Interview w/ Regularfantasy
Regularfantasy, aka Olivia Meek, is a musician & dj based out of Vancouver. Her aesthetic can be summed up by modern day's “21st century petroleum based culture,” which is actually the basis for the name of one of her musical collaborations, Plush Throw. The humor and satire of her Regularfantasy persona hide tasty leftfield productions, which are regularly shared on Soundcloud and hint at finding the sweet spot between headphones and the dance floor. Her recent band Ciao (w/ Void Mirror) is a continuation of her productions, but re-imagined as live compositions with influences from genres such as Italo and New Beat. With a handful of feature releases on labels such as Pacific Rhythm, Genero, and Heart to Heart, Olivia is just getting started on her musical journey.
It seems like your musical style is made up of quite a mélange of genres, from house, shoegaze, italo, indie pop, and more… What is your music background like and what we’re your influences growing up?
Wow you’re so right, what a great question. Growing up in Victoria, BC, there was a lot of music going on. It’s on an island so the music scene is pretty small but full of creative weirdos (the nature of islands). I listened to anything from hardcore, indie rock, jazz and ska when I first started going to shows. I sort of found my comfort zone in rock/indie rock. Before going to live shows I was really into Nirvana, Pavement, The Silver Jews, Destroyer, The Unicorns, The Smiths, and local Island bands like Chet, Run Chico Run, Slam Dunk, Frog Eyes, Wolf Parade, Mount Royal, Cobras (and pretty much all of the other local bands in Victoria). I was in a school R&B band, and also a Classic Rock choir for 4 years. Before that, I played the flute, the musical saw, guitar, drums, piano, violin, and sang (I plateaued at the beginner stage for most instruments). I started jamming with some friends, and when I moved to Vancouver I played bass in my friend Crystal’s band My Friend Wallis (which is now White Poppy). I learned a lot through that. Then more jamming, jamming, we eventually got evicted from our 4th jam space. At that point I was like “Fuck it, I need to just get an MPC and make music in my room” (my friend Tanner had one and it looked and sounded pretty cool). And here I am!
You sing, play the piano, get dirty with synths, what are some other instruments/components that you would like to incorporate in your sound?
Probably some live congas. And live bass. More highly produced vocals. I want to go for that Todd Edwards or MK thing with the vocals cut up but still very vocal driven.
You started a new group called C.I.A.O. I’m currently digging the vibe. How does this project differ from Regularfantasy? What are your C.I.A.O.’s live sets like?
We now just decided to be Ciao because it’s easier to write and say. Our live set is more New Beat, and Italo influenced. It’s probably more fun to watch because me and Robbie (Void Mirror) trade back and forth from MPC to other synths. People have said we are fun to watch laughing about our own songs like “I was Jamming in a Reggae Band”. So compared to Regularfantasy I am probably having a lot more fun. I prefer playing live with people A LOT more than solo! I like the synergy.
The underground music scene in Canada has been churning out some really cool music as of late, is there a unified network that has formed around this community of artists that you’ve noticed?
Yes yes yes. Don’t be fooled by Canada’s grand size. It’s actually really small and theres only a few cities that people live in. I can say that electronic music artists in Vancouver are either close or have one degree of separation. People hang out and jam, go for dinner, go on trips, and go to shows. It’s quite fun! It’s just so small here that people end up getting to know each other and being inspired.
What is Plush Management? Really like that word plush, rolls off the tongue.
I was walking through City Centre Mall in Vancouver, which is like.. the old city hall that has been transformed and glass built over top to be a local (non hip whatsoever) hub. It’s easily forgotten, but if you are a local it has lots of essentials: post office, grocery store, gym, dollar store, it’s a short cut to the other side, etc. It had a store called Daniadown that sold blankets, and the weird thing about the store is that it’s kind of outside but inside, so the displays are just out there in the corridor. A sign caught my eye that was “Plush Throws” for sale, $19.99. The two words combined really spoke to me. I texted Sophie (D. Tiffany) a photo and said “This should be our band name” (since we had some tapes we were releasing together on the same label (Genero) and were planning on doing a performance together for the tape release.)
Overall, the Plush Throw really spoke to me because it’s this kind of fabric you see in thrift stores, dog beds, tent-cities, home-style shopping cart set ups, strewn in a wet pile in an alley (in Vancouver anyways). It is also marketed as this soft, state of the art, cozy, luxurious, opulent, personalized blanket that slowly pills and matts over time. The degradation is hard and fast. It’s not like a natural fibre that may get a stain, or moth holes over time. A Plush Throw is the epitome of a 21st century, petroleum based fabric, and a 21st century petroleum based culture. I like how it has a comfy, luxurious connotation but also this decrepit, matted, dog bed thing going on. Aesthetically, I want to lean more towards the luxury side of things, but to always know superficiality and illusion of luxury.
Keeping the plush in mind, we named our band Plush Throw, we also wanted to create an email that people could contact us at, with a managerial twist. The available emails were “plushmanagements” and “plushpeople”, so we went with the first one. email@example.com. We also started DJing together as “Plush Managements Inc.”
You featured on Resident Advisor’s top tracks of 2017 on a track off of D Tiff’s Blue Dream EP. Do you guys plan on doing more collabs together?
Yes we have a 12” coming out on Heart to Heart records, a Vancouver based label. Actually only one song is a D. Tiffany remix, but it’s called “Tales from the Plush Palace” which used to be our former studio together at Deep Blue (an electronic music hub in Vancouver). It was really in Plush Palace II, but still the same idea. We’re going to do a record with Planet Euphorique (Sophie’s label) and Mood Hut.
I’ve seen some events under the name DYOR that you’ve put up on social media. Lots of word play going on here, what was the inspiration behind it?
My friend one night purposefully left her backpack at a party I was DJing because she wanted to come back, after she went to spend some time with an old friend who was staying at her house. She didn’t want to hit the hay right away, but didn’t want to make it seem like she was a party animal so she said “Oh no, I’ve really dug my own rave here.. I guess I have to go back!”. The party was pretty bad overall (except for the DJing ;), and that I met my new DJ partner Thomas Promise). We bonded over the lame promoter who kept calling us “kids” and decided to start our own thing called DYOR!
What other pseudonyms do you go by and what vibe do they cater to if there are any differences?
– Regularfantasy – DJ style is dance driven house, female-forward vocals, pop-inspired, deep house, NY House, either turnt, deep or pleasant elevator and guitars. As for my own music production, it’s a bit more laid back, poetry forward dance music with lots of sounds and transitions.
– DJ SILK – Techno, harder DJ style.
– Plush Managements Inc. – Regularfantasy and D.Tiffany collaborative project where we remix tracks, produce music, or DJ together.
– Plush Throw – Regularfantasy and D.Tiffany band/project. We used to play live under this pseudonym. Now we release tracks here and there. It has a more live feel whereas Plush Managements Inc. is dancey-er.
– Bobo Eyes – Regularfantasy and Evy Jane band/project. Dark disco and lots of diva singing. Slow pace and lyric forward.
Will you focus more on playing live music versus DJing moving forward?
Probably DJing because it’s more portable, and I don’t have to bring all my most precious gear to the club. It really depends on what opportunities arise because I’m open to playing live more, it would just depend on the tour/situation because I think playing live is a special thing. I find that with vocals and a lot of bass they don’t mix well, and it’s stressful so I try to avoid.
What are some of your favorite musical releases right now (old/new)?
Tech House Phenomena 3
Housey Doingz – Piano EP
Far East Recording
Who is your favorite Canadian pop icon if you have one?
I’m not sure at the moment. Probably Evy Jane. and
What are some good spots to check out in VC?
Music-wise.. 333, Deep Blue, Celebrities Underground, Index.
Obviously check out the beach, mountains, underground venues.
I would try to get some food on Robson towards Stanley Park. Lots of noodles, sushi, hotpot and funky deserts! Pretty much any sushi restaurant is good enough here. I mostly eat vegetarian sushi so… avocado rolls are pretty easy to be good.
Liam Butler from Pender Street Steppers has this live mix he did at Jolene on Soundcloud. One of your tracks is on there, what is it called and how do we score it!?
I think it’s coming out on Mood Hut on and 7”.
But if not you can go to https://regularfantasy.bandcamp.com/album/slow-release and buy it there!
Any last words or announcements before we part?
I’m playing in Mexico City on April 20th.. come through! If you know of any cool fun parties that need a DJ.. message me
Ciao for now!
Interviewed by Kenji B.