Tag Archives: Owen Pallett

Ep. #185: Steven Kado of Blocks Recording Club

Steven Kado is a Toronto-based musician and a co-founder of the Blocks Recording Club label in Toronto. Founded in 2003, the Blocks slogan “Don’t try, do!” led them to put out 70 releases by then-fledgling artists like Owen Pallett, the Barcelona Pavillion, Katie Stelmanis, Ninja High School, Matias, Bob Wiseman, the Phonemes, Les Mouches, Hank, and many more. On May 9, Blocks retires from the music biz with a celebratory party at the Tranzac in Toronto (292 Brunswick Ave) featuring performances by Nifty, Austra, the Barcelona Pavilion (2002-2004 lineup), Bob Wiseman and Picastro’s Liz Hysen, the Phonemes, Hank, Matias, Ninja High School, and Les Mouches. Here, Steve and I discuss the legacy of Blocks, what Toronto was like and what it’s like now, why some people hate Toronto, why some people from Toronto defend it, people who come to Toronto just to make it, trying to make Blocks a co-operative and aligning it with other local co-ops, knowing your city’s cultural history, what’s coming up for his own music, the secret guest at the Tranzac this Saturday is Les Mouches, the Bob Wiseman song “Neil Young at the Junos,” then it’s time to stop doing and trying.

Related links: blocksblocksblocks.com vishkhanna.com

Kado

 

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Ep. #156: Owen Pallett

Owen Pallett is a tremendously gifted multi-instrumentalist, composer, and singer who currently lives in Montreal. Pallett was initially acclaimed for his string arrangements for artists like Jim Guthrie, Arcade Fire, Fucked Up, and many others and, particularly when he lived there, he was viewed as a true leader and champion of Toronto’s underground arts community. Since releasing his own music, Pallett’s profile has risen considerably. He won the inaugural Polaris Music Prize and has been nominated for each of his subsequent solo records; he was nominated for an Academy Award for his work scoring the film Her; and his fourth and latest album, In Conflict, has appeared on many best of 2014 critics’ lists. He is a sharp, clever, outspoken young man and he’s playing the Hillside Inside festival on Saturday Feb. 7 at 3 PM with Jennifer Castle. Here, Owen and I discuss living in Montreal, the year that was, musicians managing this particular age of media consumption, seeing the content of private Facebook posts go viral, playing with Arcade Fire during the backlash about their latest record, maybe people don’t like aging rock and pop bands, provocative extracurricular activities don’t necessarily lead to bigger box office sales, turning down a CBC Radio hosting gig, having sex with men, Pitchfork, Slim Twig is a wise person, Win knows best, some people should quit, why we make things, the trajectory of creative lives, people keep talking to me about Blink 182, why Michael Gira might have reformed Swans or Kathleen Edwards might have opened up a coffee shop, playing Hillside during a torrential rain storm that shortened the set, befriending Buffy Sainte-Marie, fortunate Owen, the plan to make a new, dense acoustic record that sounds electronic, Jennifer Castle’s “Sparta,” and that was it.   

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

Owen_Pallett_by Peter Juhl_HIGHRES-5 low res

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Ep. #148: Slim Twig

Slim Twig is the moniker for a young man from Toronto named Max Turnbull who is a noted actor and musician. Over the past 10 years, he has released a lot of challenging, artful pop music in projects like Tropics, Archaic Women, Plastic Factory, U.S. Girls, and of course, Slim Twig. In 2010 he made a record called A Hound at the Hem but it didn’t see the light of day until 2012 when he released it via Toronto’s Pleasence Records and the Calico. Corp label he operates with his wife, Meghan Remy of U.S. Girls. The record is now seeing wide release via DFA Records who also plan to put out the next Slim Twig album. Here, Turnbull and I talk about house sitting in New Mexico and recording Darlene Shrugg tracks, Independence Day and Valentine’s Day, living in Toronto, Albuquerque cashing in on Breaking Bad, seeing Bob Dylan in Fargo and talking to people at the Blockbuster there, Fargo myths and Breaking Bad meth, the delayed release of A Hound at the Hem, Paper Bag Records, why Sof’ Syke was a safer alternative, becoming a popsmith, incorrect Canadian media labels that have been thrust upon Slim Twig, people get stuck in the past, samples and instrumentation, trying to change, employing different voices within the same song, Tom Waits and Paul McCartney voices, paying tribute to Serge Gainsbourg via a conceptual, narrative-based album, wanting to make a grander statement, impenetrable lyrics and the role of a backstory for a record, employing Owen Pallett, opaqueness and David Lynch, getting into acting before playing in bands at 13, writing from an indirect perspective, growing up in an art house, the desire to perform, seeing the Hives, how DFA got in the Slim Twig biz, Eric Copeland and Black Dice, the joy and pain of Discogs.com, the next Slim Twig LP might be a stoned protest record, playing a few shows, @twigoftoronto, the song “Hover on a Sliver,” and then it’s over.

Related links: slim-twig.com dfarecords.com vishkhanna.com

slim twig

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