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Ep. #286: Voivod

Voivod is a pioneering rock ‘n’ roll band who originally hail from Jonquière, Quebec. Formed in 1982, Voivod have never been afraid to challenge expectations with their work, exploring aspects of speed metal, thrash, hardcore punk, and progressive rock, over the course of more than a dozen full-length albums and several EPs. Though they’ve endured a number of shifts in their line-up and have almost broken up a few times over the years, Voivod solider on and remain one of the most influential, uncompromising, and mightiest bands on the planet. This past February, they released five new songs on the Post Society EP, and they’re rumoured to be working on a new album too. Vocalist and lyricist Denis “Snake” Belanger and guitarist and composer Daniel “Chewy” Mongrain joined me for a keynote interview before a live audience in the Halifax Central Library at the 2016 Halifax Pop Explosion on Thursday October 20, 2016 and we discussed things like Voivod playing St. John’s, Newfoundland for the first time, road routing, metal and hard rock in eastern Canada, the dedication of Anvil, Snake’s first trip to Halifax as well, Martyr, what it might mean to be post society, sci-fi and post-apocalyptic visions, “Post Society,” humanity and greed, optimism in the face of bleakness, the Cold War and atomic bombs for children, my grandfather and The Day After and Steve Guttenberg, Away is away, sci-fi imagery and songwriting, the way Away works on Voivod artwork now, melodic gibberish and attitude, smartphone zombies and foreseeing a robotic world, communication breakdowns and horrific accidents, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 airplane announcements, what might happen next, articulating Voivod song ideas, fickle and particular fanbases, AC/DC and Axl, Chewy’s love of Voivod growing up before he got to join the band to replace the late guitarist Denis “Piggy” D’Amour, fan acceptance, Piggy and Chewy’s guitar playing, Snake’s post-Piggy’s passing depression and the rise of alternative music, how Voivod benefitted from open-minded underground music fans, Primavera Festival, writing new songs for the next Voivod album, a conceptual framework, the pros of collaboration, memorable Snake melodies, lessons and regrets and going with the flow, whether Canada supports its own metal scene enough, the national expanse, government support for creativity, Facebook action, the song “Fall,” and then it was time to get to soundcheck.

Related links: voivod.com halifaxpopexplosion.com vishkhanna.com

voivod-hfx-chris-smith

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News Podcast

Ep. #183: Long Night with the Burning Hell, Amery Sandford, Elisabeth de Mariaffi, Eva Ísleifs, Rakel McMahon, Erin Turcke, & Suds

This episode of Long Night with Vish Khanna was recorded at the Eastern Edge Gallery in St. John’s Newfoundland during the Lawnya Vawnya festival on Friday April 24, 2015. For this edition of Long Night, my sidekick was my bandleader, Mathias Kom of the Burning Hell and my guests were visual artist Amery Sandford, novelist Elisabeth de Mariaffi, Icelandic performance artists Eva Ísleifs and Rakel McMahon, food expert and certified sommelier Erin Turcke, and a musical performance by Suds. The sound on this episode is somewhat wonky but it’s mostly all there.

Related links: lawnyavawnya.com vishkhanna.com

Amery Sandford by Graham Kennedy

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News Podcast

Ep. #130: Elisabeth de Mariaffi

Elisabeth de Mariaffi is a gifted writer and poet who lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Her 2012 short story collection How to Get Along with Women is extraordinarily moving, emotionally jarring, texturally precise, and it was longlisted for the 2013 Giller Prize with good reason. Of her work, author Michael Winter once astutely said, “She’s alive to what disturbs, and she’s dead to cliche.” Elisabeth’s work has been featured in prominent periodicals and her story “Kiss Me Like I’m The Last Man On Earth” was nominated for a 2013 National Magazine Award. She is also one of the founders of Toronto Poetry Vendors, a small press that sells single poems by established Canadian poets through toonie vending machines. De Mariaffi has a new novel coming out this January via HarperCollins Canada called The Devil You Know and she’s appearing at the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival on Sunday Sept. 14. Here, she and I talk about the weather in St. John’s, living between Toronto and Guelph and Newfoundland, meeting St. John’s current poet laureate George Murray, Book Ninja, working for an airline during a long distance relationship, just married, working at Ed Video Media Arts Centre and learning about video editing, writing poetry under the tutelage of Dionne Brand and short stories with Michael Winter, flying together, finding the time and resources to write the stories in How To Get Along With Women, short stories versus long stories, travelling to Hungary a lot as a kid, learning several languages, politics and perception and the tangible impact of the Cold War, how I thought How To Get Along With Women would be funny but it was actually very heavy, the politics of our day-to-day existence, relationships and power dynamics, fear, the whole literary prize nomination deal, writing a novel while the iron was hot, Invisible Publishing, working at Breakwater Books, having four kids and jobs as writers, NO, her new novel The Devil You Know and its relation to fear, February 1993 in the weeks that Paul Bernardo was being pursued by police, darkness, writing more short stories or another novel, sending wedding thank yous, the future, and then the end.

Related links: invisiblepublishing.com twitter.com/ElisabethdeM edenmillswritersfestival.ca

mariaffi2

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