Featured image by bonyfingers
Letter from the Editors
There is something a little unreal about Rocky Lalune, perhaps even ghostly. Where else could her best Debaser shows take place if not Mugshots? The ol’ jail hostel. Remember when you just used to say you were going to jail? If you’ve ever been to one of these shows, you would have likely seen a quiet young lady casting simple, yet mind-bending projections from an old-school projector your Grade 5 math teach used. Yup, that’s her.
We at Ottawa Showbox had the pleasure of working with Rachel Weldon on a few occasions. In the last few month we co-presented shows with Debaser for bands like Freelove Fenner, Gay, Street Meat, I Smell Blood, and Nemesisters. When we found out that she had made the decision to move to Montréal for school, it occurred to us that we had only just begun to get a sense of what Rachel is all about.
From our point of view, the world needs more Rocky Lalune’s. Her obsession with music, passion for the scene, and love for Ottawa are all qualities that she oozes. She’s the kind of person who makes sure touring bands get paid, and that all bands get their fair share. Artists want to work with her, not just because she has a radio show or because she’s a solid promoter. They work with her because she’s uncompromisingly genuine and in it for them. In an industry wrought with middlemen and money-grabbers, it’s refreshing to know someone on the ground level that supports sui generis artists so vigilantly.
Every Tuesday on CKCU, a show named Debaser neither degraded nor blemished the weird scene. It did the opposite: it directed our attentions, enhanced our playlists, and hinted at what was to come. Where was the nearest tear in the fabric, the entrance to the underground? How far were you willing to go past the fringe to see what there was to see? The guests on her show were often awkward, sometimes immature, always odd, and all of them makers of the highest order. Who cares that they weren’t scholars or artists-in-residence — they were all creators and each one was undeniably human. Rocky’s interviews were never degenerate, did not promote debasement of any kind, except perhaps that one time when some friends called her from a road trip…
Debaser was never vile, always wicked. She brought in bands she’d discovered at Burning Man, which many of us had barely (or never) heard of. However, she opened Ottawa’s eyes to a lot of new music that needed to be heard. Debaser presented bands such incredible bands as Weaves, Doomsquad, HSY, Princevali, Petra Glynt, as well as local freaks like The Yips, Tropical Dripps, Fet.Nat, Hard Science, and Grime Kings, only to name a few. Her collaboration with local festivals like Arboretum Arts Festival and Ottawa Explosion always included bands that pushed boundaries and ultimately enriched our experiences there.
The posters! Check ’em out below. Some stunning, some colourful, all beautifully put together.
Rachel is also one of Weird Canada‘s “wyrdians” – she’s is involved with artist relations at Wyrd Distro. Here are the values to which wyrdians ascribe:
This is the basis of everything Debaser.
So Rachel, this one’s for you. Thank you for being a leader in Ottawa’s cultural evolution and renaissance, and for being a conduit for artists from other cities to connect to Ottawa’s underground scene. You’ve made your mark here, and for that our city is indebted. We at Showbox try to speak for the 613 when we say best of luck in all your endeavours and if you decide to come back, we’ll be here with open arms!
Don’t miss out on Debaser’s final Fryquency show at Mugshots tomorrow night, Aug.9! Fryquency will continue to be a monthly event at the jail hostel thanks to Emily McQuarrie.