropriate metaphor, as the band’s creative process seems to involve a jumbled back-and-forth exchange between sounds and visuals. “We grew up with lots of TV and video games with lots of repeated imagery and sound,” Sam said. With a scene from the 1989 computer game Sim City frozen on the television screen in front of us—in a house where three of the band members live—lasers and architectural imagery somehow begin to make sense.
“We used to watch TV and put music on and try to sync it up,” drummer Mac Lawrie explained. A common practice among stoners and bored teenagers everywhere, this pastime seems to inspire poignant loops and transitions on tracks like “sasa” and “double/day.”
“We actually did that last night with Carl Sagan and Super Mario,” chimed in guitarist Samuel Dzierzawa. “He explains the fourth dimension,” added Jon Scherk, another multi-instrumentalist and singer in the band.
Members of Flash Palace consistently finish each others’ sentences. And it’s no wonder: the four 19- and 20-year-olds have been friends and making music together since the seventh grade.
“These guys used to be in a band called the Butterfly Lovers,” explained Sam, noting the group sounded like a math-rockier version of Tool. “They put out a thousand copies of their first EP, and gave everyone at high school a CD. It was pretty sweet. I was a fan.”
“Then Jon and I were in a pop band called Us Us Us,” he continued. “And together we started this math rock band called Trusty Backpack. It was pretty awkward. Funny. Like lots of loops and me yelling a lot.”
It wasn’t until last year’s Shindig battle of the bands that the name Flash Palace finally stuck. “I just kind of blurted it out,” Sam recalled (the group was calling themselves Tigerhead at the time). “But I lisped it so it sounded like ‘Flesh Palace.’ So people were saying ‘sweet job Flesh Palace.’ It was weird.”
Flash Palace/Tigerhead didn’t advance to the semi-finals on that fateful evening. (Much to the chagrin of Discorder writer Brenda Grunau, who wrote that the foursome “rocked out like Tortoise.” She subsequently declared them “the best set of the night.”) [ed. For those curious both Flash Palace and Jody Glenham lost this night to Lengthy List of Lovers.]
Equally motivated by Enya, grapefruits and pre-show chicken burgers, Sam said Flash Palace creates entirely new soundscapes during each of their live performances. “We don’t want to play the same set over and over,” he said.
“We’re there to make one big piece of music that like, feels right to us,” he said. “In our sets we don’t try and stop our music—we just try and keep it continually going, which I think puts people off because they’re like ‘When do I clap?’ you know, ‘When do I yell ‘Yeah! Sweet!’?’”
“We work up to our shows,” added Scherk. “We get as many new ideas into that show so it’s interesting.” The young band recently opened for Brasstronaut at the Rickshaw, and has even had a chance to play alongside Deakin, a former member of Animal Collective.
But when asked if their shows have been well received, responses were decidedly modest. “Nobody booed,” Lawrie said.
Though the band’s recorded work feels undeniably fresh, Flash Palace’s musical influences are surprisingly vintage. “Marvin Gaye is one of my favourite musicians,” Sam gushed. “He just gets in that really spiritual place in his music and you can’t replicate that.”
And Sam makes a point of noting his love of Enya is by no means ironic. “My dad played me the Enigma CD and the Enya CD like every day,” he explained. “I put it on the other day, and the amount of subtle techno beats and then long delayed vocals … that kind of like new age sound kind of creeps in on everything I write.”
Apart from the “classics” (in quotations because Limp Bizkit was also mentioned in this category), Flash Palace are quick to praise similar bedroom composers.
“Azeda Booth is probably one of our favourite bands, and they’re probably one of the most underrated bands in Canada,” Sam said. “They’ve just made their own sonic world.”
Flash Palace are on their way to achieving their own sonic world, having recently moved in to a shared house in East Van. After years of angry neighbours, the band finally has a wood-panelled basement jam space to call their own.
“We’ve been here about a month,” Scherk said. “We were working out of our parents’ basements and always changing jam spaces. And so we thought having our own space would be the best thing to do.”
Beginning in 2011, the band plans to put shows on hold for a while to focus on recording a second album. “We’re going to record all our new album here. And do like, all the proper technical tweaks at a bigger studio,” Sam said. “We get in a room together and just keep on jamming out parts and like talk with our instruments a lot.”
“We’re going to work really hard on it,” he added. “I’m always thinking like, where can I take the sound. Like, I want to make this sound like it’s beside a hot dog stand.”
“That’s the golden chalice,” Scherk agreed. - Discorder

"Deakin, Prince Rama, Flash Palace - live review 2010"

After two years of toiling around the city, Vancouver's Flash Palace finally landed their first high-profile gig. The youthful quartet were given the dream spot of opening up for one of their musical heroes and obvious influences: Animal Collective's Deakin. The band are seemingly wise beyond their years, successfully merging elements of U.S. post-rock, math rock and IDM, all sub-genres that thrived throughout the '90s only to lose favour over the last decade. Intermingling tight instrumental passages that recall early period Tortoise with skittering electronics and heavily affected, watery vocal lines, Flash Palace's approach is one that appears to be paying off. - Exclaim


Mark had already whetted my appetite … I just needed to wait for the Flash to work out. Light came in tonight as I was checking my mailbox. Flash Palace are from Vancouver, Canada. Influences of math-rock are close but their musical horizons seem boundless, sometimes going from electro then joyfully hopping to more jazzy rhythms. You visit the Palace (understand luxury hotel) room by room, piece by piece. Lay down your luggage, you’ll find yourself home soon. Flash authorized for the take away photo. « Some Misinterpreted Sunsets » is a double cd EP in a tape format, released on Mayan Chorus Records, that you can free download on their myspace - DELICIOUS SCOPITONE


While post-rock's star has been waning over the past few years, the genre still has some interesting territory to explore. For an example, check out "Seventy Lives" from Vancouver quartet Flash Palace. More playful than Explosions in the Sky and more concise than Godspeed You Black Emperor, "Seventy Lives" comes off as the perfect kind of post-rock for an indie scene bursting with two minute tracks of beach-y melodies and tape hiss. The band's got a cassette EP out now, entitled Some Misinterpreted Sunsets, which you can download or purchase at the band's MySpace. Or, alternatively, you can grab "Seventy Lives" here. [Pitchfork] - PRE FIX MAGAZINE

"Weird Canada"

Brilliant genre-pollination from this out-of-left-field Vancouver quartet. Their highly visceral pressure waves ooze a strange hybridized pop-psych with flashes of electro digitalia and sampledelic cut-ups. The blotted magnetic threads of Flash Palace’s debut tape are filled with this phenomenal pilgrimage into pomo-pop principalia and has me excited beyond most hyperbolic means. A voyeuristic adventure into a genre-less future. GRIP÷0. - Weird Canada


Vancouver quartet Flash Palace make skittering post-rock with electronic elements that weave in and out of their compositions. The band has a cassette EP, Some Misinterpreted Sunsets, available to purchase over at their MySpace (there's download links too, for those of you without tape decks), and "Seventy Lives" is from Side B. - Pitchfork


some Misinterpreted sunsets double EP tape



The quartet interchanges electronic and live instruments in order to manifest a multitude of washed layers, pulling from empty Vancouver nights to sunrises in suburbia. 90's IDM influences veer through group-mind ambience becoming movements of refraction--- youth hypnotized by their