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City of Glass: city, book, and now band

"we’re building a race of ghosts,

nothing to give but still needing let’s vanish into the night

find reasons to keep these hearts beating

I feel these weights untying"

- City of Glass "Knots"

David Phu and Michael Champion from Vancouver band City of Glass. Photo courtesy of Keith Ng

There are three things you need to know about City of Glass: 1. Yes, the name was inspired by Douglas Coupland. 2. You can never take a single word they say seriously and 3. You cannot listen to their music without falling in love with it.

How is it possible that a Catholic school boy bound for business school, and a small-town Nanaimo native, would suddenly decide to spend the rest of their foreseeable lives playing punk-rock dance music?

 City of Glass was born in and named after our city itself. The group's bittersweet name stems from the title of a book by Coupland, who is one of the band’s favourite authors. It  is also a tribute to the diversity of Vancouver.

City of Glass is  comprised of two down-to-earth, witty, and talented band members: lead singer Michael Champion and guitarist/backup, David Phu. They both hold  full-time jobs and manage to find the energy to write, record, and produce meaningful and distinctive music.

Aside from being completely oblivious to the world of Justin Bieber and Twilight, the band went through many other rough times. City of Glass endured experiencing members falling in and out of the band, all while trying to find a steady sound. Then it struck them: City of Glass was destined to be a partnership, two best friends doing what they loved most.

Although being a two-person band is often a struggle for Champion and Phu, Champion says  he “would rather feel too much stress from feeling too much [at once] than [feel] all the stress from having nowhere to focus energy.” There are still moments of sheer incredulity where the two suddenly stop and think, “What the fuck are we doing?” 

Their sound is influenced by bands such as Deathcab for Cutie, Bloc Party, and Weezer, although their music is undeniably original and unbelievably addictive. City of Glass pushes the limits of punk, pop, and dance music creating a sound that is so inconceivably infectious, you’ll sing along even if you don’t know the lyrics.

Champion and Phu are highly self-critical, favouring only about five songs out of the 150 demos which they’ve created. Their official EP Equations was released in 2009 and while it was a challenge to make, it received great feedback from all across Canada, even touching upon some American listeners.  Their lyrics reflect their own frustrations in life and love, but allow for enough abstractness for any listener to easily relate to. Their biggest hits include: “Wait” and “Big Ideas,” although my personal favourites are “Stop Running” and “Knots.”

Take a listen and try to stop your body from feeling it. I dare you.

City of Glass recently played at the Whistler ski and Snowboard Festival and will be kicking off a tour across Canada late this summer.

Don’t miss their upcoming concerts:

May 22, 2010 at 8 PM with Spotlight Carnival, at The Bourborn

June 3, 2010 at 8 PM at the Anza Club

City of Glass will also be performing an acoustic set on CJSF radio on May 26, 2010 at 6 PM.

For more information on City of Glass and to preview some of their amazing hits, visit their site at:

You can also stay up to date with City of Glass on their Facebook Page and Twitter account.

Photography for this interview was done by Keith Ng. You can visit his website at: aKvisuals

See video

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