DJ Garbage Body surfs the record label waves

Zones - "Opensky"

Music in Canada is brewing and bubbling right now, ready to explode. The makers and shakers appear to be all about coalitions and collectives these days, yet some of my favourite record labels don’t have official youtube channels. Videos are where it’s at, in my opinion. The more the merrier! For this batch of cruises, I’ve surfed the current label waves. It’s a deep trip, so I’ve only covered a portion of the Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Halifax territories. Enjoy!

Part 1. TORONTO

BUZZ RECORDS
Buzz Records does youtube right. Here are some recent surfs.

HSY – “Tartar Mouth”

I met Anna from HSY in line for the bathroom at the now defunct venue, 961A, after catching Toronto Homicide Squad. She also told me about her other project, Anamai. You remember me, Anna?

Odonis Odonis – “Order in the Court”

Weaves – “Buttercup”

This one is directed by Jason Harvey, who is an all time fave video maker of mine from Montreal. We are connected through the grapevine so maybe I’ll meet him sometime, ya?

HERETICAL OBJECTS COOPERATIVE
This Toronto label came into my awareness recently, and my interest is piqued. Their musical and visual aesthetic is right up my alley.

Zones – “Opensky”

Zones caught my attention with this music video (note to record label people: see, it does pay off to have a youtube account!). I booked Zones to play a show on April 12th @ May Café. Come check it!

HEALING POWER
Victoria Cheong made this music video for Princess Century. Victoria’s solo project is called New Chance. She is half of the band HVYWTR alongside her partner Wolfgang. The two of them run Healing Power Records. Come on Healing Power, make a youtube channel already! I love this label, they are longtime buds and tru vibes. Hehe.

Princess Century – “Giving it Away”

CALICO CORP.
Calico Corp. is another Toronto label made up of what appear to be buds and couples (not uncommon). Outsiders beware, Toronto artsy cliques run deep and it is hard to infiltrate that shit. But who cares, let the music speak for itself. Calico Corp. released the recent Zacht Automaat 2LP. ZA is one of my favourite bands that are currently making music. These guys are serious geniuses. I wish I could collab with ’em, but who knows if I would even be able to keep up!

Zacht Automaat – “Electronic Tchaikovsky ballet 2013”

Zacht Automaat – “Summer 2013 Home Movies”

Zacht Automaat – “Camping Trip”

Zacht Automaat – “Live Teaser”

This youtube channel must either belong to Mike McLean or Carl Didur of ZA. Check out their music, and scan the related youtube channels to find next level shit.

Part 2. MONTREAL

From the outside looking in (and visiting), Montreal appears to be all about the ‘experience’. Fuck facebook event pages. Be there in person, meet at lofts, warehouses, diy shows, house parties with live bands, the punk village, etc. and smoke wherever the fuck you want. Be there in the flesh, be hard and be real. Here are some of my favourite labels out of Montreal.

BRISE-CUL
Brise-Cul is chiefly a noise label, thank goodness! I met Martin Sasseville in Montreal when he DJ’d pure rare Montreal vinyl disco joints as DJ KVLT 667 for a show I played, set up by some buds. He’s the dude behind Brise-Cul, Wapstan (his own noise stuff) and he’s the godfather to the very dear Wintage Records & Tapes Offspring, Cindal Crump/Nene.

Hobo Cubes – “Tunnel to the Pantheon”

Red Mass – “Open Wide”

FLUORESCENT FRIENDS
Fluorescent Friends is Blake Hargreave’s Label. He’s the organizer and founder of Cool Fest in Montreal and is in the bands Clinton Machine, Dreamcatcher, Cousins of Reggae, and Thames, to name a few!

Fluorescent Friends Welcome

Thamous Players

PSYCHIC HANDSHAKE RECORDINGS
Pink Noise guitar master and super nice nice guy Graeme Langdon runs Psychic Handshake [Ed: Along with Mike Deane]. I’ll never forget when Graeme saved my ass @ the Kyber in Halifax. He saved the day. I’ll never forget that and I’ll never forget his modesty that night. Cheers. Thank you Psychic Handshake for making a youtube channel. Their roster of bands is impressive. Check ’em out.

Babysitter – “Real Wild Child’s Gone Totally Mild”

The Pink Noise – “Flit”

I had to include another Pink Noise dig. Their drummer, Tara, edited this video. She’s a pal and plays in some other great bands like Gashrat in Montreal.

J.C. Loco – Ravepop.ca with Drainolith

Tara also has a comedy alias (‘J.C. Loco’) and co-hosts this episode with Alex of Drainolith.

ARBUTUS RECORDS
Total pros. They made a nice little youtube package for your perusal pleasures! Take notes. Lol.

Paula – “Black Acura”

Part 3. OTTAWA

All I gotta say about Ottawa is that, from what I can see, Rocky LaLune keeps shit alive with her Debaser radio show. Bruised Tongue also knows the deal…

Roberta Bondar – “Night Danger”

Part 4. HALIFAX

Right now Halifax music people are slowly leaving and moving to Toronto. The displacement of the Khyber Centre seems to have played a symbolic role and really shook things up. Don’t let go Halifax, you’ve got something special! Divorce Records holds it down, along with the OBEY Convention festival, and not to forget, Electric Voice Records. Some key venues also come together to unite the scene there, which is nice to see.

ELECTRIC VOICE RECORDS
Electric Voice is run by my synth pal and go-to-gear-guy Matt Samways. I met Matt when he played keys for Pink Noise and I played keys for Wolfcow. We played some shows together and he was one of the peeps running Obey Convention when I was there. We also both played that festival back to back at the Khyber. I hope to see him continue to help feed Halifax music opportunities, he’s right for the job.

Heather Rappard’s youtube channel also seems relevant. She’s made several music videos for Electric Voice Records, and a showcase promo vid for the label. To be honest, I kind of recognize her and I think I met her somewhere… likely in Halifax. Check out the vids on Heather’s channel!

Electric Voice Records Showcase Video Promo

Chevalier Avant-Garde – “Can’t Tell”

Crosss – “Spectre”

Crosss were on the same bill as us at OBEY. It was a fun time! [Ed: This song was also released as a 7″ split with Astral Gunk from Toronto’s Pleasence Records. Must grip!]

Stay green, my friends. I hope your surfs continue from here… and take you to warm climates. I love my city, even though it’s still cold as fuck! Talk soon, lovelies.

Sincerely Yours,
DJ Garbage Body

Lowlife is the feel-bad hit of 2012

Words: Jesse Locke

A shorter version of this article originally appeared on Noisey, and it is also included in the November issue of Offerings, which can be found in selected shops and spaces on the streets of Toronto.

Something strange is lurking in the wilds of Nova Scotia. For their feature film debut, Dog Day frontman Seth Smith and Divorce Records / Obey Convention head honcho Darcy Spidle put their primary projects on the backburner to conjure the spine-chilling visions of Lowlife. Like a Maritime twist on The Blair Witch, the black and white horror follows a drug-addled musician haunted by a ‘Mudman’, psychotropic starfish and other creepy creatures.

“There seems to be a particular kind of alienation that comes from living in the sticks that, for better or worst, forces a person inward,” Spidle explains. “I suppose Lowlife exploits this idea. On a more aesthetic level, I think using the forest and ocean in early spring gave our film a rugged look and feel. The actors and crew were always hurting, wet, and cold. It was often a brutal experience, and I hope it shows on the screen.”

With a perfectly spooky shooting location in the weathered forests outside their front door, Lowlife began as a man vs. wild adventure. Yet in Smith’s words, their original intentions to create a survivalist story spun off into far more surrealist territory as the project took on a life of its own.

“The fantasy/drug concept was a way to allow us some experimentation in filming and not have to commit to a realistic, linear narrative,” he says. “As for the black and white look, I thought it would go nicely with the movie’s dark tone, and it seemed like an interesting take on a psychedelic drug flick. The name Lowlife came from a prop we had on set. I had made up a bunch of fake book spines for a bookshelf shot, and over time, seeing it in the scene, it just sort of summed it all up… and maybe reflected how we were feeling making it.”

For the pair of musicians turned filmmakers, it’s a no-brainer that the soundtrack would also play a primary role. On top of fittingly freaky cuts from artists like black metal vet Burzum, Italian experimentalists My Cat Is An Alien (recently released on Divorce) and Chad VanGaalen’s electronic alter-ego Black Mold, Lowlife also features Seth’s first attempts at the tuba with some low-pitched drones guaranteed to rumble your bowels.

“Seth learned to play tuba with the record button on,” says Spidle. “Of course, the playing is manipulated and touched by the spirit as well. He came up with some murky stuff, and it works. The movie is all about dirt, parasites, mud, and discomfort, so we wanted the soundtrack to match. We used a lot of experimental or outer sound type music. With the exception of one ‘70s track by some hippy monks, there aren’t any typical songs. It’s all squelch and screech from a bunch of our favourite experimenters.”

One final flourish is the Lychian voiceover throughout the film. No, it’s not a backwards-talking dwarf in a snazzy red suit, but Smith’s father-in-law, Ogi. Here’s the story:

“We wanted something different for the narrative parts that had some sort of tie to the region,” says Smith. “Also, since the role of the narrator was played by an animal, it seemed like it shouldn’t be in English. We were initially looking for someone who spoke Gaelic, and Ogi was always in the back of my mind. He’s a real old world guy with a fairly unique German/Newfoundland accent. We were having a couple Scotches one night and he was telling me a sadistic story about how he used to shoot his friend between the eyes with a slingshot to teach them a lesson. I took him downstairs and recorded the lines right after and it fit the part perfectly.”

“It was a really last minute idea,” adds Spidle. “I was basically writing the poems and emailing them to Seth minutes before Ogi would read them. It’s funny, I guess he got quite emotional. We ended up having to subtitle his narration to make sense of what he was saying.”

Bypassing the casting couch or awkward Craigslist interactions, Smith reached out to recognizable faces from the Halifax music community such as members of Catbag, Bad Vibrations and lead actress Kate Hartigan, who had previously appeared in a Dog Day music video. Yet based on a history of unhinged methodology, there were no doubts in his mind who would be the star.

“Darcy has always been a captivating performance artist, usually under the name of Chik White,” says Smith. “I remember seeing him once at a show, slicing his guitar and hands with a butcher knife and screaming at the audience of 10 people. He definitely brought that mentality to the film, somehow ending up as a weird GG Allin / De Niro cross with some Chaplin slapstick. A real stellar performance for an impossible role. I had to talk him out of living in a coyote’s den for a week before the shoot.”

Lowlife screens in 20 cities across Canada on the weekend of November 16-18. Weird Canada presents the Toronto premiere on Friday, November 16 at Double Double Land. More info here and here!