Bleako's Nuclear Disco

What's your favorite kind of soup?

Carson: Miso soup, there’s nothing better than a good bowl of miso soup.

Hugh: I like Campbell’s tomato a lot.

David: There’s one I absolutely love called tom kha gai.

Avery: My family has a culture around my Grandma's soup. She sends jars of soup on crazy planes to get to everyone. Her soup is just amazing, I can't even describe it.

Bleako’s Nuclear Disco is an eccentric alt-rock band that blends together multiple genres, composed of Hugh (vocals/lyricist), Avery (vocals/lyricist/guitar), David (bass), Carson (percussion), and Anthony (former guitarist). They are an integral part of the underground music scene in Vancouver, playing a range of venues such as the Rickshaw, Redgate, the Fox Cabaret, Buddha’s and more. Notably they have opened for Black Pontiac at The Wise Hall in 2022 and played at Buddha’s New Year’s Eve show last December which contributed towards donating over a thousand dollars to the WISH drop-in centre. More recently they played Music BC’s Let’s Hear It live showcase as the Fox Cabaret in March. Not only have they played an array of incredible shows, but they also had a live set and interview on CiTR radio 101.9 FM in July of 2022 for DIGFEST and were the 2022 recipients of the FACTOR artist development grant. These local legends in the DIY punk scene are a force to be reckoned with, and absolutely know how to wow a crowd. I have had the pleasure of seeing them live on a few occasions and their upbeat energy, dynamic lyrics, and insane instrumentals create such a fun show environment with a blend of original songs, and sometimes a bizarre and fun cover of “Watermelon Man” by the great Herbie Hancock. The band has released two EPs entitled My Grandparents’ Party Room and Theory of Satisfaction as well as their most recent singles “Silk” and “Yellow Stereo”, all of which can be found wherever you stream your music! Recently, I sat down with them to talk about their current tour, upcoming releases, and more, and that conversation is available below:


You guys blend so many genres together and do so many diverse things in music, how would you describe your sound to people who haven't heard it before?

Carson: I guess I kind of do have an answer to that. If people were to ask, “what genre are you?” I think the easiest way to explain would be alternative rock or art rock.

David: We just try to be open.

Hugh: It kind of just happens because we play the instruments we play. I'm sure if someone played the violin, there would be more orchestral sounds, or it would change if we didn't have Carson's heavy drumming.

Avery: I don't think anyone in the band is opposed to really anything. If you brought acoustic instruments or yeah, like violins, all those strings or brass or whatever, it would definitely change the sound of the band.


Do you guys have a favorite memory from a show?

David: Yeah, I definitely do. We played the Wise Hall last year and I think that was our first gig where Avery was officially in the band, and it just felt like we were complete. It was a big stage, bigger than we ever played before, and we just had a blast. And then the Rickshaw recently, was just kind of surreal to play there too.

Hugh: Yeah, I mean, I got to say, when we played our opener song “Arrival” and “Proletarian Rag”, it just felt like I finally had enough space, and it was just so cool to be able to fully execute what we wanted to do. I just felt so into it, it was just a dream come true with these guys.

Avery: I remember playing at the Wise Hall, which is the second time I'd played with you and Carson before, like three years ago, when we were in the band. Then I quit the band and rejoined like a loser. At the Wise Hall I had so much fun, it was really packed, and I just felt like it's always a dream of mine to play for a lot of people and just see everyone having a great time. I remember my mom was there too, and my parents do not come to shows and she was there, my sister was there. Just a couple memories from the Wise Hall: I remember when we were playing “Yed”, Hugh and I tripped into each other, and it was so funny. I accidentally hit someone in the face with the mic stand and then afterwards I went “hey, whoever I hit with the mic stand can you put your hand up so I can buy you a drink?”, and then everyone in the venue put their hand up. I did find her, and I bought her a drink so that was a pleasant memory. Playing the Rickshaw and just looking at everyone else like this is surreal. I was just really grateful to be up there with these guys. Then we played City Fest and there were David's little cousins and kids dancing everywhere and they were just having a blast and I was like; this is so much fun. Just seeing the kids. They came up to me afterwards and they were like, “Are you done with the band now? Are you gonna go up and play more band?” And I was like, no, sorry guys. That was a very fond memory to see the kids dancing.

Carson: Mine was like December of 2021. I remember at the time it was only me, Hugh and Anthony. We went to the Creative Block, which I don't believe is around anymore. It was across the street from Buddha’s. For some reason I remember we had very low expectations and we went there, and it was actually a lot more fun, and the people there actually seemed to like it. I feel like that was just our first interesting show.


Do you have any upcoming shows?

Hugh: We're doing a tour and we're going to throw a show when we get back, but we have not nailed down the date for that. Most of them are finished. We're still confirming a couple, namely the return show. Its just Canada, like Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec city.


I'm curious what do each of you think that you bring to the band that kind of sets you apart from other artists in your genre?

David: The dad vibes.

Carson: When I think about what we listen to, I feel like it shouldn't work, but it does somehow. I'm not saying that other local bands in Vancouver don't do that, but I feel like you can tell when a lot of members listen to the same thing. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's like, music is kind of a stew. The more random stuff you put in there like ham, mango, put some rum in there, put some peanut butter. Whether a good band or a bad band does that, it's still interesting regardless, I will say I feel like we do put a lot of random stuff in the blender. Whether you like it or not, I think it's interesting.

David: For me, obviously it's just a lot of rock and Spanish as my influence, and I love jazz. I love working with these guys because they like working hard, and I like to work hard in terms of music. I like to push myself. I would love to aspire to be the best I can. So, I think to a fault that I sometimes bring that to the band, and obviously it's important to be balanced.

Avery: I think I'm a very playful person and I like to play around on stage and bring people into things. I do see other bands doing that, but I think it's really lovely playing when I can see that people just genuinely feel really welcomed. I've been coming to shows and a lot of the times, you don’t really feel very welcomed by a lot of fans. I really want to make it a point to make people feel welcomed and listened to and cared about and not like we're the big band on stage. I want to create a nice space for people and really feel welcomed and safe. I'm always very happy to have people come up and talk to us and they can say all the stuff about the show, but you know when people are like “I'm just happy to see you”? That makes me really happy.

Hugh: As a person, I kind of control. I like to make things happen, so I think I try to put things together that otherwise wouldn't happen. A couple of the shows we threw have been a lot of fun. I try to bring different bands together. The New Years show, for example, we've got the Virgin Losers, like really heavy, awesome punk band, really hardcore, and then we also brought the Noodle Boys who are really chill surf rock. I feel like I just try to bring different parts of the scene that might not be talking as much to each other together. I'm not sure if the people benefit from it, but I'm sure it does. I as a person have a short attention span, so when all the bands are similar genres it kind of bores me. Nothing against the bands, but I just feel like there's a real strength in diversity. You could say it's a selfish thing for me, trying to entertain myself by putting on such a show, but I think it's fun to bring all kinds of different people together.

Me: Like playing music God?

Hugh: I do like to play music God, yes.


You recently released “Silk” I would love to hear a bit about that song.

Carson: Anthony is not here, he would be able to answer this question the most, but if I recall, I remember he kind of came up with the format of the song, you (Hugh) came up with the chord progression, and then you would move on to the next section of the song. I think for that song specifically, it was kind of more like Anthony was the director of that song.

Hugh: Yeah, we filled in with our parts, after his idea.

David: He had a strong theme of nostalgia and love.

Avery: And breaking back on a relationship, so he said. I wasn't in the band when they wrote it, but there weren't lyrics. So, when Hugh and I wrote lyrics together, it was more difficult to write lyrics for a song that you’re not necessarily not connected to, but I wasn't there when writing it and I guess I just didn’t feel as emotionally attached to it.

Hugh: I think the most important part of that song for me is what it represents of us as a band. We wrote it in 2021, so it's been a couple of years, it brings together what we were doing around that time quite well and I guess that's me, Carson, and Anthony. David and Avery joined us last year, but yeah, it just shows us trying new things, going in a different direction than our typical existentialist songs.

Avery: It's like a slope. All steppingstones you can see with each song, progressing further into what we want to do.  

Carson: Almost anything you write is, like you said, a steppingstone, but “Silk” specifically was an important step. It was a meaningful step.


You mentioned earlier that your band is composed of people who have very different music taste. Do you want to share some of the artists that you each take inspiration from?

Carson: When I was in the first two years of high school, I was only listening to obscure slash metal bands and other sub genres of metal. I’ve been getting into post hardcore stuff like Unwound, At the Drive-In. But I also like some noisy stuff, some sad boy stuff like Elliott Smith. Just a big mix of a lot of stuff. I don't really know how to explain what any of this has in common other than a lot of the music I listen to goes for a certain emotion, and I feel like I'm inspired by displaying a feeling or an emotion of some sort.

David: Lately I listen to 70s jazz; I really like fusion music. Bands that are current, like the Mars Volta, I’m really digging. These guys got me into Black Midi, I really like them, they're insane, and they have a lot of originality. I used to play drums in a death metal band, so I have a bit of that background too. Right now, it's mostly jazz, I just love how amazing these songs are. They're just freaking beautiful. So, I'm learning how to bring a bit more of that melody and harmony and stuff that you see in jazz.

Hugh: My favorite band is Radiohead. I feel like I have two things that I gravitate to. The most important one, and I feel like most myself, is music that inspires wonder in me. Almost like spiritual, but not. So, like Spirit of Eden by Talk Talk. All sorts of classical music, it goes on and on, but I also like very society stuff, such as Radiohead. I like bossa nova, I like folk, I really like Fleet Foxes. Anything that can make me feel like something greater is in the world. Something wonderful and magical.

Avery: There's different things I like in music, sometimes there's music that I listen to when I just need to be very peaceful. For that, I really love Roy Harper, he's a folk guitarist and he will play these huge guitar ballads with his twelve string. It's just one guitar, that's kind of where I come from in terms of music. I play electric guitar in the band, we don't really use acoustic guitar, but I love acoustic guitar, and acoustic folk guitar, and all the Welsh guitar. I love Lana Del Rey, Stevie Nicks, Amy Winehouse. I look for music that kind of makes me feel like “fuck I wish I wrote that”. Like people who are so phenomenal in what they do. You have the envy, but it's the envy that pushes you forward like “that needs to be me”. So, I do it.


This one might start an argument. If you could collaborate with any other band or artist, who would it be? The catch is you all have to collectively agree.

*overlapping inaudible arguing begins*

Avery: Carson I think you'd have the most obscure answer. So, I think you need to filter it out because I know you would love to play with some crazy people. Ugh that's really hard, we all have to agree so it needs to be neutral for everyone. Black Midi?

*unanimously agrees*

Avery: I just created world peace.


I want to talk about the weirdest song in the discography which is “Bahwow”, because there’s so much going on there.

Carson: It was all kind of an inside joke, and because of that people find it funny. We don't really find it funny anymore, I will admit there was a time where I loved it, but jokes don't really get funnier the more they age. It is definitely one of if not the heaviest song we have. Hopefully one day we'll come up with a song that is heavy in the same sense but-

Hugh: But good-

Avery: But not a joke-

David: What’s the story with the warm corner?

Carson: So, when I was in elementary school and it was freezing cold in the winter the supervisors would be like, no, you're not allowed to sit in the warm building, you have to freeze outside. There was this little shade of cover under the corner and us being the freezing children we were, we would have to huddle up.

Hugh: Didn’t you say you would throw yourselves into the corner?

Carson: Yeah, I think because we tried to make it a necessity of being warm, the goal is you have to be in the corner. So, it was a game of like ten kids shoving themselves in a corner.

Hugh: I remember when writing that song, Carson wrote this really heavy song, which is goofy, and I didn't want to write anything serious over it. It was before our sort of more collaborative songs. That was in a period of time when Carson and I were kind of taking the lead more, before David and Avery were in the band.


Do you guys have any goals for the future, anything you can say about what's in store for the band?

Avery: Become Radiohead.

David: Collab with Black Midi.

Carson: Make more music, and better music.

Avery: I just want to keep making music that we all enjoy and can sit and be proud of. There's just nothing like playing music that you're proud. It's such a blessing that we get to do that, and I just want to keep making music that shows off what we can do. Experience more opportunities with the band and just keep up with writing music and playing shows that we really enjoy.

David: For me, I think definitely just making the music, and becoming better at writing together. There's a lot of stuff that goes into having the band and there's all of the admin stuff that has to happen to make things go somewhere, but at the end of the day if all that failed, I'm just happy to be in the room with these guys, trying to push our limits in terms of what we can do musically.


To end on a fun one, if you were all fantasy creatures, what would each of you be and why?

Avery: Can it be kinda goofy?

Me: It can be whatever you’d like, the goofier the better.

Hugh: I guess I'll start it off. I would probably be a unicorn, because of the flashiness of it.

Carson: I would love to be a New Jersey devil so I can torment the people of New Jersey.

David: A slug. A big slug that eats unicorns. I don't know, I like phoenixes. I've always liked just the fact that they kind of spontaneously combust and then they come back to life and combust again, it's beautiful.

Avery: I think I’d be a small dragon that breathes fire, but its like this big *shows about an inch with their fingers*

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Photos by Alana Thorburn-Watt: