Tag Archives: Hamilton Ontario

Ep. #236: Junior Boys

Junior Boys is the long-standing electronic pop moniker for the work of Jeremy Greenspan, a talented musician based in Hamilton, Ontario. Over the past 17 years, he has written some very sophisticated music, most notably and consistently with a collaborator named Matt Didemus. The latest effort by Junior Boys is a slyly romantic one called Big Black Coat, it’s out February 5 in Canada via GEEJ Records and in the rest of the world, via City Slang , and has prompted them to tour the world over the next few months. Greenspan and I recently caught up at a bar in Hamilton called the Brain, which he co-owns and here we discuss working in spurts, Sam Malone, owning a building on James St. N, the Artcrawl in Hamilton, how the Artcrawl works and where it came from, Heather from the Only, Ken Inouye, the rise of Hamilton and its arts community, the city’s electronic and indie-rock scenes and Sonic Unyon, Al Lanza, getting into classic and progressive rock as a kid, industrial music and sci-fi and cosplay, the earnestness of rock ‘n’ roll, living in England for a year and a half in the mid-1990s, Steve Goodwin of Hyperdub Records, Mark Fisher, a fascination with music made in the 1980s, aggressive tendencies and rave culture, John Foxx of Ultravox, Japan, Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark, Kraftwerk, rockism and racism towards electronic and dance music, the perception of fun and dance music, choosing words, making outsider pop music, the muse and process behind Big Black Coat, how records become ‘concept records,’ a change in songwriting, doing less work and keeping things raw, immediate lyrics and demos, “baby,” transcribing the lyrics about men you might meet in bars, mild misogyny, the age of outrage and David Bowie, writing as characters, critiquing emotional instability, loneliness, bars are weird places, working with Jessy Lanza and how they influenced one another, song components, working with Matt Didemus as a collaborator in Junior Boys, his relationship with Dan Snaith who performs as Caribou, the popular appeal of Caribou, bringing electronic music to life on-stage, how Junior Boys presents its music, the new record’s only love song, “No One’s Business,” and then no more Brain.

Related links: juniorboys.ca vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #190: Lee Reed

Lee Reed is a riveting and uncompromising hip-hop artist from Hamilton, Ontario. Once a member of the powerful group Warsawpack, Reed has released three politically-charged solo albums, including his latest, The Butcher, The Banker, The Bitumen Tanker, which is available now via leereedrevolt.com. He’s playing the Hillside Festival in Guelph during the weekend of July 24 and here, Lee and I discuss the city of Hamilton and Kathleen Wynne’s one billion dollar promise to bring light rail transit to town, gentrification, people moving to Hamilton while other people are being displaced, the severe classicism within the city, action versus reaction, contributing to discussions more than ushering them along, learning more about and carefully scrutinizing Canada’s disturbing social and political history, this country’s large role in resource extraction, how the Indian Act inspired South African apartheid, writing the new record pretty quickly, punk rock, his relationship to more materialistic or problematic aspects of hip-hop culture, Public Enemy’s Yo! Bum Rush the Show, Kanye West and Mike Myers, old school production, flossing and being a chubby old white dude, trying to breakthrough with ‘fringe’ messages in the Canadian hip-hop community, Hamilton’s supportive music scene, making art for love, catchy political music, accessibility, hopelessness, greed, we just suck, The Butcher, The Banker, The Bitumen Tanker is #1, the Rebel Function, Mother Tareka and Flotilla, working a good day job, the song “Fuck Ya,” and that’s all.

Related links: leereedrevolt.com hillsidefestival.ca vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #111: Hamilton Leithauser

Hamilton Leithauser is a very talented singer and songwriter who is best known for fronting the acclaimed New York City band, the Walkmen. Last year, the Walkmen announced they’d be taking an extended hiatus after releasing a string of wonderful albums. Before long, members of the band began releasing solo material, including Leithauser. His new album is the startling and wondrous Black Hours, a timeless star-studded pop affair that was released on June 3 via Ribbon Music, and has prompted him to tour including a stop at Hamilton, Ontario’s Supercrawl this September. Here, Hamilton and I discuss NPR’s Tiny Desk concert series, that time I saw the Walkmen play one of their last shows together in Halifax this past October, knocking a tooth out on a microphone, when work on Black Hours first began, why he made a record under his own name, who helped make this album a star-studded affair, the relationship between the conception of this solo record and the end of the Walkmen and why the band is taking a break, Frank Sinatra records, songwriting reversal, a nightclub, night time tone within the phrase “black hours,” Danzig, Self-Pity, growing up in Washington D.C. and seeing Minor Threat, Nation of Ulysses, Fugazi, and other Dischord Records bands, playing punk, working as a studio assistant at Inner Ear studios while Fugazi was recording Red Medicine, not making it into Instrument, being young and apolitical, loving the Make-Up and Ian Svenonius, the Cramps and the Modern Lovers, lead singers versus bands, Chain and the Gang, being in a band or being on your own, not sounding like the Walkmen, the new record’s weird storyline, the bizarre circumstance of the Walkmen’s “extreme hiatus,” trying new things but the Walkmen will likely be back, it’s fun to play, there are already new songs written but there was some writer’s block, working well with others, playing “Mr November” with the National, Hamilton playing Hamilton, Ontario, the song “The Silent Orchestra,” and then Hamilton out.

Related links: hamiltonleithauser.com vishkhanna.com


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