In an attempt to give you some insight into the minds of the fine people taking part in this year’s festival, we put together a survey for our artists to fill out. In the coming weeks, we’ll be posting the results regularly. Up first is Dave Burns, one part of Halifax’s non-hierarchical, lo-fi rock outfit Surveillance:
Are you really from Halifax? Like, really?
I’m from Bobcaygeon, Ontario, famous for the Tragically Hip song of the same name.
Would you describe yourself as an obedient person? Can you unpack that a little?
If by obedient you mean I sit like a dog and come when I’m called then to a certain extent yes. It takes a lot of guts and sacrifice to break the chain of command that we’re all forced to live with, and doing so means giving up a lot of stuff that makes life tolerable like family and friendship. Disobedience means isolation.
What’s it like to make art in Halifax?
Halifax is a beautiful yet deeply troubled place, and despite some of the great artists and organizers that work here the arts scene is as racially segregated as the city itself. Within that there’s the socially hostile youth culture that breeds homogeneity and revels in its own weak accomplishments. If you can get past the anxiety that everything you do is going to contribute to that faceless beast then there’s no shortage of inspiration. Living on the ocean is nice too.
What have you been curious about lately?
Anarchism, southern Californian power violence, DIY synthesizers, progressive science fiction.
Any fond memories of OBEY festivals past you care to unearth?
Bill Orcutt telling some dude to “shut the fuck up”.
Tell the world about some important Halifax people. Why are they so damn important to you?
George Dali is a dude I got to know the past few months who helped restore my faith in young people and myself. A few years ago he started the Sad Rad Collective and with it managed to get up and running the only independently run all ages venue devoted to inclusivity and to some extent diversity. He also gave me the lowdown on how to get started in building synths, a hobby I’ve only just started learning the basics of but look forward to spending the rest of my life pursuing. The guy is not a dick.
Tell us about a mind altering sandwich.
Take a bagel, cover it in peanut butter, scatter a few grams of psilocybin mushrooms on top. Digest.
Tell us a secret.
I hate myself.
Can you offer some advice to visiting artists?
Don’t drink the water!