20 Questions with Psychic Weapons

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How do you take your coffee/tea?

Psychic Weapons — Shade grown.

What is something that if you haven’t done it by noon, your day is going terribly?

Had coffee.

What would it be if there’s one thing you could change in the Canadian music industry?

These questions. (ouch! – trying-our-best ed.)

Most-missed defunct music venue?

Ted’s Wrecking Yard.

Who should they do a music biopic about?

Simply Saucer.

Dream creative collaborator, dead or alive?

Early Eno.

Best place to people-watch?

At home.

Artist you wish would make another record?

All of them.

One year from now you will be?

Dunno.

What homegrown band/artist should everyone know and love?

Inform yourselves.

If you were on City Council, what bill would you table?

An affordable city.

Quintessential Toronto or Canadian song?

“Image Craft” by Crack Cloud.

Where would you move if you could live comfortably anywhere in the world for a year?

Here.

What book is on your bedside table?

Kim Gordon: “Girl In A Band”.

What’s one song by another artist that is stuck in your head today?

Horse Lords: Fanfare For Effective Freedom.

Best stress reliever?

Stick fighting kittens.

Vinyl or streaming?

If sounds come out you’re doing fine.

Yoga or the gym?

Dojo.

Indie flick or Netflix binge?

Is there a contest?

Do you have any stories you want to share of memorable, formative, or inspirational experiences in the Toronto music community during the last 20 years?

Thanks for asking this! Yes, so many! As teenagers we were introduced to the music of Wire, CAN, Mekons, The Ex, Sonic Youth, and countless others. There were also local bands such as Toronto’s Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet, Fifth Column and Hamilton’s Simply Saucer (to pick a few) that embraced larger circles and scenes; all while showing how to be completely DIY, influential, and excellent. At that time, all of these bands and artists seemed like they occupied a space that would always be “other”, out of reach, and somewhat hidden from the grand listening populace. Toronto and area would have concerts, venues and shows where you could see such artists through the 80’s and 90’s, but the scale was not large/burgeoning.

Over the last 20 years, the opposite has happened. Firstly, those artists/bands became mainstays and outlived the lifespan of the average bands. Secondly, the opportunity was frequent not only to see these bands (or artists from them), but Toronto’s music-going audiences and musicians have been able to meet them, talk to them, in some cases even collaborate with them or help them out in some way. Damo Suzuki of CAN played a Wavelength, with local artists from the Wavelength collective backing him up. (Damo’s world touring modus operandi.) Again, Wavelength would book The Ex at an Ethiopian Hall and welcome them alongside famed Ethiopian Saxophonist Getatchew Mekuria. Toronto’s own Brodie West joined the band for a couple of albums. Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth played a Music Gallery show and invited local musicians to join in with percussive instruments. Edgar Breau re-emerged at Wavelength’s behest to reform his legendary early 70’s “rust-belt” proto-punk band Simply Saucer. The band would then release new material after 2 decades away. One tour of a few GTA cities co-booked with Wavelength, had Ghostlight recreating the first Simply Saucer album with Edgar fronting.

Even as this 20th anniversary Wavelength takes place, some of this is continuing full-circle. Wire will be coming to Toronto touring a new album, members of Sonic Youth are all making music (including Lee Ranaldo), Damo Suzuki is returning to scoop up a new bunch of locals for his instant improvisations. Last year The Ex played an excellent show in the East End courtesy Burn Down The Capitol. The Mekons are still making albums and their co-founding member John Langford is no stranger to playing and collaborating with Toronto musicians, such as The Sadies or nearby Welsh choirs. And all the above mentioned acts (or artists from them) are still creating music of some sort, brushing past the shoulders of us all.

Wavelength is not the only enterprise to make things like this happen in Toronto. Just as it was unfathomable in our youth that such artists would become parts of our lives, the music scene changed radically and became accessible. Now there are so many excellent independent bookers, collectives and out-of-the ordinary venues that it is impossible to list them all. Just a few: Long Winter, Burn Down The Capitol, Array Space, Cold Tea, The Music Gallery, Workman Arts, the now-defunct-Double-Double-Land, The Monarch, Super Wonder Gallery, Houndstooth, The Jam Factory, The Tranzac, every record store (especially those that book gigs and support local artists) & so much more. There have been countless moments to inspire over the last 20yrs+, & each of us in Psychic Weapons will remember & be shaped by them forever. Thanks Wavelength & all.

Don’t miss Psychic Weapons at the Wavelength Winter Festival, Saturday afternoon, at our FREE all-ages matinee February 15 at Sonic Boom, 1pm!

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    By: aaron

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