Petroleum By-Product
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Petroleum By-Product


Band Pop Punk


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"Petroleum By-Product plays FUSE"

"In the FUSE Lounge, Vancouver indie band the Petroleum By-Products will rock out, mixing the art-punk energy of New York’s 1980s No Wave scene with the happy pop sounds of bands like the B52s and Devo.
Recent finalists in Shindig, CiTR’s annual battle of the bands, PBP has become the focus of the kind of buzz that launched local bands Hot Hot Heat and You Say Party! We Say Die!" - Vancouver Art Gallery

"Petroleum By-Products"

Last night was week 4 of CITR’S Shindig - a 13-week battle of the bands, which happens every Tuesday night (up to Dec 4th) from around 9pm-12am at the Railway Club.

27 Bands/musicians are selected, three play per night, and the winner walks away with recording time and an assortment of other prizes. So far, it’s simply been a good reason to get drunk on Tuesday nights, since most of the bands have been somewhat disappointing. The only one I’ve really liked has been “The National Shield” who kicked off shindig this year, but didn’t win so are not moving on in the competition (boooo).

However, all that changed when The Petroleum By-products hit the stage, donning trashy outfits… err I mean trash bags, yes plastic garbage bags with masking tape (political statement re: the city strike? I think not) and played an awesome 30 minute set. They have a female lead guitar and vocalist, and are 4 pieces (guitar, bass, keys and drums) of indie rock, punk, new wave fun-ness, who like to switch it up a bit as well - everybody hits the vocals, everybody adds to the sound.

The crowd was into them, I was into them, you might get into them too…and they just might be Shindig’s 2007 winner. Check them out. Petroleum By-Products.
- Gena Perala

"Emergency Room Comp Review in MRR"

MRR #304

V/A-Emergency Room Vol.
1 LP

Compilation LPs tend to get listened to once and filed 'round my yard - invariably there's a couple of stand-outs and the rest filler. Not so here. This disc will go down in the annals of time as a classic document of a scene (a ripping one at that!). Showcasing a bunch of bands who play at the Emergency Room club in Vancouver, Canada, this is as good as the legendary Vancouver Complication LP of three decades ago. Uber limited, some 900-odd copies, complete with lavish photo booklet, which appears to be hand stitched. Let's not forget the real meat...the music...ah, the music. Side one has the more straightforward punkers, and the flip, some more art-damaged wave. Every track on the A-side is a winner with the DEFEKTORS taking the tape by a nose with their snappy WIPERS-meets-REALLY RED jams, but not far behind comes THE VAPIDS [sic], sounding like a more pissed BIKINI KILL, or maybe it's the PETROLEUM BY PRODUCTS, BANSHEES/ADAM AND THE ANTS rockers... Fuck, I can't pick 'em. The B side is a tougher listen, THE MUTATORS are a squealing wall of noise, blowing the fuck out of most mainland "no-fi" bands, followed by the TWIN CRYSTALS' LOST SOUNDS homage, then the even more abrasive electro madness of NU SENSAE and SICK BUILDINGS. The A-side is more my speed, but the whole LP is quite a listen. Nice.

-Tim Brooks - Maximum Rock N' Roll

"Article/Interview by Liam Lux"

Petroleum By-Product
…Liam Lux
“I just want to say one word to you – just one word. Are you listening? ‘PLASTICS’. There’s a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?”
- The Graduate (1967)
Think about plastic for just one second. What it is and what it’s come to mean to us. Plastic is perhaps the most pragmatic invention in human history. It’s so useful that we can make anything out of it. Anything. And it’s so cheap that we can just throw anything we make from it away. Like it was never there. So convenient!
Problem is, plastic never really goes away. It’s garbage – but it’s indestructible garbage. There is nothing in our natural environment that can break plastic down. So every cheap throwaway thing we’ve ever made from it still survives, somewhere, in some form, suffocating our environment(s) – physical, social, and psychological.
Plastic is also toxic. Toxic waste, to be exact. It’s the number-one by-product of petroleum processing.
As their name suggests, Petroleum By-Product enjoy exploring the schizoid nature of plastic, a substance which has become an equally suitable a symbol for both the dispensable and the perpetual, especially when it comes to the plastic nature of our modern world – the synthetic aspects of modern society. How much of what we create on a day-to-day basis is truly permanent? And how much is merely made to be thrown away? How much is both? How much of it is good for us, and how much is truly toxic?
Unlike most disposable pop bands, Petroleum By-Product understand that their music is both disposable and permanent – depending on what we do with it. And unlike other image-driven acts cavorting as artists, the ‘By-Prods’ are exactly what they claim to be: by-products of the plasticity of superficial society. They manage to express this in a surprisingly engaging way, however, through a blend of dancey garage-y synth pop-ish sounds a la the B-52s meets Depeche Mode meets D.A.F. - although their influences are varied and surprising and seem to be different every time you ask, as if it depends on the moment. From early syth-pop, new wave, and no-wave to post-punk, electronic, and industrial, they’re a synthesis of synthetic music from previous eras, presented in the present moment for the sake of the future.
One undeniable element that has had a major influenced on the By-Prods, however, is the particular upbringing of singer/synth player Sally Dige Jørgensen and bass player Vanessa Turner, the group’s original founding members. Although they did not meet until highschool, both had grown up in homes where all forms of plastic and other disposable substances were strictly forbidden. Now, along with percussionist (both analogue and digital) Robin Borawski, they’re taking this philosophy forward to the more intangible forms of synthetic trash currently polluting popular culture, and in particular pop music.

Can you fill me in a bit more on your particular upbringing, ie: no plastic, etc?
S: Through determination to avoid plastic, certain metals and technologies that we allowed ourselves to be exposed to became very minimal, which subsequently resulted in a complex lifestyle.

How do you think that has influenced your art and your music?

V: Through our health-extreme upbringings both of us became fascinated with how manufacturing and naturalization impacts the human condition.

S: We are interested in reflecting in our music and art that which is true to our generation: dominating this generation are artificial tangible forms and superficial, distant and "fake" relationships, i.e. Facebook and online networking. We enjoy most to glamourize this lifestyle our generation has manifested and thus have come up with our own Petroleum By-Product manifesto:

“Denaturalize – Dehumanize - Efficient Lives – Commercialize”

Petroleum By-Product is really a sort of code-word for plastic... are you referring more to the destruction of our physical environment with synthetic-based trash or the permutation of disposable trash in our society and in our popular culture?

R: I refer the plastic concept to how or society has become. People would rather use facebook or text messages for a primary source of communication, rather than using a phone or meeting up in person.
V: It’s more of a reference to how the masses are a ‘by-product’ of a trashy petroleum-based monoculture.

Do you consider your music to be disposable?
S: In a way yes. I should hope all artists see their work to be something disposable or "temporary," because I find the most interesting and creative artists are the ones who can continually reinvent themselves (or their art).
R: In a sense, all pop music is disposable, and we like to think we have a pop aspect to our music, so I would say yes.

V: Like the cycle of plastic, it is manufactured, distributed, enjoyed, disposed of, and then recycled into something new but it will always live on in some shape or form, or sound in our case.
What are your thoughts on the recycling of ideas... can we preserve ideas by re-using them the same way we conserve the environment by re-using and recycling?

R: It depends on what kind of idea. In terms of music, I think that all music is recycled, but nothing is ever fully recycled. The product is always just downgraded and requires constant new material to keep the quality up to code.

V: Artists/musicians/inventors have always looked to the past for inspiration or based their ideas off others and elaborated them.

You do everything yourselves, but don't really consider yourselves 'DIY'... why?
S: We find the 'DIY' culture to be somewhat of a turn-off. People tend to use 'DIY' as an excuse for a shitty product. Yes we find ourselves doing most the work ourselves but we still try to aim for an end-product that looks professional, slick and even commercial.

Your new album "Superficial Artificial" will only be released on vinyl and by download, is that to illustrate the difference between music as a tangible artifact (ie: a physical record) and music as an intangible moment (ie: a live performance or digital file)?

R: No. I think we are releasing this record on Vinyl because we always wanted to have an album on Vinyl, and seeing how not everyone has a record player people will still be able to have access to our music through the digital download.
V: We did vinyl because it has a better sound, there’s a growing market for it, and there’s more room for art. CD’s are obsolete and deteriorate faster than vinyl and anyone can do it.
S: We went with what is commercial today. Nowadays, releasing music on vinyl IS commercial and the digital download makes for a consumer-friendly and efficient addition.

Did you know that PVC (polyvinyl chloride, what records are made from) is the most hazardous petroleum by-product we've ever come up with?
R: I didn't know that, but that is hilarious.

When PVC burns, the smoke that emanates causes a chemical reaction in our lungs that turns the water to hydrochloric acid. Isn't that insane?
S: It is.
R: Wow. I guess our album can be used as a chemical warfare weapon. I guess that is kind of terrible, but funny at the same time.

V: Yeah! I suppose we won’t say “hot new album,” when advertising it…

Petroleum By-Product “Superficial Artificial” album release party: Friday December 12th at the Astoria, Doors at 10pm.
- Absolute Underground


Superficial Artificial - 12" record w/digitial download - Release Date Dec 2009

Emergency Room Compilation Vol 1 - Rat Face and Grossest Thing

Mongrel Zine No 4 Compilation - Mad About Plaid

Mongrel Zine No 5 Compilation - Money

We've performed live on Citr and our songs play frequently on CBC radio.



Formed in Vancouver, BC, in 2006 by Sally Jorgensen and Vanessa Turner. Petroleum By-Product takes their name from their concept of the "plastic generation" -- the idea that mankind is living in a plastic-dominant world, and that mankind has been dramatically altered since the invention of plastic, as evidenced by the increase of gene mutation and herd mentality of the North American society. Their music and costumes echoes this view of society as artificial, superficial, excessive and decadent. Petroleum By-Product has displayed some of the most interesting shows with individually, stylized black-plastic bag garments, packaging, CD sunglasses, use of industrial plastic, and futuristic shoes.

Jorgensen and Turner performed their first show in an alternative school’s talent show; put on to support low-budget east-end schools. Later they emerged at Fake Jazz Wednesday at the Cobalt which catapulted them in becoming favourites of the Emergency Room scene as evidenced on the Emergency Room Compilation Vol. 1. The same year, Petroleum By-Product was accepted into Vancouver’s CiTR annual band competition “Shindig.” Through the competition, Petroleum By-Product’s popularity increased rapidly and brought a whole new flair to “Shindig.” Gena Perala wrote in MV Remix Media, “…most of the bands (in Shindig) have been somewhat disappointing…However, all that changed when Petroleum By-Product hit the stage, donning trashy outfits… err I mean trash bags, yes plastic garbage bags with masking tape…The crowd was into them, I was into them, you might get into them too…and they just might be Shindig’s 2007 winner”. Petroleum By-Product placed third overall, but was considered the favourite and the best of the year by the fans and the followers. Petroleum By-Product quickly became in demand for headlining and they have played in almost every venue in Vancouver from Richards on Richards to Vancouver Art Gallery Fuse Night and have been featured on radio in live sessions.

In 2008, Petroleum By-Product contributed to “the most important collection of local underground music since the Vancouver Complication - Emergency Room Compilation Vol. 1.,” says Quinn Omari from Blown Speakers Blog, June 16, 2008. The two songs on the compilation, “Rat Face,” and “Grossest Thing,” received outrageous and tremendous feedback. “Ratface,” created its own kind of cult. In every show that Petroleum By-Product plays, there is always a crowd request for this now classic cult song. The opening bars says it all: “I was walking down the street one time and this girl came up to me and says: You’ve got a real RAT FACE.” Any song that kicks off with that statement is destined for high rotation on my turntable. The rest of the song is as amazing as the opening. Expect a show review from these kids soon. They’re awesome!” Posted June 20th, 2008 by Mace from

At the present time, Petroleum By-Product is moving into a more exciting direction, incorporating drum machines into their music. Just recently they’ve contributed interviews and music to the No Fun City Documentary (, participated in the Music Waste Festival, and self-released their 12” record “Superficial Artificial”.