Serendipitous Magic – The Making of The Vancouver Song Video

September 7, 2011


I am so excited about this post!  It is large, but entirely worth the read.


This year is Vancouver, BC’s 125th Birthday, and there has been so much going on this summer as far as celebrations and festivals.  I attended the “Celebrate Vancouver,” Festival in Stanley Park in July, and it was amazing.  Beautiful weather, free shows, and all local artists (Hannah Georgas, Hey Ocean, Said The Whale..)  given the chance to rock a massive set of stages!  It was truly an awe-inspiring event.

Next day I woke up, looked out my window to a sunny view of the mountains and ocean and thought to myself “Vancouver….you are so pretty when it’s sunny!” Vancouver has it’s stigma for being rainy all the time, and I am not doubting it’s reputation to be soggy. However, catch it on a cloudless day, and it is the best place in the world!  I posted that phrase on my facebook page, and got huge response from people that very much agreed with my statement….it became the first line of my song, which I finished in one short sitting at Jericho Beach.

Stage 1: Setting

I’ll try to keep this brief, as there are so many ridiculous events that took place.  At one of my shows, I had a raffle, and one of the prizes was a live show.  Eric Saczuk, a very talented local photographer and an amazing man (, won the draw for the show, and had us over to his place overlooking the water for a sunset outdoor sky jam something similar to a U2 video!  It was surreal.

Stage 2: People Part 1

I feel very fortunate to have met a lot of phenomenal people this summer.  Matt Langill, an excellent guitar/bassist and instrument builder (, and Julia Tran Thanh (Exceptional Bodhran player/singer from France) are two people I particularly thank the music gods for guiding my way.  The chemistry was instantaneous, and within a week’s time of meeting, we played a massive show together at the Kitsilano Showboat Theater on a Celebration of Lights Fireworks night in front of 1000+ people.  It was the three of us that then played on Eric’s rooftop, along with the band James and Kings.

Stage 3: The Creative Forum

I started a company this year with my band mate and long time friend from university, Tim Weaver.  It’s called Simply Organic Studios, and our focus is all about capturing artists in their truest musical forms audibly and visually, as well as providing a coaching system/development program that equips artists with the tools to succeed in the world of music on and off stage.  For our videos, we search out cool environments to showcase artist’s live abilities, and after such a spectacular experience at Eric’s, we thought what better fit for the Vancouver Song!

Stage 4: First Recording

Pressure was on to do this video, as Julia was returning to France within a week.  Matched with coordinating of everyone’s schedules and the randomness of weather patterns, the stars aligned for one day where we could all meet….and it was gorgeous outside!  We filmed a bit in Deep Cove, where we had a hike and a pre-shoot jam to entertain folks at Quarry Rock.  From there it was patio time!  After recording a couple of takes, the building manager came by and asked if we wanted to check out the roof!!….Are you kidding me??? Can I get a WHOOP WHOOP!  View…was….OUT….STANDING!

Stage 5: Video Editing

Tim did a marvelous job with this video.  I went over last Friday night to see the final version, and it looked fantastic.  We both agreed though it was good, but was missing something.  This song has epic quality, and we didn’t feel that it’s potential was fully explored.

Stage 6: Bring in the Special Teams Unit!

A week previous, myself, Tim, and Matt met Tatiana Speed (Singer/Songwriter/Djembe All Star) and Orlando Alvarez (Saxophone God from Montreal/Columbia) playing at a beach concert on Spanish Banks.  We started playing the Vancouver song, and they showed up out of nowhere, falling right into place in the jam!  It was sick!  We toyed with the idea of adding different parts to the song, but still filming and recording them live to add to the mix.  After some serious texting tag and a lot of magic….it came together.  Along with slick sticks Darren Beattie on drums, and Tim on piano, we had a miracle in the making!

Stage 7: Second Recording 

If you haven’t been to Vancouver, you need to go to Corduroy Lounge (  I call this place “The Perfect Storm,” as I can’t think of how it could be better.  It’s centered right in the heart of Kits, owned and operated by the most amazing people around (Eugene, Eugene Jr., Rebecca, Kayla, Amy, Evelyn, Alicia, Fig, and Adam), food is second to none, the patrons are always warm and music loving, the stage couldn’t be better suited for musicians with everything they need, and the open mic night on Tuesday is the best caliber of performance you’d find in Vancouver, and the number one hotspot for musician’s to network and let loose.  Dave Morin and I host it on alternating weeks, and it comes with a warning….IF YOU ATTEND TUESDAY NIGHT OPEN MIC…..YOUR MIND WILL BE BLOWN, AND WE ARE FULLY RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY POSITIVE LIFE ALTERING EXPERIENCES YOU COME AWAY WITH!!

Back to the story.  I could talk about Corduroy all day!  Tim, Darren, Matt, and myself play in band together called In The Nude. Corduroy was kind enough to let us go in with our drummer Darren the next day in order to add a bigger rhythm presence to the song, and it went great!  Darren also writes a killer blog about life, fitness, and health too.  Check it out:

Next was Orlando.  He came in, blazing black patterned Sax in hand, ready to jive!  We wandered over to the beautiful and historic Showboat Theater behind Kits Pool, where his playing enticed many passerby’s.  Again, we were graced with another beautiful day. From there, it was over near the Planetarium with Tatiana…and this was hilarious…and stressful!!

Besides Tatiana learning the song for the first time to sing, we were faced with a dying laptop battery, an airplane flying about with a banner that read “PINKY: WILL YOU MARRY ME: LOVE CUR!” that looped 3000 times, rising winds, and every other kind of random sound clash interference you could think of.  Again, it all came together, and we got solid takes before the computer gave up it’s last breathe!

Stage 8: Final Recording

Labour Day – Matt, Tim and I shipped out to a pier in North Van that overlooked Downtown Vancouver, and it was a great spot for Tim’s piano shots.  Side note – if you ever want to spy on anyone downtown, they have one of those mounted super vision viewers at the end of the pier that is free, and exceptionally magnifying!!

Stage 9: Final Editing 

Again, I can’t stress how pumped I was to see how Tim put the footage together.  My mouth dropped on my first view, and I hope yours will too.  This is the kind of product and experience we can and want to create for artists with our videos, as I know I will remember this sequence of events for the rest of my life!

**The full band will be performing this song to end the “We Love Vancouver,” Festival Sunday September 11th.  Our set is between 8:20pm-8:50pm in The Norm Theater.  The event is called Global Village Day, and it is a fusion of world and local music, artisans, and markets, with all ticket sale money going to Shinerama – A group that raises money for Cystic Fibrosis.  Tickets are $10, and the day/night is going to be epic.  Hope to see you there!

Thanks to everyone who helped make this video possible.  Without further adieu……Enjoy the show!

Mr. Bard/Michael Averill


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