Andrew Mavor on the Idiosyncratic Art of Making a Restaurant Soundtrack

Definitive Records asks interesting Vancouverites to sift through their memories and pull out the three albums that anchor their musical tastes. This week, we hop across the across the water and hit two spots in Victoria where the tunes are loud and legend.


Andrew Mavor, owner/chef of the unapologetically loud Hanks and Nowhere restaurants, readily shared his record picks, plus a few extra that didn’t quite make the cut. But first he filled us in on the philosophy inspiring the playlist and setting the mood at Hanks…

“Music has always been central to the experience at Hanks. I’ve heard our approach to soundtracking a night described in both very fond terms and also heavily criticized, and both feelings are probably fair. It’s always been interesting for me because some people love the fact that they are coming into what sort of feels like our den to come eat, and they take the music as it is and love it for that. On the other hand, some people seem genuinely confused by what’s playing, and that’s honestly a very good thing – by the end of a meal, most are happy to have had a fun time in our place, and I’d like to think the tunes are a decently large part of that, helping to set the mood. With all that in mind, the musical choices are primarily for us, not the customer. When you work a long day and you just want to put down the tongs or knife or shaker, nothing gets you through to the end of the night like good tunes. The customers who really get the place really get that.”


Airborne Toxic Event – Songs of God and Whiskey | LISTEN

“Airborne Toxic Event put out a truly amazing album in Songs of God and Whiskey. As a collection of essentially acoustic versions of existing tracks it stands out with its brooding yet upbeat nihilistic tone. Change and Change and Change and Change features the killer line “I fucked it up like I always do, I was born to be alone…” which resonates with most people who have been around the block I think. It’s bittersweet and melancholic and always brings a wry smile. This is a party track for the disenchanted.”


Nine Inch Nails – And All That Could Have Been (Live) | LISTEN

“Nine Inch Nails was my favourite band growing up and they were killer live. This is a straight up aggressive recording and is a fave to put on when the room gets too serious or stoic. Terrible Lie was the Nine Inch Nails opener since the earliest era of the band but they way its recorded here starts off with a machine gun snare roll that is so jarring its crazy. It turns heads and is really fun to drop into the middle of the evening when things need some livening. Playing this in a room full of diners is pure Dadaism.”


The White Stripes – Silent Night / Gift Of The Magi | LISTEN

“The White Stripes / Jack White has a special place in our hearts. I would list all his solo work as essential Hanks music, but it’s really the He is possibly certifiable and we really embrace that. His lack of self censorship rings true with our ethos and it’s pretty damn funny that he released this Christmas track where he coaches Meg White as she attempts to bash her way through a rendition of Silent Night. We play this year round but less so around Christmas when it would be more appropriate.”

Notable songs that nearly got included here but didn’t:

Meow Mix, the old time television commercial audio | Though often played, this doesn’t qualify as there isn’t really a full cohesive album that it is included on.

Cats – The Musical | It’s just too hard to pick a single track.

Car Seat Headrest – Teens Of Denial | Rylan (our chef) introduced me to this and though we play it often, I feel I am just slightly too old to include this with any notion of propriety.

Evil Nine – You Can Be Special Too | This one goes back to my misspent youth and is killer — probably should have made the list but I’ve already written it so I guess we’ll save it for next time.

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