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Re: Fwd: Interview Request- The Strand

September 17, 2009

James Marsh!

I am right now in the middle of writing up a list of questions for Bruce Peninsula.You can sift through them and use the ones you like. I hope they’re of some use to you after the long wait.

Sorry it’s so much later than I would’ve liked. Things are going to be a lot easier now that I have a reliable internet connection.

Also, I can’t seem to open your article on my computer. Which is too bad after much ado about it’s all-around awesomeness. Maybe you can attach it for me.

Are you getting excited for Amy Millan tomorrow? I haven’t listened to the latest album . My friend Marcello was supposed to pass me on a copy of the album that just came out last month, but I guess he forgot about it. If the music is good though, I think I’ll splurge and pick it up. Oh fuck yeah. I’m reading a blurb about it on Wikipedia right now. The album features Feist, and there’s cover songs from Death Cab, Metric and Sarah Harmer! Such a closet Sarah Harmer fan!

As I’m writing this, the torrent for her 2006 album finished. I think the show is going to be good because the album is pretty solid. It’s walking down a very beautiful path between country music and folk. And the name is very clever. Honey from the tombs is supposedly a Tom Waits reference to digging up music from the past, which is appropriate as the album songs date back to content from an earlier band 6 years in the past.

Yo, what’s with all this soft big city urban folk music anyways? A year ago this time I was wearing metallic tights and zebra stripes, buying tickets to see Crystal Castles at Circa and going crazy about electro music. I’m sick to death of djs and dance clubs now, but I’ve got to admit that it’s easier to see how the techno and the big city (aka the centre of the universe, Toronto) are related. But folk music and Toronto? Country music and Toronto? Sunday night country dance parties at the Dakota Tavern with line-ups so long that you can’t get in if you arrive past 11 o’clock?

Are there links going further back in the history of the Toronto music scene to folk music? Certainly there is a long Canadian tradition of making folk music. There was Joni Mitchell and Gordon Lightfoot. Neil Young the Godfather of grunge. Bruce Coburn? Is he folk music? Early Bare Naked Ladies is probably a stretch. That’s weird adult alternative kind of stuff. What was the Yorkville Music scene back in the 60’s? These are all things I would like to explore for the next article when we write about Amy Millan. Or about Amy Millan and Toronto Urban Folk.

Oh, and there will have to be some mention of Arts and Crafts place in the Toronto folk rock scene. I wish I could tell my personal story to Arts and Crafts; of how a couple of friendly faces that I saw in the vastly different context of my doldrum 11-7 daily grind, would become great replenishers of that spring of rock and roll/ deep down in my so-ul! (But on a more serious note, I think I can hook up an interview with them, at the very least via email. Although maybe buying a tape recorder would be pertinent in case I can hook something up for tomorrow night. If I work out this Toronto urban folk thing a little more, maybe I could ask them some questions on that, on the climate of the Toronto music scene as they see it right now. And about their contribution to the Toronto music scene as the definitive Toronto indie label (at least in my eyes), and if they think they’ve changed music in Toronto. (Certainly by making big band something that exists outside of a jazz context, and making solo project viable. I’ve never been so happy to be able to hear every project that every artist in one band has ever done. I never get enough of the stuff, but maybe that’s gushing?)

What do you think? Is it possible that I’m on to something?

I feel like I have a ton to say. Another great thing about seeing each other tomorrow is that we’ll get to compare notes on everything. Hopefully you have some time, and hopefully the show won’t go to late so we will have an opportunity to do that because there are some important pieces of information I’d like to have, like when the next issue of the Strand is coming out (to know when this Bruce Peninsula piece is going to be published) and how often the Strand is published (because I would like to know when this Amy Millan piece would published. If it’s going to be a month down the road it’s probably worth just publishing on the net instead of waiting for the article to get completely out of date, and maybe alluding to in the online article, what will be coming out in the print article.) Anyways, it seems these nitty gritty details will depend upon a discussion of these factors.

Oh, and I should mention something. I hope you don’t find me terribly weird. I’m going to use this email for my art project letter blog.

Okay. No further wind-baggery.


october 1ST 2009, horseshoe tavern Toronto

2 Comments leave one →
  1. james marsh permalink
    October 23, 2009 2:21 am

    You can of course archive/publish/art up any and all of our private correspondences to date! I’ll let you know if I ever write you anything I think is deserving of censorship, but I guess I’d be surprised if that came up!

    I feel like I have a fairly recent impression of Toronto, but the folk scene has been kicking about as long as I’ve been here. I think it’s more a testament to how large a city this place is, and how many subcultures exist within it that you can kind of partake in one musical scene without even knowing about another. I just recently went to a dubstep show, which is admittedly a kind of new genre, but it was the first I’d ever been to, and I was amazed at how many people came out! I guess Thymeless has been doing a Dubstep Wednesday for at least a couple years now, but it’s just something I’d never participated in, despite living down the block from it. I see all kinds of gutterpunks chillin’ in Kensington all over, but I can’t think that I’ve ever gone to a punk show here, except a couple times where it was attached to a ska band in first year.

    I know Crystal Castles are pretty obvious, but does Toronto have a strong electronic music scene? I’ve only ever seen Pink Dead Whale from the area, I think. I think of Ontario as having a pretty legit folk scene though. Amy Millan, to be sure. And $100? I guess that’s everyone I can think of off-hand, haha. That’s more just general brain-deadedness though, I think.

    Peace, Love, and Understanding,


  2. Jiménez Bayou permalink
    October 30, 2009 7:35 pm

    Hahaha, wow, this kind of threw me for a loop. More so the comment by James Marsh. Did you ever see ‘Being John Malkovitch’ ? Because reading this blog post was a lot like that one scene in that move, where Malkovitch goes inside his own head. Yes.

    Thao Sunday.

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