Tag Archives: MINOTAURS

Ep. #257: Piya Chattopadhyay & MINOTAURS’ Nathan Lawr

Piya Chattopadhyay is a respected broadcaster and journalist currently based in Toronto. She has appeared as a guest host on TVO’s The Agenda and has contributed to BBC, PRI, and once served as the Middle East correspondent for Fox News Radio. She is likely best known as a dynamic voice on CBC Radio, where she has guest hosted shows like The Current, The World at Six, q, and Metro Morning. She’s set to host her own new show on CBC Radio called Out in the Open, which debuts at 3:00 PM ET on Saturday May 28. Nathan Lawr holds a Masters degree in History from University of Waterloo and has worked with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association to develop the Canadian Artists for Civil Liberties. He’s also a well-respected multi-instrumentalist who has contributed to key records and live shows by Feist, Jim Guthrie, Royal City, Constantines, FemBots, Sea Snakes, Bry Webb, and many, many more. He has created an excellent body of music on his own, most notably in his politically outspoken and Afrobeat-inspired band MINOTAURS, who celebrated the release of their new album, Weird Waves, in April. Presented by the Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thompson Hall, this episode was recorded live before an audience at the Drake Underground in Toronto on Saturday April 9, 2016, where Piya, Nathan, and I discussed information and responsibility, how I am apparently a terrible interviewer, selective facts, media bias and mainstream media, how humans are biased, feeling the Bern, Donald Drumpf’s appeal to the media, a tendency towards sensationalism, no conspiracies, self-interest, working as a reporter for Fox News, how people dying impacts the news, how people in the west relate to the rest of the world, delineating mainstream media from alternative media, how public broadcasting differs from other broadcasters, media outlets and utilizing resources properly, trusting Democracy Now, information is inherently biased, anti-intellectualism, trusting without questioning, the oversaturation of media sources and people’s inability to find time to stay informed, the pervasiveness of music, the saddest podcast in the world, Uncle Natey’s Grump Shack, staving off malaise and complacency with the sentiment behind upbeat music, insights from creative people, Nathan’s hat, moving from love songs to politically-oriented songs, growing up in Saskatoon, visiting India, getting into media, becoming a musician, studying classical music and musical theatre, the rise of satiric news TV shows, we’re too busy to think, people want people to tell them what they think, the MINOTAURS album Weird Waves, which is out now, and the next MINOTAURS album AUM, three children, Piya’s new CBC Radio show Out in the Open, which debuts Saturday May 28 at 3:00 PM, the MINOTAURS song “Weird Waves,” and that was that.

Related links: cbc.ca/radio/outintheopen minotaursband.bandcamp.com vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #96: Nathan Lawr

Nathan Lawr is a talented songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who lives in Guelph. Over the past 20 years, Lawr has been a go-to drummer for people like Jim Guthrie, King Cobb Steelie, Royal City, FemBots, Bry Webb, and more. When he emerged as a folk-pop songwriter in his own right about 10 years ago, Lawr’s love songs had bite and topical, political implications, which eventually morphed into his most outspoken band yet, the Afrobeat-inspired MINOTAURS. Lawr is also greatly invested in social change and democracy and has worked with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association to develop the Canadian Artists for Civil Liberties. He has helped organize a 50th anniversary celebration of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association on May 3rd at Trinity St. Paul’s United Church in Toronto, which will feature musicians, spoken word performers, dancers and visual artists who have all come together to celebrate freedom of expression in the arts. Here, Nathan and I discuss ‘Uncle Natey’s Grump Shack’ and cheering up, why he’s working with civil liberties organizations and putting the ‘active’ in activist, how social media doesn’t necessarily encourage dialogue, how freedom of expression is non-partisan, how our freedom was infringed upon in World War I, getting younger/busy people interested in political discourse and fostering opinionated engagement, change and people in the streets, what the Donald Sterling/NBA fiasco teaches us about protective face-saving, Nathan’s fondness for H&M’s line of socks and how righteousness is undermined by accusations of hypocrisy, the theme from Peter Gunn and his history as a musician and music fan, the video game Spy Hunter, drum lessons, Fugazi and Primus, not loving guitars but being ok with pianos, knowing when to fold ‘em, playing in King Cobb Steelie and their pioneering approach to punk, the politically-charged city of Guelph and having tolerant parents, here comes the argument, how Nathan did not turn out a punk, my unfocused, unnecessary curatorial advice to people programming variety shows, arbitrary references to Feist and “farting on sandwiches,” why some famous people won’t vouch for things they actually believe in and why some topics are ‘hushed,’ Nathan’s ill-fated and traumatizing attempt to bring musicians and Toronto Police together for a hockey game to raise awareness about civil liberties, why talking shit out is important, Nathan’s great regrets about leaving the band Royal City and our fun American tour in October 2000, his future music plans, the MINOTAURS song “Make Some Noise,” and then we just spent the rest of the day farting on sandwiches.

Related links: minotaursband.com ccla.org vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #40: Sarah Harmer + Graham White of Enbridge

Sarah Harmer is a very gifted Canadian singer-songwriter who originally hails from Burlington, Ontario and is one of this country’s most successful and respected artists. Each of her five studio albums have been critically acclaimed and her latest, 2010’s Oh Little Fire, was no exception. Harmer is also a noted activist and advocate for environmental and political causes close to her heart. Eight years ago, she co-founded PERL or Protecting Escarpment Rural Land, an organization which successfully campaigned to prohibit a gravel development that would’ve destroyed parts of the wilderness in the Niagara Escarpment. This Sunday October 6 in Mel Lastman Square near Toronto, Harmer and the Environmental Defense organization are holding an event called Rock the Line, which features short sets by MINOTAURS, Hayden, Gord Downie and the Sadies, and Harmer herself. It’s meant to draw attention to the Stop Line 9 movement and to protest Enbridge’s controversial plans to modify the Line 9 pipeline running between Sarnia and Montreal. Graham White is the manager of business communications at Enbridge, which, according to the company’s website, “transports, generates, and distributes energy across North America, and employs more than 10,000 people in Canada and the United States.” Despite the fact that Enbridge states that they adhere to a strong set of core values–namely “safety, integrity, and respect”–some Ontarions are up in arms about the company’s plans to modify their use of the Line 9 pipeline in Ontario. Both Harmer and White appear in separate conversations, which took place minutes apart, to offer insight about their respective and wildly divergent takes on Line 9.

Related links: environmentaldefence.ca sarahharmer.com enbridge.com vishkhanna.com

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