Tag Archives: Tanya Tagaq

Ep. #141: Lights

Lights is a pop artist from Toronto with legions of fans around the world. Born in Timmins, Ontario, Lights was discovered by Jian Ghomeshi when she was 15 years old and is now one of Canada’s most internationally recognized artists. Her latest album is Little Machines and it was released this past September, prompting her to tour and last week, she and I spoke before she played a set at the Halifax Pop Explosion. Here, Lights tells me about performing at the Polaris Music Prize Gala with Shad at the last minute, how Canadian music critics and fans receive Lights, pop music credibility, working with different people in different genres, the Beatles and Supertramp, her connection to Timmins and North Bay and Jamaica and the Philippines and Toronto, home schooling and learning how to play music, being discovered by Jian Ghomeshi at 15 years old, shooting a Wal-Mart ad as a kid, “Hero” by Mariah Carey, signing a management deal with Jian and sending all of her song ideas to him first, writer’s block, the song “Don’t Go Home Without Me” and temporal perspectives, having her daughter in February, re-living life through your kids, the notion of Little Machines and energetic kids, ambient sounds and a classic electronic sound, slapping your pregnant belly for a rhythm track, parental and public life, changing her legal name to Lights, #Pinktober and a breast cancer awareness campaign, an acoustic counterpart to Little Machines and the future, constant writing, lost Lights songs, the song “Muscle Memory,” Kate Bush, Björk and Tanya Tagaq, and then it’s lights out.

Related links: iamlights.com vishkhanna.com


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Ep. #133: John Southworth

John Southworth is a remarkable songwriter, musician, filmmaker, theatrical performer, and author who splits his time between Toronto and Montreal. Over the past 20 years, Southworth has established himself as one of the world’s most fascinating and intriguing artists, with upwards of 13 music releases to his name, including a stunning new double album called Niagara, which is out September 30 via the UK label Tin Angel Records. And on October 1, the Vancouver publisher Simply Read will release Daydreams for Night, a children’s story and Southworth’s first book. He’ll be touring Ontario, Quebec, and select cities in England throughout October and here, John and I have a chat about saying his name, toddler meltdowns, the relationship between Canada’s Niagara Falls and the United States’ Niagara Falls and Niagara, living in England as a child before moving to Canada, classic immigration and feeling foreign, the Aboriginal legacy of Niagara Falls, how Niagara Falls might not even exist, almost running for mayor of Niagara Falls, an amazing scene in Superman II, Marilyn Monroe and the film Niagara, Alfred Hitchcock, Richard Lester, how the album Niagara might be a lot to digest, a streaming joke, a smoothly made ambitious record, motivation, Herman Melville and William Shakespeare are dead, there’s too many records, ego or weirdo, John’s musician father Peter Shelley is not in the Buzzcocks, what brought his family to Canada, how his dad invented the Kenner toy Robot Man, staving off bitterness, going to film school and making all of his own music videos, discovering that his first book Daydreams for Night is for children, writing a new novel might mean no new songs for a while, people might know more about us than we do, kids’ age range recommendations might be bullshit, challenging innocence, making music, acting, directing films, reading poetry, writing books, and painting paintings, the South Seas and the North Seas, Jean Martin and Tanya Tagaq, Simply Red and Simply Read, the song “Ode to the Morning Sky,” and then it’s over the falls.

Related links: johnsouthworth.ca tinangelrecords.co.uk vishkhanna.com


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Ep. #118: Steve Sladkowski of PUP

Steve Sladkowski plays guitar and sings in a Toronto punk-infused pop band called PUP. Originally called Topanga, PUP changed their name ahead of releasing their first, self-titled debut album, which is out now via Royal Mountain Records. PUP plays Guelph’s Hillside Festival on Saturday July 25. Here, Steve and I discuss staining fences in Toronto, living in Guelph and putting on shows and working for the Guelph Jazz Festival, touring the U.S. with the Menzingers, single A baseball in Iowa, America is weird, this is Texas, talking to Americans about baseball, the Oakland A’s and Moneyball glitches, regular seasons are a drag, why the Skydome sucks and seeing baseball in America rules, I don’t think I like Toronto, talking to people outside of Canada about Rob Ford, playing ska-punk, Protest the Hero, the 3tards, and the Reverb, working with Dave Schiffman on the PUP record, pathetic use of potential, Toronto punk is thriving, when Weezer was wonderful, my membership in the Weezer fanclub and contributing “Mykel and Carli” to its first covers compilation, Rivers Cuomo goes back to the shack, impersonating Fucked Up at the Halifax Pop Explosion, feeling honoured to get to do cool stuff, it comes and goes, self-promotion, not needing day jobs but working harder than ever, their Polaris Music Prize nomination, the status of hard music in Canada, Peter Bradley is in Alaska, Constellation Records, forced conversation, Tanya Tagaq should win awards, PUP’s new songs, throwing down, writing songs in extreme emotional places, marrying real-life with fictional narratives, the song “Guilt Trip,”  and then it is outta here!

Related links: puptheband.com royalmountainrecords.com hillsidefestival.ca vishkhanna.com



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