Hunger City & Medina
// Leah Scheitel & Jonty Davies


By Leah Scheitel

Want to see a young Vancouver band that has lots of guitars and a hardcore singer? Then you might want to check out Hunger City. The band started two years ago as the brain child of Jonty Davies and Curtis Luckhart, and has grown in to a six-piece band, featuring two guitars, a bass, drums, piano, and a strong female lead.

“Me and Jonty used to live together,” explains Curtis Luckhart, who learned how to play the bass just so he could start the band. “And we called our apartment ‘Hunger City’. When we were putting the band together and looking for a name, our friend suggested that we call it Hunger City.”

The name has double meaning to the band, as it also references a David Bowie song: “I think that is has some connotations to it, like a political or sexual something,” says guitarist Jonty Davies. Hunger City is in the midst of releasing their first EP, called Boono Goozie, which is a complication of four original songs.

“Everyone contributes to writing the songs,” says Davies. Credit for the songs is given to Hunger City instead of individual members, and is being mixed by Mick Dalla Vee, who plays for Bachman Turner Overdrive. They are also preparing songs to submit to the Peak Performance Project, a local “battle of the bands” type competition put on by the Peak FM.

Hunger City has a strong Capilano connection. Davies and Luckhart both attended Cap, along with lead guitarist Ryan Brown, and drummer Max Ley is currently auditioning for the jazz program for next year.

Syd Gibson is the lone female and had a strong musical upbringing. “I wrote and performed songs all through elementary school and performed them,” she explains. “I even got asked for an autograph in elementary school from my classmates.”

The pianist, Spencer Moreau, is the younger brother of Davies’ and Luckhart’s teenage friend. “We used to hang out at their house, and eventually we just realized that we liked him more,” jokes Davies.

Various artists are cited as their sources of inspiration, from Cream to White Stripes, Mother Mother, and even Lana Del Ray. Their sound is very raw and heavy, but with a sort of fineness that causes involuntary booty shaking. The band aren’t immune to this either; Hunger City really gets in to their music, dancing while they play. It’s pretty easy to enjoy yourself watching them, when the band looks like they’re having an even better time than you are.

Hunger City’s next show is on Apr. 12 at the Media Club. Doors are at 8pm, and it’s $8 at the door.

//Photograph by JJ Brewis

By Jonty Davies

With a powerfully affected, sampler-based sound, Medina is a group that sits in the echelons of what you could call a sort of modern, progressive pop. The tunes aren’t conventionally delivered, as they play with textural and structural variation, yet there’s an undeniable accessibility to them – partially due to by their penchant for obscure funk.

There’s a great deal of colour to this music, as vibrant textures come with rapid-fire tremble. Frontman Sam Rushton’s study of English at Capilano is evident, as he presents fascinating lyrical explorations that put greater emphasis on poetry than defined themes (“I’ve got a brand new shirt/earthquakes are singing out/you’re so artistic, yeah/let’s wear our feelings out”). He also uses consistent vocal modulation effects – a touch that plays a larger hand in contributing to the shape of the band’s sound than most frontmen are capable of.

Drummer Duncan Maunders offers a distinctly old-style jazz feel behind the kit, replete with fills from the school of Buddy Rich. It’s a flare that comes unexpectedly, given the immediate impression of the music, but ultimately adds impressive stylistic depth. This is not surprising, given his time in the Cap Jazz Program, although that was, interestingly enough, for saxophone, not drums.

Trevor Moreau’s guitar work is intricate, yet never invasive, and it recalls the bouncy twang of Talking Heads. Most vividly, though, it is Eric White’s resonant soundscape experiments that define Medina’s intrigue. Drawing from sources both popular and strange, he activates a dynamic repertoire of sampled loops that come across as wholly original. Though the music can lean toward slow and brooding at times, there’s never an emptiness of appeal, and when they build to the throbbing jump of German language-spewing “Friend In A Fruit Bowl”, the group captivates with the lure of music from the future.

Jonty: What's your favourite historical empire?

Medina: I think our appreciation for all things Byzantine is reflected in our music. It's just so obvious.

J: What's your most shameful musical/stylistic influence?

M: A combination of The Tragically Hip and The Doors.

J: Simpsons, Seinfeld, Family Guy, or South Park?

M: South Park, although it doesn't have the timeless qualities of Seinfeld or the Simpsons.

J: What's the best bar in Vancouver?


J: Who do you find to be the most obnoxious celebrity?

M: Donald Trump. The man eats pizza with a fork and knife.

J: If your music was to be the soundtrack to a film, who would direct it/what would it be called?

M: Michael Bay. Bed Raptors 2: Return of the Son of Theropod.

J: What's the sexiest instrument?

M: Definitely the cello. Anyone who has watched a performance by YoYo Ma knows what I'm talking about. (I'm talking about the way he straddles that thing.)

J: Dinner with Obama or beers with Bush?

M: Tough one. I'd have to say beers with Bush, because afterwards we'd probably go rustlin' armadilla at his ranch. Barry's cool, but I don't think they have armadilla at the White House. Or armadillos for that matter.

J: What's your favourite of the ten Commandments?

M: Remember the Sabbath day. I always forget which day the Sabbath is.

J: What was the coolest decade of the 20th century?

M: The '80s. Best eight months of my life. And Eric wasn't even alive. Those were the days.

J: Terran, Protoss, or Zerg?

M: Gotta go with the 'toss. Heavy costs are made up for with strong attacks, good speed, and great macro. Plus they are kind of like Klingons.

J: How do you hope to die?

M: Being chased off a cliff by hundreds of naked women and having regretted everything.

J: Who's your favourite Beatle?

M: George Martin.

J: Explain your group's name.

M: Medina is the place where the prophet Mohammed died. It has great significance to us because we're, ummm … devout Muslims …

You can catch Medina at The Media Club (695 Cambie St) on Thursday, Apr. 12th.

//Photograph by JJ Brewis

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