Artist Spotlight: Stevie’s Revenge

Vancouver can expect a second EP from the dream-pop group by 2019

Left to right: Daniel Tran, Owen Reimer, Evan Martinuik, and Katrina Vu are in the process of recording their next EP as Stevie’s Revenge. (Alyssa Laube)

Musical fusion defines Stevie’s Revenge, a local four-piece most commonly described as “dreamy” but just as easily deemed indie rock or psych pop. Listen to their eponymous EP and you’ll be in for roughly 15 minutes of funky, easy listening music that was recorded, mixed, and mastered by the members themselves last year.

Multi-instrumentalist Daniel Tran and drummer Katrina Vu have been playing music together since Grade 11. Despite all the time they’ve spent performing together, Stevie’s Revenge is the first of their projects that they consider “serious,” and the first to produce professional recordings. Joined by bassist Owen Reimer and guitarist Evan Martinuik, they’re now laying down tracks for their second, currently unnamed EP, which is set to be released before the new year.

Martinuik explains that the debut—with its cover adorned by an artistic rendering of Vu and Tran’s grumpy rabbit, Stevie—was more a product of their drive to put out content than it was a slow, meticulous crafting process. The next record will be more carefully assembled, presenting longer and more experimental songs than what has been heard from Stevie’s Revenge before.

Surely the band will maintain its trademark sound: guitars heavy with reverb, whispery synths, and swinging bass riffs accompanied by Tran’s conversational lilt. But with the upcoming release, we’re likely to hear more elaborate instrumentation due to more collaboration and higher energy within the band. The band describes this sound as more “interesting” and “jammy.”

“A lot of the songs on there are sort of a hodgepodge of all the different sounds that I like. I feel like every song has a different vibe,” says Tran, about the EP. “A lot of the time I’ll write about things that I’ve read in books or seen in movies. Theme-wise, oftentimes it’s about love, love that doesn’t always work out. Also just feeling sort of lost in what you’re supposed to be doing at your age and sort of melancholy, I guess.”

One such example is “Broken Radio”, the third song on their released record. The track, led by a twinkly but melancholy guitar riff, was inspired by the 2003 film Lost in Translation.

“In ‘Broken’, I’m writing about that feeling of being lost or feeling isolated in this big city, because the movie is set in Tokyo, which is this big sprawl, and the characters just get lost in it,” he says. “I think I had to blend that element from the movie with how we live here in Vancouver as well.”

A few aspects of the band have changed since “Broken Radio” was released. Tran used to play bass in the band, but with Reimer involved, he’s able to play his two preferred instruments: synth and electric guitar. Using these, he has written new parts for old songs and new songs from a fresh perspective.

The four members have also been focusing on working together more, pushing boundaries in their songwriting and blending their styles to create something that they hope is unlike anything else being offered in the local scene.

“There’s a very obvious Vancouver music scene with a very obvious sound, and I personally try to not go with the herd and to sound differently,” says Martinuik. “Because we don’t fit in, we stick out a lot more.”

Reimer adds, “I think we have a really collaborative sound because a lot of the time you’ll see a band and it’ll be like, ‘this is so-and-so and his band or her band.’ I feel like our songs are really performed as a unit a lot more.”