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

B.C. freestyle skier wins gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox shines in the halfpipe

Thrilling finish to 59th All Native Tournament

Kitamaat, Hydaburg, Port Simpson and Kitkatla win championships in 2018 All Native Tournament

Day 6 from the All Native Basketball Tournament

Scores from Feb. 16 and finals matchups at the All Native Tournament in Prince Rupert, B.C.

Day 5 of the All Native Basketball Tournament

Scores from Feb. 15 at the All Native Tournament in Prince Rupert

Queen Charlotte voters test sewage plan ahead of Feb. 24 referendum

Comparing Martynuik Road site and Skidegate tie-in a key issue at council Q & A

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Virtue and Moir end ice dance careers with Olympic gold

Virtue and Moir’s gold medal win at the Olympics makes them the world’s most decorated figure skaters

Canadians find living in small spaces teaches creativity

Canadian families choosing to live in small spaces to bring closeness to children

SAR suspends search for missing man at Sun Peaks

RCMP will continue to search for a missing man near Kamloops but SAR has suspended their role

Lottery will help save children’s lives

Each ticket gets you a chance to win a lot of money, while helping a lot of kids

B.C. RCMP officer officially cleared in car wash shooting incident

A report found the Salmon Arm officer fired 14 bullets at the man’s truck

Interest in Canadian Armed Forces remains high

Canada seeks about 5,000 recruits each year for its regular forces of about 68,000

Rules reviewed to keep drug money out of B.C. real estate

Investigator looking at loans as well as casinos, David Eby says

Most Read