Tag Archives: Bill Callahan

Ep. #175: Sir Richard Bishop

Sir Richard Bishop is a tremendous and well-respected guitarist based in the state of Oregon. For close to 30 years, Bishop was a member of the renowned rock band Sun City Girls but in 1998, John Fahey’s Revenant Records released Salvador Kali, Bishop’s first solo album. By now, various labels have gotten behind 11 Sir Richard Bishop records, including his lovely new LP, Tangier Sessions, which is out now via Drag City. He will be touring extensively throughout the United States in March and April, but he kicks off this trip in Vancouver at the Fox Cabaret on March 26. Here, Richard and I discuss leaving Seattle for Portland, Doug Horne in Guelph, a very special small parlour guitar from Geneva, spending time recording this new record in Tangier, improvised inspiration, classical creeps in, being a self-taught musician, collaborating with musicians who know theory, getting into guitar as a kid, discovering punk and the emergence of Sun City Girls, getting attention through tension, potentially playing music with his brother again, opening for people like Bill Callahan and Will Oldham, conveying humour live, living a viable life, working with Drag City among other labels, the forthcoming Rangda record, the blues-y piece “Mirage” and then we let it come down.

Related links: sirrichardbishop.net vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #143: Cold Specks

Cold Specks is Al Spx, a talented and fearless singer, musician, and songwriter who calls Montreal home. Originally from a Toronto suburb called Etobicoke, Spx has garnered international attention for her powerful voice, dark-hued lyrics, and post-punk aesthetic, which is all the more unique given the rather folk-oriented feel of her 2012 debut album, I Predict a Graceful Expulsion. In late August, Arts & Crafts and Mute co-released its follow-up, a decidedly more forceful and sinister record called Neuroplasticity. Beginning November 5 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cold Specks is on tour across the world for the foreseeable future but we connected for a candid conversation at the Halifax Pop Explosion last month. The discussion covered topics like living in Montreal and visiting Halifax, Loel Campbell and Tim D’Eon of WIntersleep, living in England, the concept of neuroplasticity and how it might apply to Cold Specks, getting bored, trying to perform songs from I Predict a Graceful Expulsion, destruction of melody and subtle aggression, London and Glastonbury, hills and pagans, corporate witchtowns, no socks, sonic goblin, wearing capes and goth people, the trumpet of Ambrose Akinmusire and the voice of Swans’ Michael Gira, growing up in Etobicoke with her Somali parents, Rob and Doug and the Ford family, not quite apolitical, Al’s oud-playing, soul-singing dad ‘Dr. Love,’ the late, popular Somali singer Saado Ali Warsame, Swans, Bill Callahan, the Strokes, Tom Waits, and Nick Cave, the Strokes on Letterman and emerging after 9/11, the Backstreet Boys have come up on two straight episodes now, having a persona, creative pursuits, loving True Detective, Vince Vaughn, Colin Farrell, and Rachel McAdams, Band of Brothers, shooting a cannon at The Nutcracker, meeting Joni Mitchell who is awesome, the art of the interview, yelling at a Q guest host and other bad journalists, why I talk to people, being and not being a diva, touring a lot behind a record that came out kind of quietly, the Hotel2Tango and Howard Bilerman, why Montreal is good, not wanting to interact with anybody, the song “Absisto,” a nervous breakdown, and then the exit plan.

Related links: coldspecks.com halifaxpopexplosion.com vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #86: Destroyer

Destroyer is the music-making moniker of Dan Bejar, a very gifted lyricist and musician who originally hails from Vancouver, British Columbia. He has been creating an idiosyncratic kind of pop music as Destroyer for almost 20 years and can also claim membership in bands like the New Pornographers, Swan Lake, and Hello, Blue Roses among others. His latest work as Destroyer includes the lovely 2013 EP Five Spanish Songs and his brilliant ninth LP, Kaputt, which were jointly released by Merge Records and Dead Oceans in 2011. On Friday April 11, Destroyer plays a solo set at the Dublin Street United Church in Guelph, Ontario as part of Kazoo! Fest. Here, Dan and I discuss why, despite living in Spain for a spell, Vancouver remains his home, that year he played SappyFest and first spent time in New Brunswick, why playing small towns is refreshing, how Destroyer has evolved into a ‘heavy touring machine,’ Will Oldham’s interesting tour routes and how Dan envisions a touring pattern of his own, how his solo performance process and execution has evolved, how he and his family moved around a lot when he was growing up and whether or not that impacted his ‘cosmopolitan’ outlook, how bands in the Vancouver scene like Superconductor and Blaise Pascal first drew him to appreciate and play music, what he studied in school and why he dropped out, how Carl Newman’s early work resonated with him, why Vancouver in 1992 was the best irrespective of what else was happening in the Pacific Northwest, Dan’s uncertainty about his band leading skills and his lack of any real aesthetic, the reception to Kaputt compared to previous records he’s made, an update on the Destroyer recording sessions he’s beginning this week and also his two ‘unfamiliar’ contributions to a New Pornographers album due later this year, his interest in enigmas and mysteries, what his ‘words first’ approach to songwriting might say about him, his reservation about engaging with music by younger artists, our mutual adoration of Bill Callahan’s Dream River and Bill Callahan generally, the somewhat unappreciated humour in Destroyer’s songs and how Dan amuses himself as a writer, how this podcast is going to change everything, what material his solo shows have been consisting of as of late, whether or not he might learn to play a Pavement song, my son’s insistence that Bob Dylan and Jim Guthrie wrote a song together called “Colourbook Face,” the Destroyer song “Certain Things You Ought to Know,” and nothing more.

Related links: mergerecords.com/destroyer kazookazoo.ca vishkhanna.com

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