Thursday, July 30, 2009
I spoke to Patrick Krief of Black Diamond Bay and formerly of The Dears. He very graciously made time for me and I was so wowed with the expediency with which he produced his answers that I forgot to take his picture. Here's a picture of the street I parked on before the interview, I hope that suffices. Tomorrow, I'm off to New Brunswick. Ten hours up and sixteen hours back, wish me luck!
This morning I got up early and drove out to visit Aidan Girt of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, 1-Speed Bike and Exhaust among others and his family in a lovely country house about an hour and a half outside of Montreal. It was idyllic and homey and just wonderful. After lunch, Aidan did most of his interview balancing his daughter Norma on his knee while his cats and dog lazed about the place. A nice break from my hectic schedule. In fact, all of the craziness of trying to get people on the phone and trying not to get tickets and whatever else just melts away when I step inside the houses of musicians and such and just take in their energy and the touching stories they share.
That's Aidan lighting up a bottle of kerosene, for those with vision less than 20/20.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
I stopped by Hotel 2 Tango, the birthplace of many of my favorite records including Arcade Fire's Funeral, British Sea Power's Do You Like Rock Music? and Godspeed You! Black Emperor's Yanqui U.X.O. among others, and spoke to Howard Bilerman, who along with Radwan Moumneh, Thierry Amar and Efrim Menuck, owns and operates the studio, a staple of the Montreal musical community. Bilerman gave me the grand tour and made me a wicked strong cup of coffee and then I interviewed him about his place in the grand scheme of things and all the magic that's happened in the walls of Hotel2, which shares a building with Constellation Record; hallowed ground if ever there was any. It was a blast and I thank Howard for meeting me, and his wife and daughter for not minding the late hour at which we met.
Well, things have been slow here but I finally got ahold of some bona-fide musician-folk. First let me say that Montreal is a touch overwhelming, mainly because I don't speak a word of French. I was supposed to come with my friend Sarah, who speaks a word or two but unfortunately because of the solebury township police department, that didn't quite work out. What it means is that I'm very much on my own out here and have no clue what to do, where to park, or how to say anything other than 'Hello' and 'Thank you'. I'm staying with a girl called Tay and her friend Joe in a little apartment on Rue St-Urbain. I'm afraid I don't know either of their last names, but they're lovely, lovely people and have been endlessly nice since my arrival.
Beyond that, today I got to interview two heroes of mine, Efrim Menuck from Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Silver Mt. Zion and Jessica Moss also from Mt. Zion and a band called Black Ox Orkestar. Jessica has played with both Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene before and to sit down with the two of them was just....unreal. They were both very kind and made time for me in the midst of one of the most hectic weeks of their lives and for that I thank them.
Beyond that, it's a lot of sitting around and waiting here. Many of the people I tried to get in touch with have proven elusive, but I still have a day and a half left so we'll see what happens.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Well, folks, tomorrow I'm off to Canada to meet its musicians and hopefully come back with enough interviews and the like to edit together my film. A pre-emptive thank you to Rachel Thompson, Jo-Ann Goldsmith, Brendan Ekstrom and Circa Surive, and the Duff family for helping me with lodging. I'll be there for two weeks, so if you're in Montreal, Sappy Fest or Toronto and want to talk about music, send me an email. Wish me luck, Cheers!
Thursday, July 9, 2009
I went to New York yesterday to meet some very excellent people. First on the list was Matt Schulz. Thanks to the endlessly patient Melissa Greiner, I met Matt in a beautiful apartment in Tribeca and we talked about his band Holy Fuck.
With that completed, I went to Brooklyn where Handsome Furs were playing at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. Incredibly nice people both of them, Alexei and Dan played one of the best shows I've ever seen and still found time to set up an interview. Great all around. Thank you Erica Bruce for getting me to the show, you're the best editor in the world.
Monday, July 6, 2009
If you'd like to know how something can simultaneously suck and rock, take a camera and follow me to any place with hippies. I just came back from the Rothbury festival and let's just say that 'camping' doesn't agree with me. I disliked most of the bands, spent a lot of fun, hated my accommodations, got lost, sunburnt, bugbit, and dehydrated, but I got to see some friends, some of my favorite bands, met some terrific people, scored some absolutely perfect interviews, and I have to admit to I was pretty sad to leave.
That's Brendan Canning, those of you not well-versed in the backs of rockstars. I have pictures and video, but nothing uploaded to prove that I got interviews so here's the rundown: interviewed a number of people about their love of Canadian music, interviewed Brendan Canning of Broken Social Scene, Amy Milan and Evan Cranley of Stars and BSS, Jesse and Al from MSTRKRFT, and Sam Roberts of the band with the same name. I was so glad to see Sam again as it was an interview with him that inspired the film. Had a wonderfully strenuous time and had some really beautiful experiences, even if it meant walking 30 minutes for a semi-clean toilet and getting dirt in my nostrils.
I'd like to thank Jo-Ann Goldsmith for helping me navigate the festival and being an absolute pal and say thanks again to the guys in the Sam Roberts camp for letting me spend some time in an air conditioned trailer and eat proper food; Eric, James, Dave, Denton, Patrick and Sam, you guys are tremendous. I'd like to thank Aaron Brody (You rock!) for vouching for me and helping me get an in with BSS and Robin Laananen, their tour manager, for being truly wonderful. Robin is a saint and a hell of a photographer. Joe and Bryan from Guster for telling me they'd see the film when it was done. Andrew Whiteman for shooting the breeze with me for a bit about film and being a super nice guy. My parents for helping me get going and checking to make sure I wasn't passed out in someone's tent or falling asleep at the wheel. Nick, Sebastian and Sarah for checking in with me, making me feel a little less lonely in the slower hours. I want to thank Erica Bruce whose blog allowed me to go to the festival without the additional cost of a ticket and for helping me get there incident free. Kevin Drew for stealing my camera and getting a few artistic shots of the woods; also for holding the mic during my interview with Evan and Amy, two of the most genuinely nice people I've ever met, you could just feel how much they cared standing a few feet from them. Just in general, Kevin Drew made the film feel possible and I'm glad to have finally met him; he's a hero. Brendan Lynch for putting his arm on my shoulder and letting me know that things were gonna work out. And of course Sam, Jesse, Al, Brendan, Evan, and Amy for making time for me and my little film and making me feel like an old friend even if I'd only just met some of them.
These are terrible photos, I admit, but I'm saving my good ones for the blog I got sent there to write for, so go to Between Love and Like in the coming days and you'll see the good ones. You should also just go there because it's a great site and Erica is a great person. And then there are the little people that I'd like to thank. Sonny, Reynolds, and Maura who work for Livity. Maura for smiling at me and asking how things are everytime I wandered by looking lost, Sonny for giving me a sweatshirt when I got cold and Reynolds for making some time for me to talk about Canadian music. Thanks guys. Then the other folks I stopped and talked to, down on the grounds or up in the press tent.
It's tough living by yourself, sleeping in a car near portable toilets and having to pay eight dollars for awful food but thanks to the people I met driving 26 hours to see a couple indie bands in a festival full of jam bands didn't seem like the craziest idea in the world when I was coming home. I don't know that I'll ever go again, but I felt like a part of things when Declan from BPMTV, his fiance Leah and Sam Roberts gave me a Canadian flag to take home with me. Moments like that stay with you. I hope I can give back to you guys with this film.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Quick thing, I forgot to mention that of the folks that I interviewed at the Thomas Francis Takes His Chances camp, James is the proprietor of Snakes Got A Blog, the music site devoted to Spencer Krug's band Sunset Rubdown and all things quirky, musical and Canadian. I think you can see his head under the followers bar over there. Second item, this weekend I head to the Rothbury Music Festival in Michigan in the hopes of capturing the elusive Broken Social Scene in the wild. I'm also looking to sit down with Al-P and Jesse Keeler from MSTRKRFT if they'll let me and the fellows in the Sam Roberts Band. If what I've just said doesn't mean anything to you, you've got some shopping to do. Sam Roberts is the closest thing to John Lennon we have today and MSTRKRFT are some of the most sought after sound manipulators in the world and Broken Social Scene....well, there's just too much to say. I love Broken Social Scene. Also appearing at the festival are non-canadians Willie Nelson, Guster, Man Man, Cold War Kids, Toots and the Maytals, and Bob Dylan. Should be a fun weekend. Wish me luck, friends.