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Dada Plan's part spoof, part commentary, all very weird

It is a rare brilliant autumn afternoon in East Vancouver, and I'm headed to the Lido on Broadway to interview Malcolm Biddle (Sun Wizard, Capitol 6) about his new project Dada Plan.
Dada Plan
Matt Krysto (left) and Malcolm Biddle of Dada Plan are playing their record release party at the Lido on Oct. 23.

It is a rare brilliant autumn afternoon in East Vancouver, and I'm headed to the Lido on Broadway to interview Malcolm Biddle (Sun Wizard, Capitol 6) about his new project Dada Plan. When I reach Carolina Street, I can hear the faint sound of a shimmering guitar playing a rapid-fire melody as if it were the the only thing keeping the sun in the sky. It was one of those days where you can't help but giddily reflect on what a beautiful city we live in. I followed the music until I found Biddle strumming his six string serenade in the Lido's back recording studio. 

It's fitting that our interview happened at the Lido, as it's become somewhat of a second home to Biddle since opening its doors earlier this year. 

Primarily a bar, it doubles as a venue some nights, featuring many of the best and brightest local bands playing shows with no cover charge. In addition to this main space, it also features The Band Hotel upstairs for out of town acts needing somewhere to stay, along with a recording studio in the back.  

Biddle, somewhere between the Hugo Ball and David Bowie of the Vancouver weird-pop scene, says his new album, A Dada Plan is Free, is more art project than standard studio release.

 "We tried to do a conceptual thing, so when we finished doing Capitol 6, we said, 'Lets just do something where everything about it is exactly what we want, every angle: Art, songwriting, instrumentation. Something that's funny, but also a social commentary'," he explains. "I've always wanted to do social commentary stuff but its too serious if you're just doing rock 'n' roll. But if the whole concept is sort of a comment, it makes more sense… rather than just lyrics of a 'rock song' being political."

Social commentary indeed. The major lyrical focus is the intricate relationship we have with our natural habitat and the digital world. "Dystopian" gets thrown around a lot to describe Dada Plan, understandably when you've got lyrics like, "It's easy to place all of the blame on a life with phones" ("The Hanging Mirrors of Life-Skype"), and your website is a giant parody of archaic internet culture. In fact, the name itself is a commentary, and if you can't figure that one out, might I suggest a quick Google search

It takes more than one man to make a Dada Plan. Aside from Biddle there is Matt Krysko, who played synths, co-produced the record and owns the Lido, Justin Williams (drums), Colin Cowan (bass), and Malcolm's brother Dave on the trippy Miles Davis-like saxophone. 

Between them, Biddle says the musicians share a common love of jazz, hip hop, and beyond.

"I was just getting into Brian Eno – the first couple of records are awesome – but also I really wanted to make something that isn't pretentious or focused on one thing," says Biddle. "I was listening to lots of Miles Davis, I love Robert Wyatt, but also the Cure, and just revisited a lot of hip hop. People like White Fence and Jack Name [are making music] in San Francisco that's kind of art rock-y too."

A Dada Plan Is Free was produced by the legendary Josh Wells (Black Mountain, Lightning Dust, Destroyer) and recorded at Bottega Studios in the Okanagan. 

"It's an analog tape studio in a little building on a forested piece of land that was built from the ground up as a studio, just for that purpose," says Krysko. "There's a little house on the land where you can go stay for free and hang out." 

The sun is beginning to set, and my time is up. We bid our farewells as Chris Burnside of Vancouver punk band Inherent Vices shows up to start a session at the Lido Studios with the Biddle/Krysko production team. The pair have been busy as of late, having just wrapped up the new Johnny de Courcy album this summer. 

Whether writing, producing, or playing live, the Biddle/Krysko union all it's branches  show no sign of slowing down anytime soon. And as Man Ray once said, dada is a state of mind. 

A Dada Plan is Free is out October 21st. Dada Plan record release show: October 23rd at the Lido with Gretchen Snakes and Mesa Luna.

Follow Louise Burns on Twitter, @_louiseburns_