This week we're in Canada in the city of Vancouver, guided by one half of the DJ duo CHOPSTICK & Johnjon.
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As one of the most populated cities in Canada, Vancouver has a huge mix of personalities, hidden areas, and a tonne of places for a messy night out.
We're talking to CHOPSTICK, one part of the famous DJ duo CHOPSTICK & Johnjon, for his tips on the best areas of this bustling city.
A duo where both parties are manager and producer isn't always going to work, but with these DJ's the combination was just right. Moving from their earlier experimental years, where techno was a toy they could play around with, Chopstick and Johnjon have moved to make a name for themselves in the Slow House genre, maturing their sound to a classical yet heavy sound.
Where’s the best place for a first date?
I have beautiful memories of a small park called Minoru Park. It has a Japanese garden with a beautiful lake and a small chapel. Still, having lived downtown for most of my time in Vancouver, I’d probably go for a walk along the sea wall in Stanley Park, then head to the lost lagoon, walk over to English Bay and sit down on a log at the beach for a sundowner. If you do all that and include a nice dinner at Gotham’s Steakhouse, 3rd base is guaranteed!
Where’s your preferred place to chill and clear your head?
I used to go to Steveston Fisherman’s Wharf to clear my head. The water always has a calming effect on me. Sometimes I'd go for a walk in Queen Elizabeth Park, Kitsilano Beach or Third Beach. All of these places have beautiful scenery and are perfect for clearing your mind.
Where serves the best breakfast?
I’m not much of a breakfast person, or at least I need a minimum of two hours after waking up to develop an appetite, so brunch is a much more common thing for me. I remember last time when I was playing in Vancouver I had a really good burger/sandwich for brunch at Meat & Bread. I've also heard good things about Medina Cafe - apparently it's the hot spot nowadays.
Since my parents are from Vietnam though, and I enjoyed their culinary excursions whilst growing up, I would always prefer a proper vietnamese breakfast soup such as pho over anything else really. Pho Tan on Main St. is really good for that.
Where’s your favourite place to have a quiet drink?
The revolving restaurant Top of Vancouver is a good place for a quiet drink. You can oversee the whole of downtown Vancouver while enjoying your drinks. Also in Yale Town there are some nice bars, and you could possibly find a quiet spot there, but whenever I went there it was anything but quiet!
What to wear...
Where’s your favourite place to have a messier night?
Gorg-O-Mish is a really good after hour place, and it can get really messy too. Also, I used to play for Intimate Productions parties a while back and those nights always ended up messy as well.
How would you describe your city’s style?
It’s a very healthy and green city and the people are more conscious when it comes to that green living lifestyle. It’s clean and it’s not like my current city Berlin, where people don’t care about going to the gym every day and eating healthy etc. I would compare it to LA or Rio de Janeiro. It’s more of a “daytime” city rather than NYC or Sao Paulo which are “nightlife” cities to me.
Vancouver is really great if you dig outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing etc, but the nightlife and sub culture scene is somewhat boring unfortunately. It didn’t used to be like that. Growing up there I went to warehouse raves almost every weekend...not sure if those still exists. Actually, with the conservative vibe of the city I hugely doubt there are any illegal raves at all anymore.
Where are your favourite places to shop?
Granville St. downtown has cool vintage stores. I love vintage shops. You can also find cool shops on Denman St. in Yaletown or Gastown. I lived basically one minutes walk away from Gastown and Yaletown, so you can usually find me there when I'm in Vancouver.
What song sums up your city?
Can’t find a song that sums up Vancouver but any song that's written in major and lyrically is about anything “happy” would fit. Nelly Furtado with her song “I’m like a bird” suits, or any song by fellow Canadian artist!