Part 1 of Interview with CADENCE WEAPON at Ottawa’s Arboretum Festival
Cadence Weapon performs at the inaugural Arboretum Music+Arts Festival 2012 in Ottawa.
These last few weeks have been very exciting. I’ve been doing this whole music writing thing since May, and that seems like a lifetime ago. The Arboretum Music+Arts Festival, which was held on September 15th at the Jail Hostel, marked a point for me when I realized that so many things were coming together in Ottawa, musically. It really hit me that there is a kickass music community here in this city, one that is humble but not afraid to break out of its shell and come together in glorious fashion (as they did at Arboretum). But enough fuzzy wuzzies.
The festival also marked the first video interview by Ottawa Showbox and Partus Films – a collaborative venture between myself and Craig Conoley that blossomed from the same passion we have for Ottawa’s music scene and a desire to find the most effective way to reach a wider audience in the city. We will be continuing the web series on a regular basis in the future – featuring artists of all kinds from Ottawa and across Canada, speaking with them candidly and honestly, or perhaps having them play an exclusive session for us. The possibilities are endless, and with the motivation shared between Craig and I, we believe that this new web series can be a platform for Ottawa’s artists to show what they are made of to the entire country.
The interview with Cadence Weapon filmed at SAW Gallery is the first step. We’re excited to be teaming up to bring these videos to you, and hope that you enjoy them as much as we enjoy making them. Well, here it is… Part 1 with Rollie Pemberton AKA Cadence Weapon.
New Video: The Love Machine – “Make Believe”
If you ask around, The Love Machine is one of those bands that people just seem to categorically fall in love with. Their full-length Sweater Weather debuted a couple years back, and gained a little extra notoriety for their controversial video for the album’s first single “Be A Path”. They’ve decided to put forth another video for the song “Make Believe” that was directed and produced by Luca Fiore. Once again, the video is story-based and features all the members of the band – albeit not as controversial as “Be A Path”, it’s cinematic elements fit the song perfectly. Once again, these guys show that they aren’t about to slow down. Check out the new video below!
OIFF Music Video Challenge Winners
Some big names in Ottawa’s music scene achieved success last night at the Ottawa International Film Festival. Deservedly, Fevers, Flight Distance and Hilotrons all tied for first place in the Music Video Challenge at Babylon on the closing night of festivities. MC Devin Atherton hosted the event as it featured some of the finest artists in film and music that Ottawa has to offer. Fevers had their video for ‘Passion is Dead (Long Live Fashion)’ screened, which was directed, produced and edited by Shooter McNally. Flight Distance also used the night as a premier of their new video ‘Blanket Party’ off their sophomore album Bad Information released in 2011 and directed by Edward Fawcett. The Hilotrons (Kelp Records), who first released their self-titled album in 2003, received praise for their new video for ‘Emergency’ – a video which I have yet to find online, but will post as soon as it surfaces. Congratulations to all the participants, this years crop will leave us waiting in suspense for next year’s OIFF Music Video Challenge.
The 2012 OIFF Music Video Challenge Lineup:
EYES ON YA STAR – ERUPT
EMERGENCY – HILOTRONS
MAKE BELIEVE – THE LOVE MACHINE
BLANKET PARTY – FLIGHT DISTANCE
POST-SECULAR – THEATERNIA
PASSION IS DEAD (LONG LIVE FASHION) – FEVERS
ON HOLD – DENE SWAN
I CAN – SOPHIA RADISCH
HOUSE OF COMMON PROBLEMS – SILKKEN LAUMANN
L.K.U.T. – ZOO LEGACY
ASIAN FETISHIST – SCARY BEAR SOUNDTRACK
THE PROPOSAL – PETER JOYNT
Fevers – Passion is Dead (Long Live Fashion)
Director + Producer + Editor
Director of Photography
Download the single for FREE:
http://fevers.bandcamp.com | http://facebook.com/feversband
Flight Distance – Blanket Party
BUY IT NOW: http://flightdistance.bandcamp.com/track/blanket-party
Director: Edward Fawcett Sharpe
Producers: Edward Fawcett Sharpe, Joel Barnes, Steve Jones
Cinematographer: Joel Barnes
Editor: Edward Fawcett Sharpe
AD/Colouring Grading: Steve Jones
Performed and written by: Flight Distance (Bender, Patience, DJ Calkuta)
Produced by: Crack Moses
With co-production from: Kaem
Mixed by: James Hancock
From the acclaimed Flight Distance album, “Bad Information”, 2011.
Amos The Transparent: Video for “Says The Spark” & Tour Info
One of Ottawa’s main exports as far as Canadian indie music goes is Amos The Transparent, a band that has been flying high form the critical acclaim of their first two albums and receiving praise for the most recent release Goodnight My Dear… I’m Falling Apart. Personally, the band has grown on me for a few reasons. First, out of all the music that’s out there, songs or bands appeals to us for various reasons. Sometimes it’s image, catchiness, or lyrics – in the case of Amos, it’s a bit of everything. But to me the most attractive aspect of their music is honesty. The honest composition and delivery of their music is refreshing every time you put on their albums, and none more so than their latest release. Their announcement of festival dates at Pop Montreal and Halifax Pop Explosion affirms that they are serious about making their voices heard across Canada.
Tonight they are set to play Zaphod’s, I’ll be following up this post with a review/interview with the band in collaboration with Apartment 613. In the meantime, here are their tour dates and latest video for “Says The Spark”.
Aug. 10 @ The Branch, KEMPTVILLE
Aug. 16 @ Zaphods, OTTAWA (w/ Battle Mountain Band, Ben Caplan)
Aug. 17 @ Rivoli, TORONTO (w/ Revelstoke)
Aug. 23 @ Maxwell’s Music House, WATERLOO (w/ Sandman Viper Command)
Aug. 24 @ APK, LONDON
Aug. 25 @ Phog Lounge, WINDSOR (w/ The Archives)
Weekly Pick: Hannah Georgas – “Enemies”
Canada has been serving up some of the world’s best female singer-songwriters since before many of us were born, and I can’t see any signs of things changing anytime soon. Musicians like Feist and Kathleen Edwards have helped carry the torch to a new generation of Canadians, bringing honesty, beauty and divine musicianship that seems lacking in a time where women in popular music are presented as an image instead of a artist. Hannah Georgas is set to release her sophomore album this October under her new label Dine Alone out of Toronto, who also represent others such as City & Colour, Hey Rosetta!, Yukon Blonde and Dinosaur Bones. Her new single “Enemies” is an example of a musical evolution, she breaks out of her shell and borrows elements from different genres to make the sound her own. There is an ethereal aspect to this song that brings together poeticism and beauty in her vocals and instrumentation that caught my attention instantly. The new album will also feature Graham Walsh from Holy Fuck, Ryan Guldemond and Ali Siadat from Mother Mother, Ted Gowan from Tegan and Sara, and Andrew Braun from Rococode. It’s just too bad that we have to wait until October to hear it, and if it follows the gripping nature of this track, should be one of this year’s best. I’ll leave you with opening lyrics from the song and a live, in-studio performance of the song from an exclusive CBC Music Session.
We’re in a sea full of sharks
Just swimming around and around if we get caught
They’re gonna taste our blood
You leave a trail and the word will get out
That we’re all lost and ready to kill
Weekly Pick: Cadence Weapon – ‘Hope in a Dirt City’
So the weekly picks haven’t been quite ‘weekly’ recently, but I’m working on that. The point here isn’t to make you like the same music that I do – it is to give you something (possibly) new to listen to while getting dressed or baking cookies. And if you want to read my two cents about it, you are welcome to do that as well.
Lately I’ve been totally immersing myself in new music, new genres and different approaches to composition. With an open mind I’m rediscovering the art of listening to an album – although albums these days are just binary code on the computer, I’m relieved that musicians still write quality full length albums and not just singles. I still miss the excitement of unwrapping a new CD and popping it in for the first time though. I also used to be one of those guys who religiously listened to rap in grade 10, thinking Tupac Shakur was the messiah and that the 7 Day Theory was actually true. Since then, my taste in music has matured a bit but I’m still always open to listening to good hip hop. A Tribe Called Quest, Beastie Boys and J5 opened my eyes to intellectual hip hop and the power it has to represent real skill and technical ability over the gangster image.
A lot of times Canadian rappers remain under the radar, as hip hop seems to be disproportionately centred around the United States. Not to take anything away from what Drake has achieved, but his breakout came from getting signed by Lil’ Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment. Even more, I still think a lot of it is about the fame and fortune. It still boggles my mind how rappers make money from writing about how much money they have – it’s like a never-ending circle that promotes being a douche. I guess that’s one of my main problems with so many rappers, that they are consumed with the wrong things and then writing songs about stuff I would never care about. I can’t connect to something I don’t care about. The pretentious aspect of it all takes away from the core of what hip hop is all about: the human condition in urban culture.
Obviously this isn’t a blanket claim. The fact is that most ‘real’ hip hop remains unseen and unheard by the general public. I’m not claiming to know everything about underground hip hop, far from it. I’m only starting to get back into it again. One Canadian artist that stands out is Cadence Weapon (Rollie Pemberton) of Edmonton, AB who now resides in Montreal. His latest release Hope in a Dirt City through Upper Class Recordings has been getting huge reviews and critical acclaim. His recent short-list nomination for the Polaris Music Prize is a result of delivering a risky, yet dynamic album that forges different styles of music together. It includes everything from jazz-influenced intrumentation to 80’s sounding bass lines – the rules of hip hop composition have been thrown out the window in favour of a completely original sound.
The overall approach to this album is the use of unconventional approaches. The lyrical phrasing is often ‘sloppy’, but intentionally so. Pemberton goes back and forth between verses with rhyme and flow to ones that are more disjunctive and almost spoken. The use of synth to create a darker aura in several songs, and there aren’t many repetitive loops or samples. This makes the album one that requires a few listens to really develop an appreciation for – with so many different things happening, it might come across as strange at first. Personally, I’ve had it on repeat since I downloaded it.
Part of what makes this album a success is the way Pemberton explores darker themes, and how he reflects them through lyrics. The narrative changes throughout the album, songs like ‘Hype Man’ look at the hip hop scene through different perspectives and tell a story through an interesting dialogue. Tracks like ‘Get On Down’ really focus on the technical aspects, as he provides an unrelenting and intense flow that makes you wonder when he has time to take a breath. His skills as a DJ and producer are apparent throughout the entire album. The production is more intricate and developed than his 2008 album Afterparty Babies (also a Polaris Prize nominee), and offers listeners a much different sound to almost anything out in the music world right now. Overall, listening to this album is a refreshing experience.
I recommend giving all the Polaris Prize shortlist nominees a listen. This year’s crop of artists won’t disappoint. I recently saw Pemberton on Discovery HD’s National Parks Project, an incredible documentary-style series that brings together Canada’s rugged and beautiful landscapes with our nation’s most promising and talented musicians. He joins musicians Laura Barrett and Mark Hamilton in Waterton Lakes National Park, AB, where they band together and create incredible music that reflects their experience. I can’t recommend this series more, it is impossible not to enjoy. Check out the Waterton Lakes EP features Cadence Weapon, Barrett and Hamilton here.
Looking back at June: Zoo Legacy & Silkken Laumann
|Silkken Laumann (Photo: Ming Wu)
Ottawa musicians seem to be hard at work this summer (which begins in early May according to my internal life calendar). With Fevers releasing their debut music video for “Passion is Dead (Long Live Fashion)” a few months back, alt/hip hop trio Zoo Legacy just dropped their first video for “L.K.U.T.” off their upcoming album City Light Glow. The Acorn frontman Rolf Klausener’s experimental side project Silkken Laumann also released a new video for the song “House of Common Problems”, the second single from the forthcoming album Not Forever Enough. Both videos are strong precursors for their respective band’s full-length release, giving us visual stimulation on great tracks while we wait. And both are dance-party worthy, so check out both new videos below and have a dance party.
Video: BEACH HOUSE – Lazuli (Official)
Think what you will about music videos, but I still believe that they can be an incredibly effective compliment to a song, or album. Ever since I accidentally flipped to Muchmusic when I was 6 and watched Green Jelly’s “Three Little Pigs” (which was horrifying at that age, to say the least) I have been intrigued by what music videos have to offer. Nothing can really replace how the song actually makes you feel when you listen to it, whether it be the bassline, rhythm, lyrics, or a simple guitar riff. However, in some cases – and I say some because the music video world is populated mostly by idiots – the video provides another dimension to the music. Beach House seems to take that quite literally with their video for ‘Lazuli’ which mostly takes place in the 4th dimension. For some reason it reminds me of ‘Paranoid Android’, a video which we all know and love. Maybe it is the presence of despairing characters. Or maybe it’s because no one has a frigging clue what is happening throughout either.
Nonetheless, I love it. A cool video for an even cooler song. Cheers to director Allen Cordell and his brain.