picdrcoceAN1Hello Friends,

Welcome to OBEY Convention VII. It’s hard to believe that after almost nine months of planning, the festival is finally here. First of all, I want to thank our team. They are the most talented and dedicated crew of people that I have ever had the privilege to work with and call my friends. The OBEY Convention would not be heading into our biggest year ever without this collection of loving and talented souls.

And that’s right, OBEY Convention VII will be our most ambitious installment to date. We are using new venues all over Halifax and will see way more people than in any previous year. Our festival audience is traveling here from across Canada and even Europe for what promises to be a beautiful weekend of music and art.

I truly cannot recommend any particular show because there is no filler at our festival. We labour over each lineup and put a ton of work into sequencing the weekend in a way that creates a flowing narrative of ideas and experiences. So come along for the ride. There are a handful of passes left, so grab one before things get started tonight.

Thank you so much for your support over the years. Stay relaxed and enjoy the weekend.





A long time friend and participant of OBEY Convention, Lindsay Dobbin, will be DJing during our closing night show with Julianna Barwick and The Halifax Rumi Ensemble. We got in touch with her to get a sense of what her priorities are when it comes to DJing:




What kind of music/musical idea is exciting you these days?

Looping and drumming are exciting to me right now. With both I am
exploring repetition, making patient alterations so the sounds
gradually inhabit new environments, and parallel universes. I love the
moment when you’ve been listening to and/or playing the same pattern
over and over and you begin to hear it in a new way based on your
awareness shifting from the superficial to something deeper.

I’m also really excited about music in general these days. Like, I’ve
always been, but recently my relationship has been refreshed namely
due to teaching a DJ/music program to youth with disabilities. I find
it really rewarding because I not only get to teach something I’m
passionate about, but I learn so much from the students. I’m reminded
on a daily basis how vital music is, not only as an escape, but as an
authentic tool for self-expression, awareness and engagement with the
world. I’ve had students who site specific instances when music saved
their lives.

Will you be manipulating the music you play at the show in any way?

I will. I am still working out my set, but I do know it will be loop
based, employing the concepts I stated above and combining analogue
and digital technologies to map a sonic transformation.

What should one strive for as a DJ?

Awareness of environment. Deep listening. Fleshing out moments of
transition. Fun. Originality. Creating new sound worlds. Alchemy.
Moving people.

Can you describe a serendipitously soundtracked moment?

My earliest love-at-first-sight moment happened at a fair when I was
five. Otis’ “For Your Precious Love” blared out of the speakers of the
Tilt-A-Whirl ride as it all went down.

Have you ever called into a radio show? Or hosted one? If so, when/why/who?

Both. When I was in grade 9 I called into the local station to request
a Sarah McLachlan song, and dedicated it to the person I liked at the

As for radio hosting, when I was really young I had a boombox and
8-track/record player in my room, and I’d pretend to host radio shows.
My great grandmother and my cat were regular guests. In more recent
history, I’ve (co)hosted shows on CKDU 88.1 FM in Halifax as well as
CJUC 92.5 FM in Whitehorse in the past. Both had a focus on
experimental sounds, field recording, and community engagement,
exploring concepts such as memory and the intangible. Some of the
shows featured audio mapping, fictional guests, a dog that reported
the weather, the death of analogue media, food tasting, and an orb
that chewed bubble gum. I wanted listeners to tune in and feel a bit
confused but curious.

If the show you’re DJing were a novel, where would it be set?

The genre would be magical realism, and the protagonist would be
traversing landscapes in this world, discovering windows into other
dimensions, where time doesn’t exist, space is expansive, and
awareness is unlocked to a sense of wonderment.

Many of Halifax’s most talented artists work with our festival. Video artist James Gauvreau is one such person. His hypnotizing installation in The Khyber’s Turret room for OBEY Convention V marked a new chapter for the festival. James brought a sophisticated visual element to the foreground of our musical presentations, making already adventurous programing even more exploratory. Last year’s marathon of customized projections was equally impressive and had our audience talking for months after the festival ended.

For OBEY Convention VII, James will do full video projection sets for only Black Walls, Nick Storring, and Julianna Barwick. These sets will be some of his most involved works to date. He has also been collecting junk TV’s from all over town for a series of installations that will pop up at most of the main events. Last we heard, the TV’s will be tuned to rework and subvert our short and long term memories of the weekend by constantly reintroducing festival experiences in increasingly broken form.

DJ Goldilocks-thumb



Learn about Parisian sandwiches and space echo technology from DJ Goldilocks, our cherubic party starter who’ll be dropping jams Saturday night at Reflections with Le1f, Jef Barbara and XXX CLVR.




Are you really from Halifax? Like, really?
Nah. I grew up in Trana. My mom’s side of the family is all from Halifax, though. My great nan was a butcher in the South End during World War II. Butchery is a skill I dream of acquiring.

Would you describe yourself as an obedient person? Can you unpack that a little?
Hm. I’m very good at breaking rules while appearing obedient. It helps to look a bit cherubic.

What’s it like to make art in Halifax?
Toronto asks ‘where are you going?’ Halifax asks ‘what do you produce?’ Sometimes I feel like I need to make a zine for every one of my pursuits so that Halifax can see I’m doing things. But every time I’ve decided to do something here, I’ve been met with overwhelming support and the immediate flavor of success. This place rewards tenacity and that’s why the very best people live here.

What have you been curious about lately?
Do you know that scientists can’t figure out how noses work? Honey bees have been trained to smell multiple sclerosis in humans before genetic testing is able to detect it. There’s a theory called swarm intelligence that suggests parallel evolution between neurons in the human brain and insects that work communally in hives or colonies. And they’re building a telescope so powerful it will allow us to look at echoes of the big bang in the outer rim of the most distant galaxy we’ve encountered. Because space is time.

Any fond memories of OBEY festivals past you care to unearth?
I once spoke poetry like church prayer in a barbershop in the late afternoon. I’d just learned how to apply eyeliner. Afterward there was electronic music and we all danced.

Tell the world about some important Halifax people. Why are they so damn important to you?
Here’re the first letters of the first names of all the people in Halitown that move me most:


This is the alphabet that fills my world with words.

Tell us about a mind altering sandwich.
Whoa I just got back from Paris and am obsessively thinking of a club sammy I ate there. Thinly sliced boiled egg; thinly sliced baked chicken; mayo; dijon; perfectly toasted sandwich bread. Mmph.

Tell us a secret.
I’m very clumsy.

Can you offer some advice to visiting artists?
Find a lake. Find people to take you the lake. Wear heels if you brought em. Go to the house party of the people you’ve found.

pic by Colin Medley



A long time friend and participant of OBEY Convention, Jesse Frank Matthews, will be DJing during our Friday night show with Each Other, Teenanger, TV Freaks and No Bodies. We got in touch with him to get a sense of what his priorities are when it comes to DJing:





What kind of music/musical idea is exciting you these days?

Everyone’s got their doors and window’s open now that it’s spring, so again I am captivated by the stream of music and sounds coming out of every corner. In my recreational time I have been listening to lots of Harry Partch, Huerco S. and Sade.  

Will you be manipulating the music you play at the show in any way?

My DJ set up for the show will in the rub-a-dub style. Using my collection of (reggae)dub cassettes, a few different tape decks, some basic stomp box effects (reverb, EQ, phaser) plus a few tricks and treats to put my own stamp on it. I like the idea of approaching a DJ set with specific tools and and an interest in the history of music. This being a punk show I wanted to act as the Don Lett’s character and play some dub and reggae for the punk rockers. 

What should one strive for as a DJ?

I don’t ‘DJ’ often, and since it is OBEY and I want top do something very special so instead of playing some punk in the type sense, in this DJ scenario I will be employing DIY punk ethos as a basis but try and tap into the other key players in England’s original punk scene in the mid-1970′s. So in this case I am striving to make a connection between my love of punk and dub and how the two share so much in common. Street style sounds with deep roots.

Can you describe a serendipitously soundtracked moment?

Hearing “Holding Back the Years” by Simply Red while waiting in line at a gas station in 2010 on the way to see a girl I’d been with for years, our relationship had dried up but we were still trying to salvage something that was clearly rotting.

Can you describe a horrendously soundtracked moment?

Hearing “Holding Back the Years” by Simply Red while waiting in line at a gas station in 2010 on the way to see a girl I’d been with for years, our relationship had dried up but we were still trying to salvage something that was clearly rotting.

Can you talk a little about the idea of ‘the music event’ as ritual?

I think I’d rather experience music in a more natural way in the different kind of space then a bar or hall. I like to get into it and move around, feel the music in every part of my body but I can’t fake that. There is as much ritual in a ‘metalhead’ going to a metal show as there is Phish fans enduring marathon jams. It’s hard to see music as ritual in our hyper culture when it’s often an accessory to being around other like minded people, which is totally great. Whatever floats your boat right . That is the ritual, with hope- inspiration strikes and after the ‘ritual’ is over the music still resonates. 

What do you hope for from a live show?

In all contexts of performing music, either with my own JFM material, (the band I play in) Journeys, or DJing I always just want to feel like I’ve done the best I can do. I can’t care much about playing to the crowd, some people may love it and others way hate it. So long as I’m in ‘zone’ and doing all that I can to bring life to the music that is a job well done. Sometimes that happens, sometimes it doesn’t. The potential for failure is one of the parts of ‘performance that I get off on.

Can you share some thoughts on one of the acts you’ll be accompanying?

Teenanger are old buddies of mine from Toronto, and it’ll be great to see them, hang out and have some fun. I think they’re an excellent band and have truly gotten better with time and have honed in on their own sound. Solid and unstoppable.

If the show you’re DJing were a novel, where would it be set?

I absolutely love the Jamaican mobile sound system idea, so ideally this novel would be set as dusk in the humid summer breeze with a wall of speakers mounted atop  my dub truck (which would likely have ice cream as well!). There is something so three dimensional about the way music fills the air outside. Bouncing and echoing off the landscape, everyone dancing dutty and sharing space. 

Have you ever called into a radio show? Or hosted one? If so, when/why/who?

I’ve never called into a radio show, unless I was speaking on a show with a band I was in or on my own for JFM promotion. However over 13 years ago I co-hosted a show at CFBU in St.Catharines with my friend Scott Brailey (host) and it was a ‘noise/free jazz’ show. I had no idea until then the deep and extensive history of ‘other music’ and it changed my life forever.

How does music fit into your daily life?

Unless I am in the kitchen or domestic act I don’t often curate my listening at home very much, my girlfriend usually has more specific songs she likes to put on. However I do work/play with music for hours almost everyday. It is therapeutic for me and allows me to express myself and escape awhile. I always have ideas to flesh out and though I should probably busy finding more work to make money and pay off the bills, if I didn’t work on music as often as I do, I would be a different person.

photo_guide1Over the next couple days we will be stocking sponsors and other local shops with our official 2014 festival guide. These beautiful guides were designed by Meg Yoshida with cover art provided by Seth Smith. The stellar print job was provided by Cansel Wade. This physical version is limited to 1000 copies, so get yours soon. A downloadable version is available here. Study up!

artinfestI am honoured to play a part in the inaugural installment of Art In Fest, a standalone festival of contemporary art presented by the OBEY Convention and the Khyber Centre for the Arts. It has been a privilege to program the festival in complement to the OBEY Convention’s spirit of innovation and experimentation. Art In Fest represents a new platform for the exhibition of contemporary art in Halifax by both local and national artists. We hope that in the years to come the festival will provide an annual influx of contemporary art and will serve to engage audiences through the definition of new realities, the subversion of expectations and the description of new forms.

This year’s participating artists work across disciplines, exploring the limits of human experience through sound, video, sculpture, photography and print media. Chris Myhr’s audio installation Approaches to Erg explores how aural experience and perception are shaped by approaches to listening, conjuring a sense of the great history of nautical disaster contained in the deep waters surrounding our port city. Deirdre Logue’s video series Enlightened Nonsense directs performative self-portraiture towards the viewer, creating an empathetic itch through works which are expressly personal, emotional and political, capturing gesture, duration and the body as both subject and object.

In addition to the participation of our visiting artists, this first year also includes work shown by emerging local artists whose engaging and enriching work evinces an exciting new vernacular of visual language.

I am excited to pose the work of the artists of Art In Fest in conjunction with the events of the OBEY Convention and expand the potential for creative discovery this Spring

See you out there!

Robyn Mitchell,
Art In Fest Director

For more information on these artists and to view the full schedule, visit artinfest.org.