Showing posts from August, 2012

Backdrops, painting and autumn tours

We are currently actively seeking shows in the UK and Europe for late fall this year.  In preparation for such events, Isabelle has taken it upon herself to paint our new backdrop for stage.

Based on her original photo taken in the Glasgow central train station last summer, we then used it as the cover art for our Glasgow single.  Now it is being transferred onto a large canvas backdrop so we can pack it up with our gear and fly across the Atlantic.

I filmed her in action painting in our backyard yesterday afternoon.  She's doing a great job of it!

that is of course our song Glasgow playing in the background of the video: the player below has the entire track if you'd care for a listen!

Glasgow by Combine the Victorious

New Video - Paros

We've been having a stunning summer here in Vancouver and Isabelle and I managed to capture a bit of that sunshine on our latest video.  Paros is a love story that starts in Greece, so we tried to capture the blazing light with this clip.  That, and we were having just too much fun playing around in the heat to notice it was perhaps a tad overexposed!

Please enjoy our latest video offering.  We both feel it expresses our love of the Greek isles and our personal desire to get back there soon!

download single from

Boutique Empire presents "Paros" by Combine the Victorious
video produced by Boutique Empire

song produced and performed by Combine the Victorious
recorded and mixed by MRH
mastered by Clayton Worbeck
(Henning, Dunlop, WIld)

Drums: Simon Hunt
Guitars: Marc Wild
Vocals: Isabelle Dunlop
Vocals, keyboards, bass: Mark Roland Henning


New Single: Paros (released July 27-12)

We released this song to coincide with our fantastic show at Electric Owl last month.  Written with the warm water memories of the Greek island Paros in mind, this is a summer love song from beginning to end.

Thanks once again to the brilliant Robert Edmonds for his simple but effective artwork to accompany our song.  I think it's exactly the mood we were trying for!

Combine the Victorious - PAROS
Henning, Dunlop, Wild

Produced and performed by Combine the Victorious
Recorded and mixed by MRH at Imagined Aire Studio
Mastered by Clayton Worbeck

Artwork by Robert Edmonds
original photography by Janis Nicolay

Vocals, keyboards, bass: Mark Roland Henning
Vocals: Isabelle Dunlop
Drums: Simon Hunt
Guitars: Marc Wild

Paros by Combine the Victorious

lyrics JP and Farrah
were two young lovers
who came together
one night on Paros

he was waiting tables
she waited for him
they spent their summer
just lying in the sun

when you fall in love
it doesn't matter where you are…

Live footage from the B-EX

Isabelle and I were both happy to be performing this night, at the British Ex Serviceman's Association on Kingsway.  Despite the reeling news of our close friend  Todd Simko's death we ended up having a rewarding show and really pushed our set into new territory.  This clip is of us improvising an electronic, extended version of our song "All Together" at the B-EX.

Thanks to the fine folks who video'd this for us!  Cheers!

New Song! "Glasgow"

9 Apr 2012

We've completed a new song, the first of many!  This one was started by Isabelle while she was in Scotland last summer.  Combine has been performing it live for the past few shows and we're both feeling really proud of both the song and this clip.

We shot the footage in our own studio and thru a few creative turns it seems to have really become something unique and evokative.

Please have a look, all reports back have been very positive!

Video produced by Boutique Empire
Music produced and performed by Combine the Victorious
Recorded and Mixed by MRH at Imagined Aire Studio

Vocals: Isabelle Dunlop
Backing vocals, keyboards and programming: Mark Roland Henning
Drums: Simon Hunt
Guitar: Marc Wild

download the song from here

Lyric Video: FKBC

20 Feb 2012

Even though it's a few years after the initial release, here is a new lyrics video for our track FKBC.  Pretty straight forward, but it seemed fun to do.

New Song: California

New song: California (featuring Ingrid Schroeder)
We have a new song: California, which features the lovely vocals of our good friend Ingrid Schroeder. This is an early mix, we are still working on a few things, but I was too excited to keep it under my hat for any longer. This will most likely be the first single off our upcoming third album (which we are still writing). Rather than hold off and wait, we thought we'd share the new sounds and get some feedback.

California (f.Ingrid Schroeder) by Combine the Victorious

25 Sep 2011Writing "California" After more than a year away from Combine the Victorious Isabelle and I have picked up the keyboards and started writing new songs again. Last year I was pretty much dedicated to Guilty About Girls and getting that band going, but suddenly I found there was a rather large collection of songs in my head that weren't going to fit that project. Instead they seem to have arrived specifically for CV.

In that light…

New demo If Not Love

24 March 2011
New Demo - "if not love."
This is a new song I've started writing for my brother. Still in the very early stages but I think it's coming together nicely. Isabelle was filming it, you can hear her singing from behind the camera in the second refrain. We're hoping to put together a new release and have it ready for release by sept.

Video: Charmer

3 Mar 2011
Jellyfish vs. iTunes

Video: Back In Style

25 Aug 2010
New Video - Way Stations in Space
We've just made a new video for our song Back In StyleThanks to our friends Mark Hjorthoy (of Good Natured Threat) we have discovered the joys of digital archives.  There is a great massive storage of video footage from all walks of life.   In a random scurry through the virtual vaults we discovered this film Way Stations in Space and Isabelle became very excited about the idea of placing our song to these images.   The most remarkable thing is that there are several moments where the two seemingly disparate narratives overlap to create an new story.   Kinda like that famous Wizard of Oz mashed with Dark Side of the Moon thing.   Only ours involves Space!

"Candy Candy" video

27 Apr 2010

We just spent this past weekend shooting a video for the new Guilty About Girls song, Candy Candy.   It's turned out quite well.   Been learning Final Cut Pro; how to edit video.  It's very fun. 

Here's the final cut, Jordy and I are both excited about it and I like how great Isabelle looks in this video!
Things are getting busy these days.  Between playing shows with Guilty About Girls and Combine the Victorious it's hard to find time to work on new music.  Looking forward to the Seattle show.   Plus CtV is playing our first out of town gig ever on May 22nd in Brandon with The Invisible Men  (home town heartthrobs I'm informed).  Seems as though there are many things on the fire these days.  Exciting times again.

I think we may have informally begun our third album.  Strangely compelling titles emerged the other night.  It's probably going to take a while to write, and hopefully we'll be playing the songs on stage before we record t…

Boutique Empire - Rec:10

24 Mar 2010
The First Boutique Empire compilation:
I've been putting together a compilation for Boutique Empire.  We now are the proud partners in Boutique Empire: Rec'10.  

It features 10 different bands, with new singles form Guilty About Girls "Candy Candy", Combine the Victorious and a remastered version of New City Anthemfrom Sex With Strangers.  Also in the mix is Ingrid Schroeder (London), Gilles Zolty (Saskatoon) and Marc Wild (Vancouver) as well as a new single from Ten Suns (Vancouver) who Isabelle and I saw for the first time last night and they were brilliant.  Additionally there are songs from our new friends Chiwawa (Montreal) and Piper Davis (Calgary) and a remix from Lurch of the CtV song The Hours.

Things are busy.  I'm playing a show with Jordy Birch this Friday in Victoria as Guilty About Girls and Isabelle just got back from Sex With Strangers' first appearance at SXSW.  We're also still trying to book a spring tour across the Prair…

Review: Disagreements

10 Mar 2010
A review for "Disagreements" Just found this one online.  It was published last month, but Isabelle came across it in her travels the other night.  Thought it was rather favourable.

Combine the Victorious are having "a very fun life" in Vancouver
"A love for music starts off quite innocent. It begins when you’re young and you hear something catchy on the radio. That’s when you decide “yeah I like this.” From that point on the gateway is open and it doesn’t take long to flood. Soon you’re an addict and there’s no turning back. Music has become the cornerstone of your existence. Mark Henning and Isabelle Dunlop are two people very familiar with the compelling addiction that is music, andCombine the Victorious is their electronic fix.

Henning, former keyboardist for alternative rockers,Pure, back in the 90’s, is a renaissance musician. He’s one of those people who can walk into a jam session and show everyone a thing or two about their instruments. T…

Remix: The Hours

24 Feb 2010
REMIX: The Hours (Spoonfed in Delhi Hippy Curry MIx)
Just wanted to give word of our new remix, done by none other than Lurch (who's also done a few excellent tracks with Sex With Strangers).  He chose The Hours and has given us a really trippy reworking on that track.  We proudly present:

The Hours (Spoonfed in Delhi Hippy Curry Mix) - Combine the Victorious vs. Lurch

Thanks Adam (let's do another)

Please have a listen, it's very cool, kinda early 90's (which is where The Hours stemmed from ) and there are sitars!


MRHThe Hours (Spoonfed in Dehli Hippy Curry Mix) by Combine the Victorious vs. Lurch

We Have A Very Fun Life

4 Feb 2010
A Very Fun Life

Well we've completed our first new song in over a year.  "A Very Fun Life"  I've just uploaded it on the page today, so it should be available for a listen as I type this.

This song came about from a conversation we'd had with my Mom a couple years back.  She'd suggested that I try to write a "fun" song.  The strangest thing about that statement is that I honestly didn't know how to!  I remember DJ'ing at a Christmas party in the Hyatt a couple years ago and the host asked me to play a "fun" song and my mind went blank!  Fun - what does that sound like?  Do you know? 

I guess I'm a musical snob or something but the vast majority of music I enjoy is probably what most would consider "serious music."  I mean Sigur Ros became one of my favorite bands in the past decade and Mew ranks up there as well.  Neither of those acts could be considered fun.  In the past I've enjoyed the us…

New Drumkit! (repost)

8 Dec 2009
Bought a new drum kit I bought a drum kit last week.  It was used, but it looked okay.  In fact, it turns out to be a little more than okay.  Nothing fancy, a white Pearl kit, with more toms than I'll ever hit, and a couple dodgy cymbals: but for what I paid, that's fine too.  I had a few more cymbals in the house that sounded better anyway.

This move was in attempt to add a little more spark to our new album.  I thought I'd try writing from a more rhythmic perspective this time.  Of course there's the challenge of learning how to drum first, but I've been messing with the instrument for years now so it shouldn't be impossible.  Perhaps if I get a decent handle on it we'll start adding live drums to the show (again).  It's fun. 


p.s. we've been added to a New Year's Eve gig at the Anza Club this year too.  I think it should be a very cool way to spend the night.  Once again we're on first - which is to my liking …

Sex With Strangers - Video- New City Anthem

24 Nov 2009
New Video Yes I know I'm trying to steal a bit of their thunder, but I'm blown away with the new Sex With Stranger's video.  And really, Isabelle sings in both bands so it's not entirely unrelated to what CtV does. 

Have a look, it's really fantastic!

Produced by BKS Crew Productions, featuring Carol Yuen as the "Unreal."  Make up for the "Unreal" by Carey Williams, Edited by Stephen Green, Directed by Brett Harvey.  Shot on a Canon 5D MkII.

Music production by Sex With Strangers and your truly! 

you can see cameos from members of several Vancouver bands, including: Adjective, Accost, Girlfriends and Boyfriends, Danny Echo, Spotlight Carnival, and The February March.  A big THANK YOU has to go out to everyone involved in this video, from Brett and Stephen, Carey and Carol, Luna, Kokanee Beer and everyone who showed up for the party back in September.  I think it turned out amazingly and looks world class.

Not Tired of Music

29 Oct 2009
Not tired of music Last night Isabelle and I went to see our friend's band Young Galaxy play at the Biltmore.  It was a nice night, and the thing that made me smile the most was how everyone's parents had come out for the show.  There they were, in their 40's, 50's, what ever, and standing with a glass in hand watching their children perform music.

Seemed to make perfect sense.  My mom is still coming out to our shows, she's in her 70's!  Mind you she's also very cool so it's to be expected.  :D

Last week was the Joel Battle cd release, and once again I was surrounded by family out supporting their own.  It's good to see the community surround it's artists.

Even after all the glitter of the rock and roll era, music is still an intimate thing. 

It's nice.

>> oh, Bend Sinister opened the show last night and I thought they were great.  Check 'em out.

CtV in Slovakia! (repost)

5 Oct 2009
CtV in Slovakia! Just got word from a new friend in Slovakia that he'd been on the national radio and spoke of our Boutique Empire label and played a Combine the Victorious song on air.  Apparently it even generated some favorable comments from listeners and there is a chance it will be added to the playlist next month!  All this from a CD exchange we did earlier this year in the summer.  Amazing things can happen on the internet.  This one was thanks to  Also looks as though we shall have a song appearing on a compilation CD as well: appropriately enough it will be titled "Long Distance Compilation" on the AZYL/Bizarre Republic label.   (Interesting the "bizarre" connection as we've also got another song to come out on a "Some Bizarre" compilation next year too. hmmm...)

Here's to being bizarre.


Is Optimism Foolish?

27 Sep 2009
Is optimism foolish? It's strange how the common reaction to a bit of optimism (at least that I've encountered) is usually met with extreme contempt or that sad knowing little nod of the head as to indicate, "how naive you are, if only you knew what I knew you'd never believe any of what you just said."

If you've read the books, heard the music, seen the movies and experienced the real thing, and you're still optimistic, does that make you simple?  Or does it mean you've seen a different whole from what most are claiming to be the truth. 

Truth is so subjective.

What is really gained from pessimism?  The ability to always guaranty the outcome; for everything will fail right?  How can we progress if we are self-fulfilling our prophesies of doom.  

The icebergs are pretty easy to see, even from a distance, do we really need to crash into them to prove their existence?

Somehow, thinking we can make it seems far more interesting.

Our First Electronic Show

7 Aug 2009
First Electronic Show Isabelle and I have been working on reinventing our set as an electronic duo.  It's been very fun and a lot of work but I think we've come up with an interesting sound.  Isabelle's even learned to play the keyboards a bit!  Things are sounding good, hope it all works tomorrow night.  Fingers crossed. 

Speaking of which, if you're in Vancouver on Saturday  August 8th please come down to the Railway club for our label Boutique Empire's first anniversary party. It's a full evening of entertainment.  On first is our friends from Accost, with the electronic stylings.  Combine the Victorious will be on at 10:15, then the comedy troupe The Skinny shall change the mood with their exceptionally funny sketch comedy, Sex With Strangers shall storm the tiny stage and get everyone sweaty and our friends from Seattle The Keeper will be bringing their feel good brand of swords and dragon music to Vancouver for the first time. 

Hope you can …

"Selling Out" (op ed)

4 Jul 2009
"Selling Out" 'Morning,

I was just perusing various pages on and reading some of the comments under certain songs.  One of the things that I found common was the sentiment that bands sell out when they become successful.  Or more directly, if they license their music to an advertisement.  Now we've had a modest amount of money come in from licensing our songs to television shows so far and personally I would appreciate the opportunity to have a song used in a cool ad (provided it was for a product we actually might use, or at least didn't despise).  I can assure you we haven't sold out, sold in, or sold through anything. 

In the 2000's it's quite challenging to make a living from composing and performing music.  The old paradyms have changed, the old business model really doesn't exist anymore.  Gone are the days where a band might be discovered, signed to a deal with a major label, given the opportunity to record an …

More Songs Licensed (repost)

29 May 2009
More songs Licensed Another good week for Combine.  In addition to the Some Bizarre compliation we've placed All Together on, we've also licensed Fat Kids Big Cars and Decay (so far at least, we're hoping they use all seven songs off the Disagreements EP) to an MTV series called "The Peak".   It's such a pleasure to see those e-mails come in, makes the days and months of writing and recording seem worthwhile. 

Vancouver has been gloriously beautiful this week and both of us are taking as much time as we can in the sun.  Hard to get your head back into writing mode, but Isabelle assures me she's been keeping extensive notes and ideas, so perhaps we'll be turning over a few new songs rather quickly.  Hey, if they can get exposure on TV, I'm down with that.

Oh and we just signed up on the Jango music service, so if you're a user, please check us out online.  It's a streaming radio service like, just a different site.…

"Music is Free"

28 Apr 2009
"Music is Free": In 1809 the only way you could "own" music was to purchase the sheet music.  Of course, you'd have to be capable of "playing" the music laid out before you which in all likelihood entailed years of lessons at an instrument, otherwise that paper was only dots on a page.  If you could read it but played poorly your music sounded bad.  If you were a capable player perhaps your music sounded enjoyable.  But to hear that music performed by a virtuouso, that could change your life.

The 20th Century gave us recordings.  Recordings of brilliantly talently musicians performing works of genius by inspired composers.  Now,  for the first time, you could hear a performance of Django Reinhart, Dizzy Gillespi, The Beatles, The Sex Pistols, at any time, without having to leave your home!

This is a very important distinction: way before the mp3, CD, cassette, 8-track, vinyl album and rotary disc, the only way to hear the music …
20 Jan 2009
Province Review of "Disagreements" Just had a heads up from a few friends that we received a review in the Vancouver Province paper today.   Not a bad one I think.  Always happy to see what Tom Harrison makes of our music.  

Disagreements EP release

24 Nov 2008
"Disagreements: tomorrow (hopefully) Happy Monday to you!

Well if all is going according to plan, we should have our second release up on iTunes tomorrow, November 25th 08.  The Disagreements ep took quite a bit of work, and seemed as though it might never be finished: but we did put a stamp on the package and sent it in to our distributor last month in the hopes of it actually being processed in time for our release date. 

We decided to release the ep entirely online, no cd's, just downloads.  So far we've sold almost five times as many copies of The World Over from iTunes than on cd (I'll admit that this might possibly be due to not utilizing a physical distribution system other than our myspace and .com page - but I've had nothing but grief from such services in the past) so it makes sense to us.  Additionally neither Isabelle nor I have actually purchased a cd in more than 15 months - we're truly converted to the convenience of the onl…

Music Story: Please (repost)

7 Nov 2008
New Song: Please
Current mood:inspired After many months of writing, recording, erasing, re-recording, re-arranging, waiting for objectivity to return, abandoning, peaking at it and sharing it with friends overseas we've finally posted our best song to date: Please.  Well best song is rather subjective so I'll let you decide which is best, but it's certainly the best one in my opinion.

Please was written in it's first draft back in January this year.  We posted it for a while in that version but it started to grate on me a bit so we took it down thinking it just needed a better recording to make it work.  I had Kevin over to track the drums at a slightly faster tempo than the demo, and then I figured it would just be a case of overdubbing the parts onto the bedtracks and we'd have our song.  However it was anything but that simple. 

Rather like our song Decay, Please took months of reworking to get it into the arrangement we now have.  While w…

New song: Charmer

25 Oct 2008
New Song "Charmer"
Afternoon everyone,

Isabelle's in Alberta on the SWS western Canadian mini-tour, and I was left with too much time on my hands, therefore wanted to post another of the new tracks for the upcoming ep. 

Charmer is the first track on Disagreements, an instrumental and meant to be the welcome mat for the collection.   It's kind of the darker side of our song Decay, well, it's meant to be at least.  After listening to all the songs in a row we thought the album might be a bit too dark, too moody, so the instrumental is an attempt to balance the entire listen, make it a bit lighter. 

Anyway, hope you like it.  Looks as though my deliberations have put us back a bit on our release date, but I really want to make sure everything is as good as it can be before we set these songs forth into the world.  Hopefully I'll submit the songs to our distributor on Monday and then we can shoot for a late November release.  (or really ea…

Disagreements EP credits

14 Oct 2008
Disagreements - Credits Hello, happy tuesday.

The songs for the ep are all mixed now, the mastering has been done but we haven't heard it yet, hopefully tonight.  In anticipation of the release I wanted to post the credits for the songs as a way of saying thank you to everyone involved.  It wasn't as extensive this time as the first album as we made it here at Imagined Aire Studio rather than going to Mushroom (sorry, Hipposonic West).  However I think we've managed to get a few very nice guest performances from our friends, and the songs all sound better for their contributions.

'disagreements' 1) Charmer
(henning) - instrumental

2) Decay
(henning, dunlop, simko)
vocals: isabelle
backing vocals, bass, drums and other instruments: mark
guitar: todd simko
party vocals and percussion: rachel watson, arielle olivier, jordy birch, cory price, mark richards, mike gentile.

3) Fat Kids Big Cars
(henning, dunlop)
vocals: mark & isabelle
guitars: jordy birch
other i…

Influences and Respect

29 Sep 2008
Influences and Respect I think I end up writing a lot about our songs, and our process and don't often give credit to the influences that have lead me/us to this point.  I guess I have a bit of a split personality because I've often purchased music in the past based entirely on its production value or the producer himself rather than entirely based on the artist's music.  Today I'd just like to give thanks to the great people that have preceded me, and show respect for all the things I've learned from them.  The following is more to do with the men behind the glass rather than in front of the microphones.  These gentlemen have truly shaped the way I make records and what I want to hear from a great recording.

Even though the Beach BoysGreatest Hits was my first ever album, given to me by my older brother when I was about 4 or 5, I think The Beatles were the first band that I ever loved.  Hey Jude was my favorite song until I was almost ten, which…

Updates - August 27-2008

27 Aug 2008
Updates - August 27-2008 Hi - just writing to say that we're trying to finish up the songs for the EP but have had a very exciting idea to get one of our friends to help us complete the last song.  We've asked Ingrid Schroeder to see if she could add her amazing voice to our song: Please.  There is a wonderful breakdown in the song that we both feel she could enhance with her sultry vocals and we're waiting to see if she's into a collaboration.  Fingers crossed because I just know it would sound incredible. 

Please is over the top right now.  Probably going to be the best song on the ep.  It's very changed from our initial demo that we posted back in January.  More dramatic and orchestral sounding.  Now I'm thinking that's the way we want to go for the next record!

Back in Style is almost done, we're re-singing our lead parts and I've changed the mix quite a bit as well.  A bit harder sounding and the vocals are going to be le…

Music Story: Back In Style (repost)

22 Jul 2008
NEW SONG: Back In Style


Wow, finally we have another new song. This one was another epic journey of recrafting and fine tuning, and though not nearly as arduous as Decay, it still it took quite a bit of fiddling to get it into this shape. I suppose it was really more about the mood and performance this time rather than the actual song itself.

We'd written Back In Style back in September last year and it stood as an acoustic demo for months and months. Back in March I started to play it with the band and we kinda worked out an arrangement that seemed right. The other parts have all been abandoned but Kevin's drumming stood the test of time and is on record now. I will admit it's a lot easier to have someone else do the drumming! Thank you to Kevin Jones: very nice work.

The lyrics are pretty stark on this one and it took both of us a while to come to grips with how it should/could be sung. As somber as they are, they were written last ye…