Pacifika: The Vivascene Interview

Photo courtesy Silvana Kane

Following the release of Pacifika’s second album Supermagique in September 2010 we had an opportunity to talk with Silvana Kane, the group’s lead singer, about their music.

Vivascene (VS): How did the group come to be formed?

Silvana Kane (SK): Adam and I have known each other and created music together since high school. We started writing and performing again when I moved back to Vancouver a few years ago and reconnected with Toby after one of our shows in 2006. The three of us went into the studio together shortly after that and realized we had something special… a few months later we had completed the first record ‘Asuncion’.

(VS): Pacifika is a mix of Peru, Canada, and Barbados, yet your music reflects many different interests beyond those three locales. Can you tell us the group’s main musical influences?

(SK): Although we have different cultural roots, our musical tendencies come together pretty naturally. Our main interest when recording is tone and space. Every song has a different origin and demands a different treatment, so we do our best to expand our abilities in order to create the right feeling for each track. As a group we enjoy creating landscapes and exploring sounds. Each of us has different strengths and we focus on bringing these forth in the writing process.

(VS): How has your music progressed from your first very successful album Asuncion?

(SK): Supermagique felt like a very natural evolution for us. Asuncion was written and recorded very quickly and has a sense of innocence and urgency that we really enjoy. This time around we had more time to delve into the studio, which allowed us the opportunity to be more exploratory and to let each track sit with us for a little while. We had the title to the record before we started the sessions, so we were conscious that we wanted to make some ‘’magic’ together and to have fun in the process… it was awesome.

(VS): How would the group describe its music to someone who has never heard or seen Pacifika?

(SK): Passionate, melodic, rhythmic, beautiful, warm, ambient, lush… good vibes.

(VS): Tell us about your creative process.

(SK): We literally sit around a tape recorder and start making music. From these sessions we get strong vocal melodies, a great guitar or bass line, the beginning of a drum idea… There is no intended theme of any kind, we will just start playing/humming something and the rest of the music follows.

When we are writing/improvising I close my eyes and start making sounds and melodies… the language makes its appearance that way and when we listen back I write down what I sang. It’s the easiest and best way for me to stay true to the song.

(VS): To what extent can you recreate your wide variety of instrumentation in your live performance?

(SK): Live, between the four of us (we bring our friend Elliot Polsky on the drums), we manage quite well. The stage is littered with hand percussion, electronic samplers, and little instruments that we insert here and there… we bring a lot of suitcases.

(VS): Tell us about each member in the band.

(SK): Adam is ‘The Gunslinger’, at least that’s what Toby calls him (if you see us live you’ll know what he means by that). He engineers all our recording sessions and is extremely gifted in/out of the studio. His ears are gold. Toby is amazingly musical and is the one responsible for pushing the sonic boundaries of our band. He is definitely original and a source of inspiration in the way he thinks and lives his life. I am the feminine entity of Pacifika and bring forth the melodies and words, as well as dance and percussion on stage. I am extremely tolerant of ‘boy smell’ and can make a mean tea.

(VS): Tell us how you came to cover the Chicago classic “25 or 6 to 4”.

(SK): We had just finished Supermagique when the label asked if we’d be interested in covering songs by a myriad of artists also published by the same company as ours. We thought we’d get together on the weekend and check out some tracks and see what we could make of them, still not sure if it was something we could sink our teeth into. When we walked into the studio that Saturday, Adam was playing 25 or 6 to 4 on his guitar and it was so lovely and sparse that we spent the afternoon making the track. The label dug it so much that they pushed back the release of Supermagique to add it to the record. So nice.

(VS): Are you still based in Vancouver, British Columbia?

(SK): Yes, we all still live here. We find the mountains hard to leave, and the rain a great reason to go into the studio…

(VS): What is your present touring schedule?

(SK): We are planning a West Coast run in November and a Quebec tour in January. We are also currently working on releasing our music in Europe, and hope to make our way over there in the next year… we can’t wait.