On Thursday, June 14, local favourite rock outfit Casinos held their music video release party for their latest single “Bad Decisions” at the Kariton Art Gallery. The event was well attended, and fans had the opportunity to hear the band play a few songs before the unveiling of the video. In the hours before the event, the band sat with us to talk about the filming of “Bad Decisions,” and their evolution as a band.
Can we start with listing the name of each band member and what you play in the band?
Kier: I sing and play guitar.
Ken: I play the drums.
Skylar: I am the bass player.
Zach: I play lead guitar and backing vocals.
So this is a big premiere for you guys. Can you tell me a bit about how the filming of the music video went and your favourite parts about it?
Kier: We shot this video at Castle Fun Park. We didn’t think it would be possible, it was kind of a pipe dream for us. Our call time was about four in the morning. It was fun, it was nice. I like being up early. Usually not that early, but yeah we showed up at 4 a.m. and we wheeled all our stuff in. It was surreal because this is a place that we all played Skee-Ball together as kids and it was completely empty. So we set up in the batting cages and you’ll see the rest [in the video].
Ken: For me the most memorable thing about this was that we invited a bunch of friends and put a call out for extras for anyone who wanted to be in the video. Because I needed that for filming what they wanted their idea of the video to be. And I was thinking, okay, who’s going to want to come out at six in the morning or earlier to come and be in the video? But we ended up getting 20 to 30 people, which is way more than what I thought would show. I was really impressed and really blown away. It was really cool.
And this was all able to happen because of the Fraser Valley Music Awards, correct?
Kier: We were nominated for an FVMA in 2017, where Cassiar Film Co. and CIVL Radio presented the prize for a music video. To our surprise, they selected us. That’s how this all came about. We didn’t win an award, but we won that, so we are very grateful.
So let’s go back to the beginning. How long have you all known each other and how and when did you start playing together?
Kier: Zach and I are original members and we started playing together 10 years ago in 2008. Ken, we had jammed with because we went to the same high school, and he had his own band that we jammed with as well. Skyler, we had seen him around the music scene for a long time and thought he’d be a great fit.
So how do you think your music has evolved since you first started playing together?
Kier: In our most recent iterations we have kind of characterized ourselves as this band that’s inspired by a lot of U.K. rock bands and indie bands. But I look back, and while the similarities do exist, there is something else. I feel like I need to change our bio. It’s become something else.
Zach: When I joined the band, we were really playing with those Britpop kind of vibes, and that’s changed a lot over the past two or three years. We kind of need to do a bit of a re-evaluation of what our sound even is now because it has changed a lot.
Skylar: We’re inspired. We know what we sound like, and we’re just going to put that in our back pocket or our toolbox. There’s a lot of different genres that we kind of draw upon in that sense. Like, for instance, just recently we played a couple of acoustic gigs, which we’ve never done before. So there’s definitely a lot of firsts for us. If we find something inspiring, we don’t let it stop us from experimenting.
Zach: I feel like we’ve gotten to the point now where we know what a Casinos song sounds like. So we don’t have to write songs thinking about, “Oh, what other band is this like?” We can just think, “Okay this is a Casinos song.” We know what our sound is, we know how to play to that sound, and we also know when we’re playing too much to what a Casinos song is like, and when to take it in a different direction. We know what we are and how to embrace that or go against that. Which is a cool place to be, I think.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge as a band, and how have you been able to overcome it?
Ken: Lineup issues I think. There was a long time where we had a period of inconsistency with the lineup. We worked through it and we played some good shows during that period, so it wasn’t bad. We did a good job and played some good music. But it was hard to get that steady pace of working on new material and getting the ball rolling on recording stuff and everything like that until we had Skylar join us last fall. We’ve been consistent since then. It’s been a really good way to make sure we’re all united and moving forward while knowing we’re not going to need a temporary placement for some time.
Skylar: It’s still difficult for us to schedule with everyone being in a couple jobs or a couple of bands. So we’re trying to maximize the efficiency we can get out of small amounts of time so we’re not wasting our efforts.
Zach: Having said that, we’re probably the most organized band in the Fraser Valley. I even wager top 10 in B.C.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Image: Cassie de Jong/The Cascade