Brandon Hoffman, aka Blocktreat. (Submitted)

Blocktreat to bring backwoods electronic sounds to Haida Gwaii

Brandon Hoffman, aka Blocktreat, got his name fronting a satirical treeplanting hip-hop group that rapped about lunch-stealing bears and pesky double planters.

“I brought an MPC drum sampler to camp, so we’d make these beats in the mess tent and then take them into the truck, which had the driest recording space available,” Hoffman says.

From that joke truck-cab EP, Hoffman moved on to experiment with laying chopped-up bluegrass traditionals over electronic soundscapes and minimal beats. With the help of a Vancouver indie electronic label, he put out two albums as Blocktreat that got some radio play, but soon Hoffman wanted to leave the bedroom-producer thing and re-interpret the songs for live performance.

Working with drummers Brent Morton and Graham Serl, he made a set spliced with mandolin, live drums, beats and effects.

Unprintable in family-friendly newspapers, the last album under that set up — Exciting New Ventures in F***ing Up — finally had the sound he’d been trying to dial in.

Song lyrics soon floated in, and after a year in studio, Blocktreat is now touring as a free-growing four-piece band about to tour Haida Gwaii and the northwest — actually pretty close to home, since Hoffman was raised and is now returned to Williams Lake.

“Maybe this is a sign that Canada’s electronic scene is coming into its own, if the smaller communities are finally coming on board,” he said, talking about Tribe Called Red and Moontricks, who also meld beats with more traditional on-the-land sounds.

“Everyone always says Canada has no culture of its own, or our only culture is we’re not American. But it’s cool to see these backwoods aesthetics coming out of smaller towns.”

Haida Gwaii can hear the result next weekend at two shows sponsored by the Haida Gwaii Arts Council.

With Jessica Rampling on bass and Daniel Ruiz on drums and electronic percussion, Blocktreat will play the Skidegate Small Hall on Thursday, Feb. 8 and the Port Clements Community Hall on Friday, Feb. 9.

Opening both nights will be Malcolm Jack, who Hoffman first heard playing at Arts Wells and describes as the East Vancover-raised love child of Talking Heads and Fela Kuti.

One of Malcolm Jack’s recorded pieces, “Inner Circles,” is a single 22-minute track of ambient music sprinkled with folk songs.

“It never stops, but these songs emerge out of the woodwork as finely-crafted little indie folk songs and then it drifts back into this ambient cloud.”

Just Posted

In Pictures: Masset Main Street packed for Harbour Day

Sunshine and a fun set of games, sports, BBQs, fish bakes, pancake… Continue reading

Province to fund social housing in Queen Charlotte

People who are homeless or at risk of homelessness will soon have… Continue reading

Study highlights Queen Charlotte housing needs

A new housing report highlights lack of social and seniors housing

Northwest family doctors win awards for B.C. launch of CHANGE Program

Northwest family doctors win awards for B.C. launch of CHANGE Program

Duu Guusd expands to include creek near Rennell Sound

More than three decades since the Haida Nation first resolved to protect… Continue reading

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

Woman’s death near Tofino prompts warning about ‘unpredictable’ ocean

Ann Wittenberg was visiting Tofino for her daughter Victoria Emon’s wedding

B.C. man facing deportation says terror accusation left him traumatized

Othman Hamdan was acquitted of terrorism-related charges by a B.C. Supreme Court judge in September

Will Taylor Swift’s high concert ticket prices stop scalpers?

Move by artist comes as B.C. looks to how to regulate scalpers and bots reselling concert tickets

36 fires sparked May long weekend, most due to lightning: BC Wildfire

As warmer weather nears, chief fire officer Kevin Skrepnek says too soon to forecast summer

Ariana Grande sends message of hope on anniversary of Manchester bombing

Prince William joins survivors and emergency workers for remembrance service

Cariboo business supplies security ATVs for 44th G7 Summit

Spectra Power Sports Ltd. of Williams Lake supplying security vehicles for G7 Summit

B.C. flood risk switches from snowmelt to rainfall: River Forecast Centre

Kootenays and Fraser River remain serious concerns

Pipeline more important than premiers meeting: Notley

“Canada has to work for all Canadians, that’s why we’re fighting for the pipeline”

Most Read