Let’s get the key question out of the way first.
Stephen O’Shea, why is your band called You Say Party! We Say Die!?
“There’s a bit of a story with that,” the bassist and synth player for the Abbotsford-based dance-punk group says. “When we stating playing in Abbotsford, a lot of people had a kind of pretentious attitude about their music. We wanted to get the crowd involved, so we came up without something we could chant at them and have them reply.”
It also helped that one of the songs on their first EP was so-titled and was popular
So know your lines if you’re at the UNBC Northern Undergraduate Student Society on April 10 when You Say Party! We Say Die! hits the stage.
“This is our first time in Prince George,” O’Shea says, “and it’s a crime that it took so long.
“I’m also looking to get us booked into Quesnel. I lived there for about 10 weeks on Katimavik, and I love the north.”
You Say Party! We Say Die! (which from now on will be abbreviated as YSP) grew out of a bicycle gang. No, not a bike gang, a bicycle gang.
“We used to ride around the older areas of Abbotsford on our bikes. It was a lot of fun, but then winter came and it was rainy, so we moved inside and picked up some instruments.”
O’Shea is quick to point out that band members Derek Adam (guitar) and Devon Clifford (drums) were not part of the bicycle gang.
“They belonged to a skateboard group, so there’s still a bit of a rivalry. They don’t want to be associated with the bicycles.”
O’Shea is the bassist, but if you check out the video for There is XXXX (Within My Heart) off their latest album, XXXX, you’ll see him playing what looks like keyboards next to regular keyboardist Krista Loewen.
“That’s actually a synthesizer keyboard that has a little bit of a different tone than a regular bass.”
YSP plays few covers (“We’re just really bad at doing cover tunes,” O’Shea laughs), which means their whole show is original material. He says they have a standard way of doing things.
“It usually starts with a riff or other part of the music, and we start working from there. Once we get going, (vocalist) Becky (Ninkovic) usually starts coming up with lyrics. She’ll sometimes come back to us and ask if we can do something different with the music to suit her lyrics, and we work back and forth.”
What songs YSP plays at a particular show changes nightly, and O’Shea is usually the one who makes the calls.
“As soon as you walk into a venue, you get a feel for what’s going to work best. We did a couple of shows at the Orpheum in Vancouver, an old opera house, and we knew we couldn’t play some of the songs we would somewhere else.
“They just didn’t suit the location.”
The band has varied musical tastes, which could lead to fights on the road over what CD is played. Luckily, they have an ultimate authority.
“Derek used to work in a record store, and he has great taste in music. About the only time I can remember something close to a fight was when Krista wanted to play Single Ladies by Beyonce.”
You Say Party! We Say Die! plays the Northern Undergraduate Student Society at UNBC on April 10. The show starts at 7 p.m. with Makeout Videotape opening. Tickets are available at the society, CFUR radio and Books and Company.