OUT OF EARSHOT – FEATURED ARTIST: BACKXWASH

From Zambia, Backxwash [MTL] is a queer and trans rapper who emotes anger in their social commentary on queerness, blackness, and witchcraft. After putting out Deviancy on Grimalkin records, they have been consistently playing shows in Ottawa and Montreal and will be heading to St. John’s on August 22nd for Out of Earshot.

backwash

Photo by Bianca Lecompte

In conversation with Backxwash [she/they], they told me about her growth as a musician, the importance of music as a form of expression, the power of anger as an emotion, and what she hopes their music can inspire in other people.

To give a bit of history, I started making music when I was 13 years old. What happened was, before that, my sister came home with this, like, cd, and she was playing Mo Money Mo Problems by The Notorious B.I.G. I used to listen to music before that, but it was usually slow r&b because that was a really popular genre back in the 90’s. That’s how I started getting into more rap and hip hop. At 13, I remember getting a pirated copy of ethnostudio and trying to make beats but they were not good at all. They were terrible. They made no sense at all.

When she moved to Canada, she was encouraged to take a break from music to concentrate on their studies. After discovering parts of herself, and her identity, they felt pulled to Montreal to explore that more freely.

It was a weird time when I was moving to Montreal. I wanted to express myself, but at the same time, being in Montreal, it was almost like there was something in the air that makes you want to do something creative. I landed in Montreal, and within the first few days of living there I looked up a hip hop cypher and that’s how I found this place called Le Cypher. I went there and it kind of like re-sparked that interest.

Backxwash [named aptly over something straight folks find disgusting] is a project that is driven by passion and communicated through anger.

When it comes to writing raps, I cant write about something that is not important to me or doesn’t hold a special position in what I’m feeling. At this point, the only thing I can write about right now is my identity because that’s what I’m passionate about.  I didn’t want to approach it in a preachy way because other people can do that type of music. For me, I like it when it’s angry. Being angry is an under-rated emotion, that’s what I feel.

I started writing these raps about how I feel and was like, okay, I got the raps down. I’m still self-conscious about my voice, so I had to do what I had to do to make it sound a bit cool. Doing more things at Le Cypher allowed me to find my rap voice. If you compare the voice I use in F.R.E.A.K.S., the first project that I did, to the voice that I use now, it’s like really different. It sounds much more aggressive, loud, and intense versus the one in the first EP that didn’t really sound that way even though I tried.

In her lyrics and the voice she uses, Backxwash proactively addresses and pushes back against oppression. In “Burn Me at the Stake” on Deviancy, she raps “ever since I started rapping, I put a target on my back / I just thought I should be smarter than I am / For every bullet that they shoot I’ll take it harder as I can / I thought this shit was much harder THAN I PLANNED”. Driven by lived experience, the words expressed and the way they are expressed, set a zero tolerance standard for any discriminatory harm or violence even before it happens.

If you’re an oppressor, in order for me to feel completely safe, I’m going to lash out at you. If you’re sitting in a room as an oppressed person, and an oppressor comes into the room, even though they haven’t done anything to you at that moment, you don’t feel safe because you know what they are capable of.

By making herself vulnerable, and sharing her experience through her music, she is empowering and lifting up other folks in the trans community.

A friend of mine tells me that they listen to it when they want to feel a bad ass and I’m like, alright, that’s cool. I’m happy that there are spaces for such music because growing up, and facing racism, i felt so bad ass when I thought I was part of the N.W.A. or Chuck Keith from Public Enemy, you know? I want people in the trans community to be able to have that feeling.

Their most recent release, Deviancy, was put out by Grimalkin records on July 12th 2019. Grimalkin is a record label and collective comprised of artists from all over the world that raises money to support social justice and civil rights organizations. Sales from Deviancy were donated to Project 10 and Nationz Foundation.

It was a good opportunity to donate money to the organizations. It’s the most press I’ve ever gotten over a project and it’s allowed a larger audience to donate some money to the organizations. I’ve been really happy to be working with them and using my music to help people.

QTBIPOC folks have always paved the way for other queer and trans folks. Backxwash, through their music and the ways they distribute their music, is continuing this legacy.

When are we going to catch a break? We cant. Its our existence. We have to fight.

See them on August 22nd at The Ship with Gossamer, Worst Lay, and Grief.


Contribution by Nik A Basset

OUT OF EARSHOT: FEATURED ARTIST – NADIA DUMAN

From St. John’s, Newfoundland, CUERPOS [bodies] is a DIY experimental project that combines Reggaeton rhythmics and Shoegaze elements. Formed by pals, Francis Dawson [synth/percussion] and Nadia Duman [guitar/bass], they’ve recently put out their first EP called íntimo [intimate] and will be playing their final show at Out of Earshot on August 23rd with Aquakulture and Dregqueen.

cuerpos.jpg

Photo by Matt Williams

Inspired by and drawn to this project, I reached out to Nadia [she/her] to have a conversation about her musical history, the formation of CUERPOS, and safer spaces for queer women of colour in music communities.

At age 9, Nadia started to teach herself guitar without any formal lessons. As a kid with many interests and passions, her parents weren’t convinced that she would stick with guitar long-term.

“So, i’ve been playing music since i was like really young, but then once i started grade 8, during the freshman week, i saw this band playing. My school was kind of like glee, honestly, it was really weird. Everyone was in a band and there was like two shows every couple months. Junior high and high school was a really musical experience for me. I remember seeing this all-girl group playing during my first week of grade 8. They were playing Zombie by the Cranberries. I was like “What the hell. This is crazy”. I had never seen that, irl, and i was really inspired by them to become better, not only in my bedroom or in music class, but to like play in a band.

In 2014, Nadia moved to St. John’s to go to Memorial University and spent the first few years concentrating on her studies and student experience. In 2016, she was introduced to the St. John’s music community through Band-Off, an event put on by Renee Sharpe.

“That summer, my friend’s boyfriend told me about Renee Sharpe and a party she throws where you go and meet a bunch of random people, throw your name in a hat, and form a band. It was called Band-Off. It hasn’t happened in a few years though. Basically you would go to a space, at that time it was at Eastern Edge, and there would be different stations for guitar, one for bass, and one for drums. You would move through each station and they would give you a flash tutorial on how to play each of the instruments. Then, at the end of the event, they would take a hat and draw different names and you would form a band with who your named was called with. That was the first time that I did something band-y here in St. John’s.”

cuerpos 1

Photo by Adam Hefferman

After Band-Off, Nadia found herself retreating from the music scene again to focus once more on her studies. In 2018, when she graduated from MUN, she committed to getting back into passions, like music, that empowered her.

“Its been a long road. Ive been on and off from the scene, but I’ve always found a lot of help and a lot of welcoming. I was keeping in contact with local musicians here and receiving a lot of help. Like, this is how you should have your pedal board, this is a good pedal to use. It made me really proud and happy to be part of this community.”

Despite having a musical history of punk and hardcore, she was in a place in her life where she was getting fulfillment from the sounds and values of the Reggaeton music that her pal, Francis, was showing her.

“By the time Francis and I were together and were like, “lets sit down and jam and see what’s up”, I was recently back from a trip to Ecuador. I had a great time, I was constantly consuming music, and listening to what they were playing in the clubs. I was in a really comfortable, creative, fluid, space where I was really invited to experiment and see what different sounds I could put out.”

With making music of cultural value at the root of their project, they would draw inspiration from the sounds they grew up listening to. Starting with an idea, or vision, they would collaboratively build songs by making drum parts, then chord progressions on the synth, and then a bass line.

“The tropical sound, the urban sound, are really what makes our band and unites us musically. We wanted our project to celebrate these sounds because there’s a lot of, sort of like, colonial imposition in the mentalities of people in South America where they think their culture is not of value. So, I guess we are saying no to that. We want to celebrate these sounds and make them prominent.”

cuerpos 4

Photo by Adam Hefferman

Early in their process of making music together, they knew it was going to be a project that made them feel great and wanted a name that would reflect the feeling it gave them. They wanted the name to be fluid, filling any space, without limits, and without alienating any kind of person.

“CUERPOS is a perfect name, just a body, any body, it could be whatever. it goes with dancing and stuff like that and at the end of the day, if you’re dancing, it’s just bodies.”

The process of making their EP, íntimo, was very DIY. It was recorded by themselves in Nadia’s living room and produced and mastered by Francis. They released the EP as an RPM challenge and received a lot of positive feedback from their community in St. John’s.

“What I found was that, if you put out something you care about, other people care about it too. I don’t know, maybe that was a dumb statement, but I feel like people can tell when something is close to your heart. Like, we weren’t just making music for whatever reason, it was something personal and intimate.”

Their first show, during Lawyna Vawyna, was just a few days after Francis returned to St. John’s after a long trip in Europe. Since then, they have filled up their summers by saying yes to every show opportunity. As a queer woman of colour, making music rooted in cultural values, in a city that is predominately white, CUERPOS have been filling in gaps of representation and diversity within the St. John’s music community.

“Honestly like, its kind of hard to navigate certain spaces as a person of colour. You are super aware of ways you behave because I feel like, at times, not that i’m a voice of authority, but I’m a person that people come and ask me my opinion, you can fall into tokenism, or feel like you’re tokenized. I haven’t felt that way in this scene and I appreciate that. That was part of what helped me to put out music so comfortably and being able to share a personal piece of me with people. It was a really beautiful experience.”

On August 23rd, you can hear Nadia speak more to DIY organizing within arts and music communities on a panel facilitated by not your boys club and see CUERPOS live that evening at The Ship.

“We try to engage with the audience, not by talking or bantering, but by making them dance, feel the ambient. It’s nice to have that middle ground of environment and vibes from two people who come from two different schools of thought.

Francis grew as a musician in the DJ scene (electronic stuff) and learned the importance of ambience as a performer by creating an ideal environment for people to dance. In our performances he carries this school of thought, as he suggested to build our set as a DJ set. For example, we start slow and end with the faster stuff (bpm wise), we never stop playing during our performances so we transition into songs using beat deconstruction and by sort of coming back to the basic elements of our songs (ie drums and bass). This is similar to what DJ’s do when they transition from song to song during a set.

From my end, being introduced to musical performance through the punk scene (analogue stuff), I learned the importance of ambience in a different way… more like the energy you play with and how that energy can stick to the crowd. This is reflected by my constant dancing and head banging while performing. I do minimal talk and singing, and while I’m trying to not go full screamo on the mic, my singing style for this project is heavily influenced by my punk background but more leaning towards the cumbia/salsa style of singing.

Our Out of Earshot show is going to be our last show and we are definitely going to put lots of emotions in it.”

cuerpos 3

Photo by Matt Williams

Contribution by Nik A Basset

INTERVIEW: MEAT SUBSTITUTE

Charm, your name is Meat Substitute (HFX). The group of high school musicians (Gertie Matheson, bass and vocals; Edie Ford, drums; Murray Smith, guitar) came together on a whim and deliver on every desired indie punk front. Energetic, quirky and powerful, you can see them this Friday, May 17 at Radstorm for an all-youth line-up — and it is highly recommended that you do so. Here, Gertie Matheson answers a few burning questions about that Meat Substitute life. 

meet substitute

Q: How long have you been playing together? Can you tell me a brief band history? 

A: We’ve been playing together together since November of 2018. It all started when I blurted out one day in art class, “I want to start a band.“ Edie said she played drums and we just kind of went from there. The original idea was an all female group, so we put an instagram post out there asking if there were any queer ladies who wanted to play guitar in this band, and Murray (who is neither of those things) ended up responding. It was probably one of the greatest feelings when we met up for the first time and just immediately clicked. 

Q: What inspires your songwriting?

A: Writing songs is definitely the hardest part of having a band. We argue a lot while writing songs, and we still haven’t come up with a great system. The best way I’ve found is to just go with the flow and not come in with a set idea. One of my favourite songs we wrote was “chicken fried rice.” We wrote that in two days just because Edie was craving chicken fried rice.

Q: Do you have any advice for people wanting to start a band that you wish you had been told when you started? 

A: Do it! Playing music and the community that comes with that is so magical! We’re a bunch of socially anxious teens who didn’t know each other very well in the beginning. But the bond that you develop is so special, and when you’re preforming in a group you feel unstoppable.

Q: Are you planning any upcoming recordings/other shows? 

A: We are planning planning to record our music very soon after the exam season is over. We have two shows coming up, one May 17th at Radstorm for a high school band night, and we’re playing at Lost & Found on June 29th. 

Q: What’s your dream show? Who would you play with and where? What would your dream backstage snacks be at this fantasy show? 

A: I think we already play our dream shows. We love to play at the Citadel High School’s coffee houses, with the other high school bands. And if there was free Timbits involved that would be a bonus.


Contribution by: Stephanie Johns (she/her). Stephanie plays guitar in Not You and bass in Moon and has been writing about music for 20 years. She made two cute people that she spends a lot of time with these days.

FLOURISH FEST: INTERVIEW #6 – l i l a

As part of the media coverage for FLOURISH (April 25-28), not your boys club will be having conversations with some of the folks that will be organizing, creating, and performing at the festival.

For the sixth installment of this series, I spoke with Marianne (she/they) the front person and songwriter of l i l a. Other members of l i l a include Anthony (he/him) on guitar and synth, Audrey (she/her) on drums, and Pascal (he/him) on synth.

it is / a mood / a small gesture / a fragile sound / like cracking ice / maybe / a flower / maybe / a landscape / or maybe just / soft & slow sounds / from somewhere / between the sea / and the sky / hoping to comfort one / somehow / sometimes / in the darkest times

lilaPhoto by Phillipe St-Pierre

You named on your social media that your first EP, songs from a room, bloomed l i l a. Can you speak more to this — the beginnings of what is now l i l a?

oui! i’ve been working on my music for 4 and a half years now and for the first 3 years, i did it under my birth name [marianne poirier]. it was okay at first, but then i started to think and feel like it wasn’t what i wanted. it was not that my name was wrong, that i didn’t like it or anything, it just didn’t feel like it belonged with my music and my art. i wanted to detach myself from myself somehow, and create a full persona for my work. i thought about changing my name for a whole year before finally doing it but it’s kind of funny because in the end, i think i always knew i wanted to be called l i l a.

it felt like it represented me well. when they hear/see/read it, people might think of the flower [lilas/lilac], people might think of the smell, people might think of the colour but then again, it’s none of it and all of it at the same time. l i l a is for the idea of the ephemeral, the revival, the softness, the mystery, the secrecy. i wanted people to know me for who i was becoming and who i am now and not what they saw me as 4 years ago [i was on The Voice..yah..and people kind of identified me as the cute girl wearing a hat]. it kinda made me mad somehow because that is not what/who i am. i am human and that is all. i carry oceans and i play sad music. i wanted something neutral, i wanted it to be mysterious. i wanted anyone to feel like they could be l i l a, you know ? i didn’t want anyone to assume anything about me and my music without even hearing/seeing it and so yah, changing my name was the first step i felt i had to take..and so i did, but i also felt like it wasn’t enough just to change name: i had to give [something] to people. the idea of recording my first EP on my own came really randomly, but it also seemed like the right/best thing i could do. i wanted to do everything myself to show people who l i l a truly was/ gonna be and so i handmade 50 physical copies, all with a different drawing, made the jackets, burned the CD’s, did everything and i said:

here is me: here is l i l a. [it worked pretty well, i must say. and i was surprised! but also very happy and relieved because i was already working on the next thing when it came out]

I really want to acknowledge and appreciate how everything that I’ve come to know about l i l a is very personal and very tender — your song writing, the bedroom recording by you, the unique drawings for each copy and each t-shirt. There is a certain kind of care here that isn’t often seen. Would you be willing to share the importance that carefully hand making and personalizing everything has for you?

seriously, that is so sweet. i am deeply touched and must say that i got kind of emotional reading that’s the way you perceived l i l a because that’s exactly what it’s all about: caring.

doing music/art is my self care and i want it to help other people too. it is crucial for me that anyone feels included and important all the time. everything i do is very personal, yes, but it is also inspired by [everyone and anyone] so that’s why i want people to feel like they can still belong to it and with it. i want them to be able to recognize themselves in all my art and the last thing i want is to be placed on top of anyone [i notice there’s a certain hierarchy and coldness that can take place in the arts and i totally hate it]. i don’t want anyone to feel like what i do is not accessible or unaffordable and i think that is why i feel the urge to do everything myself. i am a real pisces [drama drama] and every single thing goes straight to my heart. i am very emotional and i feel like i want people to experience l i l a in that way too. i think that doing everything [my merch] by myself makes me feel closer to people and it also makes people feel closer to me. i know and they know that when they buy something of mine, they’ll have a real piece of l i l a/me and that they’ll be the only to ever have it. i find that very beautiful and i want to always make sure that everyone buying something from me understands what it means to me and how important it is and how grateful i am for them to even consider my art. I couldn’t do less or else i’d feel like i am not being truly true.  

I read in an article (2019) that at the songs from a room EP launch in the Saint-Jean bookstore in Montreal, folks in the crowd were sitting and listening on cushions in front of you. To me, this sounds very comforting, intimate, and safe. Is this the kind of a environment you are hoping to cultivate at your FLOURISH show on April 27th?

the whole idea behind that night was to recreate my bedroom [because that was where i recorded most of the EP] so my friends and i moved all the tables and chairs, put blankets and cushions on the floor, hung christmas lights and sheets on the walls and ceilings, burnt incense, hung my drawings and even served kombucha! it felt exactly like my bedroom and with all the books around, it was so lovely. i was scared people wouldn’t show up because i called the show very last minute, but we ended up refusing people at the door cause the place was too full ! it was such a nice night, i still get the feels.

for the release of my new EP [quiet as fire], i did it at « le Knockout », which is a independent record store downtown Quebec City. it felt like the perfect place to do it since i released the EP on vinyl. i did things a little differently this time, but the main idea was still to create this very intimate and comforting place. i made it all very dark and the [almost] only lights were those purple christmas lights i hung with shiny garlands on that decor that my dad had built me. the night started with a listening of the vinyl and then i played that new solo set with my loop pedal, mixing both music and poetry. i think people were very surprised by all of it and then again, it was so lovely.

i always want to try and create a whole universe when i’m playing. it can never be just music because in my heart it’s not just music. i want people to be experienced. i want them to let themselves feel [things]. i must say that i am in my solitude a lot when i play. i love solitude and i am not afraid nor sad when i go there. i feel peaceful, nostalgic yes, but also very calm and serene. i feel like it is too often a place within oneself that people are afraid to go? but i really want to try and have people go there during my shows. not to have them feel sad or anything, but to have them realize that it’s all ok. because the music is so deep and introspective, a safe and soothing space is needed and it is my job to create it for them. from the lightning to the way they are seated, i always try to create this intimate and comforting place in which everyone can just breathe and move or close their eyes or be happy or cry [i’ve seen people do it] or dance or feel whatever they want to feel.

i am definitely hoping and going to try and create something similar [but also different, of course] at my FLOURISH show! i can’t wait to see the place and people! xxx

In the same post that you mentioned the blooming of l i l a, you also mentioned that there are many more amazing things to come. Are you able to share what some of those things might be?

Oui mais non mais non mais oui!

i must admit that i always write that [new things are coming out soon] to try and keep people around and have them in that perpetual state of wonder and mystery.  

Then again, I am constantly creating and working on new stuff: videos, songs, poetry, art stuff..and so i might just be working on new merch for Flourish! i don’t even know what i’ll be doing in an hour so who knows what’s coming up?

i guess i could say that we started pre-producing the second EP and that it is going to be crazy cool/good, but not out so soon yet. i will also have more shows coming up, one of which is gonna be pretty epic and it will take place this summer in Quebec City, my city. i cannot say more because it has not been announced yet and i think that people will still have to wait a few weeks before i can say anything serious about it all. BUT i can say watch out for it because you won’t want to miss it ! ! !

See l i l a live:

April 27th @ FLOURISH Festival, Fredericton, NB.

April 28th @ bloom fest, Sackville, NB.


Contribution by Nikki A Basset

FLOURISH FEST: INTERVIEW#5 – FROOTI TOOT-E

As part of the media coverage for FLOURISH (April 25-28), not your boys club will be having conversations with some of the folks that will be organizing, creating, and performing at the festival.

For the fifth instalment of this series, I spoke with Rachel / Tomato (she/her), Claire / Banana (she/her), and Lauren / Peach (she/her) from Frooti Toot-E (NB) – a project that started out as just a joke on instagram between these high school pals.

frooti tooti.JPG
Photo by David Cheng

I *loved* the article that The Aquinian recently published that centers all ages programming at FLOURISH and interviews the youth that have been booked to perform or install art at the festival (Flatt, 2019). In this article, you were quoted saying that Frooti Toot-E started as a joke on instagram – could you let me, and the readers, in on this joke and the formation of the band?

Tomato: Well basically Peach and I took the course “Sound and Recording” this year at school. We got to make music using Logic Pro – basically a fancy expensive version of GarageBand. We found it really fun to make funny music and the joke kind of started with “oh my god, imagine if we started a band and it was just weird, funny music! imagine if we PERFORMED!”. We just thought it was funny until one day we said, “wait.. like.. we could easily do that, we just have to make an instagram and soundcloud. It’s grad year – why not!” and the band kind of took off from there.

You were also quoted saying that you had never intended to play a show, but then it “became something real”. How did this happen? Does Fredericton often embrace and centre youth in the music and arts community?

Tomato: No, we honestly never thought it’d be possible to perform live since most of our music is just us singing over a backing track we made ourselves, but our music teacher (shout-out to Mr. Webber!!) really encouraged us and gave us a way for this to happen which was incredible. Performing live has been super fun and I honestly am super grateful to Mr. Webber for helping us start that.

And yeah! I think Fredericton definitely has places where they encourage youth to be creative with music and other forms of art – the Charlotte Street Arts Center has been an awesome place for us personally and i know they do a lot of events to encourage youth to be creative. I think that’s awesome.

What can folks at FLOURISH fest expect from your set at shiftwork on Thursday, April 25th?

Banana: Well.. definitely something they probably haven’t seen before. Our sets are pretty unique but definitely playful and fun – the whole set has sort of a storyline to it which we think is cool. We hope people will like it!

I’ve seen and heard many folks (Jane Blanchard, Motherhood, The Aquinian) refer to Frooti Toot-E as fashion icons. Can you tell me about your aesthetic and why this is a critical part of your performance?

Peach: haha! The day jane said that about us we all freaked out !! Motherhood thinks we’re FASHION ICONS?!?

But yeah, fashion and style is something we really like to incorporate into our performances. Because we are all fruit, we make sure to dress in our fruit colours, so i’m dressed all in pink, Rachel (tomato) in red, and Claire (banana) in yellow.

We just like to have fun with our outfits and be as creative as possible when deciding what to wear to our shows. We’ve worn skirts from value village as shirts and full pastel wigs before – it changes every time!

What are some ways that you feel Frooti Toot-E is paving the way for other youth to take up space in music and arts communities? Do you have any advice for creative youth?

Tomato: I think because we’re so different from i guess “normal” or your typical form of music, it might encourage people and show them that they can make whatever they want. Although not everyone will like it (you can’t please everyone), there’s always going to be people who enjoy it .

This sound cheesy, but as long as you’re creating and having fun, that’s all that matters.

Banana: Yeah I agree. For advice, I’d say just be brave and try your hardest to create for yourself and not to please other people – it’s YOUR art, not theirs. Being creative is fun!

See Frooti Toot-E live on April 25th at FLOURISH Festival!


Contribution by Nikki A Basset

FLOURISH FEST: INTERVIEW #4 – THANYA IYER

As part of the media coverage for FLOURISH (April 25-28), not your boys club will be having conversations with some of the folks that will be organizing, creating, and performing at the festival.

For the fourth interview in the series, I spoke with Thanya Iyer (she/her), “an enigmatic songwriter who crafts sparkling experimental pop music” (2018) who is one-third of her self-titled band, Thanya Iyer (Montreal). Currently working on a visual album called “Kind”, their music “empowers listeners to embrace mindfulness, aesthetic beauty, and the interconnectedness of all things” (2018).

Thanya 2 by Sophie Grouev .jpgPhoto by Sophie Grouev

In your music there are themes of change, healing, growth, and dreaming – all tools for resistance. Are there overarching forces that drive and motivate these themes in your songwriting?

Definitely! Songwriting and music in general for me has this amazing ability to engage people, create community and provide healing in a deeply therapeutic way. My songs are about my journey and the journey of life, the things we face throughout them, where we are going, where we come from, who we are. A lot of my songs tell stories that travels through questions around racism, healing, chronic pain and disability, aging, depression, and acceptance.

I’ve noticed that while you are resistant to define your own music, you have been explicit that you do not use guitar. Your soundscape, and the intentional absence of guitar, draws many parallels for me to Lido Pimienta! During a live performance, I recall her stating that she’s not interested in collaborating and creating sound with guitar – drawing it back to being a woman of colour in an industry that is dominated by white men with guitars. Would you be willing to share reasons and feelings behind your intentional absence of guitar?

Its true! We don’t have a guitar. While I have many beautiful friends who play the guitar and know some wonderful people who have guitars in their music, it’s just not really something that has ever appealed to me! A lot of the musical frequencies that the range of the guitar has is quite similar to violins and synths that I already cover and of course there is just also a high frequency of white men with guitars in the universe already. (I love Lido Pimienta by the way and all her work and am so inspired by her music and motherhood and vibe).

It is definitely difficult to be in a world where there isn’t a lot of visibility for amazing women and folks of colour creating awesome music and doing wonderful things. Because insecurities do come up about your worth and your ability to keep going, and incidents where people treat you less then you are happen. A discussion with a good friend a couple years ago made me realize that maybe it’ll take just a little bit longer for my music to reach the surface because i’m not really “marketable” (in the sense that I’m not white and didnt have bangs (no offence to people with bangs)). But I feel like the best thing that we can do is just keep doing it! Never give up and live our truth. All of my role models and the musicians I love are just doing it! Making amazing music and just continuing! Living their truth and pushing forward in a world that’s not so easy to exist in.

I read in an interview (2018) that you were in the recording stages of an album that you will be calling Kind. Can we expect to hear this album in the near-future?

Yes, you can hear it eventually but I’m not exactly sure when! Definitely within the next year! We are in the process of finishing the album, and we recently had some sessions with some amazing collaborators who are all bandleaders of their own and a part of the montreal community (including a very rad group of female singer-songwriters who formed the MAWMZ PLUS choir, Tamara Sandor, Emilie Kahn on harp and voice, Corey Gulkin, Brigitte Naggar (Common Holly), Shelby Cohen and Sarah Rossy and Frédérique Roy on voice and accordian) – . We are just in the final stages making a mix and making some art and all of that stuff.

Another huge part of the project is that we would like to release the album as a 20 minute film. We have all the music ready and have the same team who created our DayDreaming music video on board to create some magic, Bucky Illingworth directing, Elysha Poirier and Sophia Grouev on animation!

For folks attending Flourish Festival, could you share what spaces you like to create and the impressions or messages you try to communicate during a live performance?

We love to create a space that is comfortable and safe and home! I love to connect with people and share and hear their stories and their journey. I love interacting with the audience and creating a warm atmospheric soundscape universe for people to submerge themselves in.

We recently added a new band member, Sophia Grouev who will be doing visual projections at the show. Sophia is such a lovely person and also helps create the dream world and vision we are going for, just to lift you out of reality for a moment and then bring you right back in.


See Thanya Iyer live:

April 11 – @ 12 CAT Arts Collective, Kingston, ON.

April 12 – Kazoo! Fest, Guelph, ON.

April 13th – w/ I am Robot & Proud, World News, and Precious Jewel @ Wavelength Music Series, Toronto, ON.

April 25th* – @ BAE, Bangor, ME.

April 26th – @ FLOURISH Festival, Fredericton, NB.

April 28th* – @ Casa Del Popolo, Montreal, QC.

April 29th* – @ Live! on Elgin, Ottawa, ON.

May 2nd* – @ This Ain’t Hollywood, Hamilton, ON.

May 3rd* – @ The Baby G, Toronto, ON.

May 4th* – @ Spark Art Space, Syracuse, NY.

May 5th* – @ BSP Kingston, Kingston, NY.

* – w/ And the Kids


Contribution by Nikki A Basset

FLOURISH FEST: INTERVIEW #3 – EVA GEORGE

As part of the media coverage for FLOURISH (April 25-28), not your boys club will be having conversations with some of the folks that will be organizing, creating, and performing at the festival.

For the third interview in this series, I spoke with one of the staff members at Charlotte Street Arts Centre (a FLOURISH venue), Eva George (she/they). With over ten years’ experience working at organizations that serve youth & community, she now oversees social development programming at CSAC. As part of this position, she is planning and organizing a music festival called FEST FORWARD that gives space to emerging musicians and their professional development. Outside of CSAC, Eva loans her time to planning and organizing two growing music festivals, Feels Good Follyfest and St. Andrews Paddlefest.

eva george

Photo by Julie Easley

For folks that are unfamiliar with Charlotte Street Arts Centre, can you first give me an overview of its role in the community?

Charlotte Street Arts Centre is a focal point of community based arts.  We are unique in that we offer free programming to individuals and groups who might usually face financial barriers to accessing the arts.  We also have two galleries and we are the home to a growing list of tenants who are rooted in the arts, for example NB Film Co-Op has been a long time resident as well as a number of artists and dancers who have studios in our building.  Our newly renovated space and annex has given us physical accessibility with an elevator that services all levels of the building. We have a beautiful auditorium which has hosted many great performances.

I’m curious to know more about your position as ArtReach Program Manager – can you share with me what kind of programming you develop and offer through CSAC?

As ArtReach Program Manager I work with our community partners to go after funding opportunities so that we can offer them free arts based programming.  We partner with The Multi-Cultural Association of Fredericton, The Boys & Girls Club, Evelyn Grove Manor, Fredericton Mental Health & Addictions as well as Youth in Transition to name a few.  Our programming is very much based on the needs expressed by the communities we serve and we hire professional artists to facilitate our programs. Along with Penny from Motherhood and Jane Blanchard we created the very first Girls+ Rock Camp in New Brunswick which has since grown to Moncton and Saint John is planning their first camp as well.  

In this position, as a board member at Youth in Transition, facilitator for Girls+ Rock Camp, and as a parent, I’m wondering if you can you speak to how important it is to offer art and music spaces that are accessible to youth?

Young people are really great at taking the lead and doing amazing things when adults step out of the way and give them space to do so.  Our Girls+ Rock Camp really has been a highlight of my career in youth/community work. I have always been of the mind set that if you can’t see it, you won’t be it, so by giving Girls+ the opportunity to take centre stage through the support of our (wo)mentors from the local music community we are hopefully transforming the future of the music scene which historically has been overly dominated by men.  

In speaking with Jane, the co-director of Flourish Festival, it is clear how important all-ages programming is to the festival. What are you feeling especially excited to host at CSAC during Flourish Festival this year?

We are super excited to host a Girls+ Rock Jam with some of the visiting bands on the Saturday afternoon of FLOURISH.  I have a super big band crush on Motherhood so I am really pumped for their show here on Friday and we don’t get enough Jane Blanchard these days so I am really looking forward to that show on Saturday evening.


Contribution by Nikki A Basset