Music & Visions selected by Anna Lisa DM
Love, Love, Love, from Grap that gun album, Too Pure Records.
The Organ was a Canadian post-punk band formed in 2001 in Vancouver, British Columbia. They officially broke up on December 7, 2006, due to illness and personal conflicts in the band. The Organ were conceived in 2001 by frontwoman Katie Sketch, born Katie Ritchie, in Vancouver, BC. Sketch’s musical training started at the age of three, when she began classical training on the violin. Her childhood was spent largely in ignorance of the underground sounds of The Smiths, The Cure, and Joy Division, whom The Organ would later often be favorably compared to. “Tiffany and Bon Jovi – that was my take on ’80s music.”
Sketch has said of the time of the formation of the band, when she and the band members were in their early to mid-twenties. “I was in a musical lull, I couldn’t stand what I was listening to,” naming Sleater-Kinney as one example. “The local scene was also pretty shitty, and of course the radio was brutal. Then, by total fluke, my mom’s friend’s husband, Ron Obvious, hired me to help with the audio wiring for a studio he was building for Bryan Adams.” Obvious introduced Katie to the world of independent music, and what she calls “that ’80s sound.” He created mix-tapes of bands he thought she’d appreciate as a violinist (Roxy Music, Ultravox) and singers with an “amazing natural vocal pitch” (Siouxsie and the Banshees, Nina Hagen, Kate Bush). This job also led Sketch to Tara Nelson, the engineer who would later record the Organ’s first EP.
It was at this time that Katie joined with her friends Sarah “Sketch” Efron (on bass and keyboards) and Barb “Sketch” Choit (Hammond organ, guitar, bass) to form the instrumental trio Full Sketch.
“I met Katie Sketch when we worked morning shifts at a wretched cinnamon bun shop,” says Efron, “but we really became friends on a road trip where we ended up breaking down in the redneck town of Hermiston, Oregon. On this trip, we decided to form a band and call it Full Sketch.” Katie, though she was already a proficient multi-instrumentalist, decided this would be a good time to try her hand at drums.
“The concept was, ‘Let’s start a band where you play an instrument that you’ve never played before.’ It was basically drunken ridiculousness, but all of a sudden I felt like life made more sense. Sarah was involved in CiTR, and Barb was big into indie rock, so what started off as a joke got me out going to see shows. The way The Organ began was as an offshoot of Full Sketch—I wanted to take the same sound and do it with singing.”
Efron was also the news director at UBC’s CiTR, where she, Sketch and Choit co-hosted a raunchy late-night call-in program called “The Dead Air Show.”
After about a year, Barb Sketch left the band to focus on her career as an artist and Full Sketch ended. According to Katie Sketch, “Barb Sketch is now in suburban California. She’s long forgotten her Canadian roots and lives on a ranch with her man and a team of horses.” At this point, organist Jenny Smyth (born Genoa Smith), replaced Choit on keyboards. Together with Efron, they founded The Organ.
In 2001, a long audition process began. Eventually, Sketch “tired of auditions,” and decided to “just hire some people.” After finding a handful of like-minded musicians, Katie assigned them instruments and taught them to play. Taught is a relative term though—Debbie had been playing guitar for three years, and Sketch has expressed distaste in interviews when portrayed as a “music teacher” to the girls: “[The press seems] to think they had a lot of help or something, but mostly it’s just the drive to be able to learn the instruments and play them,” Sketch said. “[My teaching them] was maybe a half-an-hour, hour process.”
Nick Knight is among the world’s most influential and visionary photographers, and founder and director of award-winning fashion website SHOWstudio.com. As a fashion photographer, he has consistently challenged conventional notions of beauty and is fêted for his groundbreaking creative collaborations with leading designers including Yohji Yamamoto, John Galliano, Alexander McQueen. Advertising campaigns for the most prestigious clients such as Christian Dior, Lancôme, Swarovski, Tom Ford, Calvin Klein or Yves Saint Laurent as well as award-winning editorial for W, British Vogue, Paris Vogue, Dazed & Confused, Another, Another Man and i-D magazines have consistently kept Knight at the vanguard of progressive image-making for the past three decades. He has directed award winning music videos for Bjork, Lady Gaga and Kanye West. His first book of photographs, Skinheads, was published in 1982, winning a DandAD award in 1996. He has since produced Nicknight, a twelve year retrospective, and Flora, a series of flower pictures, both published by Schirmer Mosel. His latest book entitled Nick Knight was published by Harper Collins in 2009 .His work has been exhibited at such international art institutions as the Tate Modern, Victoria & Albert Museum, Saatchi Gallery, the Photographers’ Gallery, Hayward Gallery and the Gagosian Gallery. In 1993, he also produced a permanent installation, Plant Power, for the Natural History Museum in London.
A long-standing commitment to experimenting with the latest technologies led to Knight launching his fashion website SHOWstudio in 2000, with an aim, in Knight’s own words, of ‘showing the entire creative process from conception to completion.’ SHOWstudio has pioneered fashion film and is now recognised as the leading force behind this new medium, offering a unique platform to nurture and encourage fashion to engage with moving image in the digital age. Since its inception, SHOWstudio has worked with the world’s most sought-after filmmakers, writers and influential cultural figures to create visionary online content, exploring every facet of fashion through moving image, illustration, photography and the written word.
Knight lives with his wife and three children in London. He was awarded the OBE in 2010 for his services to the arts. He is an honorary professor of the University of the Arts London and was awarded an honorary PHD by the same university.