As Vancouver’s Gay Nineties are garnering radio play and popping up at festivals across the country, lead guitar and vocalist Parker Bossley feels it’s all pretty surreal.
“We’re starting to see packed houses, we’re starting to recognize faces. Fans coming out to shows every single time we’re in town, and we know them on a first name basis, it’s been really crazy,” Bossley said. “It’s crazy it’s starting to feel like it’s a thing.”
Bossley and the gang have been touring “every festival they could get their hands on” this summer playing cuts off their latest EP Liberal Guilt, released in February.
The question of “what’s in a name?” comes up a lot for the Vancouver rockers, and the name of the EP was a quasi response to the different perceptions the band has heard about the moniker Gay Nineties.
“Everything we do is a little tongue-in-cheek and we enjoy taking the piss out of anybody that we can. There is this kind of strange guilt associated with our name. The funny thing is the liberal guilt, the people who should be completely down with our name sometimes are confused and almost threatened by it,” Bossley said. “There’s been so many weird responses and so many wonderful responses, we just figured we’d just kind of poke fun, and really stick a knife in that wound.”
Though he noted political commentary wasn’t their go-to schtick, Bossley said the name of the EP also treads a bit deeper.
“There’s all sorts of strange guilt that I certainly feel as well with the (expletive) police in America shooting people, it’s a very real topic and we aren’t necessarily a political band, but we certainly have our opinions and a moral compass and we will always stand up for that,” Bossley said.
Gay Nineties is an expression referring to the decade starting in 1890, but that doesn’t necessarily encompass the entirety of its meaning, they are not dressing up in period appropriate garb and quoting Oscar Wilde, Bossley said.
“It has everything to do with everything it’s associated with,” Bossley said.
“It’s a name that, if I want to wear a dress on stage, which I do, I’m going to go do that and nobody is going to be confused by it. It felt free, this Gay Nineties name, so we ran with it and I feel like we’ve been able to just make it our own.”
When asked if he’s tired of answering questions about the band name, Bossley replied “I think every band is.”
“At least our name is interesting enough that it usually ends up in a good conversation.”
Since the release of their EP, the band put out a unique video in April for Hold Your Fire with choreographer Ja Pace, which got the group in their proverbial dancing shoes.
“She got us dancing, we were taking solo dance lessons with her it was so much fun, it was insane,” Bossley said.
A new experience for some of the band members, Bossley’s mom made him do Ukranian dance lessons as a kid and drummer Malcolm Holt took ballet when he was younger, but it was “very fresh” for Bruce Ledingam and Daniel Knowlton.
“It was very new to them and there was even a little bit of hesitancy with Bruce, but by the end of it I think he was more stoked than anyone,” Bossley said.
The video was shot with a 5D camera shooting through the body and lens of an old, black-and-white news camera from the ‘70s, which was found in a dumpster.
“It looks like ’20s Berlin expressionist, it looks really old, it’s very cool,” Bossley said.
With Hold Your Fire and slightly David Lettermen influenced video for Letterman, Gay Nineties has some unique video ideas, almost too many according to Bossley.
“It’s like figuring out which one we’re actually going to run with because everyone is just like ‘well what if we do this?’” Bossley said. “There’s no shortage of inspiration in the Gay Nineties wheelhouse, so it’s pretty incredible.”
The band is now working on their first full-length album, currently without a title or a release date, but have been playing some brand new songs live this summer.
“We’re going about it in no true rush,” Bossley said. “Even though it feels almost rushed, and I say that only because the ideas are coming so fast.”
Those looking to get a sneak peak can check out Gay Nineties at the Ponderosa Music Festival in Rock Creek on Aug. 22. The festival runs Aug. 21-23. For tickets and information visit www.ponderosafestival.com.