For BC this year’s festival season has seen an unprecedented explosion across the province. Although the options are nearly endless Blueprint Events has stepped in to make sure that Squamish Valley Music Festival has something different to offer Vancourites: a uniquely deep and groovy dance music tent. Cutting through the momentary of carbon-cut EDM acts Blueprint is bringing its A-game to Squamish—and that includes Vancouver’s very own local prowess—the everyday players who work both behind the scenes and hold down dance floors on a regular basis.
This year two such local talents, who are both integral to the Vancouver scene, are stepping up and taking on the crowds at Squamish. Matt Owchar of Expendable Youth and Jason Sulyma better known as MGH! (My Gay Husband) have been moulding the Vancouver scene since before most young’ins had ever heard of the term “EDM”.
With both parties’ so busy hustling the Vancouver scene it is a rare occurrence to sit down with both parties in an attempt to unearth simply a fraction of the impact that they have had on the scene many of us have grown up on. The diverse scene many of us have come to know and love;
Blueprint: How has the Vancouver scene evolved over the last five years?
Matt: A big gulf has developed between what is perceived as “underground” and “mainstream” but, despite mostly negative factors shaping this (like lack of venues, stoopid liquor laws, etc), I believe the scenes that have evolved wouldn’t be as pure & great as they are now without that.
Jason: Always improving & always getting worst #flatcircleoftime
Blueprint: Jason, how would you describe Matt’s mixing style?
Blueprint: What is Vancouver’s strong suit when it comes to night life? What could the scene improve on?
Matt: There’s an immense amount of musical talent in this city. I’d say the scenes are plenty strong; we just need more venues for all the different scenes to flourish. I wanna party hop between 3 cool parties on a Friday night. I think that’s success.
Jason: The high level of quality and talent amongst artists and the creative curation of events is East Vancouver’s strong suit which I can’t really say is the same once you bike the overpasses into Downtown Vancouver. We all know the Province of British Columbia’s archaic liquor laws are holding back the scenes, from mainstream to more creative culture commerce productions.
Blueprint: Matt, how would you describe Jason’s mixing style?
Matt: Duncan Hines
Blueprint: Jason, ten plus years ago how did it all start?
Jason: The same Vancouver Police Department officers would break up our house parties in East Vancouver on Hastings & Nanaimo on the regular & one VPD officer said “why don’t you stop bothering your neighbours and do a party in one of those Hastings bars down the street….” and months later we took up his advice aka it is ok to bother SRO & low income housing people above bars but not middle class people in their homes.
Blueprint: This year Bro Safari rocked some #FVDED gear during his Ultra set which was streamed live to over 120,000 viewers: what was the initial idea behind #FVDED and how do you see the brand expending in the next few years?
Matt: #FVDED was definitely a collaborative thing at Blueprint, a couple of people were involved. The idea was to throw a weekly party to service the expanding bass music scene a few years back, but in general it’s just a youth oriented music brand. It kinda bridges underground and mainstream in my opinion (and will hopefully fulfill this idea more & more). The brand #FVDED itself has pretty much overtaken the night in popularity, but we’re working on bridging that gap as well. I think we have a very strong crew of DJs involved who are all growing as DJs & producers and they will soon have a stamp on our own little scene in Vancouver that people around the world will be hearing more about very soon.
Blueprint: Would you rather have superhuman strength or the ability to change into any animal you wanted?
Matt: I’d choose the ability to change into this guy:
Jason: Neither because #reality
Blueprint: Glory Days goes down ever Saturday at the Biltmore Cabaret, what makes it so glorious and why has it been so successful over the last seven years?
Jason: We program & present Glory Days like a house party the cops can’t shut down & we focus on locals first. It’s not rocket science people.
Blueprint: Matt, how have your connections at Mad Decent influenced the acts Blueprint brings to Vancouver and can people expect anything new from Expendable Youth or has the business side of the industry devoured too much of your time?
Jason: PAUL DEVRO 4 LYFE DUH & DOH LOL
Matt: I have to give credit to Paul Devro for being one of the first people to believe in me. He does A&R for Mad Decent and is honestly the man behind the man as far as that entire operation goes. Dude calls the trends from miles away and has been instrumental in shaping so much of what we consider to be popular culture these days. Beyond that, my own personal hustle has definitely helped shape the direction of our bookings. Being one of the first social influencers on so called “Trap Music” and connecting with a lot of those large names when the scene was still fledgling definitely gave us an edge in terms of credibility and authority on that music.
In terms of Expendable Youth releases, I’ve personally been on an “extended vacation” from music for the past year or so, mostly due to Blueprint’s explosive growth but also partially because I’ve been waiting to see how a lot of these recent trends end up resolving themselves. My partner Jimmy also went to school to shore his audio engineering game up, but we’ve recently gotten back into the studio to work on new material, as well as another project that is super-duper top secret.
Blueprint: Jason, what is Matt’s most endearing quality?
Jason: Matt & I have known each other since before Expendable Youth used to try to mix country music & techno records while they were neighbours to my BFF. Sincerely Hana and I would say his most endearing quality is HOW CUTE HE IS…rightttttt? #pinchcheek lol
Blueprint: Matt, likewise…
Matt: Jason is a community leader and has supported arts & culture in this city in more meaningful and heartfelt ways than most. I actually really looked up to him a lot when I first came up, and can credit him with shaping my outlook as a member of Vancouver’s creative community and as a DJ. He was also one of the first people to believe in me, and without his initial support I doubt I’d be where I am today.
Blueprint: In your opinion what is Vancouver’s greatest hidden nightlife gem?
Matt: Shhhhh, it’s a secret.
Jason: US LOL
Blueprint: Matt, what made Blueprint decide to curate an EDM tent at this year’s Squamish Valley Music Festival and how did the Blueprint team go about deciding the artists to include in this endeavour?
Matt: With the festival scene becoming quite a bit more crowded this year (and going forward probably every year from now on), I think it was the natural evolution of our relationship with Live Nation. We also curated the first dance tent at the inaugural Pemberton back in 2008 and it’s something we’ve always wanted to bring back. I feel like we’ve curated a pretty cool/unique line-up from what everyone else is offering with the tent being pretty “house music” or as some people call it “deep house” focused, and we’ll only grow bigger as time goes on.
Blueprint: What will each of you be bringing to this year’s Squamish Valley Music Festival?
Matt: Festival trap remixes of every deep house anthem!
Jason: Live visuals by Genie of RUTS (also Genie is Paul Devro’s, of Mad Decent’s, brother for all u noobiez), Smoke Machines & all the rap music I am going to play instead of EDM. Oh, and drugs.
There you have it! Squamish Valley Music Festival is coming up fast—make sure to catch both Expendable Youth & MGH next weekend—& past that Glory Days at the Biltmore and #FVDED at Celebrities are always there to keep Vancourites bumpin’ each and every week.
– Ryan Hayesget tickets