VITAMINSFORYOU at the Drake Hotel (1150 Queen West), Tuesday (July 18). $5. 416-531-5042. Rating: NNNNN
One-man-band Vitaminsforyou's (aka Bryce Kushnier) recent release, The Legend Of Bird's Hill, evokes thE kind of intimacy particular to computer-based pop -- you can almost picture him hunched over his laptop in the dark.
A closer look at Kushnier's resume reveals that he's actually quite enamoured with the social aspects of making music with other people -- he also provides beats and performs with flamboyant dance troupe and electro funk extravaganza Fritz Helder & the Phantoms, helps out with some horns and keys for soul metal darlings Lullabye Arkestra, has an occasional band called the Wednesday Afternoon Players, does production work for Emm Gryner (who guests on his album) and is involved in numerous other collaborations.
"Any time I develop a new musical friendship with someone, I immediately start thinking about how I can make music with them," Kushnier confesses from his Toronto home.
"There are two really big differences between making music on your own and with a band. One is organization. I don't think that people realize when they see a band or buy an album how much organization goes into booking rehearsals, putting together tours and recording around a bunch of schedules and a group of different people's lives.
The other is the communication aspect. I found I really missed the camaraderie of playing music with my friends, so I ended up putting together a band in Montreal after my first album."
Originally from Winnipeg, he moved to Montreal in 2002, and from there ended up in Toronto. It's tempting to explain his laptop twiddling -- which creates a combination of wistful Postal Service-esque electro pop mixed with folk, psychedelic rock and techno -- as a result of relocating to more cosmopolitan cities, but Kushnier remembers the scene in Winnipeg as being small but quite supportive and fertile for electronic music.
"I don't think it's so much about where you are as it is about living in the place that you are, coming from where you came from. I don't think I'd be doing the same thing if I'd moved to Montreal from the East Coast.
"I grew up with dance music but also with indie rock. With Vitaminsforyou, I never set out to make electronic music, but the tools of electronic music are great for people who are working by themselves."