DJ Garbage Body surfs her roots

In this edition, DJ Garbage Body is surfing her deepest roots to reminisce, recall, reflect and remind when/where she comes from. It’s important to remember, to pay respect, and to never lose sight. Friends are important influences, and bonds shape us.

From what I can recall, the underground noise boom I knew sprung up after 2004. Obviously a lot of things were happening before that time, but Garbage Body was not yet infused. This scene got seriously awesome between 2007-2009. Many bands emerged and small underground venues in Toronto such as the Tranzac, the Boat and Teranga African Bar let everyone have shows. I specifically remember being at some of the shows in the videos I’m about to post below, and if you look carefully, you’ll see faces in the audience who are now involved with better known projects. Do you remember too? Cheers and creds to Ayal Senior for capturing many shows on video.

Kevin Crump (Disguises, Thrashed Genes, Roman Pilates, Tranz DeFonce) and his wife Andrea (VAJJ) played a huge role keeping this scene alive, putting on many shows, getting people excited, putting out weird noise tapes, and fronting some sweet bands included below. Check out Crump’s Wintage Records and Tapes.

Vanessa Hanson-Benoit also deserves the spotlight when it comes to girls in the improv, experimental + noise scene in Toronto. She had many projects and is a great mentor. Her later project Vanessa’s Entire Heart featured more accessible and eerie noise-folk songs. She is now in a band called Deciduous with Stacey Sproule and Jason Benoit.

At first, there were not many girls within this noise community. Vanessa Hanson-Benoit, Andrea Crump, Jill Aston and I eventually became VAJJ (initials acronym) after gathering from what we initially referred to as the Toronto Women’s Noise Collective. There is no trace of this collective unless you were around at the time and knew. A girl named Poornima helped start that… whatever happened to her?

Until VAJJ, I was mostly a show-goer rather than a performer, having been an avid fan of my friends’ avant-noise duo Gravitons (Mani Mazinani – drums, Jill Aston – guitar shredding) and label Free Market Records.

From what I recall, this thriving scene started to die after Teranga Bar in Kensington Market closed, and Mark Mclean (Induced Labour, Sick Lipstick, etc etc) stopped throwing his epic Doritos-laden shows there. At the same time, some of the core peeps from the band Disguises seemed to be splitting. Many friends shaped and influenced each other in music during a special, thriving time in Toronto (and Montreal + beyond). If you were around, you know what I’m talking about.

Thrashed Genes (Kevin Crump, Jill Aston, Mark McLean) @ Tranzac. Check out how packed it was… and I definitely remember being at this show. Jill Aston is the bomb!! I think I see Wolfgang of HVY WTR and Healing Power Records, Mani Mazinani of Gravitons and Free Market Records, Mark Sauner of Pink Noise, Kevin Hainey of Inyrdisk, Disguises, Cave Dudes, Kapali Carsi and many more.

More Thrashed Genes action. This happened at Bread & Circus in Kensington Market. It was an epic night. Gravitons and Cave Dudes (Bob McCully who is now Wizard Of, Randy Gagne who is now Man Made Hill, Toblerone Boys etc., and Kevin Hainey) also played that bill.

Mark Sauner of the Pink Noise now has a full band in Montreal. They are really damn good. Sauner used to make experimental lo-fi bedroom music and emerged from a small movement of musically inclined weirdos out of Newmarket, Ontario. Back in Toronto, I used to love chilling with Sauner at shows. This is what the Pink Noise used to be before he recruited his current line-up of musicians.

Thames is Blake Hargreaves (Cousins of Reggae, Clinton Machine, Dreamcatcher, etc) + Alex Moskos (Drainolith, AIDS Wolf etc). Live @ Teranga.

Here’s some more Drainolith. The video was made by the very talented Josh Bastien (Tired, Father Dust, Wasted Nymph, etc) a forward-thinking Montreal avant-guard noise beast.

Doom Tickler is Leslie Predy (lead singer of the famed Induced Labour). Leslie is extremely talented and has always been ahead of things in my opinion. Here’s a bonus music video.

Here’s another new vid from my friend Alex’s project Petra Glynt. I remember seeing her around at some shows back in the day, when girls were so much more sparse.

John Shapiro is somewhat of a legend among people that know him. He now abides in Montreal, and plays in the band Tired. In Toronto, he was in the bands Disguises and Induced Labour among other projects, including recording many bands and providing the sound engineering for many live shows. He’s a major cool dude. Here another bonus video from a sweet project of his called Almost Blue Sunshine.

When it comes to DJ Garbage Body’s musical upbringing, she can’t forget where she came from. These people all emerged relatively around the same time within the deep yet fruitful Toronto music swamps. Many of us met at these shows, and most of us come from there. Some of these venues played major unforgettable roles. If you were around, you know what I’m talking about. This community shares a bonded collective unconscious, memories of serious thriving (although I don’t know if we knew it at the time). It was pure reality breakdown, no trend for lyfe!

I hope your surf will continue from here. Watch live shows from your city, past and present. Surf youtube by venue. Type ‘Tranzac – Toronto’ in your search bar and see what you find. Check out other videos by the bands posted above. Scroll to the right of your screen, and see what kind of waves you’ll surf!!

Torontoist (a poem by Emma Healey)

Wizardess of words Emma Healey reads from her latest collection, Begin With The End In Mind, at Type Books in Toronto this Friday. Here is an excerpt.

Torontoist

We have a lot of feelings about this. Always stood in the city for our own inner still it’s too up-reach too steeped in too slow to creep lakeward, there’s more greater in us than area here, what’s that thing they say? Older and wiser? And how. We’ve been serious now for a while; stopped making our favourite songs into mix CDs and started making them into bars we dress well without anyone’s permission our favourite colours are brick and glass and we love the parks, all of them. What’s the war over? Metonymy? Fine rent? Brushed litter? Whichever. Ditched the old mattress line-broke our buildings inched closer to Junction reclaimed floors our knees to them made our new anthem a tie between garbage trucks someone’s sad groaning poured concrete and slow winter playing your nerves. We’ve still got some questions an underground surfeit of grey into grey in that order. What is it again? Older and sorry? We’ve been up for weeks drafting this palindrome letterhead lawn signs we painted it onto your car so you won’t forget ever: Welcome home, and our name, with the stutter, you were missed. Is it love or is living the long con?

A short bio from Arbeiter Ring Publishing: Residing on the border between poetry and prose, Emma Healey masterfully navigates the tension and balance between the two forms. Her writing examines the animate qualities of seemingly inanimate things and explores personal relationships, collective and individual human experiences, as they are distilled through our encounters with such things as the CBC, chain bookstores, the contents of a kitchen, or the expanse of a whole city. Begin With the End in Mind tests the capabilities of the prose poem—the specific rhythmic, lyrical, and syntactic possibilities of the form, and the opportunities for play, renegotiating the more traditional/technical elements of lyric and line that are afforded the prose poet.

And, in her words, something far more revelatory in a definitely bad way: @emmafromtoronto

Arthur’s Baguette (part 2)

Words and Photoshop: Jeremy Curry

Arthur and his mother bounced around the cabin of the plane, with Arthur holding his head down in a panic. “I can’t die this early, not now. Imagine that! The only time I really luck out and get to go somewhere I want to go, and I perish in a plane crash. Just my luck!” he thought. His mother was a lot calmer than he was, and put her arm around her terrified son. As soon as she had her arm around Arthur, the turbulence calmed to a standstill, and the plane leveled out.

Arthur waited until the seatbelt sign had turned off, and rushed to the bathroom to clean off his Coke-splattered clothing. While he walked down the aisle, he heard a girl snicker. He turned around to see her looking in his direction with a big stupid grin on her face. Was she snickering at the fact that he had Coke all over him? Or maybe it was the fact that he was much more terrified than the other passengers during the turbulence? It wasn’t until he got to the bathroom that he found out the awful truth: he had spilled Coke all over the crotch of his pants! It was a massive stain that was easily noticeable on his khakis.

He hadn’t felt this embarrassed since the time he started having constant wet dreams at night. He had to call Dr. Sue Johanson’s Sex With Sue advice hotline to ask if they were normal. At least then his call was anonymous. In this situation, it was only a Coke, but the girl obviously thought otherwise! He scrubbed and scrubbed away as much of the soda he could, but it was no use. He didn’t have extra clothing in his carry-on baggage, so he was just going to have to deal with soda-stained pants.

He walked back to his seat as quickly as possible, only to bump into a flight attendant carrying a food cart. Luckily, as she backed up the cart to let him back to his seat, he was able to conceal his spill. “Finally! A lucky break! My life isn’t as much of a travesty as I thought,” he said to himself. Arthur’s mom was fast asleep next to him as he sat back down. He was sort of glad, because he wanted some alone time to reflect on his current situation.

Things were going wrong for him on the plane, but at least nobody here would see him on a day-to-day basis. He didn’t recognize anybody from Degrassi, and any horrible thing that did happen could easily be omitted when he was telling his schoolmates about his trip. Well, his schoolmate Yick Yu, anyway. He had trouble finding other friends at school, but was content with having Yick as a good friend. He wondered how long that would last though, as he was starting to fall in with some of the “bad kids” at school.

Arthur was mostly concerned about Yick hanging out with Luke, who he heard was a heavy drug user. He also heard a rumour that Luke had given a guy named Shane some acid before a Gourmet Scum concert, and Shane ended up going crazy and jumping off of a bridge. Yick said it wasn’t Shane’s fault, but Arthur didn’t know whether to trust Yick anymore. He was starting to wear tie-dye t-shirts, and a single earring. He was always pretty bad at school, but what if he got into drugs? He might stop going to school altogether.

Arthur was too smart to get into the drug scene. He liked goofing off, but school was important. He didn’t want to upset his parents, who he thought were having enough trouble already with a recent divorce and trying out new relationships. Also, his sister Stephanie was wearing a lot of revealing clothing at school, and pretended Arthur did not exist, which was completely bizarre. “Oh well,” Arthur thought. “I guess sometimes it’s quantity over quality when it comes to making friends!”

He looked down at the spill on his clothes. The shirt wasn’t so bad, but the pants were looking pretty lousy. He spent the next little while with his legs touching, shuffling back and forth. He thought the friction would dry them faster. After doing that for a while, and studying his French book, an announcement came on the speaker system. “Attention ladies and gentlemen, we are about to make our descent into Paris. If you could put on your seatbelts and push your trays back into their upright position, that would be very much appreciated.” A smile beamed upon Arthur’s face. Finally! He was about to embark on his first vacation outside of the continent…

Arthur’s Baguette (part 1)

Words and Photoshop: Jeremy Curry

“Would you like peanuts or a cookie?” asked the flight attendant. “Am I able to have both?” The attendant laughed, and gave Arthur both a chocolate chip cookie and a bag of peanuts. Arthur gave a tiny smirk to the attendant and thanked her. He was on a flight to Paris, France with his mother, and he couldn’t have been happier. His mother was gracious enough to take him on the trip because he was graduating Jr. High with fantastic grades, and also because she felt that the boy needed a break. Not to mention that Arthur’s mother won the lottery! It seemed to Arthur that his luck was beginning to change. After years of being teased and being called a “geek”, he could now relax and know that things were changing for the better.

Arthur prepared for his trip by reading Beginner’s French for two weeks straight, and signing books on France out of the library. He may have wasted a couple weeks of vacation time reading, but it was well worth it if he was going to immerse himself in the culture. He couldn’t wait to stand at the top of the Eiffel Tower! He was a little disgusted to hear that the French enjoy eating frogs’ legs, but also heard they had good cheese. He managed to get a couple of addresses from friends and acquaintances back at his school, so he could write them postcards. His best friend Yick Yu would probably appreciate one, although he was treating him a little differently since his mother won the lottery. He seemed to be jealous, taking it out on Arthur by making snarky comments. Oh well, Yick and Arthur got through a lot of tough times during Jr. High, so the least he could do to say “thanks” would be to write him a postcard, and maybe pick him up a souvenir.

Caitlin Ryan was another friend who’s address he had managed to snag. She wasn’t a good friend, just more of an acquaintance and a frequent partner when it came to school activities. Arthur had a major crush on her, and wanted to make her “more than a friend”. He thought he might be able to express his feelings for her in the postcard. When he got back, maybe she would be waiting at the airport to thank him. Maybe she would wrap her arms around him and tell him that she loves him, and was too shy to express her feelings until now! Then they would share a passionate kiss next to the baggage claim. He wasn’t thinking about how his dad would be with him, or that Caitlin was too young to drive, so her mom would probably have to drive her all the way to the airport for this to work. How would she know when he arrives? He couldn’t call her. Logistics be damned, Arthur was just thinking of a beautiful moment.

As Arthur sipped on a tiny glass of Coke, the plane started to rattle quickly, and performed what could only be described as a huge hop. Coke splattered all over Arthur’s face and his new white dress shirt. “Aw, why did I have to wear white?!” he whined out loud. “Attention ladies and gentlemen, we are traveling though a bit of turbulence here. If you could please stay seated and fasten your seatbelts until we turn the seatbelt sign back off, that would be much appreciated,” the captain said. Arthur looked at his mother with a troubled expression…