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"Philoceraptor - By Fraser Dobbs - May 2013"

photo by Rommy Ghaly
“It had to happen now. Had to.” Philoceraptor’s Steve Mann is answering a question on why now was the right time to release a full-length album, and I wasn’t expecting such a clear-cut response. “Our lives are heaping with responsibilities now.” Together with William Justin (guitar) and Phil Jette (drums), we’re talking in their downtown storage-turned-jam-space about the songs they’ve just finished recording, and the conversation isn’t all elation and placebo effect like I’d thought it would be.
Philoceraptor really aren’t the same band they were two years ago, even though their components are still familiar. The trio that started their tenure in Vancouver by staying up late on weeknights and drinking to excess is barely recognizable in the adults that are now across from me discussing chorus vocals and fatherhood. “Literally five minutes after we finished [the last take of the record] was when Phil sat us down and said, ‘Hey guys, I’m going to be a dad,’” recounts Justin. “That was an awesome exclamation point to the recording process, but it definitely underlined that yes, there are bigger things to life and much bigger accomplishments than this band stuff. It’s a lesson in perspective.”
Now, with marriages, kids, and jobs taking precedence over gigs and guitars, the focus inside of the band has never been higher when they’re actually together. “Five years ago, the band was a third of what we thought about. Now it’s maybe 50 percent of what we think about, but we only have five percent of the time to do it in.”

illustration by Tyler Crich
Their new LP is all about that five percent. The band that used to only write songs from the perspective of a fictitious, Patrick-Batemanread-by-Brett-Easton-Ellis character, has shifted gears. Stop Ruining Fun is cut from the same cloth as Bellingham’s Police Teeth, firmly rooted in self-referential “music about being in a band” territory and the realization that the idea of “making it” probably doesn’t exist for a bunch of dudes jamming in a basement, nor does it have to. Mann explains, “It’s about late-twentysomething egoists who are confronted with trying to become an awesome band and knowing they’re bound to fail.” Compared to their earlier material, it’s a huge step forward, and one that came at the end of a long year spent writing, reflecting, and sitting on material until it felt right, a technique that would have felt foreign to them just a few years ago.

On Beach Boys and Franchising:
Growing older and not being able to tour doesn’t have to be the end of a band, according to William Justin. “I want to do what the Beach Boys did in the ‘60s. Brian Wilson hung back in California with a whole bunch of session musicians writing Pet Sounds while the rest of the Beach Boys toured around America, not giving a fuck, playing their hits. They came back [from tour] and Wilson said, ‘Okay, we’ve got a record! Just add some harmonies and we’ll put it out next week.’ We need to start auditions and franchise out the Philoceraptor sound.”

Stop Ruining Fun sounds better for the time invested. A large helping of ‘70s punk glazed with ‘90s pop, and no annoying bass to worry about, the record is much more polished than Philoceraptor are used to presenting to the public. The songs are still just as catchy as they used to be, but tunes like the anthemic “One Of These Days” and the colossal four-minute outro to “Song From A Little Room” benefit immensely from the time spent on them. “When we recorded ‘PYT,’ I still didn’t know what I was playing to,” Jette mentions. “We wrote all the songs [for the EP Deepest V] in one day and recorded them all the next.” The extra love on Stop Ruining Fun shows itself in gratuitous gang harmonies, beautiful guitar tones and steadier pacing throughout.

photo by Rommy Ghaly
The record might be self-referential, but the title of the album doesn’t come directly from the band poking fun at their own busy schedules: it’s named after a dumpster. Bishops University, where Mann and Justin first met, “had a very bad reputation,” according to the latter. “For whatever reason, the CBC loved showing how depraved we were… We’d always have parties in a particular alley there, and someone took it upon themselves to paint STOP RUINING FUN on the dumpster there so that any news crews coming in would have to see it, that was the background to any news coverage.”
That the phrase is now the background to a rock record about growing old hasn’t been lost on them. The Justin that used to only play shows dressed in all white may be retired, but according to the band it’s a step in the right direction. Luckily for Philoceraptor, growing up can still sound fun. - Discorder

"Philoceraptor Attacks"

Philoceraptor is invading the Vancouver music scene with the dedication of a missionary.

By Scott Wood

Hello folks and Happy 2012!

This year, for !earshot online, I am going to give the campus community radio community the chance to get to know some of Vancouver’s most awesome bands.

This month, we play a little game of “How Well Do You Know Your Wife?” with Vancouver upstarts Philoceraptor. I asked the band’s three members (Steve, Justin and Phil) to answer the same questions individually while they were each sealed in a soundproof hyperbaric chamber.

Now let’s compare their results!

Scott Wood: “Philoceraptor”... What is the story behind the name?

Steve Mann: Justin told me that one day his fiancée, Emma, just blurted it out to him. Moments later he had texted it to me, and I decreed it to be the name of a band that did not yet exist.

Justin Penney: No story really... my fiancée sometimes mumbles in her sleep or just as she's falling asleep, and I often don't notice she's asleep and I'll ask her a question or tell her a story. One night I was saying something and she was half asleep and mumbled "like a Philoceraptor". I immediately sent Steve a text message to the effect of "Let's start a band called Philoceraptor". So the name existed before the band. We were also completely ignorant of the existence of the popular "Philosoraptor" internet meme.

Phil Jette: We had actually never heard of the internet meme sharing the same name, so while it's difficult to convince people of this now, we actually didn't name our band after a meme. Basically, we started jamming and needed a name, then one night Emma just blurted out "Philoceraptor" while half-asleep. Justin immediately suggested the name to Steve and I, and we were immediately like "that's the one", so we just went with it.

Scott Wood: We were originally supposed to do this interview at Xmas time 2011, but you were missing member Phil. If Phil is the “Phil” in “Philoceraptor,” what do the Steve and Justin add to the mix?

Steve Mann: If we're gonna play anagrams then I've got the edge with “ET” over Justin's “T.”

Justin definitely brings the energy and the confidence. He can produce lyrics like he has a million monkeys at a million typewriters, but they all have Masters' degrees and resent their current circumstances. I endeavour to bring the twist; while I think we wear our influences on our sleeve, I want to make sure that a riff, or the way a chord is played, or the way the song is structured is something I (at least) haven't heard/done before.

Justin Penney: Hmm. I was born in Toronto, so that's the TOR. Steve hates RAP. And OCE is a brand of wide format printer. Steve and I work for a Sign Supply company that sells HP wide format printers and Oce is a competing (and inferior) brand.

Phil Jette: Phil is definitely not the “Phil” in “Philoceraptor,” or at least if he is, he doesn't realize it. If he somehow did come to this realization, it's likely that his ego would grow so large as to compel him to pursue a drums-only solo career destined to fail while in the process destroying the band.

Seriously though, Steve and Justin add pretty much everything to the mix. Most songs are at the very least sketched out by either of them before we actually rock them out as a band, plus they share lyric-writing duties. That makes up for about 85% of each song, the other 15% being accounted for by a mix of hitting things and drinking Cariboo.

Scott Wood: Can you tell me the quick and dirty origin story of Philoceraptor? How did you guys get together?

Steve Mann: Justin and I met in university when we noticed we both had guitars and beer in our dorm rooms. That night we had a Colt 45 chugging contest and we've been pals ever since. We also played in 2 cover bands. It was fun, we graduated. Justin met Phil in cubical land and jammed in another band. I moved to Vancouver, we all agreed loud noises and cheap beer were the best, Philoceraptor formed, we didn't suck and HOOORAY!

Justin Penney: Steve and I met at Bishop's University in 2002 and proceeded to play a bunch of drunken covers together on our own or in Morning Wood and Rosebud, the best cover band in Lennoxville, QC.

When I moved to Vancouver in 2007 I started working for a finance company and Phil worked there too. The two of us started playing in a band called the Bach Social. We didn't really didn't like the Bach Social and wanted to play louder music, and my "Philoceraptor" text to Steve prompted a jam that produced "Grammar" (our first song).

Phil Jette: Justin and I worked together and one day I bought a drum set at lunch. Just a basic cheap Tama (actually I still play the same kit). Anyway so we started jamming regularly, but then when it came time to start a band, we figured we needed another guitarist. Right around this time, I started hearing mythical tales of a particular gentleman named Steve Mann, whom had played in a couple bands back at Bishop's University with Justin. Justin and Steve were very close friends, and as it turns out Steve was moving out to Vancouver, so pretty much as soon as he arrived, we met up and started making some noise. Our first jam we wrote “Grammar” (which ended up on our first EP), and that was that!

Scott Wood: You guys are new to the city, but have invaded the local scene with a dedication of missionary. What’s it like to be the “new guys” in town?

Steve Mann: At first it was a hard because we literally didn't know anybody or anything about the Vancouver scene. But once you start meeting people who make music, you immediately have something to talk about and experiences you can share.

Fact: Musicians like talking about music, which leads to talking about themselves, which leads to all other subjects of conversation. The best thing we did to get into things was record our first EP "Four Songs" without even gigging because we had a solid representation of our music to toss out in the wilds of the interweb and people would backtrack and contact us from there.

Justin Penney: "Invaded the local scene with the dedication of a missionary". I like that a lot, and it really sums up the experience. I believe that you get what you give, and that a good music scene exists when people put on shows and attend shows and reach out and network and collaborate. Nothing's going to just "happen", you need to get out and do it. That means going out, supporting other bands, making friends... and not just doing it in a way that reeks of self-promotion. You can spot a phony a mile away. I'm genuinely interested in the Vancouver music scene, and making this scene interesting.

Phil Jette: It's been great mostly because we've met so many great people. We never really had a hard time finding gigs once we decided to start playing them, but a lot of that is due to the fact that Steve and Justin started making friends and going to tons of shows real fast. I'm a bit more of a hermit so I don't get out to shows a whole lot to be honest, but every time I do, it's good attitudes and good times all around. And really great music too for that matter.

Scott Wood: What is one easy tip for a “new band in town” to make music scene friends fast?

Steve Mann: Go drinking on weeknights.

Justin Penney: Be into it. Be sincere. Be nice. and never hesitate to tap someone on the shoulder and say "Hi I'm Justin from Philoceraptor and I really (insert sincere compliment or anecdote)" to break the ice.

Phil Jette: Get out and go to as many shows as possible. Hang out with people and enjoy yourself, and soon enough the shows will come.

Scott Wood: What has been the best and worst of Vancouver, so far, for you guys?

Steve Mann: The best is rocking a house party—it's Thunderdome in there and, for our set, we run Barter Town. The worst is having a gig on a night where there are 3 or 4 awesome gigs and drawing the short stick, because you didn't draw a crowd AND you missed some sweet shows.
Justin Penney: The best has to be the music scene and how easy it's been to make friends. I used to live in Montreal and the music scene was very, very pretentious and closed off and fractured across genre lines like high school cliques. Like if you weren't at Arcade Fire's first show in so-and-so's living room then you don't deserve anyone's attention. Vancouver is also great because it doesn't get as cold as Montreal.

The worst? Loading in at the Railway Club. I don't understand how a music club has remained so successful for so long when bands have to struggle to find parking and then lug all their shit through narrow doors and up a long flight of stairs. So yeah the worst really isn't that bad. It also rains a lot and rent is expensive, but whatever...

Phil Jette: Definitely the music scene has been awesome. There are many great bands around here so that's been great. Whenever I see a band like Oh No! Yoko play live it makes me want to go back to the jam space immediately and rock out. As far as bad things go, honestly that's a tough one. Vancouver has been really amazing for me personally, and I think just as good for us as a band. People have been very welcoming and we've had the opportunity to record some music and play a lot of fun shows in cool venues, so yeah... not to be cheesy but for me at least so far it's all positive.

Scott Wood: Ok, it’s time to mention the elephant in the room! You guys are a trio of two guitars and a drum set. This makes you a little unique. What lead you to this set up?

Steve Mann: It's what we started with one faithful night, and it seemed to work. I have enjoyed the form because it really guides the songwriting choices we make, so we tread on the unconventional. Plus, I think a bass would slow us down.

Justin Penney: I was always a bass player, but I really can't sing while I play bass, and I wanted to sing and play guitar. So did Steve. Not having a bass player limits what we can do, but it gives a bit of focus to the music and the songwriting. We’re not interested in adding anyone to the band, since the three of us are best friends and the dynamic would probably be strange if someone else was added.

Phil Jette: Well, we just kind of went with it. Right from the start, we decided on 2 guitars and we pretty much decided against ever bringing in a bass. I think we wanted the arrangement possibilities you get from having 2 guitarists, but on the other hand we didn't want to bring anyone else into the band, simply because the 3 of us got along well and we were on the same page regarding the type of sound we wanted. So we ended up with Justin splitting his guitar signal to both a guitar amp and a bass amp to give us some low end.

Since then, Justin has also added an octave pedal to give us even more low end when we need it. At the same time we were also into bands that have this type of non-traditional setup, like Japandroids and DFA1979, so it didn't seem so unorthodox for us to go this route.

Scott Wood: What do you say to those lovely music nerds who will say to you: "That song would be really dope with a bass line!"

Steve Mann: It's usually from a band we just played with so I smile, shrug, and sometimes discuss how we don't want to disrupt our three-piece democracy. I really don't understand this resistance in a post-White Stripes world. I think it does come from musical nerdery, but I am not well-versed, nor fixated, on the details of musical mixing, I just focus on making things rock. Justin did recently get an octave pedal to thicken our low end, so we can sonically punch people better.

Justin Penney: It's happened a few times. Sometimes it's people who are trying to join our band like "I should play bass for you!" and other times it's people who genuinely believe that our music would sound better with bass and they make somewhat patronizing comments like "you know, the low frequencies are what gets people dancing". Sometimes I even find myself thinking a song would sound better with bass, but then I remind myself and others that Philoceraptor doesn't have, or need, a bass player and that's one of the things that sets us apart.

Phil Jette: We do still have a good bit of low end from Justin's rig, so any parts which would normally be played by a bass are played by Justin, which makes it not all that different from having an actual bass player. I think it is a bit more difficult to get people moving though without that solid bass groove. Which is actually one of the reasons Justin picked up an octave pedal.

It's definitely happened a few times that people ask us "Hey have you guys ever thought of getting a bass player?" or "Why don't you get a bass player?" But we're really not interested. We'd rather try and work on our sound and get it to a point where that question just doesn't come up anymore.

Scott Wood: Is there anything else potential fans need to know about Philoceraptor?

Steve Mann: I just want potential fans to hear our music. I actually started to wonder if knowing us adds anything or if we should take more of a "the author is dead" approach to things. There's an article on Bluegrassish about what nice guys we are, which is awesome, but definitely in conflict with our “spite rock” narratives. Then again, the whole point is to basically “rock on” in spite of the abyss/the sad state of __________, and that's would be a rather hard sell if we were mopey or nihilistic.

Justin Penney: We really love fans. For serious! We started this band as a sort of pastime, an opportunity to get together, drink cheap beer, and make loud noises. We're not going after a record deal or national tour and we have no illusions of financial success. This band is not our life.

However, we do work hard at making the songs we make, and to see people at our shows and to see our music actually making a connection with someone is the most rewarding feeling.

From time to time I look through our "fans" on our Facebook page, and I marvel at the fact that I don't know more than 50% of the people on there. Like it's not just friends and family who "like" the band out of friendship or obligation, but there are some honest-to-goodness high school kids from California who are into us.

Or that a stranger from New York paid $10 for an EP on our "pay what you want" bandcamp page. That is really rewarding to me. I know that can seem a bit narcissistic but that's not the feeling at all... it's really a sense of awe that something we made exists out there on its own and is appreciated for the music it is.

Phil Jette: Not really except for the fact that we're really stoked to record a full-length this year, and we all collectively promise, it will knock your socks off.

Maybe one fact about each of us:
- Steve hates 3D movies
- Phil moved to Vancouver via Greyhound bus from Toronto
- Justin can tie a bow tie with his eyes closed

Scott Wood: Ups! I forgot to add in the obligatory dinosaur question! Ok... Dang it all. I can't think of a clever one right now... But I bet you get asked them all the time... The weirdest one?

Steve Mann: I think the weirdest one was to name the Jurassic Park references on our "Philosoraptor" EP, because there's only one, the song “Clever Girl.” When pressed though, I used my English Major skills to BS about half a dozen.

Justin Penney: I can't think of any offhand... one woman I know through work keeps asking me to make a Velociraptor sound, like in Jurassic Park. I have yet to oblige. I am embarrassed.

Phil Jette: Actually we haven't had that many. but, when we initially sent our last EP Philosoraptor to CiTR, I guess it was distributed around the station with a note saying we had "a bunch of Jurassic Park references", or something like that. Which is funny because we only really were aware of one.

Scott Wood: Hopefully by the end of this year, you will have been asked a lot more.

There you have it folks! Now it should be pretty easy to go up to any member of the band and chat them up at a show!

All three members of the band would like you to know that they self-distribute all of their material at Follow them on twitter at @PhiloceraptorEh
- Earshot


The arrival of the power trio Philoceraptor was a bit like a quick transition from cuddling to coitus, and they delivered an occasionally dissonant, rough-around-the-edges, garage rocking spark plug of a set. Although they added some balance to the feel of the night, they were often too forceful, and a bit too long and energetic for a Monday night. Still, their saturated and springy dual guitar sound was good, and they had some fantastic rock-outs. - Beatroute

"EP Review - Four Songs"


..."4 Songs" is a kind and easy listen. Younger crowds will appreciate the potentialthat the album harvests, while older generations will appreciate the nostalgia that accompanies the feel-good, college radio musicianship of the trio. Philoceraptor is certainly a band to be on the look out for. - Discorder

"Band Review - Philocearptor"

I like meeting really genuine and nice people. I dont mean like Ginywine of “Pony” fame, although I’d love to meet him. The dudes of Philoceraptor have been some of the coolest dudes I’ve met int he Vancouver music scene thus far. No snobbery, no bullshit. Just huge smiles, lots of beer crushin’ and pure rocking. Their tunes are huge sounding, a mix of modern indie and mid-90's guitar shredding throw back. Super tight and punchy its some of the most honest music coming out of the city these days. Three friends doing what they love. It’s touching really. Dig their new single “Hey Champion”. A slow building guitar line is accompanied by a sneering whine, almost cocky but flattering at the same time. Things build and build and climax at the end, it’s kind of like having sex, except without intercourse. And then there’s the remix, I’ll let that speak for it’s self. fucckkk. Come check these guys out as well as the return of Vancouver ruffians Eeek! this tuesday at Library Square on the outskirts of (shudder) yaletown. - Bluegrassish

"EP Review - The Deepest V"

Got this dropped in my inbox this week and was instantly reminded that I've been meaning to get some love up on here for these guys.

It's hard to pigeonhole Philoceraptor --- so I'll let their self described spite-rock tag do most of the work for me. There are a myriad of different influences and inspirations at play here --- all culminating together in the rawest of ways to create this blanketing of straight up garage-esque punk fun.

They just dropped their latest release The Deepest V; a 3-track EP featuring their new single Hey Champion as well as a remastering of a past cut in PYT. On top of that, you get a glitched out remix from fellow BC wunderkinds Oh No! Yoko. All for the cost of absolutely nothing.

Mark it down. It's a steal. Check out the aforementioned remixed Hey Champion as well as PYT (which recently got the video treatment from director Tom Nugent who created a complete shot-by-shot recreation of the Beach Boys' Wouldn't It Be Nice video) and then head on over to their bandcamp to pick up this + other past releases.

"PYT" - Philoceraptor from The Deepest V (2011) -

"The Holey Sheets get Charitable with a Halloween-Themed Offering"

by Gregory Adams

Just in time for the spooky season, members of local indie-poppers Philoceraptor and Oh No! Yoko have gotten together for a Halloween-themed project under the name the Holey Sheets. The troupe’s two-song debut is a charitable affair, with all proceeds from the Bandcamp single going toward the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

First up is “Razorblades in Apples”, a nostalgic look back at going door-to-door to fill up on goodies. While Everett Morris’s affable, helium-huffing delivery on the peppy pop-rocker suggests he should suit up as Big Bird, the track reveals his costume plans are more mammalian in nature: “My monkey suit’s in an easy chair/I choose one sweet for the night.” With its buzzy major chords bursting atop Phil Jette’s active drum work, the song plays sweetly, despite the chorus containing the gruesome revelation that some urban legends come from a place of truth. Morris sings: “I never believed in razorblades in apples/Now, boy is my face red.”

“BOO (Spooky Indie Halloween 2011)”, meanwhile, sheds all melody in favour of spectral sonic sketches. Boasting an array of local conspirators—including Blood Diamonds, DJ Tristan Orchard, and members of Humans, beekeeper, and Blanche Devereaux, to name a few—the seven-minute soundscape’s blood-curdling shrieks and twisted mix of white noise and psych rock would more suitably score a haunted house walk-through than your “Monster Mash”–heavy mixer.

Though missing the feeling of dropping change into some little monster’s UNICEF box, the Holey Sheets’ single is a well-meaning and worthwhile outing all the same. - The Georgia Straight

"Single Review - Philoceraptor - The Holey Sheets"

by Nathan Pike

With Halloween creeping around the bend, local group Philoceraptor have gotten together with their friends to form the seasonally-themed Holey Sheets. Along with members of Blood Diamonds, Humans, Blanche Devereaux and many more, they’ve created the holiday sound piece “BOO (Spooky Indie Halloween 2011),” with all proceeds being generously donated to UNICEF. A track suited for haunted house enthusiasts, “BOO” is a ghoulish hybrid between a song and a scare. Lurking somewhere within the distorted echoing chords, the crashing, the moaning and the tapping feet of the listener’s imagination, lies a narrative of escape. Framed by desperate breathing, the suggestion of a staggering getaway from some old castle or sinister cemetery looms large in this piece. Such spooky authenticity makes “BOO” a haunting audio track, wholly dedicated to the art of holiday fright.
A second Halloween howl by the Holey Sheets, with Oh No! Yoko’s Everett Morris on vocals, adopts a different approach, while remaining equally festive and charitable. To put simply, “Razorblades in Apples” is a bouncy pop tune warning of the perils of candy lust. In this Halloween Hansel-and-Gretel tale, the Holey Sheets have done a fine job of coupling season-specific lyrics with a more broadly appealing musical tone. This nostalgic telling of a time when “tricks were treats” is smoothly worded and sung. That being said, when the chorus goes by, like someone wearing a truly scary costume, it’s definitely worth a double-take. - Discorder

"Live Review - Shindig Night #6"

SHiNDiG is quite the opportunity for up-and-coming local bands to strut their stuff in front of an audience who might not have taken the chance on them otherwise. The prize at the end of the battle-of-the-bands contest, when all is said and done, is a rich one: recording time, features in Discorder magazine, guaranteed spots at festivals like Music Waste and other goodies can be huge for musicians who shell out their hard earned cash in the name of their art.

Godspot | photo by Robert Grey

I took a chance and headed on down to the Railway for SHiNDiG night six, based largely on the recommendation of a friend who said I ought to check out Philoceraptor. I walked into a reasonably attended Railway Club just as the Godspot were packing up. Silly me for assuming that start times would be later than advertised. However, I was informed that they sounded a bit like shoegazey, drunk-sounding Stone Roses type stuff. Not sure if the Stone Roses part is accurate, but I get the drunken shoegaze part after listening to their tunes post-show.

Honourary MD | photo by Robert Grey

Next was Honourary MD, an eight-member group of musical med students that had a lot going on. Keys, flute and tabla rounded out the usual assortment of instruments to create a big, positive and danceable freak folk vibe. At times it seemed a little too much and some instruments were lost in the mix, but that happens. It was a fun set and I especially enjoyed singer Bronwyn Malloy’s story of an autopsy mishap. Who doesn’t love a good, squirting cadaver tale between songs?

Philoceraptor | photo by Steve Louie

Capping off the night was Philoceraptor. The trio were loud, energetic as heck and clearly happy to be playing SHiNDiG. This was straight-up edgy garage rock delivered with smiles and sweat aplenty. Two guitars, a drum kit and a happy exuberance was all it took to cinch the win for these guys. They may not have been as interesting as Honourary MD, but they certainly won points for their drive and energy. Congrats, Philoceraptor, and good luck in the next round! - Discorder

"EP Review - Philoceraptor - The Deepest V"

by Jeremy Stothers

Local trio Philoceraptor are showing a new, more rhythmic side of their garage-rock selves on their new EP, The Deepest V. The first track, “Hey Champion,” is driven by an intricate beat from drummer Phil Jette, allowing the band’s two guitarists—Justin Penney and Steve Mann—to take a breather. This works surprisingly well for a band that’s known for being more brash than balanced.
The new three-song EP can be downloaded for free from their Bandcamp site. Actually, “EP” might be a bit of a misnomer, as the release has has only one new song (“Hey Champion”) paired with a remaster of the previously-released track “PYT” and a remix of “Hey Champion” by locals Oh No! Yoko. The remix’s dance-floor beat and cut-up vocals make it sound like a whole new song, however.
The only really troubling part of the new dance-rock sound is the lack of bass. Of course they can do without the instrument—Japandroids and the Black Keys, for example, have done just fine without it, but both those bands fill the bass frequency with a huge guitar sound. Philoceraptor don’t really do that, and it’s never been more noticeable than now.
The lead track is easily worth the price of admission, so head over to their site and have a listen. And if you like it, their onstage energy can be experienced at CiTR’s SHiNDiG on October 18. - Discorder

"Philoceraptor - Making Hay While the Sunshines"

making hay while the sun shines
By Evan Wansbrough

It had been a while since I had last been in the backseat of a band vehicle slugging back Kokanees on a Monday night, but the boys in Vancouver indie/rock /punk three-piece Philoceraptor made quick work of assisting me to regain my legs in that regard. They also wiped the Monday night show stigma from cognizance – albiet only briefly – as the they joked around with an enthusiasm and exuberance more akin to a band knocking down free Anchor Porters on a Friday.

So what gets the band to agree to do a show on a Monday night? I had to know. "The Biltmore," drummer Phil Jette asserted without hesitation. "We love the place and we've been wanting to play here.”

The band has been playing together for just over a year, but has cut its teeth in swift fashion, gracing almost every playable stage in town, and never shying away from the less-sought-after opening, weeknight slots, such as the one they were preparing to play later in the evening with local teen faves, Oh No Yoko.

"Opening for a band like Oh No Yoko never hurts either. They offered us the show and we took it," co-frontman/guitarist Justin Penny chimed in. The band's business model is refreshingly simple: They all hold down 9-5 weekday schedules, practice once a week, and play whenever the hell they get the chance because it's what they love to do.

"We got offered to play a Sunday at the Media Club" Steve Mann explains, "it's like, 'What else am I gonna do on a Sunday night? Course I'd love to!' Getting out there and having people hear you – it means a lot."

Sonically, Philoceraptor is the ultimate parents-are-gone-for-the-weekend-let's-throw-a-wild-house-party rock band, drawing influence from a wide range of 90's and whatever-you-call the last decade's punk and indie rock. Bass-player-less, the three-piece relies heavily on melodic guitar licks and flashy drum work to fill the gaps between Penney and Mann's tandem scream-y/sing-y lead vocal arrangments.

"When Steve and I started the band," Penney recalls, "we agreed we wouldn't do anything more complex than powerchords and one-string guitar leads". Along with singing and playing guitar, Penney and Mann share the songwriting duties equally, though, according to Penny, what they are actually doing is channelling the Philoceraptor himself.

"Philoceraptor," Penney insists, handing me the last Kokanee, "is a super-intelligent, super-predatory, super-violent, bitter, spiteful, unsuccessful, horny predator". We all just stared at him, reflecting upon that, the sound of my beer can opening ringing out in the silence, echoing for about a week between the walls of that Nissan Xterra.

"You've thought about this a lot huh?" I ask. Phil forges on with a chuckle. Phil is possibly the only level-headed and articulate drummer in Vancouver and appears to also to be the glue holding together these two chosen vessels for Philoceraptor's creative manifest.

"Where'd you get that name? Phil-o-ce-raptor," I asked.

"My girlfriend just started saying it in her sleep one night," Penney explained.

"She was probably talking about Phil!" I suggested.

"You know what?" Phil cut in, swiping his hand across his neck, "shut up, man!" The boys all laughed,
revealing a rapport between them that reflected the band's rare cohesion at every level of operation.

According to Mann, the band plans to continue to 'make hay while the sun shines' (as he put it) and are currently writing songs for a new album, and planning a few out of town dates this summer.
- Beatroute

"EP Review Philoceraptor - Philosoraptor"

Philoceraptor - Philosoraptor

By Farah Barakat
Philoceraptor return with a sophomore EP featuring five songs that don't relate to one another, but come together quite nicely. The Vancouver, BC-based trio go for a cacophonous blend of skate punk and post-punk influences Japandroids and No-Age, without any of the lo-fi elements associated with them. Twangy guitar riffs are heard overtop unconventional harmonies and crunchy tones that seesaw between three-chord punk rock (even surf rock, at times), '70s garage rock and wall-of-sound distortion. Concluding track "Surfer" best illustrates the unique twang of guitarist Steve Mann, with a repeating riff reminiscent of the Bonanza theme (no complaints). Second track "Clever Girl" comes in with steady, clunky guitar riffs broken up by experiments with mismatched vocal harmonies reminiscent of later era the Blood Brothers. Vocalist Justin Penney delivers with a raspy scream that blends well with their homogenous style. Playing it a little too safe, choosing to hold back rather than project anything overly eccentric, leaves Philoceraptor with a ways to go before establishing a distinguishing sound. However, the Canadian triad are on-point with their unique approach to '70s garage rock and skate punk, which will earn them a unique place as an emerging punk act.
(Independent) - Exclaim!

"EP Review - Philoceraptor - Philosoraptor"

Locals Philoceraptor have served up five tracks of garage rock goodness mixed with a punchy, punk-pop feel on their sophomore EP, which is available on a pay-what-you-choose basis from Bandcamp. Their sound could be described as something a like At The Drive-In vs. Bloc Party, with an upbeat and light-hearted kick to it. Complete with happy-go-lucky guitar solos and maniacal vocal stylings, the tone of the EP can range from serious to silly and fun.
Opener “Races” begins the set with a grunge feel, powering through distortion and raw power chords. The energetic “Clever Girl” kicks things up a notch as the group dishes on the trials and tribulations of courtship through all too relatable lyrics like “You’re twice as hot / Through jealous eyes.” On “Gay Boy,” the trio shows us their fun side while recounting the experience of having one’s sexual orientation mistaken while at the gay bar. “Menthol Sweet” is another fun one about a girl that smokes menthol cigarettes. The last track, “Surfer,” takes a turn away from the fun and steps into something much more polished and artistically strong. This is a good choice for the closing track as it showcases the band’s talent. Overall, Philosoraptor displays Philoceraptor’s diversity from track to track while maintaining the integrity of the band’s sound as a whole. - Discorder

"EP Review - Philoceraptor - 4 Songs"

The four songs on this EP are truly diverse, interesting and leave you wanting more. This trio of young men remind me of a band from Philly called MewithoutYou. Hard rocking tunes and raw vocals are evident on the first song “Grammar”. There is fuzzed guitar feedback and hard-hitting drumbeats assaulting your eardrums with a 4 count break lead into the song itself. The melodies of this song are bridged and with small tempo changes, I really dig this song. The vocal work by Steve and Justin is strong and steady and the song on whole could easily be on college radio. “Learjet” is a song that has a bit of a darker side musically speaking as it is mostly in minor notes. Well mixed this song is a standout of the four as it is a genderless song. This is becoming more prevalent within our society as a whole, and Philoceraptor capture that within the lyrics of the song. “It's Not Me It's You” is a good song about self-preservation. Knowing the difference is what this song is about. Solid guitar work by both Justin and Steve with Phil giving the song a great backbone. The final song is called “Advanced” which has good tempo changes several times throughout the song as well as solid work by all three members. Overall, this EP points to a lot of potential by three young musicians.

I am looking forward to hearing more of Philoceraptor in the future. -

"EP Review – Philoceraptor – Philosoraptor"

"The final song, “Surfer”, is a song that just makes me want to get up and punk out by dancing in my living room." - Vanmusic

"Voted one of Vancouver's Best Kept Secrets"

Discorder Reader's Poll Results: Your Answers to "What is Vancouver's best kept secret?"

* Bad News Babysitters!
* Whytecliff Park
* Oh No! Yoko, Humans, Philoceraptor
* Crab Park.
* An endless supply of beautiful women
* Bodhi Choi Heung vegetarian restaurant on Fraser St. There’s literally hundreds of items to choose from.
* Crab Park
* Not telling!
* ... - Discorder

"Review of Clever Girl"

I love that these guys have named themselves after Philosoraptor. I also love that the title of this song is a raptor reference as well. What I love even more is that it’s actually a really good song. (“You’re twice as hot through jealous eyes” is an incredibly fine lyric, the kind that makes me jealous that I didn’t think of writing it.) If you don’t like punk music (namely the screeching vocals part of it) then your mileage may vary on the rest of their EP, which you can either pay to download or grab for free on Bandcamp. - Staires an Adventure in Listening


Stop Ruining Fun - May 2013 (LP)
Naughty - Christmas Single 2011
The Holey Sheets - Halloween Single 2011
The Deepest V - 2011 (EP)
Philosoraptor - 2011 (EP)
4 Songs - 2010 (EP)

All music available for download via



"A sound that will resonate with anyone who ever wished ’90s indie rock and ’70s punk would have a baby" - John Lucas, The Georgia Straight

"The extra love on Stop Ruining Fun shows itself in gratuitous gang harmonies, beautiful guitar tones and steadier pacing throughout." - Fraser Dobbs, Discorder.

In spite of their best efforts to sabotage themselves in 2012 with good fortune, love, and financial stability, Vancouver trio Philoceraptor have managed to record their first full length album. "Stop Ruining Fun" (2013) is a sort-of concept album about some 20-something egoists playing in a band that's doomed to fail. It's self fulfilling prophecy wrapped in 16th notes, sing-along guitar riffs, and dissonant vocal harmonies.

Formed in the rain in Vancouver in 2009 by three friends looking for a reason to drink beer and make loud noises together, Philoceraptor have evolved into a bar stool yarn spinner of tales of debauchery and the bitter sweet pills of ageing. Dual guitarists/vocalists/songwriters Steve Mann and Justin Penney continue to put the onus on Phil Jette's surgical drumming to carry the beat of their organized chaos as basses are still forbidden.

Philoceraptor occupy the space between No Age and Japandroids with aplomb. They had great success with their previous EPs Four Songs, Philosoraptor, and The Deepest V; playing NXNE, opening for PS I Love You, and a semi-final finish in CITR's long running Shindig battle of the bands. However, with Stop Ruining Fun they hope to sew songs deep into your mind. You'll find yourself singing “I don't want to die, I don't want to go to jail,” in a crowded elevator (“Bad Vacation”). When you first reach the end of “Song from a Little Room” and discover the secret to happiness, you'll realize there was a whole tale told through 11 pop-noise gems and you'll let it spin again to see if the butler did it. He didn't. We trust you'll figure it out.