Monday 30 December 2013

Smoke and Choke #8 on Best of 2013

We are very pleased to announce that our video for Smoke and Choke is #8 on the site's Best of 2013 year end list.  It's with no small amount of pride that we join the likes of Katy Perry, Arctic Monkeys, Lorde and Die Antwoord and actually finished ahead of One Direction!

We have to say another big thank you to our video's creator/director/editor/visionary Stefan Sigerson for his excellent work!  Check out the list.  there are a lot of good songs to be found (beneath our own we're proud to add!)


if you haven't seen the video yet you can watch it on or the Boutique Empire Youtube channel.

Here's to a brilliant 2014!  All the best to you, and thanks for reading!

Tuesday 24 December 2013

New Song: Brotherhood

Brotherhood is a song that I started writing in response to a very dear friend taking his own life back in 2012.  Our friend Todd Simko, who I'd played in Pure with back in the nineties, and who later performed with Combine the Victorious for several shows in 2007 and 2008, left us in the spring of 2012.  His death created a disturbing wake of emotions that eventually found their way into this song.

Back in January or February of 2013 I remember starting the core idea one afternoon and the song took shape quite rapidly.  The lyrics are personal but I tried to keep them open to interpretation rather than literal; it's been a sad realization that this kind of incident isn't as rare as it may seem.   The truth is all four of us: Juice, Misty, Isabelle and I were heavily affected by Todd's death, and it's been many months of processing.  We recorded this version back in the summer, on a beautiful day in Vancouver full of sunshine and laughs.  Misty is playing the drums, and the final take has a magical quality to it. Soloed there seems to be all kinds of random noises, little ghosts on the track if you will, that add to its soulfulness.

Juice was instrumental in the arranging of the song.  It was his idea to keep it stripped down at the beginning, almost like an old R&B song.  Then with each stanza we added a little more until the second chorus where we switch out of the syncopated feel into a more driving rock style.  His guitar work is both natural and full of feeling.  The solo in the end was recorded months earlier on the rough demo, but contained such a nice vibe and tone that we sped it up a bit to fit with the new version.

Isabelle had been in Manitoba during the spring, visiting her family, and I'd sent the demo of the song over to her to check out.  She came up with her harmony parts while out of town and the very first time the four of us tried playing the song together everything just kinda clicked.   My own vocals took months of work to get into shape.  I knew how it was supposed to go but really couldn't get it to sound that way I wanted.  Either it was too emotional, or too bold (or simply not good enough).  Eventually after several attempts I ended up with this final version.  I think it balances the lyrics and emotion nicely.

Anyway, as it's Christmas and we're with family, I thought it was time to share this song.  It should be part of the next full length album, though it does stand out from how most of the other songs are sounding. Please have a listen and let us know what you think.   (extra thanks must be said to my friend Jason Corbett for doing a separate mix for us.  His placement of vocals and the tone he chose was very eye opening and inspired me to re-approach my own mix.  My obsessive nature got the best of me though and I ended up going back into the studio for a full remix, the one you can hear on this page).

Thanks for listening, have a merry xmas, and here's to a bountiful and happy new year.  Cheers!




dropped out of school
when we first met
but we still tried
to take on the world

just fighting for laughs
while we're looking for hits
until tension and
rejection wore me out

In a Brotherhood
I thought it was understood
that we always should
look out for each other

I guess it's times like these
when lost in your memories
you somehow fail to see
how much you matter

Over the years you would constantly fret
but still seemed fine as we'd all get together

Then your little fears turned into our dread
until you became a song

In a Brotherhood
I thought it was understood
that we always should
look out for each other

I guess it's times like these
when lost in your memories
you somehow fail to see
how much you matter

What I don't understand
is how we could not lend a hand
before you left this land
for another

We were just kids
when we first met
but we tried
to take on the world.

©2013 Combine the Victorious

Tuesday 26 November 2013

Photos from VALT2013

We had a great show on Sunday night performing at VALT2013 in the Centre for Digital Media.  The new five piece band, including Leigh Grant (former drummer of 90's alt rock band Pure), sounded incredible.  I don't think we've sounded better in fact.  Here's just a few photos that have made their way to us from the show.  We had a digital media artist running extra images for us during the gig, which none of us actually saw while we were on stage, but in fact made for quite an interesting looking event!

Thanks to Michelle Harding for sharing her photos with us!  

Latest version of the band: CtV rehearsal

Juice has been editing some nice footage from a recent rehearsal and put this together.  The new five piece band has so much energy, and the sound is nicely rounded out, it's hard to remember when Isabelle and I were doing this as just a duo!

Check out the clip, we are playing Glasgow with Leigh Grant (former drummer of Pure) on the drum kit, Juice on guitar, Misty and Isabelle handling the singing and me on keys.  The new band is amazing.  Our show last night at VALT2013 was a tonne of fun, and we reportedly have sounded incredible!  Got to find some footage from the night to share.

In the mean time please check out this clip:

Monday 25 November 2013

Smoke and Choke passes 10K views!

In the excitement of the past couple weeks with our live shows at the Rio Theatre and VALT2013 we almost missed our video Smoke and Choke passing 10 000 views on a music blog site called Totally Fuzzy last week. It's an interesting landmark, ten thousand views, and makes us wonder who is watching our clips, and from where!  You may enjoy all the videos they've collected on the site, click here for check it out.

In the mean time, if you haven't seen the Stefan Sigerson directed video yet, please watch it in high definition via  the Boutique Empire Youtube channel.

Sunday 24 November 2013

VALT2013 Tonight!

Combine the Victorious is performing as part of VALT2013 (Vancouver Alternative Fashion Weekend) alongside Sex With Strangers, Dark Arps, House of Barnes, and featured designers: Maggie Fu, Avant-Afi, Boring Sidney Hats and Headresses, Mitmunk, Carolyn Bruce,and Laura Jackson. 

Event starts at 6PM, Combine will be playing at 8:30.  577 Great Northern Way, Vancouver.  Tickets $20.   Event link here:  Facebook Event  

Saturday 16 November 2013

Combine the Victorious at the Rio Theatre

We just had a wonderful performance at the Rio Theatre here in Vancouver this past Thursday night. We were invited to perform the release party for Katrin Bowen's comedy "Random Acts of Romance". While it was a little different to be following a movie as an opening act, it turned into a very enjoyable experience! Combine the Victorious performed for the first time since 2007 as a five piece. Another first was Leigh Grant, the original drummer from 90's alt rock band Pure, joined us to complete our sound. With Juice on Guitar, Misty on Bass, Leigh on Drums, me on keys and running Ableton, Isabelle even picked up a little keyboard for one new song:  we never sounded better. The set was succinct and powerful, very dance oriented and quite satisfying. Here are a few photos taken from Chuk Foto's instagram page. More will surface before the weekend's out I'm sure, but I really wanted to share some today, it was such a good night1

We played a lot of new material for this show. The set list was:
Hardly Spoken
Crumbling Hearts
Stop Bringing Me Down
Smoke and Choke

After Combine the Victorious performed Sex With Strangers came up to offer us all more of their new material from their forthcoming sixth release! It was a great sounding, fun night, with a lovely reception for the audience, and quite a funny movie to get everyone's night started! Thanks again to KAtrin Bowen for inviting us to perform, and extra thanks to the excellent people of the Rio Theatre for another good show in our home town! Cheers! Next show is coming up really soon. We're playing Nov 24th as part of VALT (Vancouver Alternative Fashion Week) at the Centre for Digital Media. Our pals Sex With Strangers will also be on that bill as well! See you there.


Thursday 24 October 2013

Next show - Nov14th at the Rio Theatre!

Combine the Victorious will be performing at the commercial release party for Katrin Bowen's Random Acts of Romance comedy on November 14th at the Rio Theatre here in Vancouver.  We are working  our a fantastic new set that will include two brand new songs!  The new album is really taking shape, and the band is starting to sound very good once again (taking all that time off this past summer had dulled our playing a bit, but we're getting it back quite rapidly!)  It should also be mentioned that we've actually rehearsed a few times now with Leigh Grant (the original drummer from Mark's prior band Pure).  It's going to be a great night, not only will the audience get to watch a truly funny comedy, but we'll be sharing the stage will long time pals Sex With Strangers too!  Check out the fb event from the link above.  See you there!

Monday 21 October 2013

Upcoming Shows in November

We are really excited about the pair of shows we have coming up next month.  The first is at the Rio Theatre on November 14th and the Second is part of the Vancouver Alternative Fashion Week on November 22nd.

Thursday November 14th we will be performing the commercial release party for the comedy film "Random Acts of Romance"  directed by Katrin Bowen.  The movie has done really well at festivals over the past many months and they are now looking to give it a formal domestic release.  Even though we didn't get our song "Crumbling Hearts" completed on time to get it onto the soundtrack, Katrin has been a great supporter over the past year and has offered us this wonderful gig.  We checked out the Rio Theatre on Saturday and both Isabelle and I are really keen on playing there.  Nice big stage in a very comfortable theatre.

Friday November 22nd Combine the Victorious will be a part of Vancouver Alternative Fashion week. We will be performing at the Centre for Digital Media on Great Northern Way on what looks to be a very cool line up: fashion, art, music all melded into an advanced venue that promises to be quite over the top!

On the recording side of things we now have just about everything chosen for the next album, though new ideas keep popping up every rehearsal!  Getting very close to sharing the new material, but I want it to be just right before we do.  (which is why it's been fun DJing down at the Media Club on Mondays - I'm getting to listen to the mixes thru a large PA and judging reactions from the crowd!  Now that's a way to mix a record!)

Gotta get back to work, lots going on, please stay tuned!


Sunday 29 September 2013

New album is Disco! (mostly)

We have eight songs almost ready for mixing now: the new album has started to really take a sound.  Over have the songs have a definitely disco feel to them: three were written in one days last month!  There are a few that we've written from scratch with Juice and Misty that sound a little more 90's but still all related to dance music.  I guess our next album is going to be quite a party record!

Stay tuned, we are going to start sharing songs very soon!

Wednesday 11 September 2013

Overtime, new song in the works

A couple weeks ago Isabelle and I started writing another new song, titled Overtime.  This one came from a late night jam, where we were just messing around looking for new sounds and ideas.  Isabelle started singing "overtime, on my mind" and we both thought it was a funny thing to sing about.  (Juice has the week before been doing a lot of driving for his work and mentioned how at least he was getting overtime for the hours wasted in traffic etc).  However, when we came back to the idea a few nights later I think we both recognized there was something more to it.

Two night ago we were working on it more and Juice came into the studio and offered to track live drums overtop of the programmed beats.  The addition of his playing gave the track a lot more energy, and then he recorded a few passes on guitar to expand the sound even more.

We're getting close with a few other ideas simultaneously.  I think September will be a very productive month to finalizing several songs, including a couple instrumental dance tracks that are sounding better than anything we've put together in that style yet. One is currently titled "Dasmascus, From the Airport, By Cab" and the other "Do the Right Thing." Very fun.

The album is taking shape and the scope of the sound is starting to make sense.  I think we'll have our greatest work yet when it's all done.  We are playing with the idea a re-recording a couple songs from Crumbing Hearts in order to capture the energy the live band has created with them, especially Glasgow which sounds phenomenal with all our energies going.

Anyway, just a short note today, as we're heading out to enjoy the beach for one of the last times this season.

Stay well, thanks for reading.

Monday 2 September 2013

Isabelle's Gastown Pop Up /In Store Performance

We're taking a bit of time off writing and recording the new album so Isabelle can run her first ever Gastown Pop Up store.  She's taken over the Tait store at 330 W. Cordova St from Sept 1st thru Sept 5th.  We set up the shop on Saturday night and had a fun night with friends trying on her designs and rearranging the shop.  Check out Isabelle's blog to see her creations:

As an added spot of fun we are also going to be performing an in-store show, where we'll debut one new song and reinterpret a couple favorites off Crumbing Hearts.  It's been a unique learning experience to reduce the arrangements down to just an acoustic guitar, and even more fun to explore the sounds you can create using an iPhone for accompaniment.  Might be our most succinct sound yet!  

If you are downtown Vancouver on Thursday night cram in with us (it's a nice cute little place) and share a glass of wine, look at the remaining pieces on the racks, and take in our intimate acoustic set.  

Gastown Pop Up
Sept 1 thru Sept 5
330 W Cordova St. Vancouver

Combine the Victorious live performance Thursday Sept 5th, 7PM.  

Tuesday 27 August 2013

The Polyphonic Spree and Obsessive Listening

A few weeks back we had the pleasure of seeing the Polyphonic Spree perform live here in Vancouver.  That was the second time we've witnessed the spectacle of that massive band performing in our city.  This show, though a little smaller than the previous one we caught on their Fragile Army tour (I think they had 21 people on stage then, this tour had 17) was just as enjoyable, maybe even more so as we were closer to them all in Venue than we'd been at the Commodore.

I kinda admire and love The Polyphonic Spree.  They have good songs, a wonderful live show and an inherently positive feel and message to their music.  Tim DeLaughter is a great frontman for the band, conducting them with passion and humour.  If you haven't seen The Polyphonic Spree yet, do so, they are more that worth whatever the ticket price may be, and will reward you with energy for days to come.

The weekend we saw the band I decided that buying their latest album (Yes, It's True) wasn't really supporting them enough.  I mean with all those band members, even going to the show can hardly make a dent in their expenses.  So I figured I'd play all their albums on repeat for the entire weekend.  We had The Polyphonic Spree going night and day in our house for the Saturday and Sunday following the show streaming on Rdio.  It was all in attempt to gift them another dollar or so to help them keep going.  I believe the final tally was 350+ plays, which at $0.0034/play should earn them about one  dollar.  (Streaming site pay out after 60-90 days).  It's hardly going to change anyone's finances but it does do a few little things.

One; it creates motion around their songs.  I have our Rdio account hooked up to our account.  That means that what ever we play from gets counted on and goes into their statistics.  The spins get counted and numbers move.  Once again, one person with a computer can't really generate the kind of numbers to place a band on the top 40 charts alone, but it does mean that our avatar shows us listening to the PS and perhaps someone poking around on the net will be intrigued enough to click thru and give them a listen too.

Two; it does pay the band a tiny bit more, hopefully encouraging them to continue making great music.  Even though I've already purchased their albums I still play them back (when at home at least) from Rdio in order to send a few pennies more into their coffers.

This past week it's been The Replacements and New Order that've been on high rotation.  It's been a pleasure to revisit those albums from the 80's once again.  Even though we still have almost all of their collection on vinyl, and some on cd, it's good to think that even listening to them on streaming radio can put additional money into their account.

So I guess I'm suggesting that you try the same if you use Spotify, Rdio, Deezer etc.  Maybe take a day and load up a playlist of your favorite albums and let it play all day.  Certainly any local indie acts you may know would benefit from this kind of love.  It's more than the pennies that count.  Those plays eventually make the act appear on charts, giving a better impression to new listeners, and hopefully create some momentum around a release to help spread the word.  You've probably seen it many times: a video with higher plays continues to get more clicks, while another song with lower play counts is passed over.  We instinctively seem to prefer going with the popular option as a short hand to learning a band's music.  Fair enough, I've done it for decades too.  But it's when you go deep into a catalog that you truly learn the full scope of an act, and hopefully discover the hidden gems that reward the true fan.

It's hard to make a living from music.  It always has been but it's even more difficult now. I know the numbers are miniscule from these streaming site but let me recommend you binge out on a few favorites and send them some love anyway.  Start a wave!

Monday 19 August 2013

DJing at Common Courtesy this Satuday!

Isabelle and I will be down at Save on Meats (43 West Hastings) this coming weekend spinning vinyl for their Common Courtesy night.  It's a casual place, serves good deli food, drink specials, and has a couple turntables set up right in the front so we can get the place hoppin'!

In preparation, this past Saturday night we took several hours to go thru our vinyl collection and pull out some old favourites from the 60's, 70's and 80's.

We have a few good ideas of what we'll play and quite looking forward to sharing a few hidden gems with everybody!  Come on down.

We also want to add that Isabelle will be having an Autumn Fashion Pop Up starting on September 1st at 330 Cordova (we're taking over Tait until Sept 5th).   Combine the Victorious will be performing an acoustic set down there to celebrate the sale on the Thursday night.  More info to follow!

In the mean time, if you want to socialize and have a dance with up please come by Common Courtesy August 24th.  8-12PM.  


Monday 12 August 2013

The Work Continues

It's been probably the best summer I can remember here in Vancouver.  With all this sunshine it's been hard to really settle down and get work done in the studio.  However that is just what we've done these past two weekends.

We've been writing new songs and it seems as though we now have two new tracks we're excited by.  One of them is a co-write with our good friend and Crumbling Hearts co-producer Stefan Sigerson.  In a burst of inspiration we came up with an entirely new song in a matter of an hour.  It's still very loosely arranged and we haven't finished the lyrics yet, but the chorus is a good one and I expect we'll enjoy completing this track together.

The weekend before Isabelle and I started writing another one as well.  We had a hook and a melody but not much else after the first day of work.  Juice dropped into the studio to offer some fresh ideas and give us the chord progression for the chorus (which thru subsequent manipulation seems to have taken a step towards The Police!).  This track is titled "Overtime," the title came from Isabelle.  It just kind of dropped out and stuck.  Overtime is a very summertime kind of song: warm summer evening, driving with the sunroof open, looking for the best music to dance to.  I think we've got an arrangement and the lyrics sorted out but there's still a lot of recording to do before it's ready for air time.  I'm hoping our mutual love of New Order will summon some inspiring musical passages.   Perhaps Stefan can assist us on this one too!

Thanks for reading, and if you're looking for some good new music I don't think you could go wrong checking out Common Courtesy Vol 1.  


Thursday 1 August 2013

Glasgow (Acoustic version)

Isabelle and I were rehearsing in the living room yesterday and decided to record our version of Glasgow acoustically.  With the beautiful summer sun shining in the background we ran through our song with an more intimate version  than the Crumbling Hearts recording.

It's interesting to translate our songs from full on productions to something so stripped back.  Makes a challenge for my limited guitar playing but really helps bring focus to the singing!

Have a look.

Thursday 25 July 2013

Excited about Saturday

Looking forward to performing at Electric Owl this Saturday July 27th.  Combine the Victorious is on at 8PM, opening for Trails and Ways from San Diego.  Also on the bill is Gang Sings, who we've enjoyed on previous evenings earlier this year.  A great line up at a good venue.  Our set is really solid too.

Doors at 7PM
Combine the Victorious 8PM
Gang Sings 9PM
Trails and Ways 10PM
Tickets $12 in advance $15 at the door

Link to event Songkick

Facebook event

The Story continues...

Just spent the last three days on our song Brotherhood.  Last night I re-wrote the lyrics to make them a little more personal, a little less generic.  I think the new words really helped.  Singing came a lot easier.  It's funny how that could work.  Having the right thing to say helps you say it well.

It's coming along.  I think we have a mix tonight.  Will know in the morning I'm sure!

The lyrics now are:

I dropped out of school
when we first met
but we still tried
to take on the world

Just fighting for laughs
while we're looking for hits
until tension and rejection
wore me out

In a Brotherhood
I thought it was understood
that we always should
look out for each other
I guess it's times like these
when lost in your memories
you some how fail to see
how much you matter

And over the years
you would constantly fret
but still seemed fine as we'd
all get together

Then your little fears
turned into our dread
until you
a song

In a Brotherhood
I thought it was understood
that we always should
look out for each other
I guess it's times like these
when lost in your memories
you some how fail to see
how much you matter
What I don't understand
is how we could not lend a hand
before you quit this land
for another.

We we're just kids
when we first met
but we tried
to take on the world

Brotherhood by Combine the Victorious
Henning, Dunlop, Kadis, Reid

Monday 8 July 2013

Guitars done for "Brotherhood"

We were busy this past week.  Between mixing several songs for other local groups I managed to fit in a couple excellent sessions on our new song Brotherhood.

Last weekend we tracked Misty on the drums, and the bedtracks still make me smile.  There are little subtle noises in the background which seems to bless this song with extra life.  I'd finished my bass part early in the week and then Juice added some expertly played hand percussion to give some polish to the song.  After that we put a guide guitar part down.  It was Juice's idea to track his guitars on two different sessions, the first time to simply capture what we were playing live, giving us a chance to listen back to the arrangement.  That was important because it allowed Isabelle and I to record our vocals to a backing track that had the full dynamics of the song.  One should never under-estimate how important the vibe needs to be before getting a keeper lead vocal.  Seems simple but even after all these years I still seem to forget that.

Attempting something new, Isabelle and I sang our parts together against the new tracks and everything started to feel right.  It's an interesting process to record the vocals simultaneously, rather than individually.  I found we hit our notes with more confidence and our timing was much tighter. Something to attempt again on the next songs.

Then Sunday night Juice returned to the studio to lay down the keeper parts for the song.  We'd done a little rethinking on the tone and part and I'm really pleased to say the final results are quite inspiring.  He came up with a couple new ideas that really pulled the song forward, and the final outro has never sounded more massive.  Check out the clip below for a brief segment of the guitar lead at the end of the song.  The Gibson 335 running thru his vintage Marshall JMP makes quite a lovely sound!

Just need a quick session with Isabelle to track her vocal part (we've got it figured out nicely) then I need to make a few touch ups to my part and I believe we'll have our new one ready to mix!

Brotherhood was written about our friend Todd Simko who committed suicide last year.  It's taken many months for all of us to come to grips with that tragic event and this song seems to have helped.  The arrangement is a little more traditional than our recent Crumbling Hearts ep, but I couldn't help grinning at its undeniable epicness during the final chorus and guitar solo.  It's definitely another Combine the Victorious song!

Okay, gotta get back to work.  Thanks for reading, I believe we'll have the song to listen to next week!


Tuesday 2 July 2013

Started recording new songs

This past weekend the four of us started recording new material.  I spent the Friday setting up mics for the drums and recorded me attempting various beats with the hopes of getting a good sound and possibly even creating a few loops.  Of course it's always a challenge to engineer oneself on drums.  Much too much time wasted running back and forth between the kit and the studio, adjusting things after you've recorded, trying it out again and then listening back to see if there's been any improvement.  However, on Saturday Misty Ried came in an laid down the law!  We swapped out my dodgy snare for Juice's vintage Ludwig snare and suddenly everything came to life!

Misty it turns out is quite a good drummer!  She has been performing drums on one song live, Brotherhood (the track we were recording bedtracks to on Saturday), but I will admit I never dreamed she had such good groove.  I think we recorded at least three killer loops for new song ideas, all just from the warm up and mic tests.  It's quite exciting to consider the possibilities: Combine the Victorious has never been so blessed with talented multi-instrumentalists!

Brotherhood, our new song, is turning out exceptionally.  The drums sound better than anything I've recorded in the Boutique Empire studio yet.  I've laid down the bass and put in a simple keyboard pad,  and I can't wait until we track Juice's guitar part (it's really good too).  Juice also has some cool ideas for percussion that should add a unique layer to the song.  The vocals and harmonies are figured out so we just need to deliver something appropriate for the tone of the lyrics.  It's very soulful, so we're going to keep the production a bit more limited than some of our earlier material.

We'll have something to share soon!  Gonna be great!

Thanks for reading

Tuesday 25 June 2013

We Are Local - - Common Courtesy Sampler

We got a lovely mention in the We Are Local blog today, and it occurred to me that we have been busy  this June indeed!  Thanks to We Are Local for the connection! Check out their page, it leads to countless good ideas and people in our wet and wonderful city.

Also wanted to mention that we have had our new Smoke and Choke video hosted on another site called where it's already surpassed 2200 views in only a week!  Brilliant.  Don't know how we were found or added but it's a cool site with a lot of excellent videos from loads of cool bands: have a look.  (if you are the person who added us, please send us a shout! )

We'll be releasing a song on the upcoming Common Courtesy compilation this Thursday night.  There's a showcase featuring our friends Sex With Strangers, Phoenix Thunderbird, and several other local artists and the whole thing is for a great cause: Kids Up Front.  Come down to the Portside Pub this thursday for a full evening of entertainment.

In closing, here's a random shout out to the folks from Russia who've been reading our blog.  "Hello!" from Vancouver.  ; )

Tuesday 11 June 2013

Our new Smoke and Choke video!

a Flash Action Films production
Smoke and Choke the video by S.J. Sigerson

Directed by Stefan J Sigerson
Edited by S.J. Sigerson and Marc Godfrey.

We want to express our gratitude to Stefan and Marc for this amazing video.  They have created a completely dystopian future world beset by megalomaniacal super computers, helicopters, blimps and stealth bombers (which I don't remember flying but apparently we did!)  Out best video yet!!  Cheers to Flash Action Films!

Friday 7 June 2013

Promo clip for Smoke and Choke - debuts June 11th-2013

Massive thanks to Stefan Sigerson for cutting together this outrageous promotional clip for our new Smoke and Choke video.  The video shall debut June 11th, 2013, but this clip is so entertaining we think the wait is well worth it!  Enjoy!

Monday 27 May 2013

Busy Week! Radio, Media Club, Video Release!

Hey, we have a really busy week ahead of us and just wanted to share a few of the things going on!

Tomorrow night we'll be performing live on the radio up at SFU on Sound Therapy Radio on CJSF 90.1FM.  The show is on at 7PM pacific time.  We'll be debuting our new song Hardly Spoken live on air,  plus two other favorites from Crumbling Hearts and some conversation about our new line up and what's coming up!

If you miss that we are also appearing on Co-op radio 100.1FM at 3:30 on Wednesday afternoon.  I want to reveal our new amazing remix for Smoke and Choke as well as the other songs that will be included on our Rec:13 sampler for the show on May30th.

Then we finally get to perform live on stage!  Thursday night is lining up to be our best show to date. We've got a new video to debut (Smoke and Choke), a fantastic set filled with four new songs, special effects and lighting lined up, and of course a brilliant line up to share the stage with that night.   We'll also be offering a 4 song sampler on the night featuring a song from each of the performing artists.  

As if that wasn't enough Isabelle is also having a fashion sale on Saturday evening in Gastown (which I'll be DJing to ensure we have the finest vibes on the street!).  After that we'll be moonlighting over at Lanalou's with Guilty About Girls just to make sure the weekend is absolutely bonkers!

Gonna be great, if you miss the radio please make sure you make the show.  The line up of musical talent is wonderful and the venue is great.

Media Club - 695 Cambie St, Vancouver
Tickets only $8
Doors at 8:30

Badgerchild - 9PM
Marc Wild 9:30
Combine the Victorious - 10PM
Blank Cinema - 11PM

facebook event



Saturday 25 May 2013

Progress Report: Smoke and Choke video

Had a great conversation with Stefan Sigerson at the Vampire Bats' video shoot last night.  Stefan is a very busy guy these days: director, editor, visionary behind our Smoke and Choke video and concurrently doing the same job on the Vampire Bats' Baby Libertine video as well!  Apparently he's about 75% completed on our clip now: the concept has been solidified, the visuals are almost all rendered and there's a whole lot of helicopters, lightning, dystopian future images and even a robot!

Below are some screen captures of from the video that Stefan (and "junior assistant-editor" Marc Godfrey have approved for release).  Getting quite excited to actually view this masterpiece!

all images by Stefan Sigerson 

Make sure to join us next Thursday, May 30th at the Media Club for its debut along with four songs that will make up part of our next album!  The entire evening is going to be excellent, so dont' miss it!

Tuesday 21 May 2013

CiTR today!

Isabelle and I had a nice visit with Oswaldo on his The Morning After show on CiTR today.  Debuted a couple tracks on air, one, the remix of Smoke and Choke - Hairy Debbie Remix by Wonderbro, and the other Destroy Together by Blank Cinema.  We also played Enough by Population Drops to open the show right after Foals. After a quick chat about the show on May 30th, Isabelle also spoke about her fashion/art opening on June 1st with Zofia Astrid.  Then we enjoyed We Need Surgery on the way out.  Big thanks again to Oswaldo, he runs an entertaining show and is involved in loads of cool shows.  Check him out 101.1 CiTR.

Before we went on I had a good look at their massive vinyl record collection.  It was shocking to imagine actually trying to sort thru so many thousands of records, all with decayed, frayed, and yellowed with age spines, re-taped, falling off and mostly illegible (and almost all of them in the same shape)!  I felt so happy thinking about my phone suddenly.  Still it was cool to see such an archive.

Gotta add that we just found out we are going to be performing live on CJSF next Tuesday night Sound Therapy Radio.  That will be fun.  Nothing like live music over the airwaves! Getting quite excited about the show at the Media Club.  Already working on the lighting and images, and we still have to finish writing the set!


Monday 20 May 2013

Mini Sampler on the 30th - Blank Cinema

We wanted to do something a little different for our upcoming show at the Media Club on May 30th so we've decided to offer a small sampler of music from each of the artists involved!  It will be a small run of only 50 copies, with original artwork and new material from each band (all for five bucks).  Combine the Victorious will be offering two new tracks, and there will be songs from Marc Wild and Badgerchild as well.  This weekend I heard the new songs that Blank Cinema are contributing and was really impressed by them.  I think their song Destroy Together is an outstanding track!   

Blank Cinema has been playing around Vancouver for a couple years now but this new material is the most focused I've heard to date.  Feeling really good about sharing the bill with these guys, it promises to be an excellent night of music!  Make sure you get there to see the entire show!  Doors at 8:30 performances begin at 9PM.

Check them out over on their page: Blank Cinema - lot's of things to watch and listen to.

See you on the 30th!

Monday 13 May 2013

Great Night @A Change of Frequency

Just wanted to leave a note stating how much fun we had at the "A Change of Frequency" festival on the weekend.  Both nights were good but Saturday was especially enjoyable for us! A positive, life-affirming event that brought together several generations of music lovers in a lovely venue all for a good cause (Canadian Mental Health Association).  Minna Simko did a brilliant job organizing the event and I think everyone involved had a great time!  The Columbia Theatre proved to be a viable theatre to hold such a show and I wouldn't be surprised if it became an important live music venue, just as Todd Simko always dreamed it could!

ChukFoto photography

We performed a short set (there were eight bands each night) that contained two new songs and two favorites from the Crumbling Hearts ep.

Debuting for the very first time was the song written specifically in Todd's memory, Brotherhood as well as our new song Hardly Spoken (which we shared last week).  After those we performed Crumbling Hearts and concluded with a truly epic version of Glasgow.  The response was overwhelmingly positive so we're doubly excited to be playing a full headlining set for our upcoming show at the Media Club on May 30th!

It was an added bonus to also be performing as Pure later in the night, where Jordy Birch and I were joined by Leigh Grant for a very authentic version of Denial.  Juice was the busiest man in showbiz that night: not only did he play guitar with Combine and Pure but he closed the night drumming with Fine Times as well!  No stopping that guy!

Big thanks to everyone that helped out at the venue, Bob, Brian, Boris, Chris, Jason, the MC of the festivities Stephen Hamm, and to all the bands that contributed their time, and the great audience who helped make the night such a success! I'd also like to add that it was a pleasure to play a show that was open to all ages.  Nothing more enjoyable than seeing a dancefloor packed with happy children dancing with their parents!  I wish Vancouver could get its act together to allow such positive integration of people to attend shows together in our city too!  Well done New Westminster!

Next up is the show at Media Club.  Keep May 30th open, it's promises to be our best show to date and we've got a solid lineup to ensure all go home happy and musically satiated!

Thanks for reading.


Saturday 11 May 2013

A Change of Frequency Tonight!

We shall be performing tonight over in New Westminster as part of the Change of Frequency festival.  Combine the Victorious will be on around 8:30 and we'll be debuting two new songs, one of them written specifically for the event.  It's titled Brotherhood and was written about our departed friend Todd Simko who left us last year.  The other is the song we revealed earlier this week called Hardly Spoken.   The four of us are sounding exceptionally great and really looking forward to this one.

We checked out the Columbia Theatre last night and I have to say it's a lovely venue, with great sight lines, acoustics and a cool stage.  Quite looking forward to sharing our music in such a venerable space!

Hope you can join us, and then stay for the Pure / Guilty About Girls set (which shall contain all of us with the added bonus of having Leigh Grant join us for a very authentic rendition of Denial).  Lots of talent on stage tonight, and it's all to benefit Canadian Mental Health too!

Wednesday 8 May 2013

New Song: Hardly Spoken

Quite excited to be sharing some of our brand new material that we've been working on. This one is the first song written by the new Combine the Victorious lineup.

Begun back this past winter from a lucrative improvisation, Hardly Spoken is the first song by Juice, Misty, Isabelle and me all working together. The sound relates to where we were headed with the Crumbling Hearts ep, but there is so much more going on now. The addition of Misty's Rhodes keyboard part, Juice's flowing guitar work, the story of the lyrics from Isabelle, and the not so subtly eastern electro-disco keyboard parts, all add up to something bigger, more complete, dramatic and danceable. Our direction seems to be solidifying: perhaps all the comparisons to Abba weren't misplaced!

Have a listen and let us know what you think!

We'll be performing this one on Saturday night at the A Change of Frequency music festival, along with debuting another one titled Brotherhood (written specifically about our departed friend Todd Simko).  If for any reason you can't make that upcoming event please join us on May 30th at the Media Club for our video release party, where we'll not only exhibit the Smoke and Choke video but also reveal even more new material all headed for our full length album release!

Thanks for checking it out,

Tuesday 30 April 2013

Good review in HillyDilly last week

Our song Glasgow got a really good write up last week on the HillyDilly blog, it reads as follows:

The soon-to-be Vancouver buzz band, Combine the Victorious, dropped their debut EP,Crumbling Hearts, back in October of 2012 to what looks like a luke-warm response. However this should not be so, because when you take a listen to the EP, hearing the exceptional track, ”Glasgow”, will change your mind on this duo instantly.

With it’s trip-hop accentuated features that round out with awesome guitar sections & prominent vocals, “Glasgow” is the kind of track that shows this band’s promise in one swell swoop.

If you want to hear more, head on over to Bandcamp to check out the Crumbling Hearts EP

Monday 22 April 2013

Video Release Party - May 30th Media Club

We shall be celebrating the completion of our Smoke and Choke video with a show at the Media Club Thursday May30th, 2013.  Director (editor, producer...) Stefan Sigerson is nearing completion of his dystopia evoking piece and we are keen to share it.  The live show will also feature entirely new material from our forth coming full length.  We're taking the tested and proven route of performing the songs live before we commit to putting them on tape (hard drive).

Joining on the evening shall be a showcase set from the beautifully voiced Badgerchild, guitar virtuoso Marc Wild performing a prepared guitar composition, and Blank Cinema to close the night with their brand of progressive angular rock.

Thursday May 30th 2013
Media Club
Tickets $8
Doors at 8:30

Badgerchild 9PM
Marc Wild 9:30
Combine the Victorious 10PM
Blank Cinema 11PM

Facebook Event link

Robert Edmonds poster design.

Monday 15 April 2013

NEW! Smoke and Choke - Hairy Debbie Remix

The secretive west coast remix magician Wonderbro has just given us a fantastic new reworking of our track Smoke and Choke.  Taking it in a totally new direction, the track has shed it's soviet disco skin for something quite a bit more fun and dazzling!  Have a listen, share it, download it, pass it around!

Big thanks to Wonderbro for this exemplary work!!


Sunday 14 April 2013

When Flash Action takes Action!

Introducing Combine the Victorious 2013.  (or CV3 as I like to call us now)

Thanks to the one and only Stefan Sigerson for the photo.- and the printed circuit board!

Wednesday 3 April 2013

A Change of Frequency

Our dear friend Todd Simko died last year and in his memory his wife Minna has fulfilled one of his dreams to put live music back into an ignored venue in New Westminster - The Columbia.  The music festival is titled "A Change of Frequency" and its proceeds will go to assisting Mental Health.  There is going to be two evening full of music, May 10th and 11th.  Combine the Victorious is included on the bill for the Saturday night, May 11th.  There promises to be several wonderful moments in this event, and we're all looking forward to performing (though Juice has the heaviest load of everyone!  Not only will he be playing with Combine on our new material but he's promises to also play guitar with Pure as well as drumming with Fine Times all on Saturday night!)

We've got a new song titled Brotherhood that I"m really looking forward to playing on the night.  The whole thing is going to be great, just check out the poster that the inimitable Rob Edmonds has designed!

Wednesday 20 February 2013

Tuesday 19 February 2013

A Glowing Review in The Province

Just found this on the weekend (thanks for the head's up Magnus), our Crumbling Hearts ep got a very good review in the Province:

The Garage CD of the week

Combine The Victorious has always captured something grand in its music, beginning a few years ago with an LP that referenced classic rock in a contemporary setting. Whittling down essentially to the duo of Isabelle Dunlop and Mark Henning, Combine The Victorious has refined its sound to a more focused keyboard based pop on its Crumbling Hearts CD. It's no less grand for this pop orientation as it sometimes recalls progressive-rock in a light framework. The singing is gently effective and the duo's sense of melody is sharp. Seductive.

Tom Harrison - The Province

Tuesday 12 February 2013

A Quick Clip of our last show

Thanks to Rob Edmonds for this glimpse of our show this past Friday at Muster Studio.  That is in fact Isabelle singing thru effects to create the voice you're hearing.  We've decided to try out a couple new ideas for the new songs.  You'll note near the end that we'd spliced in a section of the studio version of the song.   The recording is going really well, writing with Juice and Misty has been a total pleasure.  Our music is sounding better than ever and we now have a blinding lineup for our live shows too!

Stay tuned, more new music shall be revealed in the coming weeks as well as a few new videos too.


Monday 11 February 2013

Muster Studio show

We just performed as part of the Lust exhibit at the Muster Studio here in Vancouver.  It was confidently the best show that Combine has ever performed.  Joining us on stage were Juice and Misty (formerly of the Yoko Casionos).  This new lineup sounds incredible!

It was a fantastic night, Combine the Victorious, The Population Drops, and Tyranahorse all played exciting sets and the vibe in the room was so much fun!  Great crowd,  cool venue, we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.  Thanks to Oswaldo from CiTR, the fine folks of VanMusic, CJSF and everyone involved with putting on this event.  It was a great night, can't wait for the next one.

Here are a few photos from our show.

Thanks to ChukFoto of for the photos.

please "like" the Combine page on facebook if you're on there.  it helps get gigs!

Monday 4 February 2013

Crumbling Hearts Remix

We just received a new remix of our track Crumbling Hearts.  This one was done by producer Lin Gardiner (she's worked with Peak Performance 2012 winners The Boom Booms among many other artists).  It's a very different version from our original but we both think she's found something quite fun with this mix.

Have a listen!

We are now almost done the writing and recording of the tracks that shall complete our next full length.    With the help of Juice and Misty (both of the now defunct Yoko Casionos) we have come up with some of the most exciting new songs Combine has ever written.  The four of us make an interesting writing team, and our true potential is just starting to be hinted at.  I expect we'll go into mix mode very shortly, so a few new songs shall be making their debut fairly soon!

Thanks for reading, 

Friday 18 January 2013

The Writing Continues

We started January with four new song ideas and several snippets of songs all the result of one crazy night of jamming.  I guess a few of those ideas will make the album but what's been so interesting is that we've now written three more new songs in the past week.  Most of these are a little more personal than our initial ideas and all of them seem more substantial too.

We've been in the studio everyday except one so far this month and the new music is starting to take shape.  It's exciting to think of how the entire full length is going to sound.  It's our intension to collect a few songs from our Crumbling Hearts EP and combine them with these brand new tracks to tell the complete story.  Musically I think we've solidified our sound, the beats are bigger and more solid than before and the instrumentation is both simpler and more immense.   Lyrically it's a much wider playing field, we've got songs covering an array of serious topics but all seem to contain that central positive tenet we've always strived for.

As the tracks are still quite raw we can't share anything yet, but by month's end we hope to have a least a couple completed which we'll post to our soundcloud page.

It's getting quite exciting hearing these tracks come together.  We shall have a fantastic album when we're done!

thanks for reading, please stay tuned!


Friday 11 January 2013

Combine among the top 25 bands in Vancouver!

Just wanted to say thanks to the fine folks at VanMusic for listing us on their top 25 bands to watch in Vancouver.  We are proud to be included with such fine company as The Population Drops, Sex With Strangers, Fine Times, Japandriods, No Sinner,  The Pack AD, The Matinee, Said the Whale, Bend Sinister, The Boom Booms and tonnes more great bands.

It's a cool list, check it out.  You may find yourself watching some of these bands very soon.


The best 25 (plus one) indie Vancouver bands of 2012

Tuesday 8 January 2013

writing album three

Happy New Year!

...just a really quick note to state that we are head first into writing songs for our third album.  We have several new ideas piled up and are going thru the crazy sketches we've made to see which ones will stand out in daylight.  It's been a very creative stretch since we've gotten back from Europe and our little trip south at xmas seems to have pushed us even further with our latest ideas.

We might have some things to listen to by the weekend.

Gotta go to the shops and get some chocolate first!!