Hello Friends, it seems like as good a time as any to send out a quick update from OBEY Convention headquarters, so here we go. First of all, our dates have been announced! Get your life in order to be in Halifax next spring from May 22nd to May 25th. The festival team has been working on OBEY Convention VII since October to curate what is shaping up to be our most ambitious installment to date. Artists of all kinds will be coming to town from across North America and Europe to perform at some of Halifax’s most unique and unexpected venues. We will also offer a publication, workshops, public art and sound collaborations, artist talks, and so much more. Oh, and here’s an exciting development. This spring we will be launching ART IN FEST, an entirely new international art festival that will travel with the OBEY Convention throughout the weekend. More on all of this soon!
In other news, keep an eye on this website for our upcoming digital archive program. Yes, it seems that technical wizard Evan Cardwell has been recording OBEY Convention performances since the very early days, so in the coming months, we will begin offering select concerts for download and streaming. Broken Deer’s beautiful engagement at The Khyber last year is first on the agenda.
Also, if you are in the mood for giving, please take a look at our new donate option on the info page. It feels a bit strange to ask for a hand, but as this festival expands, so does the cost. Things are so much easier when we are not losing sleep about getting this huge thing paid for. No contribution is too small or large. Thanks so much.
Okay, it was very nice of you to pay this visit to our site. See you in Halifax next spring.
MARTIAL CANTEREL (BROOKLYN, NY) with Guilt & Organ Magic Thursday, August 22nd, Bus Stop Theatre
$10 | 10pm Tickets available online
and at Lost & Found (2383 Agricola St.)
After contributing to their Electric Voice II compilation in early 2013, Brooklyn, New York’s Martial Canterel has gone on to sign with Halifax’s Electric Voice imprint for multiple upcoming LPs. The Halifax, Nova Scotia label begins its Martial Canterel catalogue with a retrospective of unreleased material from 2002-2003 entitled Navigations Vol. 1. The release will be supported by a Martial Canterel tour of select cities in Eastern United States and Canada, starting with an OBEY Convention produced event in Halifax on August 22nd. Halifax showgoers will also be treated to performances by spoken word noise duo Guilt and finger-fuck-dance wizards Organ Magic. Advanced tickets are available now both online and and Lost & Found (2383 Agricola St.). RSVP for the event on Facebook here.
Martial Canteral Biography
“Martial Canterel’s Sean McBride is the progenitor of American cold synth sounds of the 21st Century. He began under the moniker Moravagine before he started releasing limited edition cassettes and playing Brooklyn dives as Martial Canterel in 2002. Since then, McBride’s bleak intellectual exercises in the dark and danceable have flooded North America and Europe through the frosty fairwaves paved by Pieter Schoolwerth’s Wierd Records. With an inimitable minimal style merging… bright, urgent melodies ornamented and punctuated by the noises of industry and McBride’s sonorous, stern vocals, Martial Canterel’s recent releases (You Today, Refuge Underneath) have garnered both critical acclaim and a rapidly growing rabid fanbase. McBride’s influence can be heard in scores of bands in the Wierd cadre and beyond (he is also one half of the Weird Records duo Xeno and Oaklander). Through the collision of a uniquely humanistic means of production via live analogue synthcraft expertly paired with vocals and lyrics that reflect the pitfalls and pleasures of our age, Martial Canterel provides a visceral kick best felt on the dancefloor, amidst a flurry of flesh in motion.” Pieter Schoolsworth
Martial Canteral – Navigations Vol. 1 LP/DL (Electric Voice Records)
Martial Canterel’s Sean McBride began producing minimal dance music on analog synthesisers in 2002. His unique sound would go on to shape the cold wave/minimal-electronic movement of the last decade, but despite his influence, Sean’s work stands apart from the genres he has created. Instead of looking to any scene aesthetic, McBride has always turned inward, focusing on craft, process, and composition. Navigations Vol. 1 returns to those early days to chronicle sketches, unfinished works, and forgotten tracks. In this material we hear a pioneering artist draft the blueprint for what would become 21st century synth music.
As is customary here at OBEY Convention headquarters, we needed a bit of time to recover before issuing a huge THANK YOU to all our festival artists, attendees, staff, venues, volunteers, and sponsors. It was another magical year, with stellar performances and festival love flowing through and from each and every event. This was by far our most successful installment. The response truly exceeded our expectations. It was absolutely overwhelming, but we tried our very best to make the festival experience enjoyable and inspiring for all those involved. Thanks so much for your patience, enthusiasm and support. Morale at the OBEY Convention Music and Arts Society is at an all time high. Planning has already started for our off season program and for next year’s festival. If you thought OBEY Convention VI was great, just wait until next June. Rest up those ears and have a great summer.
First of all, I want to thank you all for the amazing support that you have shown the festival this year! We’ve never had such an overwhelming response leading up to opening night. Passes have been gone for more than a month, and almost half of our main shows are sold out or close to it. It means so much to us that you are as excited about these events as we are. Our crew has been working hard since late 2012 to put together this weekend. It’s incredible to believe that the day is finally here!
I want to run through a few housekeeping issues for the weekend. As I mentioned, a number of shows are sold out. Besides maybe a handful of tickets at Lost & Found, both Mac DeMarco shows and the Pissed Jeans shows are SOLD OUT. That means that no tickets will be available at the venue.
If you bought a ticket or pass, you are guaranteed admission. It would, however, be helpful to us if you could pick up your ticket in advance today at Lost & Found between noon and 6pm. We are trying our best to deal with logistics, but it will help the venues move efficiently if people have their tickets in hand at the door. If you must, you can also grab your ticket at the door. Please bring ID matching your pay pal receipt.
Also, we ask you to show respect for the venues, our volunteers and the art. These venues are special places to a lot of people. There will be large crowds in and out over the weekend, so we ask you treat the buildings and the art on the wall with a delicate touch. As for the people running OBEY, we’re going to try our best to make things go down as smoothly as possible. If there’s a lineup or mix-up, please be patient. We’re going to work it. ALL LOVE AT OBEY.
SO yeah, this is going to be an special four days!! I was going to make a staff pick list, but there isn’t an act or event in this festival that I am not wholeheartedly excited to see. Again, thank you all SO MUCH! This is a beautiful city full of wonderful people. I’m looking forward to spending these next days together. See you soon!
thoughts from the problem solving master of artist pleasure…
Matthew Samways Picks
Torso – Sunday, June 9th | 4pm | FREE
Though my interest mainly exists in the Minimal Electronic/Industrial variant – the same principles, practice and ethics are applied to Alexander “Sandy” Saunders’ harsh power electronics. The instant gratification using currents of electricity and voltage, shaping his sound live and portraying the depths of his emotions through this live event is unlike anything you will ever see from a local artist. His music is prized internationally for a reason. The raw intensity of this live performance cannot be emulated using any software or samplers – Sandy pours his heart out into machine before our eyes and it is a beautiful thing.
Grouper – Sunday, June 9th | 7:30pm | $15
Liz’s sentimental offerings through live tape manipulation, sheer and fragile guitar composition and soft, morose voice will translate perfectly after a weekend of chaos – and will be a wonderful contrast to the intensity of Torso’s performance at the Electric Voice event “Restrictions” earlier that afternoon. The bleakness that we all experience post festival will be transitioned just right this year.
from the mind behind our ticket spreadsheets and waffle makers…
Kat Shubaly Picks
Heather Rappard Retrospective, Saturday June 8th, 1pm Public Library| FREE:
As integral to the scene as the city we stand in, like looking through a glass of water at the sounds we hear. Visionary Babe.
Broken Deer, Friday June 7th, 10 pm Khyber | $10
Eerie risings from the outskirts. Never forget the first time I heard her: Homemade tomato soup, slow gossip from the past, rain from the Bayou.
Each Other, Thursday June 6th, 8pm One Block Barbershop | $8
No trick ponies here; cool, collected. Welcome back home away from home. When’d you all get so tall?
We asked the folks who put together the OBEY Convention to tell us what they are most looking forward in the coming weekend. We’ll post these in the next few days.
from the elusive logistics wrestler and poet blogger…
Andrew Patterson Picks
Maybe it’s because I’m getting older. Or maybe it’s because I’m quite sure I’ll be running around like a headless chicken all festival long and will be grateful for a little assuagement. This year, I’m really looking forward to the calmest, quietest shows of the festival.
COMMON ROOTS URBAN FARM PRESENTS – MUSIC FOR PLANTS AND FOOD WOLF
JUNE 9TH – 1PM | COMMONS ROOT URBAN FARM
Have you had opportunity to walk around Common Roots farm? It’s easy to miss. It sits unassumingly atop a weird kind of nexus of the peninsula, a classic Halifax cluster fuck intersection at Quinpool and Robie. The last time I passed nearby, knowing that this event was scheduled, I decided to take a stroll up the cresting hill and check out the site. It’s an amazing oasis of sanity at the heart of the urban core. A beautiful gazebo, welcoming benches, rows of sprouting veggies and a surprising quietude. It’s the perfect site for such sonic explorations.
Leading the journey is JOURNEYS, natch. A supergroop of sonic manipulators, JOURNEYS features the heavy fuzz Double Vision Quest, the vital pulses of JFM and the shamanic wisdom of Broken Deer.
Then you got Tim ‘2 Talented’ Crabtree, who’ll be taking a breather after a Canadian/European tour with his incredibly accomplished chamber-folk project to drop some equally mesmerizing instrumentals.
AND FOOD WOLF? Holy shit. I can taste the hangover-friendly Kimchi Hotdog already.
CKDU PRESENTS – GROUPER, KYLE BOBBY DUNN, CHIEF THUNDERCLOUD
JUNE 9TH – 7:30PM | SAN ANTONIOS CHURCH HALL
For me, Grouper is a no-brainer. I was totally gutted to miss her last show in Halifax and feel so lucky to get another chance. Also, regarding guts, she has a song titled ‘Fishing Bird (Empty Gutted In The Evening Breeze)’, which is absolutely the best description of her music for the uninitiated. Get hungry.
I’m also really excited for Kyle Bobby Dunn. I’ve had very few chances to witness real-deal drone music in a live setting, and seeing someone of such calibre is sure to be a transcendent experience. A church setting is perfect for this kind of stuff and I think Sunday-night-time will be the right time to unwind with the shifting, expansive sounds of this neo-classical mastermind.
Music In My Kitchen/Car/Bedroom/Headphones: Adonis – No Way Back Man Made Hill – Intercourses Yellow Swans – Psychic Secession Drexciya – Aquatic Invasion Hardfloor – Hardtrance Acperience EP Prurient – Through The Window Tenderness – The Axe Is Ready At The Tree
Current Thoughts/Feelings About My Art Practice Theory and thought without overly didactic process. Illegal space. How to be a better person. How to get over the end of semester blues. Negative dialectics. How to make a homemade vacuum sealer.
A Question I Keep Asking Myself: Who shut down the SAD RAD and what the fuck were they thinking? How do I get as cool as Matt Samways and Courtney Rafuse?
Fond Memories From OBEY Conventions Past: Missing them all due to seasonal labour. 🙁
Anticipation Of OBEY Conventions To Come: Vatican Shadow, Rob Sweigard, Holzkopf, Doom Tickler, Man Made Hill, Tenderness, a NSCAD Queer Collective/Emily Davidson Collab (last time they revived a Halifax gay disco club in its former location at the Khyber. Let’s do it again!), Keiji Haino, Pauline Olivieros.
Advice For Visiting Artists: Go to other OBEY shows. Check out the huge hole in the ground downtown.
Tell The World About Seminal Halifax Art/Music/Film: Guilt – Looming industrial/sample sludge from C. Leonard and Halifax poet laureate M. Grimson Broken Deer – Multi-faceted beautiful weird child of Lindsay Dobbin, songstress, mystic. D/AA/D – Penumbral churning satanic hums from Alex Pearson. JFM – Sample music from Sackville NB but he’s really good and he plays here all the time so…
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
The OBEY Convention presents a festival of contemporary and underground music and art in beautiful Halifax, Nova Scotia each spring. Incorporating artists from multiple genres and disciplines, our tightly curated programme is like no other in the country. Audiences see the best in electronica, avant-rock, jazz, modern composition, noise, ambient, visual art, spoken word and beyond. Join with us to celebrate the fringes of culture and the power of new ideas.