POST PUNKS MAKE NOISE TO COMFORT PAST TRAUMAS
Written by Johnny Papan
Whereas most bands only dare to scratch the surface when entering the music scene for the first time, Stuttr are scraping it clean with a rusty scalpel. The noisy post-punk band from New Westminster, consisting of bassist Brie Dunphy, guitarist Ralph Cabebe, drummer Trevor Sawchyn, and guitar/frontman, Jonathan Delivuk, are developing a reputation for their catastrophic performances.
When I first saw the band at Sipp Chai, a small cafe in Abbotsford, it was like being washes by an anxiety-ridden tidal wave formed from the sea of aggression. Agonizing screeches were complimented by a sadistic thrash of instruments who were treated more like whipping boys, taking a punishment meant for modern society. It was loud, fast and unlike anything I’ve seen before. Delivuk, who introduced himself in a calm, level headed and respectable manner had transformed into a demonically possessed psychopath when he hit the stage. The Mr. Hyde to his Dr. Jekyll.
“I’m a hypersensitive individual,” Delivuk says. “I do have a difficult time controlling my emotions. My way of being as crazy as I am on stage is just an extreme unfiltered version of myself. It’s therapeutic when I get to scream at the top of my lungs and do some crazy things I would never imagine doing in my day to day life. It helps me cope so that I can remain a calm, ‘chill’ individual on a regular basis. I guess that pretty much sums it all up, doesn’t really get more complicated than that.”
Banding together in 2018, the quartet began playing shows in 2019, gaining traction in the scene. The band took their unique mix of noise, post-punk and alternative rock to JJ Heath and Raincity Recorders in October of that same year. The result is a four-track mindfuck aptly titled: It’s A Kadoozy.
“When I was very very young I was with my Grandma. English is not her first language, and we were at an ice cream truck for whatever reason,” he explains. “She offered to get me a popsicle, so obviously I was a very excited child. There was a popsicle called ‘ITSAKADOOZIE’ that caught my eye but, as a kid who struggled with reading and writing, I could not read the name out loud. The ice cream lady refused to give me the popsicle unless I could read the name of it. I couldn’t and my poor Grandmother couldn’t either. All I remember is leaving the truck with anxiety, no popsicle, and some tears.”
Delivuk recalled this story while hanging out at the beach with his fellow bandmate, bassist, Brie Dunphy.
“The second I uttered the popsicle name ‘ITSAKADOOZIE’ we immediately stopped, burst out laughing and decided on that for the EP name. It’s pretty funny that this whole thing was over a popsicle and that’s the idea.”
Recently the band dropped a music video for their first single, “Bletch”. The video follows an ice-cream cone going about its day and getting in some, dare I say, “sticky” situations. Though the video has a comedic edge, the tumultuous track is withdrawn from a place of melancholy, twisted with observational sarcasm.
“It's essentially about people who think life should be approached one way and one way only. Anyone who doesn’t follow this “way” is wrong. It’s a pretty generic concept, I guess, but I wanted to emphasize my personal experiences,” Delivuk explains.
“I had a great deal of struggle in school growing up because I was a very slow learner and battled a lot of mental health issues at an incredibly young age. I was made to feel stupid by my instructors because I would ask a lot of obvious questions and I would get the ‘you should already know that’ response all the time. I couldn’t help it. My mind wasn’t quick enough to absorb all the information that was being thrown at me and, I guess, that’s where all the anger comes in. I had to force myself to learn a lot on my own because I wasn’t able to understand the help that I needed and, instead of trying to guide me in the right direction, my instructors and everyone else just turned a blind eye. That’s where the ‘ideology is a lie’ lyric comes in. The biggest critics are the worst defenders.”
In a world saturated with over-sensitivity of various extremes, many opt to hide from their own flaws. Instead, people have become inclined to smash the keys of shame and digitally destroy the reputation of others. A way to find solace in their own insecurities. It’s A Kadoozy proves that there are ways to cleanse yourself internally, taking the burdens of “then” to create a matured understanding of now.
Delivuk concludes: “When I write lyrics, the ultimate goal is to try and understand my mind and what goes on in it. I had always been a very hypersensitive individual, so I would easily let small situations affect my entire existence. I realized later in life that it’s best to just laugh at your quirks and put them into something positive, which is what this whole EP is about. The music is an outlet for all this hypersensitive emotional energy I have bottled up which allows me to laugh at the stupid things in life that would normally get to me.”
“I could make a generic artist quote and say my lyrics are ‘all up to interpretation’ and in a way it is. But these lyrics mean the world to me and helped me understand myself in a lot of different ways. Whatever people get out of that is what I am excited to find out.”
Stuttr plays their EP release show at Pub 340 on Friday, January 24. Listen to the album on Bandcamp.