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Bear Mountain bonded by love of slow jams

By Joe Leary

Local synth-poppers Bear Mountain. (PHOTO SUBMITTED)

Local synth-poppers Bear Mountain. (PHOTO SUBMITTED)

Acclaimed in the electronic synth-pop world, Bear Mountain is a local band garnering major attention at prestigious music festivals. Prior to their performance Nov. 9 at the Vogue, Joe Leary spent 24 Seconds with frontman Ian Bevis.

24: How did the band actually come together?

IB: There's a club in Vancouver around the corner from our studio called the No. 5 Orange. I used to go there on my lunch breaks and hang out. Kenji Rodriguez was working there as a DJ, and Kyle Statham was working as a bartender. I started chatting to them in between dances, and we discovered we had a mutual love of slow jams. I asked them to join the solo project I had been working on, and the rest is history.

24: Was it always the plan to be a musician or did it just happen organically?

IB: I never planned to play music professionally. I had a great career in corporate finance up until a few years ago. One day in my suit and tie walking in downtown Vancouver I put my iPod on shuffle and on came the Don Henley track The Heart of the Matter. It was at that moment that I quit my job, moved into my parents’ basement and didn't come out until I had a record. It was the best decision I ever made.

24: The reviews have been very positive for you guys. How important is critical acclaim?

IB: At the end of the day reviews don't matter. We make music for ourselves and the people who want to listen to it. Even if no one listened to our music, we would still make it.

24: You're a hard band to put a label on, as there seems to be so many elements and styles to your music. How do you describe the sound of Bear Mountain?

IB: It's kind of like that scene in Armageddon when Bruce Willis has to leave Ben Affleck behind on the destructing spaceship and Aerosmith starts playing and it gets all emotional. It's kind of like that.

24: How is it having your brother Greg in the band? Do you guys ever have creative differences?

IB: It's great. We do have creative differences every once in a while, but we usually just sort it out the old fashioned way. It’s nice having a sibling on the road though — someone to remind you to call your dad on his birthday.

24: You've played a number of major festivals. Does the performance change based on the size of crowd or venue?

IB: We've always wanted to play festivals so for us it felt really natural to play big crowds. We bring a lot of energy to our sets and we always try to bring that same energy, whether it's in front of a big festival crowd or a little club show. We usually just do our thing regardless of the size of the crowd.

24: Who inspired you musically growing up?

IB: Mostly Genesis, Pink Floyd and Whitney Houston. Britney Spears also played a defining role in my love of pop music, but only the early stuff.

24: Is there a story behind the name Bear Mountain?

IB: It was actually originally called Bare Mounting, but there was a typo when they did the first run of our CDs, so we just stuck with the name Bear Mountain. It seemed to work out for the best.

24: What do you foresee for the band for 2014?

IB: A lot of Taco Bell and Tito's vodka. Then more touring and releasing more music. We've had a great year this year, so we're working hard for next year and we're really excited about what's coming up


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