Close Talker are a trio (made up of Will Quiring, Matthew Kopperud, and Christopher Morien) from Saskatoon who trade in tightly arranged indie pop full of start-stop tension and well crafted sounds. After releasing an album and an EP in 2013, they worked with Jace Lasek on their second album Flux and then decamped to Regina in Winter to work with Royal Canoe's Matt Peters on their third full-length release Lens, which came out this past April.
We gathered in the gallery at the Saskatoon Public Library to talk about middle names, elementary school altercations, hockey card manipulation, their origins in Oh Victoria and as a wedding band, their contentious cover of "Fox on the Run", the evolution of songs from demo to done, the impact of doing music full-time on day-to-day life and relationships, coming up with ideas through jamming, the thin line between prog rock and R&B (it seems), recording in January - in Regina - and the effect of the season on their sound, the rigors of touring, Cracked Pepper Spitz as fuel, @wokeuplikechris, the "meal in Zwolle" and other notable tour meals, grooming and the taboo of a moustache, the process of writing new songs, Matt's weird memory (there are Fargo quotes), and more.
Song - "Hold Up, Rewind"
Close Talker on Bandcamp: https://closetalkerband.bandcamp.com
Their website: http://closetalker.ca/
The Williamson Bros. are Dusty Adam and Dylan Jay, two stand-up comics who are brothers and who are also twins. We talk about mistaken identity, parenting and Dad jokes, birth order and being surprise twins, panel discussions and sports interviews, the show Ballers and The Rock's CFL past, the impetus behind their two (and potentially growing) sets of regular live shows - The Comedy Lab and Weird Al Karaoke, the context of working within Saskatoon's comedy scene, Night Club Confidential, Dylan's years in Vancouver, the possibility of getting in a fistfight, something terrible I did in Grade 7, good shows versus bad shows, I digress about Ballers again, we talk about doing open mic sketch comedy (as opposed to stand-up or improv), the crutch of the dirty joke, their Dad's compulsive art purchasing habit, growing up on a farm with the oldest, saddest horse, the coming apocalypse, dirty, Disney, dirty Disney, Twin Or Lose, and more!
Lindsay Knight aka Eekwol, originally from Muskoday First Nation, is a renowned and award-winning hip-hop artist. We talk about the early influence of Rap City on Much Music, Columbia House picks (including Souls of Mischief), Fresh Fest and archiving the scene, being a woman in hip-hop, her crew Innersoulflow and their eventual breakup, using music to channel energy and as an opportunity to be introspective, "going solo", the legacy of "Too Sick" and other socially conscious songs in her catalog, the importance of writing your own experience, The Unsilent Project, dealing with harmful behaviour at shows and online, becoming friends with T-Rhyme*, and a whole lot more.
Song: "Pitiful" (beat by 2oolman) from the album Good Kill
Eekwol on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/eekwol
Eekwol on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Eekwol
Note: there were some problems with the qulaity of the mics we used to record this episode. Please forgive me, and power through. It's a fun one.
Kirby Criddle is a singer, songwriter, holistic health care practitioner and co-founder of Freedom Fooders Saskatoon, a group who craft boxes for taking and leaving food and place them throughout the city.
We have a conversation about touring, the comfort of home, the process of capturing the music inside of her head, the punk rock Pita Pit, the legacy of Sawyer Brown, her extensive education in holistic health care, the healing power of Reader's Digest, the duty of writing, working with Andy Shauf, the privilege of visibility, the impetus behind Freedom Fooders, and a whole lot more.
She wasn't able to sing karaoke on the day, but there's a new track by Kirby Criddle and Factor Chandelier at the end of our chat. Put it in your ears.
I really enjoyed having this conversation and I hope you enjoy listening to it.
Follow Kirby on Twitter: https://twitter.com/kirbycriddle
NOTE: This is the last episode of the show to be recorded at Amigos. All things come to an end. The podcast isn't done yet, but it's changing. Stay tuned for the next chapter.
The Karpinka Brothers are two brothers with the surname Karpinka (and the given names Shawn and Aaron) who have a well-earned reputation as the nicest guys around, the self-proclaimed "Jedi Council of Ukrainian Funk". They have released 3 albums of close-harmony-laden pop/folk and are getting set to release their newly recorded 4th album later on this year.
TNWCYL catches up with the brothers Karpinka on the eve of their trip to Memphis for the esteemed Folk Alliance. We chat about early musical influences, Shawn's notoriously bad temper, youthful misadventures, early gigs in long-dead venues, the difference between playing music and playing music with your family, their decision to record with Howard Bilerman at the mighty Hotel2Tango studio in Montreal, their tandem songwriting processes, facial skincare and beard maintenance, there's an extended metaphor about cooking noodles in a pot, notable concert-going experiences, and other sundries.
And then, we play the Newlywed game (except with brothers) and I mess it up spectacularly.
Melissa Gan is a prodigiously talented violinist who performs under the moniker respectfulchild. They have also collaborated or played with a who's who of other musicians, including Adolyne, Paper Beat Scissors, Murray Lightburn (The Dears), The Faps, and others. We chat about their particular adventures with gear, early music lessons, the Royal Conservatory (wherein I probably misquote a story about other people), prioritizing performance over recording and the power in making shows unique from each other, the origins of the name respectfulchild, and the limits of genre; we also touch on Gan's work on the Laundry List on CFCR and their social media coping mechanisms, and then they sing a song by Teresa Teng.
Look for Gan's forthcoming respectfulchild album, as well as an unreleased track included on the second Pentagon Black paper compilation.
Ian Blurton is one of the best guitar players I've ever seen (and heard). You may know him from past bands Change of Heart, Blurtonia, Bionic, C'mon, and others. He currently plays in and co-fronts Public Animal. He's a Toronto stalwart and he's produced a whole lot of albums, including notable releases from Huron, The Weakerthans, Ron Hawkins, Skydiggers, Amy Millan, Elliott Brood and others.
Blurton came through town for the 2nd annual Winterruption, and I took the opportunity to chat with him. We talk about the musical map in his mind, the power of place, the sound of Toronto, left-handedness, Change of Heart's arc, the ways that songs reveal themselves, producing strategies, the genesis of Public Animal, and about two dozen tangents. He didn't sing immediately following the conversation, as is custom, but he took the stage to do Cheap Trick's "Surrender" later on in the night. It was super fun.
Public Animal: https://publicanimal.bandcamp.com/
Ian Blurton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ianblurton
The video where he looks like Don Henley (according to me):
Christian Kongawi is a professional musician and lover of puns who moved to Canada at age 12 from the Congo, into a foster family in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. He's also the mastermind behind The Potluck, a series of events that have funded Kongawi's work building schools in the Ubangui region of the DRC. He has played in many bands, including The Rebellion, and now is a musical director on Carnival Cruises.
We have a pun-filled conversation about being kicked out of school dances, his early drumming career (including a band called Five Alarm Chili), the skylight view into Amigos, "beats for money", the transformation of The Potluck into a fundraiser, dealing with corruption in the DRC, his education at Musician's Institute in Los Angeles, being at sea during Hurricane Matthew, and his uncanny connection to the Dave Matthews Band.
This episode also features unsolicited contributions from my cousin, a guy known as J-Pop, and some off-mic shenanigans from Rylan Schultz of The Pistolwhips. Shit gets weird.
Ubangui Technical Assistance: https://utadrc.wordpress.com/
Bethani Jade is a writer and performer who spearheaded the first alt alt Performance Fest back in January, a two-day festival of "weirdo art" (her words). I sat down with her to chat about it, along with two of the other performers involved: Elise Pallagi, a spoken word poet / roller derby girl, and Linda Cunningham, a Calgary-based spinning artist. We talk about catharsis through art, licorice socks, Colorado gun shops, slow-moving cogs, the wild world of arts grants, Elise's relationship with poetry and roller derby, the poetry of professional wrestling, accessibility in the NHL, the power of intimate collaboration, and a whole lot more. These are 3 guests that really inspire me to believe in my own artistic practice, so it's fitting that they all sing the karaoke "classic" from Journey, "Don't Stop Believin'".
I decided the best way to look back at the whole thing that was 2016 was through the eyes of 3 people who did interesting things throughout the year. First up, Trevor McKenzie-Smith - one of the campaign managers (with the illustrious Michelle Beveridge) for past TNWCYL guest Charlie Clark's successful mayoral bid. We talk about that and about the eventful birth of his second child. Next, we're joined by Kehan Fu, the current president of the USSU. We get into the idiosyncrasies of post-secondary student government, and Fu's priorities as president. And we round it out with Zoey Roy - an outspoken Cree-Dene Métis artist who advocates for youth and indigenous rights all over the place. We chat about her Indspire Award, being "blasted" by right-wing radio, meeting the Royal couple, and her massive plans for 2017.
And after all of that, amazingly, all my guests team up and sing "Eye of the Tiger".
Yes, I know it's February already.
Kevin Wesaquate is a writer, spoken word poet, visual artist, and co-founder of the Indigenous Poetry Society in Saskatoon. He does a lot of great work carving out spaces for indigenous artists where there might not otherwise be. We talk about his upbringing and sense of justice, early days in the spoken word and poetry scenes, dealing with dyslexia as a kid, emerging as a painter with the help of SCYAP, Kevin's instagram page (great for radio, I know), incorporating histories like that of mistasiniy into his work, and the indigenous traditions of oral storytelling. The next Indigenous Poetry Society show takes place March 7th at The 220.
This episode also features anther "mini-sode" of the Podcast Pilot Project. Sit back, relax, and enjoy Pod And Order - back by "popular" demand!
Alison Whelan spent the last few years as General Manager at the Broadway Theatre in Saskatoon, and has been instrumental in Girls Rock Saskatoon and Band Swap. She's packing it in to explore other parts of the globe, so it seemed natural to get her to talk about her experiences for posterity. We chat about all of that, plus her days in Carbon Dating Service, the multi-talanted Mairin Loewen, the revisionist history of the origins of Band Swap, the empowerment of failure, accessibility in the music industry, and more.
This episode also features the 3rd installment of the Podcast Pilot Project with the inaugural CastPod - A Podcast About Different Times We've Needed Casts (featuring special surprise guest Krystle Pederson).
Right here we've got a rollicking conversation with writer, spoken word performer, and pop culture sponge Deej Siminoff. We chat about her new chapbook Joni Isn't From Here Anymore, the importance of place, Scandinavian long-form crime drama, inspiration as it relates to perspiration (according the film Heavyweights), magic TV studios, my semi-serious childhood interest in Bob Newhart's television empire, the TGIF sitcom universe, a massive life lesson learned through Disney Adventures magazine, onion pants, and more. Also I sing the Smallville theme for a sec.
This episode also features another installment of the Podcast Pilot Project. This time around, it's For Your Prize Only - a show where there is only one prize and the host can also win the prize. Thanks to Mickeilla and Cass for volunteering. Stay tuned for more bold new podcast pilots!
We're back! I'm calling this Season 2, because that seems to be an idiom that everybody can understand.
This episode features illustrator, designer and filmmaker Huw Evans. We talk about his affinity with microphones, a rural upbringing, the hierarchy of visual art, being published by Mad magazine (and its imitators), Eyecatcher's surprise viral hit, working with his sons, meeting Jack Davis, and sundry other topics.
This episode also features the first installment of the Podcast Pilot Project - wherein we debut new podcasts within this one - with episode 1 of Guided By Voices of Guided By Voices (featuring Robert Pollard).
Huw's website: http://eyecat.com/
We're back! Well, sort of back. We will be back. In fact, we'll be back next week! New episodes of This Night Will Change Your Life return - regular and everything - starting Wednesday January 11th. Here's a little taste of what's coming up for Season 2. Get stoked! Or don't. If you're not stoked, I can't imagine why you'd be reading this.
Kenneth T. Williams saw the realities of a broken system first-hand. He is a playwright whose new play, In Care, deals with a mother trying to get her children out of foster care and finding herself trapped within that system. We talk about Child & Family Services, his career as a journalist, the origins of the domesticated hamster, his breakthrough with the play Thunderstick, and the craft of writing (or what Williams considers to be "professional daydreaming"). And then he brings in a ringer (Krystle Pederson) to duet with him.
In care runs October 20th-30th at 7 PM at GTNT.
In Care: http://www.gtnt.ca/our-season/
Ken's Twitter: https://twitter.com/feralplaywright
Neil Bergen is my boss, as he's the station manager at CFCR - Saskatoon's community radio station. He's been in broadcasting for a long time. We get into that along with his (possibly hipppie) style choices, early concerts, aspirations for the station, his appreciation of Neil Young, the coming "reckoning" and the magic of radio.
This episode also features the debut performance of the CFCR Tabernacle Choir.
Pledge to CFCR's annual funding drive!
Head to http://cfcr.ca/donate or FMphasis.ca!
Andrei Feheregyazi is a prolific and talented animator, filmmaker, illustrator, painter, and whirlwind brain of all kinds. He's got an upcoming art show for his Master's degree and it takes place October 24th through November 4th at the Gordon Snelgrove Gallery on campus at the U of S. Our talk covers adventures in preschool, the subtle awfulness of Inspector Gadget, his work everywhere from Hell on Hooves to HitRECORD to a Library Voices music video, Grade 3 fistfights, and the science of art (and steampunk).
Andrei's portfolio: http://www.andreif.com/
Andrei's Twitter: https://twitter.com/fajigajiga
Andrei's Vine: https://vine.co/u/937816436661964800
I had the opportunity to chat with Ashley Clouthier and Tara Kooy right after this year's edition of Take Back The Night, a march against gendered violence. Ashley is the co-ordinator of the USSU Women's Centre and Tara works with the Saskatoon Women's Community Coalition - co-organizers of the event. We talk about the importance of community organizing, their early concert-going experiences, and preview the upcoming Concert for Consent (as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Week at the U of s). It's not very often that this show tackles subjects of importance, so I'm very appreciative of everyone from Take Back The Night whose presence and karaoke skills made the evening a highlight of this show's run thus far.
USSU Women's Centre: https://www.facebook.com/ussuwomenscentre/
Danielle Altrogge was on the path to take over the family pharmacy, when her first love - namely, writing - called to her. Now, she's a spoken word poet who has toured nationally and she is currently the Executive Director of Tonight It's Poetry in Saskatoon. We chat about the slam poetry community, the hottest charting prescription drugs, ignoring iambic pentameter, the high cost of higher education, her Dad's not-so-secret "rated R" shelf, and a whole bunch more.
Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/SlamStick
Tonight It's Poetry: https://www.facebook.com/TonightItsPoetry/
Stephanie C. Kuse is an artist, illustrator and graphic designer whose work is very prevalent in the Saskatoon music scene. From album covers to poster designs, to the Silence 'zine, you've probably bumped into something of Kuse's if you've been around in the last couple of years. We have a talk about the power of minimalism and simplicity, the benefits of art school, Kuse's paper .gifs, and her secret suburban origins (cat's out of the bag!). I pretend to be able to talk about art. It's fun!
This episode also features another instalment of the smash success Pod & Order. It's a train wreck.
Eric Anderson is an energetic and interesting fellow who recently transitioned from working as a journalist for CBC Radio to managing communications at the Sherbrooke Community Centre. We chat about his path through teaching to journalism, his recent disappointing experience at Lollapalooza, and his ardent Roughrider fandom - among other things. There are also many shout outs. And then, shouting (between Eric and a very nice member of the audience).
The show has made it to a milestone of sorts, with this: the 25th episode. Celebrate with me as I chat with my own Dad, Dennis Flaherty. He's been a teacher, a cassette deck DJ, a ferret tracker, and a darn good Dad. We talk about his teaching philosophy, early dates with my Mother, graveyard picnics, and much more. Suffer the Dad jokes! Enjoy the adorableness!
Donald B. Campbell is a playwright (and all-around theatre dynamo) whose latest effort, The Narrow Path, will be at this year's Saskatoon Fringe. His Fringe Festival pedigree goes back to the first Fringe in North America, circa Edmonton in the '80's. We chat about his journey through language and theatre, from teaching English in Japan to offering up a Winter striptease for a roomful of drycleaners. There is also some fun audience participation from David Creelman, who just so happens to be the director of The Narrow Path.
More information on Campbell & Company and The Narrow Path:
Go and see it if you get the chance.
Kirby Wirchenko used to play club shows in Saskatoon's nascent 90's club scene. Flash forward to 2016 and he's the Executive and Artistic Director of the community-owned Broadway Theatre. We chat about what led him to be a venue director and concert promoter, and the dynamic of promoting live performances in an increasingly digital music landscape. You can catch Kirby MC'ing at August's Regina Folk Festival and keep an eye out on the 2nd Annual Winterruption, which the Broadway co-produces with RFF, in January.