OUT OF EARSHOT: DAY 3

Outside of attending Skintone’s talk “From the Black Atlantic to the Milky Way: An exploration of Afro-Futurism” at Eastern Edge, I spent most of Out of Earshot day three catching up with friends whose goodbyes I was already grieving.

Muffin, an RPM challenge band, opened up the late, and final, Out of Earshot show. Being their first live performance, vocalist Rebecca eased into their very tender stage presence as their set progressed. Joined with Liam, Jacob, Sarah, Derek, and Nicole, they sweetly sang about having each others backs and being good people.

muffin

Photo by Krystal Morgan

This set was followed by Isolation Kills who were also playing their first show. Formed by Nicole, Pepa, and Kieren, these pals [and neighbours] came together to create hardcore music for connection and healing. During this set, I reminisced about the final Out of Earshot show last year when Hard Ticket played their last show. There were many parallels of the feelings behind these sets – a group of pals being supported and celebrated by a room of all their pals.

isolation kills

Photo by Krystal Morgan

Prime Junk took the stage next wearing a western button up shirt, bolo tie, and corduroy jacket – an aesthetic that I am always charmed by. They were joined with Out of Earshot organizers Sarah Harris and Jess Barry, and revealed throughout their set that their band had recently dissolved. They played with great vulnerability and generously shared the ways they were reclaiming something deeply painful through playing these songs live one last time. This set was an act of resilience and catharsis – while they are firm it was the last of Prime Junk [even saying “rest in peace” as they left the stage], there seems to be hope that they will keep making music after their [inspiring] weekend at Out of Earshot.

The show, and the festival, came to a close with Century Egg from Halifax. The sincerity of their music is one you can really lean into – everyone in the audience was swaying, bouncing, smiling, having fun with each other. Asked for an encore, they came up to play one last song: Since I Caught You. As the song was coming to a close, Shane sweetly sang directly to her husband, Robert (guitar), “And I don’t know what else to do / since I caught you“.

With a final show that inspired and conveyed so much love, connection, and friendship, the second iteration of Out of Earshot comes to a close.

Until next year, xoxo.

OUT OF EARSHOT: DAY 2

I arrived at Eastern Edge to moderate a panel on DIY organizing within arts and music communities that I was invited to by Out of Earshot. While, through not your boys club, I have experience organizing without funding and with little help from other people, I am definitely not an expert – in fact, I think I am often doing it wrong. This was a learning opportunity for me as much as for the room of people in attendance.

Panelists Nick Dourado, Natasha Blackwood, Jenesta Power, Shauna Gilpin, and Nadia Duman, challenged the reality of “doing-it-yourself” and ways in which this work isn’t effective, efficient, or sustainable if we are working in silos. They spoke to the power in collaboration, community outreach, and building relationships. Here was where, after some brainstorming, we landed on “doing-it-ourselves” or “DIO” coined by Nick.

The conversation we had, one that seemed to resonate and energize many folks, wasn’t recorded. It will only exist as an oral narrative for those who witnessed it to share. I guess then, it is our responsibility, as holders of this knowledge, to keep having these conversations about what it looks like to organize within [but also against] mainstream arts and music industry.

Leaving the space, I received some critical feedback on my moderation from Nick, “You fucked up! You didn’t ask everyone’s astrological sign!”.

Kira Sheppard opened the early evening show with a performance that placed me in my own dreamscape world. Between her harp, the string lights at her feet, the reverb on her vocals, the bubbles blown by Pepa, I was floating on my own little cloud.

Our collective dreamscape was shattered by the dystopian future curated by Skin Tone [James Goddard]. With visuals, narration, experimental noise, free jazz saxophone, and tap shoes that stormed through the room, we were captivated. Consumed.

Juice Girls opened their set with Ghoul Gal, a song that could have came from outer-space, to ease us back into our dreamscape. In moments of awareness, I would realize the ways they were enchanting the audience – pulling us in like the moon pulls the tides.

juice girls

Photo by Krystal Morgan

While we moved to The Ship, the world that this thoughtfully curated show created was only briefly disrupted.

Francis [synth/percussion] and Nadia [vocals/guitar/bass] of CUERPOS took the stage. In the ways that each song builds with rhythm, volume, and intensity, so does their set. They have a really great intuition that allows them to communicate to each other, and to the audience, non-verbally. Assessing needs, engaging, and then elevating. For me, the techno beat and bass line during sugar free was the summit of their set.

cuerpos

Photo by Krystal Morgan

I experienced Dregqueen, an electronic project, from an open window next to the stage. While the air and light rain kept me cool, the humid draft coming from all the bodies moving inside the bar kept me warm. The view and personal space that I was afforded by choosing the window allowed me to really connect with and be enthralled by the ways Lees performs and interacts with the audience through their body and movement.

Like the night before, I finished my cigarette as they finished their set and headed home.


Contribution by Nik A Basset

OUT OF EARSHOT: DAY 1

I arrived into St. John’s on the eve of the festival to be with some of the people I have built strong friendships with since the inaugural Out of Earshot festival. From backyard dinner, to soft-serve twist cones, to pre-fest gathering, to a night swim under the stars, I really leaned into laughter, connection, and empathy.

When I woke up, the air felt crisp and cool and the sky promised us rain. I spent the day on a couch with my dear friend and her dog, intermittently sharing thoughts and feelings about community between typing away on our respective laptops.

When it came time to make our way to Eastern Edge Gallery for the artist meal and opening show, rain and fog had moved into the city. The OOE artist meal continues to be a beautiful space where people come together, share a meal, and catch up.

The line-up for the opening Out of Earshot show at Eastern Edge was Greta Warner, Weary, and Ilia Nicoll and the Hot Toddies.

Greta Warner, a young person living in St. John’s, played indie pop for us with only a guitar and loop pedal. Greta’s songs are honest narratives about loss, dating, and her connection to Lindsay Weir from the late 90’s show Freaks and Geeks.

greta warner.JPG

Photo by Krystal Morgan

Weary, a local soft-rock five-piece, followed Greta. Fronted by Kate Lahey, her banter reflects the ways she interacts with her world as simultaneously tender and tough. While being intentional and thanking her band, the sound people, the photographers, showing love and care for her friends, the girls rock alumni in attendance, and her partner, she also introduces her song Grocery Store by saying,

it’s hard to find spaces in St. John’s where you don’t scan the room for someone who makes you feel horrible. mine is the Sobey’s on Merrymeeting Rd.“.

weary

Photo by Krystal Morgan

Increasing in tempo, momentum, and volume, the Eastern Edge show closes with Ilia Nicoll and the Hot Toddies – a playful and enigmatic local pop outfit. Since Ilia’s move to Toronto, her return to St. John’s to play music notoriously brings excitement to any space.

ilia nicoll

Photo by Krystal Morgan

With the rain getting heavier as the night progresses, some of the crowd disperses and some make their way up the alley to The Ship Pub.

The late night loud show starts with a relatively new hardcore / screamo local band, Gossamer, fronted by Rebecca Hammond. Gossamer brings a lot of chaotic energy by playing with auditory and physical space. Rebecca takes to the floor and gives the audience everything that she can.

gossamer

Photo by Krystal Morgan

Walt, the Out of Earshot host of the night, introduces the following local band, Worst Lay. Fronted by Renee Sharpe, she introduces her music as a punk therapy session for herself, her band mates Pepa, Mitch, and Mara, and for everyone in attendance.

The next act, while differing in sound but similar in emotion, Backxwash, delivers a rap set that maintains the anger, but takes it to the next level. Parallel to Kate Lahey’s intro to Grocery Store earlier, Backxwash introduces her song Devil in a Moshpit by sharing that it’s about performing in front of someone that you hate.

Her music and performance is a powerful commentary on her experiences of oppression as a queer and trans black person [so like, you’re walking around harassing people because you’re uncomfortable in your own skin / this shit is ridiculous / i’m laughing at you / i don’t really give a fuck, no sympathy for the cis]. While this is only a glimpse of the dialogue that she has with her audience, this messaging is consistent throughout her music and performance.

Grief, a hardcore band from Halifax, closed out the first night of Out of Earshot. Giving my ears a rest, I listened to them from under an awning outside as I smoked a cigarette with a friend. As my cigarette finished, so did their set, but I’ll have a chance to see them again on Saturday.


Contribution by Nik A. Basset

OUT OF EARSHOT: FIRST WAVE LINEUP ANNOUNCEMENT

Out of Earshot have announced the first wave of artists, musicians, and writers that will be at their second festival this August (22nd-24th) – including not your boys club!

In this beautiful partnership, we aim to facilitate platforms for under-represented emerging musicians, artists, and writers in spaces that are safe, supportive, and affirming.

Jess Barry, a member of Out of Earshot’s Board of Directors, says:

“Out of Earshot is truly a community-driven celebration of music and art. We are constantly learning and are greatly inspired by the thought and care we see demonstrated by other independent festivals in their programming, their support for emerging artists, and their commitment to diversity and to experimentation. Out of Earshot is a change to make lasting friendships, to experience new perspectives, and to come together to celebrate the waysys in which we express ourselves and support each other.”

Similar to last year, not your boys club will be sharing pre-festival coverage highlighting and centering some of the femme, trans, and gender non-conforming folks that are organizing and performing at the festival.

During the festival, nybc will be present and provide media coverage for headlining touring musicians Prime Junk (MTL), Century Egg (HFX), Juice Girls (HFX), Pure Pressure (TO), Hélène Barbier (MTL), and Dregqueen (MTL), local musicians Worst Lay, Gossamer, Kira Sheppard, Weary, Ilia Nicoll and the Hot Toddies, Greta Warner, writers Violet Drake and Carmella Gray Cosgrove, and artists The Rock Vandal and Isha Watson [+ more !!].

Tickets are available online or at Toslow (183A Duckworth Street, St. John’s, NFLD).

OoE 2019 Poster


Contribution by Nik A Basset

FLOURISH FEST: INTERVIEW #2 – TERRE WA

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 second interview of the series, I spoke with Indigo (she/they), Erin (she/her), and Emily (she/her) from Fredericton’s own, Terre Wa.

Indigo Rain Poirier (synth/drum machine) is an electronic musician recently awarded “artist of the year” for their solo project, Wangled Teb. Erin Goodine (synth) is an interdisciplinary artist, collaborator, and designer new to improvised electronic music. Emily Kennedy (cello) is a cellist, improviser, and collaborator active in genre-crossing projects with poets, textile artists, and dancers.

Together, Terre Wa is a powerful synthesis of these diverse backgrounds in visual arts and classical, experimental, and electronic music. Their improvised sets can abruptly turn from heart-wrenchingly beautiful to dark, intense, and menancing.

terre_wa.jpg

Photo by Emily Kennedy

How did Terre Wa form and how long have you been creating and playing music together?

Indigo: Terre Wa originally kind of grew out of a project Erin, her sister Robin, and myself were organizing called Sunday Music Spa. Sunday Music Spa is an ambient jam session for women and non-binary people where we set up a bunch of synths/drum machines, encourage people to bring their own instruments if they want or to use ours, and relax and make noise together in a soothing, supportive environment. Sometimes we make tea. It’s great. We had been hosting these sessions periodically for about a year or so, I think? Anyway, after awhile of performing together in that space, Erin and I ended up playing a set at Reads (god rest its soul) along with New Hermitage and Northern Apparatus, and then we decided we wanted to keep performing together and asked Emily to join us not long after.

Erin: Yeah, I think we had been doing Sunday Music Spa for around a year by that time. Sunday Music Spa came out of the need for a space that welcomed experimentation from people who were not musicians. I’ve always been interested in synthesizers and experimental music, but it always felt so daunting to learn how to play that type of music myself. After having that space to learn more about synthesizers and the time to experiment, Indigo was so generous to invite me to play a set at Reads with them even though I didn’t have much experience. It was the first time I had ever played music in front of an audience, but it was really encouraging and we got really good feedback from that first show. Once Emily joined us we became Terre Wa and everything came together so well.

Emily: Yeah, I went to that first show at Reads, and it was awesome! I was so stoked on it, I was was pretty tickled when they asked me if I wanted to jam, and then that was that. I’ve always enjoyed electronic music, and Terre Wa has been an awesome project to just explore how a good old wooden cello can fit in and mix with that kind of soundscape.

What can people typically expect from a Terre Wa set? Specifically at Flourish?

Erin: I guess it’s hard to say what to expect because it’s so different every time! Since all of our performances are improvised, we don’t necessarily know what it’s going to sound like going into a set. We did start to notice that the spaces we’ve performed in have really influenced the sound, like bar venues tend to be louder and more intense, while outdoor areas and quieter venues build up slower and are more relaxed. We will be creating an outdoor sound installation at Flourish this year as well as performing, so that will definitely influence the sound.

It seems that, outside of playing music together as Terre Wa, you are all very active in the music and arts community. I was hoping you could all offer some insight and perspective on the community there for folks not living, working, and creating in Fredericton.

Emily: Fredericton is a pretty special little arts community. I’m from New Brunswick, but I had lived in Ontario for seven years or so before deciding to move back home. It was really eye opening coming back – there are just so many supportive and hard working artists and musicians here. I think when I left, I felt the classic “grass is always greener” need to get away from where I was from, to go someplace larger. It feels even more special now to see how much of a gem this place is. There is this very grass roots, do-it-yourself culture here. People aren’t afraid to just start something, whether it’s a musical project or a festival. When you see that all around you, it’s inspiring. You realize that you can do that as well.

What does Flourish Festival mean for each of you? 

Erin: Flourish always feels like such a nice celebration. Friends come back to town, the weather gets warmer. I’ve seen some of my favorite shows at Flourish, not only because of the amazing musicians and artists, but also for the space it creates.

Emily: Yes! Flourish is the best way to send off winter – a weekend jam packed with great music, art and pals.

Erin, can you specifically talk about your involvement with the arts and the collaborative textile poster that you worked on for Flourish?

Erin: Yes! I primarily work as a graphic designer by day, and had the opportunity to collaborate with my sister Robin Goodine and Emily Blair on the Flourish Fest poster. They created a textile piece in Montreal and I designed a poster around it. I’m also an interdisciplinary  artist and have contributed artwork and installations for Flourish Fest in the past and have been involved in many collaborative art projects in Fredericton with the Shiftwork Collective and Connexion ARC. I’ve had some really great opportunities to collaborate with many amazing artists and musicians over the years. I also recently collaborated with Emma Hassencahl-Perley and Emilie Grace Lavoie on a curatorial project at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery that will be open during Flourish Festival this year.

Indigo, I know that you also play solo under the name Wangled Teb. Through this project, I saw that you will be offering a free workshop at The Charlotte Street Arts Centre Auditorium that will empower folks to use Ableton Live. Can you share what folks can expect of this workshop?

Yes! I’m going to talk about some basic terms that people should be familiar with when mixing, some general techniques for EQ and compression, a brief explanation of subtractive/analog synthesizers, and how I use Ableton for live performance. I might also go a bit deeper into how I approach writing a piece if there’s time.

What are each of you most excited for during this years Flourish Festival outside of your involvement(s)?

Indigo: Definitely excited to see Property again. I saw them play at Reads (god rest its soul) last year and they were AWESOME. Also that whole lineup for the Shiftwork show on Friday looks great!!

Erin: I’m excited to see Indigo and Emily’s other projects Wangled Teb and Pallmer! I’m also looking forward to seeing Carinae again. I saw them for the first time at last years Quality Block Party in Saint John, and they were amazing!

Emily: Yes, all of the above! And I can’t wait to see Thanya Iyer (and everything on Friday..), and the Flourish Gallery Crawl – – should be a lot of fun!

Terre Wa plays Flourish Festival on Saturday, April 27th at The Charlotte Street Arts Centre Auditorium (all ages / doors at 530 / $15)


Contribution by Nikki A Basset

FLOURISH FEST: INTERVIEW #1 – JANE BLANCHARD

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 first interview in the series, I’m speaking with Jane Blanchard (she/her), the co-founder and co-director of FLOURISH. Currently splitting her time between Edinburgh and Fredericton, she also plays music under her own name and keyboards in David in the Dark.

jane blanchard

Photo by L. P. Chaisson

Before speaking to all the things that the fifth year of FLOURISH festival has to offer, could you bring me back to when FLOURISH was founded? I would really like to hear about the dreaming that went into the origins of FLOURISH.

FLOURISH Festival started as a term project when I was in my second year at Renaissance College at The University of New Brunswick. The course was in Project Management, and after attending a community arts gathering, I decided that throwing a mini-festival that incorporated visual art, music and other disciplines would be fun. My best friend and bandmate Stefan Westner ran (and still runs) an art collective called Shiftwork that were famous (and still are) for doing these sweet DIY 24 hour pop-up shows, so together we started brainstorming on how to run a festival.

FLOURISH Festival was inspired by many events, people and groups that were encouraging the scene at the time (and in most cases, still are in some capacity). The Shifty Bits Circus was run by The Shifty Bits Cult (Motherhood, Penelope Stevens) and were throwing an out of this world DIY festival every summer that really showed us that something like this was possible – and who also connected us to so many amazing people. Tate LeJeune founded a great event called ‘Blossom, Don’t Burst’ (maybe a more obvious name influence there, haha) at Connexion ARC – which was a one day event open to all artists under 20 years old to showcase their work.

I like to think that FLOURISH grew from a mix of these influences plus our own experiences of playing in bands, throwing art shows, and hanging at The Capital Complex five nights a week. We thought FLOURISH was just going to be a one-off event, but we quickly became obsessed and it has been a passion project ever since. It’s thrilling to see how it has grown and morphed along with the community. In the first year, it was thrown together in less than 2 months with everyone volunteering their time, playing for free, and trusting two people who really didn’t know what they were doing. We are thrilled that the bigger we get, the more we can feed back into the arts community and continue connecting artists across the country.

What gaps do you feel FLOURISH filled in the arts & music community in Fredericton? Atlantic Canada?

I think that every year we learn and recognize different gaps in the community and by looking at our festival retrospectively, we work towards bridging them. When FLOURISH started, we wanted to contribute to a larger all ages scene, show a better use of alternative venue spaces, and promote more cross-collaboration between local artists. These are all still very important factors, but now in our fifth year we have a broadened focus.

With Shifty Bits Circus no longer running, FLOURISH Festival is really the only festival in the city that is artist run with a focus on emerging acts. Shivering Songs is a fantastic artist-run community festival like us and so such a superb job of showcasing phenomenal talent. We like to think of FLOURISH Festival as the event that showcases the bands and artists that maybe you have never heard of before but maybe you’ll see playing these larger festivals in a year or two.

Our big focus this year has been community involvement – reaching out to new volunteers, engaging new businesses, and being more vocal with our ideas to government and community partners (who are all super supportive) to give artists a platform to showcase their wild and wonderful ideas in a supportive environment. I like to think that we also help local artists grow their networks by bringing in acts from away and fostering communication and community. We’re just trying our best to make something valuable to artists and attendees alike – a unique experience in an inclusive and fun environment. We know we haven’t even come close to filling all the gaps in the arts & music community in Fredericton and beyond, but we are trying to set an example and work together with other like minded festivals and groups in the Maritimes to always do better.

As one of two co-founders, how do you feel the festival has grown since its first iteration?

The festival has grown at a steady pace – which has been super. Every year we are growing and able to offer more programming, but we are not becoming too big to manage. Everything we know about planning a festival has been 100% self taught and navigated thanks to our community, so we grow as curators and facilitators every year.

I think in many ways, FLOURISH Festival is a direct reflection on the personal growth of both myself and Stefan as we learn more, become more engaged, and feel more confident with our abilities. For example, we have definitely grown in regards to inclusivity. Like, I just had a look at our lineup for our second edition, which was a great time, but only 4 bands out of 41 were femme fronted where now it’s more like 32 out of 46. As a femme curator and artist, I am now so much more aware of the responsibility I hold in regards to programming. That’s a direct reflection of my experience touring and seeing the gender-gap at festivals and events. Every year we release our lineup and although we are proud of it – there are always ways that we can do better. Festivals like DIY Spring, MEGAPHONO, Lawnya Vawnya and Kazoo! Fest are a few that we look up to in regards to great programming and mandates.

What can folks attending the festival expect this year that will be different than previous years?

We are really excited about our all ages shows this year! We always have great all ages shows, but this year we will be using the Charlotte Street Arts Centre as a more central venue in our programming. We have a few high school bands who will be performing which has been a community that we have been trying to involve more. We are hoping this will start building a stronger relationship with the all ages music and art scene in the city, and will hopefully encourage young bands and artists to want to showcase their work in coming years!

We are doing a music crawl, which is a new thing for us – inspired by the music crawl at Lawnya Vawnya that I was lucky to be a part of for their 2018 edition! This is going to allow us to showcase some sweet areas in the city that a lot of people (especially people from outside of the city) may not know as well – like the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design LibraryNew Brunswick College of Craft and Design Library.

We are still the FLOURISH Festival people know and love – but this year you can expect some more magic, some more community involvement, and as always, fantastic events.

Can you speak to the intention of the festival, and what kind of culture you dream of cultivating through it?

The intention is to continue showcasing Fredericton as a cultural centre – as a hub for amazing visual artists, bands, electronic projects, theatre groups and more. There is such an amazing support system in this community – from The Capital Complex, people like Zach Atkinson, Matt Carter at Grid City, Laurel at Bellwether, all of The Charlotte Street Arts Centre… there really are too many to name! Events like FLOURISH Festival remind us all that we are a strong, dedicated, and creative community. We want FLOURISH Festival to be a place that can act as a jump starter to form new connections and new ideas. We want people to be inspired to start new bands, make new art, and create new projects.

Can you share any ideas for growth and development you have for future iterations of FLOURISH fest?

We are really keen to continue developing our artist in residence program. It’s a really special program that has cultivated so many life-long friends and has secured Fredericton as a second home to many. We want to work on increased diversity for next year and will be focusing on bringing a wider range of acts from all backgrounds to the festival. We would like to work together with new community groups such as the Fredericton Multicultural Association and The Mi’kmaq-Wolastoque Centre, and to have a heavier involvement in the all-ages community and the francophone community. In coming years we also envision taking over more public spaces and including some site specific installations as well as more free programming and access to things such as childcare and kid-friendly events for festival goers and artists. We have so much that we want to do, and we always make a huge list following the festival on notes and goals to work on, so we are really excited for 2019, and also to get to work on 2020!


Contribution by Nikki A Basset

FESTIVAL LINEUP: FLOURISH

Announced this morning, Flourish Fest released their full 2019 festival line-up happening the weekend of April 25th to 28th.

Held in Fredericton, NB, Flourish is a music & arts festival with inclusive programming that promotes and embraces community-building, the DIY and emerging, and works that challenge and engage. With intentionally diverse programming, there is something for everyone to appreciate and enjoy.

From the glittery indie-pop of And the Kids, Property, and Thanya Iyer, the punchy punk of Esme & the Dishrags, Coy, and Lemongrab, the vulnerable soft-rock of Weary, l i l a, and Mary-Kate Edwards, the electronic soundscapes of Terre Wa, VERSA, and Kee Avil, and everything else in between – there really isn’t any musical genre left ignored.

not your boys club is excited to be partnering with Flourish and providing pre-festival coverage and promotion by interviewing some of the organizers, artists, and musicians that will be contributing to the overall experience of the weekend.

Purchase a festival pass and apply to volunteer at http://www.flourish-fest.com.

Flourish_Festival_2019-Poster_Final-01


Contribution by: Nikki A Basset