Witch Prophet discusses her new, Polaris Music Prize-nominated album, DNA Activation, pandemic life in Caledon and Toronto, Black resilience and Black resistance, Canadian arts grants, Heart Lake Records, future plans, and more! Supported by you on Patreon, Live at Massey Hall, Pizza Trokadero, the Bookshelf, Planet Bean Coffee, and Grandad’s Donuts. Support Black Women United YEG.
DIANA is an electronically inclined pop band from Toronto whose primary members are Kieran Adams, Carmen Elle, and Joseph Shabason. After their 2013 album Perpetual Surrender earned them accolades from the likes of the New York Times, the Guardian, and NPR, DIANA toured a lot and then got back to work on new songs. The result is an excellent, emotionally raw yet playfully fun and infectious record called Familiar Touch, which is out now via Culvert Music. DIANA are gearing up to tour with a giant version of their band and are playing select Canadian and American cities in November and December. They were just in Guelph to play a show so we met up at CFRU for a conversation about studios with carpeting and linoleum, parquet and Parkay and margarine, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, nothing but margarine, a culture of butter in Newfoundland, hardcore butter people, Counting Cows, swimming lessons at a dairy farm, Nutella and honey, peanut butter and butter, Triumphant Schmeer, sweets, throwing out our lunches, ruining my parenthood, all-day cans of soda pop, five Pepsi’s a day, DIANA Googles Stuff On-Air, Caledon and Toronto and St. John’s and Cambridge, union stories, coffee vs. cola, Carmen growing up with all of the things in the Annex in Toronto, sushi, Trinity St. Paul’s Church, Gowan, the ROM and Raffi, decanning, children’s musicians and entertainers, Fred Penner’s indie-rock festival circuit, Stephin Merritt of Magnetic Fields, a four year-old and AC/DC, band merch for kids, Joseph growing up in Caledon with past guest Mike Deane, punk and emo bands like Sinclair, the Irish Centre in Brampton, small town bring downs, Bluetip in a basement, the Pete Best of southern Ontario post-hardcore, Who’s Emma in Kensington Market, when Carmen drove me around St. John’s, Kieran and Joseph end up going to the University of Toronto for music at the same time, percussion profs, living in St. John’s, fact-checking the DIANA bio, Carmen tells it like it is, synthesizer patron-saint and producer Roger Leavens, Kieran and Joseph singing, tweaking together, lyric editing for singing, Carmen’s passion, Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra, Carmen’s a great vocal interpreter, what’s eating Kieran, a keyword, the song “Confession,” synthesized pop and comparisons to 1980s sounds, touring in President-elect Donald Trump’s America, the great political divide, smugness and hatred, Make America Great Again is now a hate crime, no surprising but life-altering, red and blue states, sadness, white folks should recognize their role in this new reality, Culvert Music in Toronto, the web is worldwide, the song “Cry,” and then it was like butter baby.
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