Tag Archives: Guelph

Ep. #305: Richard Laviolette

Richard Laviolette is a very talented singer, songwriter, and musician from Guelph, Ontario. Originally from Tara, Ontario in Bruce County, Laviolette has been making some of the most affecting, outspoken, and catchy folk and rock music to emerge in this century. His new album is a lovely and reflective one called Taking the Long Way Home, which is out March 10 on You’ve Changed Records. Here, Richard and I discuss his past work, his time in Guelph, the recent loss of his mother, his strong family bonds, the notion of home, his new album, and much more. Sponsored by the Bookshelf, Pizza Trokadero, and Planet Bean Coffee.

Related links: youvechangedrecords.com vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #285: Chicago Underground Duo

Chicago Underground Duo consists of two very notable musicians: Rob Mazurek (also of Exploding Star Orchestra, Starlicker, Pulsar Quartet, Rob Mazurek Octet, São Paulo Underground) and Chad Taylor (also of Marc Ribot Trio, Side A, Digital Primitives), who formed the group in 1997. When asked to describe their work together, they suggested their music is “an organic mixture of African, Electronic, Coloristic, Jazz influenced life supporting systematic, non-systematic feeling from two humans trying ever to expand outward and inward for the people and ourselves.” The duo’s seventh album is called Locus, which was released by Northern Spy Records in 2014, and Chicago Underground Duo played the 2016 Guelph Jazz Festival this past September, which is when we caught up for this conversation. Here, we discuss why Rob thinks Guelph is friendly and full of free hamburgers, playing small cities with cool music scenes, Peterborough New Hampshire, Ajay Heble and Julie Hastings and the Guelph Jazz Festival, how some festivals go safe, when B.B. King would play at jazz festivals, open-ended and creative music, opening for Stereolab, what indie-rock might mean these days, what 20 years ago was like for outsider musicians, social music networks, music marketing and music media that can’t figure out story angles, jazz and intellectualism, the origins of jazz as a process, the relationship between niche and big budget, general audience festivals, Esmerine, competition and cultural cores, the future of the Guelph Jazz Festival, underground culture will always thrive, Mike Reed in Chicago who founded the Pitchfork Music Festival, Rob’s fascination with the Underground, when 24 year-old Rob encountered 16 year-old Chad, Chad’s history with classical guitar playing, how both attended jazz school in Chicago, Henry Threadgill, Steve McCall, Fred Hopkins, and Air, a personal meltdown at a recital, jazz and authority and parameters and freedom and improvisation, trouble with a lower case ‘t,’ playing drums and hearing Marc Ribot play guitar, introducing electronics to CUD and musique concrete, Chad’s resistance, ‘no fear,’ samplers and modulators, the windy city, when Rob and Chad each left Chicago, gentrification and displacement, how Chicago was designed, poor communities have been pushed further out of the core of the city, the vilification of Chicago and its correspondence with the terms of President Barack Obama, when Tortoise discussed their experiences with gun violence on this show, living in Sao Paulo, the proliferation of fear in American mass media, the surreal U.S. election and its lingering impact, Bernie Sanders and the Clintons, Chad’s grandmother and declining wages, the Chicago Underground Duo record Locus, a Chicago London Underground record with Alexander Hawkins and John Edwards that’s coming out in January, the new São Paulo Underground record, Cantos Invisíveis, which is out now via Cuneiform Records, Rob’s new record with Emmett Kelly, Alien Flower Sutra that’s out now, the Chicago Underground Duo song “Yaa Yaa Kole,” and then we went underground.

Related links: northernspyrecords.com/artist/chicago-underground-duo vishkhanna.com


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Ep. #268: PUP

PUP is a young, hard rock band based in Toronto, Ontario. Known for touring hard and putting on riotous shows, PUP recently released their second album, The Dream is Over, via Side One Dummy and Royal Mountain Records and they will soon be touring the entire planet for months and months. Ahead of their return to Guelph’s Hillside Festival, I met with singer/guitarist Stefan Babcock and guitarist Steve Sladkowski on Steve’s porch in Toronto, mere hours after he and his girlfriend found out they were being evicted. A dog named Jane sat with Stefan, Steve, and I as we discussed the short but already tumultuous history of PUP, which science believes shouldn’t even be a band anymore, plus Roncesvalles Avenue, as a hood, Polish yelling, gentrification, High Park and poison cities, getting out of Dodge, a sudden eviction, when Steve lived in Guelph and first met Stefan at the Hillside Festival in Guelph, tour managing Zeus, hash brownies at Hillside, Zack the drummer, time passes slowly or quickly, pacing your not-as-young-as-it-was body, a Toronto heat wave, not curbing your enthusiasm, sustainable touring, van snacks, coffee and water and beer, tiny bladders and a presumably meddling landlord, bananas and spicy nuts, unsweetened iced tea, shotgunning McDoubles, ice cream, Waffle House, green juice, stocktaking and maturity and pacing a tour, Stefan getting told “The dream is over” by a medical specialist after experiencing discomfort from a cyst on his vocal cords, the visceral response to this issue, too many shows, vocal coaches and speech pathologists, the book Bad Singer and amusia, musical training, a rock band, the description of punk to come, the mythology surrounding punk and proficiency, resisting the terms of a medical diagnosis, the rarity of success in music making and creation, artistic freedom, playing the night of the diagnosis on the first day of a seven week tour, Stefan gets help from PUP patrol, the stress of bodily harm or alteration, the song “DVP” and the gestation of The Dream is Over, jokes and rage, Canadian enunciation and producer Dave Schiffman, The Bronx album III, Americans and “about,” pointed humour, imaginary and blunt arguments, apolitical lyrics and inclusive spaces, avoiding white mansplaining, the Hillside Festival, a long tour without writing new stuff, a conceptual proposal, the song “Familiar Patterns,” and then the dream was over.

Related links: puptheband.com sideonedummy.com royalmountainrecords.com vishkhanna.com

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