Tag Archives: Hillside Festival

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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Ep. #264: Choir! Choir! Choir!

Choir! Choir! Choir! is a Toronto-based community music project spearheaded by Daveed Goldman and Nobu Adilman. Founded in 2011, Choir! Choir! Choir! features a committed group of gifted and amateur singers who meet twice a week, in a no pressure environment, and attempt to learn and interpret pop songs by artists like Prince, David Bowie, Extreme, Tegan & Sara, Patti Smith, and many, many more. Since forming, the group has performed in various venues across Canada, including the AGO and Massey Hall in Toronto, at ceremonies for the Juno Awards and Polaris Music Prize, and at Radio City Music Hall and Carnegie Hall in New York. Choir! Choir! Choir! will be performing at the Hillside Festival in Guelph, Ontario the weekend of July 22 and so I met with Nobu and Daveed at the now shuttered Caffe Brasiliano in Toronto recently where we discussed why Nobu brought us there before it closed its doors forever on June 17 2016, why Daveed applauds his efforts, missing Toronto in Halifax, the warmth of Toronto’s Annex in the 1970s, Nubu and Daveen, Drake and Kanye West and NOBU, C!C!C!’s origin story and connection to TUNS’ Matt Murphy and his birthday, the infectious energy of singing in a community choir, unusual choirs, sound people getting a grip on C!C!C! and its sound needs, a social choir, how the choir works and the hard parts, soothing people, you’re not cool, a McDLT reference, Toronto’s disposition and perceptions of the city’s attitude, the Hidden Cameras, C!C!C! paying tributes to Prince, David Bowie, and Extreme, hair metal bands and alt-rock’s rise, “We Belong” by Pat Benatar, Belle and Sebastian, Bryan Adams, Simple Minds and Jim Kerr, performing with Patti Smith at an AGO First Thursdays event, my Patti Smith story, a social media phenomenon, the Choir’s core, empowerment and entitlement, managing people, “Ignition” by R. Kelly, politics and context and music, listening to people’s concerns, protesting Putin with Sting, taking C!C!C! on the road to Vancouver to play a Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space,” playing Radio City Music Hall and Carnegie Hall for David Bowie, it was almost Bieber instead of Bowie, “Space Oddity” by Bowie, critical decisions, the good music industry timing of C!C!C! and ADD, covers and the potential for C!C!C! originals, playing the Hillside Festival and how that works, the New Yorker dot com, Prince’s “When Doves Cry” at Massey Hall, and then it was over! over! over!

Related links: choirchoirchoir.com vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #247: Cupcake Ductape

Cupcake Ductape is a very cool noise-infused pop band consisting of Steph Yates of the band Esther Grey and a folk-oriented singer and songwriter named Alanna Gurr. Based in Guelph, Cupcake Ductape have become local favourites on the strength of their live show and their 2015 EP, Get Over It. They’re playing a show at Kazoo! Fest in Guelph on Thursday April 7, and here, Steph, Alanna, and I discuss Steph’s chest cold, Alanna’s curiosity about being sick, how Alanna loves driving, stormchips, how we combine everything now, worlds colliding, the song “Champagne Birthday,” pronunciation, sparkle punk and playful music, the song “Whose Hair?,’ servers and customers, revenge, Steph meeting Alanna at the Homemade Jam Festival, getting Alanna a job, Scott went to the washroom while Cupcake Ductape wrote songs, bass and drums and Mike O’Neill and the Inbreds, melodic bass, being bratty, serious music, who cares, Alanna comes out of her shell, singing pretty versus singing roughly, being girly and tough, internalized perceptions of women, possible mutual interests, the Slits, working songs out, personal voids, getting an encouraging push from Brad McInerney, Lowlands, Nicolette and the Nobodies, growing up in Guelph, the Hillside Festival, piano tuning, Mona Lisa and Whip Cream Bikinis, two songs about hot dogs, Hamilton’s Art Crawl, Guelph needs a music infrastructure, a trip to Aruba, $1300.00, a happenstance band, fun, Too Bad So Sad Hire a Lawyer, Steph’s aunt, Little Room Labs, summer plans, the song “Unique New York,” lawyering up, and then we get over it.

Related links: facebook.com/cupcakeductape vishkhanna.com

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