When Adrian Teacher moved to Hastings-Sunrise in 2003 it was a much different place than it is today. The musician and, yes, elementary school teacher had come from such a far off lands as Nanaimo, UBC, Kitsilano and the exotic climes of Commercial Drive before settling in Hastings-Sunrise with his girlfriend in an attempt to get a way from it all, pay cheaper rent and feed his anti-social tendencies.
"I liked the dichotomy and the wackiness of it," Teacher says. "I loved the strip of shops along Hastings between Nanaimo and Slocan. All these wicked little shops like the cake and eyeglass store and the Master Chef Cafe where you can get a meal for $1.50, the owner who writes Chinese poetry. And you can walk to Wall Street, which is on the ocean but also industrial — I just fell in love with it."
So much so that Teacher and his band Apollo Ghosts named their 2008 album and one of its songs Hastings Sunrise.
The song's lyrics, however, paint a far less rosy picture of the eclectic neighbourhood: "This street is different at night/it seems to be unfriendly when there isnt any light/These streets are different at night/I carry my keys in my knuckles in case I have to fight."
Teacher says the inspiration for the song came about when he was walking home down Nanaimo Street late one night. "And this guy started chasing me for no reason saying, 'I'm going to kill you, I'm going to kill you,' before veering off down an alley. It's noticeably a lot safer in the last few years. It used to be a lot rougher."
Since then, many of Teacher's musician friends have moved into the neighbourhood and Teacher and his girlfriend bought a condo in the area a few years ago after they were "reno-victed" from their previous apartment.
"Families and hipsters have moved in and I'm no doubt part of the gentrification of the neighbourhood," he says.
This past spring, Apollo Ghosts called it a day, playing their final show at the Rickshaw Theatre, not too far from Hastings-Sunrise.
Despite the title, Teacher says most of the songs on the album have nothing to do with the neighbourhood and were primarily inspired by his time as an ESL teacher in Asia and his reflections on home.
"I originally wanted to call the album Chinese Royal Jelly," Teacher says. "I was thinking about China and the idea of colony collapse in bees. But [producer] Dave Carswell said it was a bad name and that we should call it Hastings Sunrise. So we did, and he was right."