I first heard of JFM–aka Toronto’s Jesse Matthews–via a Facebook notification, one Saturday afternoon back in February. It was from an invite to “like” his artist page, to bring attention to the release of his newest LP, on Divorce Records. Though I ignore most notifications I get, I took the time to look through his page and even listened to a few songs. I ended up digging the music and vibe so much that I gave Matthews a sincere “like.” He’s been active since late 2009, and I’m guessing some of you are more familiar with his work than I am—consider yourselves lucky. His Bandcamp page features tags like “dub,” “electronic,” and “psychedelic” to describe the music, and it seems apt; with his trusty sampler, JFM makes trippy, dubbed-out tracks that unravel in kraut-ish, hypnotic repetition. His sound collages of twisted and warped fragments swirl in and out of focus to funky syncopation, completely disorienting in the best way. I wanted to call Matthews to talk about his music and upcoming OBEY show, but he told me via email that he doesn’t own a working telephone in his Sackville, NB home. (Though, I’m known to ramble during calls, so it’s probably for the best.) Instead I emailed him over a few questions and he was kind enough to get back to me with these thoughtful responses.
JD: The crowd at your OBEY fundraiser show seemed really excitable and even encouraged an encore from you – do you feed off of that energy? And what are some of the goals you have when playing to a crowd- if any? Do you want people to dance, or zone-out?
JM: You can feel it in the room when people are appreciating what you’re doing, or even just attaching to energy around them. I’m also a sponge and know if I’ve lost people completely. Conversely, it makes me very relaxed when a ‘crowd’ is feeling the music enough to dance.
JD: Do you get nervous when performing live, in general?
JM: I don’t get nervous before I play because I play alone, so if there is a flub, it’s easy to flow with. Communicating with other players on stage is a totally different outlet, I try not to get trapped in feelings like I’m playing for a crowd, modifying my ideas to suit a room seems counter-productive for the short time I play.
JD: Divorce released your last album on vinyl – how important are physical releases to you, in light of mp3s and streaming?
JM: It’s so exciting for me to have Divorce release an LP for this curated collection of JFM material. I look forward to putting a copy in the oven then cutting it like a pizza, moving the pieces around and listening to that. You can’t do that with a download. I love the idea of someone dropping the needle on the LP, having the album jacket to check for information- it’s tradition. On the other hand I envision listening to the LP in motion, or any environment socially or otherwise. Music can change a mood, mold an environment or re-contextualize events in time and memory. Or it can just wallpaper, either way it can be recycled and reused to one’s own ends. I used a lot of analog techniques as battery power can offer a very lucid version of pitch shifting. I haven’t experimented using a computer to make music but I’m sure it would be more concise but less organic. I tape songs off the Internet so I can listen to it in the work truck, as an old cassette deck is all she has. Yet even in that process and format, I am still ‘borrowing’ the music, as I didn’t pay for it. I am grateful, and try to support musicians by going to shows and buying their product if I can. That’s the best way to support any artist community, and to feel connected.
JD: What are some of the things you draw from for inspiration when recording?
JM: Inspiration is never exclusive to anything, real or imagined, seen or felt. The lush and demented everyday existence is enough to feel residually when I go to construct music, I don’t often think about ‘music’ as I roll through ideas and ways to express them with what I’ve got in front of me (an old sampler, tupperware full of effects and scrap paper). I’m comfortable just consolidating those minimal things to express with, out of the salvage from one idea, another comes to life. I try to see as many ideas through as possible, and weed through them later. Put a few skeletons together and repeat process until desired. I spend a lot of time playing with sounds, burning them, making them glossy, killing and resuscitating them.
JD: Music festivals are a great way to discover new acts, and of course to see acts you’re already familiar with – anyone in particular you are excited to see at OBEY?
JM: OBEY seemed too good to be true last year, this year it will be fresh and raw and I look forward to seeing the incredible curation that goes into every show and event. I am excited to participate in the Music For Plants event, as that concept is rich in history, and I get to perform with two very special friends. OBEY is worth not sleeping for.
ANDY BOAY, JFM, ANDREW PATTERSON – JUNE 8TH – 5PM | ONE BLOCK BARBER SHOP | FREE
Andrew Patterson put together a quick survey for our artists. We’ll try to get a bunch of these up in the next few days. Here’s what PC Worship had to say. Check them out on Friday, June 7th with Pete Swanson at The Khyber.
Music In My Kitchen/Car/Bedroom/
Current Thoughts Or Feelings About My Art Practice: Delusion
A Question I Keep Asking Myself: How much money did I have in my pocket and why does it seem like I don’t have that much in there anymore?
Something I Only Do When I Travel/Tour: Live like an animal.
Preconceptions/Outsider Perspectives Of Halifax, Nova Scotia: Point Breaks
Words For The Curious: “On September 15, 2012, Cozart uploaded a photograph of himself receiving oral sex to the image sharing application Instagram. As a result, his account was subsequently banned for violating Instagram’s terms of service.”
Tell The World About An Unlikely Influence: H.P.P.D.
Recently, biker rock has become a bit of a band obsession, so we decided to make a mix for the OBEY blog. Yet without limiting ourselves to the “genre” of gnarly ’70s chug, we’ve compiled a collection of songs about bikes, artists with a biker connection and others that simply embody the spirit of the road. This one was thrown down quick, dirty and ready to rip. Special thanks to the cycle goddess JLK!
Amon Düül II – Little Tornadoes
Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band – Zig Zag Wanderer
Edgar Broughton Band – Apache Drop-Out
Rokker – Rokk Fever
Pussy Galore – Biker Rock Loser
Deep Purple – Speed King
Suicide – Speed Queen
The Gories – Ghost Rider
Simply Saucer – Low Profile
Serge Gainsbourg – Harley David Son Of A Bitch
Kenneth Higney – I Wanna Be King
Motörhead – Leaving Here
High Rise – Cycle Goddess
Les Rallizes Dénudés – Night Of The Assassins
Here we have it! OBEY Convention VI print guide designed by Meg Yoshida. You’ll be able to pick up a copy starting tomorrow at one of our many Halifax sponsors. Limited to 500 physical copies. Digital version available here.
My first job at 16 was washing dishes in a local restaurant. It was a tough job, but I was able to work with a lot of older, “cool” people. We talked about music in the kitchen regularly. One of the servers I got along with once told me he enjoyed getting stoned and listening to drums solos—something I thought was weird, at the time. It wasn’t until I dug deeper into the fringes of rock, and eventually jazz, that I could appreciate the technical feats and musicality of solo percussive performance, which my coworker was so fond of.
But simply hearing a drum solo is only half the charm—the physicality of performers like Max Roach, Tony Allen or even John Bonham is worth YouTubing, even if you’re not a music nerd. Chris Corsano is also definitely worth looking up – he’s an accomplished drummer who’s worked with a slew of renowned artists like Thurston Moore, Jim O’Rourke, Björk, and most recently Bill Orcutt (whom you may recall from last year’s OBEY), with a career in experimental jazz drumming of almost 20 years. Fresh off a three week mini tour of the States, I managed to Skype with Corsano last week to chat about his upcoming OBEY show—something that’s been a few years in the making, actually—which will be his first visit to Halifax.
“In previous years I would look at the OBEY lineup and it would always be disappointing that I couldn’t go, so I’m glad I finally get to make one,” Corsano says. When I asked him what we could expect this year, he told me—unsurprisingly—that improvisation underpins his sets. “I don’t plan things out too much, but depending upon what I bring, [it] at least sets some parameters for what can happen,” Corsano says. He’s known for using non-traditional drumming implements during shows—something quite apparent in his own YouTube clips—and recently found a small wooden unicorn in a church goodwill bin. “I guess it truly is experimental music,” he jokes, “but I do actually like the [unicorn’s] sound.”
Corsano has a deep discography, and dropped “Cut,” a phenomenal solo LP of free jazz on Hot Cars Warp Records, last year. He frequently collaborates with other artists, too, most recently with Orcutt on their new effort “The Raw and The Cooked.” The album can be bought at your local record store on deluxe vinyl, and I asked the artist what physical media means to him in this day and age: “Being of a pre-mp3 generation, and also [from] working in record stores, the mp3 download feels like something’s missing,” he affirms. The 38-year-old musician started out recording in a time when SoundCloud was a distant reality, and seems happy to approach his releases in a more old school fashion.
Though he does prefer 21st century recording and the relative ease of modern home studios to yesteryear’s big, costly pro studios. He began experimenting with mic placement and drum configurations at home six years ago. “I started researching microphones and recording, reading a lot and bought a few mics on my own,” he says. One of his goals was to enable home listeners a sonic representation of what he hears himself, while sitting behind the kit. Corsano says he wants to replicate the intimacy of a live performance, but also that “I don’t think the recording would ever replace the live experience.”
Toward the end of our conversation I concluded that Corsano, despite all of his talent and years of experience, is incredibly down-to-earth. He remains humble in light of pretentious descriptions like “post-Ayler,” that have been used to describe him by people like me. “I don’t put too much stock in those labels,” he says, “sometimes it’s too lofty.” Whether he likes it or not, the man holds serious weight in the free jazz music scene. “Hopefully I can walk some amount of walk to back up all the talk,” he tells me as we concluded our Skype call.
Chris Corsano – June 8, 2013 at 7:30PM with Bird Project: Arthur Bull & Norm Adams and Worker.
To keep up to date with Chris, follow his website here – www.cor-sano.com
Interview by Jon Dempsey
Mac DeMarco Waffle Brunch with special guests Old & Weird
The Khyber Turret Room – 1588 Barrington St.
2:30pm – 4pm | All Ages | $12
FREE coffee from Anchored Coffee
Buy Tickets Online
Buy Tickets at Lost & Found Starting May 23rd
Space is very limited. Paid, artist and volunteer passes only accepted if there is space in the venue.
Advanced tickets for select shows are now at Lost & Found (2383 Agricola St.). Tickets are also still available online from our Big Cartel shop. Passes are all gone, and the Weird Canada showcase is sold out as well. Other shows are filling up quickly, so grab tickets while you can! If you purchased online already, you’ll be able to pick up your tickets at Lost & Found starting June 5th. Thanks so much for buying in advance. PS For all you sad people emailing us every day, we’ll be adding a second Mac DeMarco show. Announcement tomorrow!!!