Now Playing On Mind Coup Radio!

Jan 29th

Shauna McLarnon- the Beguiling Force of Ummagma

By Meta
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I am very honoured to be able to interview the highly intriguing Shauna McLarnon, who is proving to be increasingly worldly and colourful with experiences, having lived in a variety of vastly contrasting places- from Whitehorse to Ukraine. This seems to add dimension to the music, a certain hue, wisdom, and depth.

Shauna is the lovely voice of Ummagma, a dreamy, ethereal, rhythmic electro duo. She, along with her husband Alexx Kretov, have created a ton of beautiful music, which has been remixed in so many ways, each one equally as cool as the last. I had a hard time choosing tracks for Sirens, Selkies, and Songstresses, because I wanted to play them all.

They deserve every bit of worldly attention they can get. Quite honestly, they have become one of my favorite musical teams almost overnight.

M- Hello Shauna! You are amazing. You and Alexx's music is so good, I think you are one of my new favourite duos. How did the name Ummagma come about?

S- Actually it took us about 5 years to name the project (it was a toss-up between Ummagma and Antigravity. He hated my original proposal 'Icicle Reef'... :) So when it came time to share our music with the world, we made a deal - 'Ummagma' would be the name of the band and also the self-titled album, and the second album (we released two albums on the same day) would be called 'Antigravity'. Well before that (and even before I met Alexx), he used to used Ummagma as his username for email and various photography and music gear forums. It was a shortened form of Ummagumma (Pink Floyd's 4th studio album). There's still a lot of people out there (even in album reviews) calling us Ummagumma :)

M- Ummagumma :) Is Sounds of Sputnik another project connected to Ummagma? How would you describe the difference between these two projects?

S- Yes, Ummagma is myself and my husband Alexx Kretov - it is really about our connection with each other in all ways - as corny as this may sound, Ummagma is really a musical marriage, paralleling the one we have in real life. So this is how we try to achieve harmony, because without it, I'd rather not think about what our family situation would be. The music that we make together as Ummagma is basically our sanity ground, so to speak. Sounds of Sputnik is really a side project, which involved both of us, but in different ways. It is spearheaded by our friend in Moscow, Roman (Roma) Kalitkin, who we used to write music with a bit in Moscow before Alexx & I moved away from Russia. Well, a decade later, we found each other again coincidentally and began co-writing long distance thanks to email :) I was working on vocals, lyrics and arrangement with Roma and Alexx was on vocals (in 'Light Scheme') and also produced, recorded, mixed and mastered everything. So it's kind of a strange musical Russian-Canadian-Ukrainian ménage à trois.

M- It really is a neat connection, the musical partnership one.  When did you realize you guys had a good musical chemistry? Did you feel a click right away or did it develop?

S- We started jamming a day or two after we met - right in Alexx's very tiny Moscow kitchen :) I knew he was incredibly talented right there... He liked my voice from the outset, but I can't improvise as quickly as he can, so we weren't too sure about things for the first few jams. Then I think I gained his confidence a few days later after he realized I could help him string his guitar ideas together into actual songs. And there turned out to be many after that... I think we hit our climax, so to speak, once we had the full studio setup.

M- How did living in Ukraine shape your sound?

S- Well, there are obvious little things like a bit of a folk element in some of our tracks, but the biggest things is not how Ukraine affected our sound, but our ability to create music. We moved there from Moscow during the Orange Revolution because something just opened within us - more than some kind of patriotism towards Ukraine... for me especially, it turned out to be a ray of hope that we can dedicate ourselves to making music and living the bohemian life we had always dreamed out... Well, it turned out to be less bohemian than we had wanted, as we became parents, but the music continued to be a strong element of our life and we built up our own recording studio, where we spend a lot of time just fooling around and making music. Alexx also produces, remixes, mixes and masters other people's work, creates artwork and designs CDs, as well as making videos. We could never have done that had we remained Moscow or returned to Canada, where everyone necessarily has to earn more money to deal with the higher cost of living. Thank you Ukraine for giving us that room for creativity.

M- Nice.  And your videos! Is it the same person you work with who does them all? I really like the Rotation video. That hairy car is so cool. Everyone I have shown the videos to have been blown away, not only by the images and the amazing photography, but also the way it goes along with the music. Such a neat and unexpected fit.

S- No, we are not always working with the same people. Sometimes Alexx makes videos, but many others are also involved. Bulle Plexiglass, a French filmmaker, was involved in the videos for 'Talk to Her' and 'Rotation'. Jason Sheppard, a U.K. filmographer and artist, made the video for 'The Road to Lees', which received honorary mention at the 2014 Independent Music Video Awards. Edward Alvarez, from California, made the ones for 'Micro Macro' and 'Back to You', as well as a few that we have yet to release. Dimitry Uziel, who is perhaps one of the most talented visual and graphic artists I have ever known, created a video for 'Human Factor', which picked up two awards at the 2013 Independent Music Video Awards. Roma Kalitkin (from Sounds of Sputnik) made the video for 'Live and Let Die', as well as all the videos for Sounds of Sputnik. Soon we will be revealing several videos (for both Ummagma and Sounds of Sputnik) created by others. Dimitry Uziel has also created one for the 'Lama' remix that Robin Guthrie (Cocteau Twins) created for us. Dariy Karyakin, a Latvian filmographer who is also immensely talented, has also created a video for the Fran Ashcroft Remix of Sounds of Sputnik 'Light Scheme'.  Also noteworthy is a video created for a remix we did for Californian artist Huge Shark - Glasgow's Robin Johnston created this one, which also picked up an award at this year's Independent Music Video Awards for Best Electronic/Dance Music Video. Overall, I can say that we have been incredibly lucky with the talented people we have been working with, including everyone who has remixed us (and we have remixed) as well. We are very fortunate beings.

M- You seem to be very involved with various music projects. What kind of things do you spend your time on?

S- Yes, I'm both managing and promoting Ummagma and Sounds of Sputnik, in addition to a handful of other bands. I began my little indie music company 'Shameless Promotion PR' with the purpose of helping such artists gain a wider reach - we've had an excellent track record for our two bands and it's largely based on my know-how and personal connections. I am ready to use these to help the bands that I'll be working with. So that is something I've been investing a large amount of time in lately. I am also co-owner and help run Ear to Ear Records, which is based in the UK. I'm the only non-UK stakeholder. This is a label that is gradually blossoming and upholding the traditions of Creation Records and 4AD's golden period. We've taken this baton and now we're running with it. Part of that involves releasing a shoegaze compilation on February 11, which includes 30 bands from 16 countries - the best of underground 'new wave' shoegaze from all over the world. We are conscientiously trying to expand the boundaries of this genre, including geographically and with respect to people's own UK- and US-centric ideas of what this genre of music is all about. It is such bands, all over the world, who have kept The Scene That Celebrates Itself alive, setting the stage for other pioneering bands from the 1990s to now make their return.... So we are honoring the small guys, so to speak, because well, they are really MASSIVE - the whole world just needs to hear their music and that will be that.

M- Well, congratulations on all this!  You guys are so busy with such great stuff.  Shameless Promotion is also awesome, and all in all you two are very inspiring indeed!  Everybody, spread the word and tune in tonight to hear some Ummagma and Sounds of Sputnik!

Links: bandcamp bandcamp Eartoear Records Shameless Promotion
Jan 28th

Metatron- Space-Age Electro Duo

By Meta

Introducing Metatron, a Kootenay-based duo with grand visions of a new mythology, a fresh scenery, and a love affair with the unexpected. Meet Meta and Ryan.

Ryan is the genius behind the beats and arrangements. He is also a ridiculously talented multimedia/anything artist, tongue-in-cheek, and with a witty quality which adds a funness, a lightness to the whole project.  Also an accomplished pianist, he plays a wide range of music, thus adding dimension to Metatron's sound. He has transformed songs that Meta wrote into whole different colours and soundshapes which she couldn't have ever dreamed of.

Meta is the one who sings. She loves the harmonies and is behind the spontaneous whisperings and sensualities that come with the transcendent aspect of breath. Ryan will write a song, and Meta will sing her interpretation of his idea, and vice versa. They make quite a team.

The influences they shared brought them together musically. Goldfrapp is one of their mutual favourites, another electro and acoustic duo. They both love Allison Goldfrapp because she is wonderful. Sparkles are also something they have in common, and SCTV. They are also preparing a comedy sketch show called C.U.R.T.I.S. so stay tuned for that within the next year.

At the moment, Metatron are almost finished their debut album, which will be released also within 2015. There is a cool video they made. Ryan, with his genius, made a stop-motion video to an artful interpretation of Philip Glass' Streets of Berlin they did as their first art/music project. Metatron itself is a multidmensional project, including art, music, video, and unknown surprises. They have ideas about the Kootenays brewing.. so stay tuned.
Jan 28th

Mia Lotus- Profound Chanteuse and Multi-Instrumentalist

By Meta
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Mia Lotus.  An illustrative wording for an illustrative musicienne, living in Quebec, in the mountains and among the trees.  She is a multi-genre musician as well; some of her music is almost loungy, jazzy, cabaret-tinged, while other is more raw and acoustic, and even more is full out electronic.  all of the above is fantastic, and many stories are told, many feelings evoked, many loves portrayed, including her love for music itself and instruments.  One thing she and I have in common is an urge to marry music, almost choosing it over humans.  Or at least it feels that way.  

She has mastered many instruments, and has studied music in and out of school, to the edge of the world.  Her interests range from the subtleties of tone, to the metaphysical, to the beautiful hues inspired by sound, to flat out expression.  She is really a fascinating woman, who has just started a new band, with a new drummer, and a new stand up bass player.  She is really excited about this new variation of and addition to her musical life.

M- You are very awesome. I love your voice. You have such a natural musicality. It is very raw and warm and lush, and sometimes a little bit raspy. Have you sung your whole life?

ML- “I started singing probably not long after I started talking. I remember singing and dancing to the beatles probably at 3”

M- How many instruments can you play, and what are they? Which was the first one you learned?

ML- “That is a hard question. I don't really know the exact number, and it keeps changing often hahaha. Guitar is my main instrument and I play all kind of guitars (classical, acoustic, electric, jazz...), banjo, ukelele, mandolin, cello, bass, drum, chromaharp, piano, synth, many sorts of percussion, a bit of violin, accordion, harmonica, a bit of didgereedoo... I am probably forgetting stuff.. recorder? I first learned piano at four.”

M- Do you often collaborate with other musicians?

ML- “I have played in many bands some years ago but I was making music alone since a couple of years now. I just came out of the woods very recently. I Started a new band lately with an upright bass player and a drummer.”

M- You live in the mountains in Quebec.. is it a beautiful place to write music? Tell us a little about your area.

ML- “Yes nature is very beautiful and inspiring here. I live in a small town just north of quebec city. I am into a beautiful forest with very tall trees and a lake nearby. I like nature here a lot and I work to preserve it. For music, there is a great festival in quebec each summer but besides that I think there is not enough shows of music and arts around.”

M- What is your next musical goal? Do you have any albums or tours coming up?

ML- “I just started a new band and the next goal is to get the songs ready with the band. This spring we will take part in a contest in quebec. I hope to make a lot of shows this spring and summer and also to make better recordings of my songs with the band.”

M- Name three amazing influences/inspirations

ML- “Only 3?? Nature, life, and the universe (does that count for one haha) Reading poetry Traveling and crazy experiences in life.”

M- How many languages do you sing in?

ML- “English, french and a tiny bit of spanish”.

M- Tell us a story about one of your songs.. a Theory of Strings?

ML- “The idea behind a Theory of Strings is that music is something both universal and personal. It is science of vibration. It is everywhere, it is natural and we cannot resist the rhythms of life, the universe and the rest. To express this idea I tangled up words from string theory and quantum mechanics with words from the musical language. I tried to sing a story of being naturally in love with music.”

Mia Lotus
Jan 28th

Katy Kaboom- an Ambrosial Sphynx of the Kootenays

By Meta

Introducing my good friend Katy Kaboom, an increasingly integral part of the Mind Coup scene, and wonderful almost "medium" of the senses. Listening to Katy sing and create simultaneously in our studio is a really hip thing, and some of the images and happenings she sings about feel dug up from below the earth. I would describe her sound as raw but velvet, bare but verdant, wild but secretly cultivated. She and I have just started a new project, which is quite exciting, and we will preview one of the tracks on the show, Sirens, Selkies, and Songstresses, episode one, on January 29th, 2015. Here she is.

M- You are a wonderful poetic freestyler with a velveteen voice. Tell us how you got this way!

K- “It's been a part of my inherent nature heart and soul since I can remember. It started in childhood... at certain times in my life I couldn't quite express vocally which turned to writing. I wrote literally boxes full of poetry... never to be shared or expressed. At some point I got tired of not expressing myself, and developed an insatiable thirst for expressing in a way that was more interactive, more fragile, more open, raw, real, and perfectly imperfect.

M-What is your ideal musical situation?

K- I have infinite ideas of what my 'ideal' musical situation is. Absolutely any in which I feel free to go with the flow without judgement, boundaries, or restrictions. I am a freestyle fanatic, and have a very hard time planning things out. I like to just sing or rap, or make noise to whatever is inspiring my, especially when I have never heard it before. There is something about that fresh NOW moment that makes me feel alive and connected. It sparks my creative flow and takes me to places I might not even know exist within me. It's exploratory, exciting, and often surprising. Doing life recordings is among the top of my list. I find it fascinating to think that those fleeting moments can be captured and transformed into infinite possibilities. I would love for someone to mix match and mangle tweak twerk and work it in different ways. Maybe one day, I will learn the technical side of things and be able to do that for myself, but I somehow doubt my patience in that realm. I also think it's amazing to hear something after I've done it... because I will probably never remember what I've done, unless I get to hear it captured on record.

M- Would you ever go on tour, and if so, where is an ideal destination?

K- I've always dreamed of living the free life, going to festivals, performing shows, and being a free spiriting... but in some respects I love being home. I am a mother, and my Cancerian moon and rising sign kinda pull me to stay rooted to the comforts of home. Of course if the opportunity presented itself I wold love to. It's just not something I have pushed to make a reality.

M- How do you come up with all those words? Do you stream something beyond yourself, or does it come from the depths of you? It is really amazing to see.

K- To be honest, I don't have a linear explanation of where it comes from, or how it comes out the way it does. I couldn't imagine it being any other way. It jus tis. I never had any training, I never practice, I never plan. I just open up, and it's there. It's in all things. It's a culmination of what is within me, and the experience that is presenting itself to me through other people in the synestry of their ideas, talents, music, presence and in the beingness of what is in that moment of creation.

M- You performed at Shambhala music festival last summer. How did it go?

K- It was a secret dream of mine to perform at Shambhala. It was amazing how it just sorta happened for me thanks to a friend who so happened to get a last minute invitation to host at the wishing tree. It isn't really considered to be a “stage” it's off to the side, not like the main stages, but yes. I Was there and sang while a DJ played... (sorry I don't know his name)... I'd never sung with him before... it was all freestyle... and I couldn't tell ya how it went because I haven't seen the footage. It was a moment of awe for me to have a dream like that land in my lap in such a serendipitous way. You never know what's around the corner!”
Jan 28th

Lily Frost- Classic Musical Opulence

By Meta

Lily Frost is a Canadian songwriter and performer who sings in English and French. Her style is a wonderful blend of cabaret, pop, and jazz; a beautiful mixture of dark and light. Her voice is classic, her look is classy. I remember meeting her once around 2000 at a club in Toronto, aiming to audition to be her bass player. The venue (which I can't remember right now) was lit with coloured stage lights, the atmosphere smoky (people still smoked inside), and, again, everything felt very vintage. It was an honour to meet her briefly, as it is an honour to have her on this first episode of Sirens, Selkies, and Songstresses.

M- “Hi Lily! How did you get started in music?”

L- “I took piano lessons as a kid and then jazz vocals in university. the first time i hit the stage was in Montreal at age 19.”

M- “I love the warm and almost vintage feeling I get from your music. Who were your first inspirations?”

L- “my stylish diva grandmother-Peggy Starr, my rebellious poet cousin-Kinnie Starr, my mother the dancer- Martha Starr as well as Billie Holiday, Joni Mitchell and Astrud Gilberto.”

M- “Do you feel your style has changed/transformed since you began? How do you feel now, musically, as opposed as when you first started?”

L- “initially I was a much more strident singer, now i am more dynamic. I am a better guitarist and producer now. i know what i want to hear and can articulate it better. lyrically i am not where i want to be...this is a challenge that excites me. ”

M- “It looks as if you are going on tour in Quebec and Ontario next month.. Who are you touring with, and is there a story behind your connection with this person?”

L- “I will be doing a mini tour as a duo with Nichol Robertson to preview my upcoming western swing record "Too Hot For Words." We are opening for Friendly Rich and the Lollipop people. I know Rich from the Oran Orangeville scene. Rich is a charismatic performer and a great force in the musical community. He and I share Nichol so it made sense for us to team up.”

M- “Judging by your online pages, etc, it looks as if you are quite a nature lover, have an earthy side. Does this connection to nature influence you artistically?”

L- “I do love wind and water and getting away from it all and i wrote and entire record about my connection to nature called "Viridian Torch." This means i am carrying the torch for the green. I deeply love a sacred place up north of Toronto where we grew up during summers. That said, i am also influenced by many other places and people and occurences in life.”

M- “Where are your favourite places to tour, so far? Do you plan on coming out to BC anytime soon?”

L- “I love being in California and the entire west coast. It just costs a lot to get there from Ontario.”

M- “What sort of venue do you feel suits you best as a performer?”

L- “For my western swing show which is a 6 piece band i prefer playing festivals and venues with a dance floor. for my songwriting i prefer an intimate listening room.”

M- “Can you tell us a little about your latest album?”

L- “My last release was a 6 song Ep called Motherless Child. It is solo meaning I played, sang and produced it. The old spiritual song Motherless Child lead the direction and the rest flowed from there.”

Lily Frost
Jan 28th

Iris Sylph- Enigmatic Actor and Singer/Nightingale

By Meta

From California, here is the wonderful Iris Sylph. She is multi-talented, involved, and immersed in the arts. As you will read in the following interview, it seems there is little she can't do. Sweet and alarmingly creative, Iris is aesthetically aware, generous, intelligent, and wild all bundled up into one. She is promoting her upcoming movie, Mindslip, in which she wrote the soundtrack, the script, and also acted. It was difficult to choose from her songs which should be streamed on our Sirens, Selkies, and Songstresses show, because they are all so good. I hope everyone is tuning in to the show on January 29th, 2015!

M- Hi Iris! You have a glorious voice. How long have you been singing?

I- Hi Meta! Thank you for the kind words about my voice! I have been singing and making up songs all my life! In kindergarten, I entered my song, “I’m On My Scooter,” in a contest, and I won! In first grade, the teacher called my mother, because I was disturbing her lessons by singing in class. Apparently, I liked to sing my spelling words during spelling tests! The other problem was I liked to sing phonetics aloud. I also liked singing while coloring. So, whenever we got to color, I was most likely singing. Later, I joined a choir for young girls, and I sang with them for about 8 years well into High School. Singing in a choir really helped me to hear harmony and hear music inside of music.

M- You are
acting in and did the soundtrack to the upcoming film Timeslip! Have you ever done anything like this before?

I- The film I was just in is titled, “Mindslip.” I wrote the screenplay for this short film, but there was a lot of improvisation, which changed my original screenplay. I have acted in films before, but I have never attempted to write a screenplay and make it happen! I learned a lot about organization and what it takes to make a film from this project. I have a lot of respect for film-making now. It is not as simple as some might think it would be. Finalizing “Mindslip” was much more difficult than we thought it would be. It was peppered with many unforeseen obstacles. The music I wrote for “Mindslip” plays during the credits and it is titled, “We Come From Unknown Places.” I had instrumental help from Dennis M. Callahan Jr., who created a great drum track! At the time, I did “Mindslip” it was the first time I had created music for a film.

M- Tell us a little about the movie.

I- Mindslip is a short film (roughly 27 minutes long). It is a comedy-fantasty created to be streamed and downloaded from the internet. It is about something strange happening in a Los Angeles community. In the film, the audience sees people behaving in an unusual ways. But, we do not find out until later in the film what is causing this. Only Divinia Izar, a clairvoyant, knows what is causing it. If I tell anymore, the film is so short, I will give away too much! We did have a wonderful cast of actors. They are all characters!

M- What is Peripheral Vision all about?

I-“Peripheral Vision” is sung from the perspective of an otherworldly being (a spirit, a ghostly faerie-type). She often goes unnoticed. And, the song is about how frustrating it is for her.

M- Such an awesome concept! Can you show us some links so that we can see Mindslip?

I- At the moment, we are trying to get it released on site that has instant video such as But, in the meantime, we have an Official Facebook Page where we post updates and have trailer. Information is also available on our Production Company website Both of those links can be found on IMDB if you search “Mindslip!”

M- How long have you been acting? Do yo have any other upcoming projects in mind?

I- I have probably been acting as long as I have been singing! In elementary school, I got in trouble for being a Swedish farm girl with a cow in my backyard. I was very popular as a Swedish farm girl relating tales of the Northern Lights, Swedish festivals, and bringing questionably edible, homemade concoctions to school. I wore clogs, aprons, and braided my hair in circles over my ears. I spoke with the accent of the “Swedish Chef” from the muppets. It was a terrible and ridiculous accent, but I had everyone fooled! I remember the day I was foiled by a teacher from my past while out on the playground. And, unfortunately, it made me a social pariah. As for upcoming projects, I am working, but I can’t give any details at this time!

M- So cool!  Where are you based?

I- I am not based anywhere. But, right now, I am living in Los Angeles.

M- Will you do any musical collaborations?

I- Yes, absolutely! I collaborate all the time. I really like working with others. Something magical happens, when you work with others. It is so much better than working alone.

Jan 28th

10 Must know songwriting tips

By Mind Coup

#10 Song Contrast: Give your song different colours and shapes. Well defined parts will create dynamics in your song. Don't let the first 1:30 sound the same as the last 1:30.

#9 Stay True: Pick song topics that are true to you. Writing on topics you relate with will help most people connect with you on the topic. The more real it is to you the better the experience for the listener.

#8 Tell a Story: Have a beginning, an event, and a resolution in the song. Good stories make great songs.

 #7 Image: What would your song look like as a picture? Imagine it and focus the feeling and energy of the song to create a song image. Is the song fit for belly dance instructor Mariella to dance to? Fitting an image to a song genre is a great way to connect with fans in a song.

#6 Melody: Lead guitar and drum solos are great but the melody is what people will hum to themselves after hearing your song. Create a great catchy melody to start your song. Using an inexpensive program like BTV can help you stay on time or can even be used in the studio

  #5 Bridge Builder: Use bridges, builds or drops, in your song.  This short part of the song is what gives power to other song parts. It can also be a used as an intro riff. You might want to look at Jamie Lewis.  His music software and website allows for inexpensive ways to create and download samples. Great tool for trying out new possibilities.

 #4 Creative Rhymes: Kid sid did lid, try and break up rhyming words. Creative rhymes will set your song apart. Don't overuse phrasing and try to be intriguing. Learn vocal tricks to help enunciate words so they come across clearly when you sing. Learn from a on- on-one vocal coach or with a system like member Aaron Anastasi.

#3 - 3:20: A radio ready song is 3:20 long, over that and your song might be cut down or overlooked by mass radio. Mind Coup Radio might play your 6 min song but that is unusual.

 #2 Great Name: The wrong name and it is all over. It needs to be fun, catchy, and people need to find it in search results. Google and iTunes are great to search and see if you have an orginal song name.

#1 The Hook:  Halfway through the first time a person hears your song, you want them to be singing the words with you. Having a hit song is having people singing along days after they played your song. The hook will get your song played over and over again. Make your fans sing along and your a star!  Experiment with other languages for true international stardom.  Study up and add international song lyrics. Jason Oxenham offers easy-to-follow language courses, or try you luck with google! I hope you enjoyed these tips I have found out. 

Please comment with some of your tips with us let us know what helps you write songs.

Join The Songwriters Workshop

Jan 28th

Getting to Know Meter Bridge's Opalescent Jill Beaulieu

By Meta

Introducing to the Mind Coup Community, the beautiful, blue-haired, wise, and highly musical Kootenay-based songstress, Jill Beaulieu. I had tea with her a little while ago at a local coffee shop in Nelson, BC. Itwas a wonderful talk, and she knows lots of neat illuminating things. I knew then that I definitely wanted her on board the Mind Coup train. She's been wonderfully supportive, and very active in music and art communities on and offline. Here she is!

M- You are a Nelson-based musician. Has Nelson been good to you musically? Have you found a neat local community?

J- Nelson has been good to us. We have had radio play on the local stations as well as several interviews on coop radio

M- You have recently recorded a new album. Where can people find it?

J- We have a debut EP available on Bandcamp, iTunes, Amazon, cd baby,& Spotify.

M- Are you collaborating with anyone these days? Who have you collaborated with?

J- I have collaborated with "3dtorus" and "In this Mode". I am currently working on writing the third album for Meter Bridge and a collaboration with an excellent artist from the UK.

M- How did you come up with the name “Meter Bridge?”

J- The name Meter Bridge is related to our love of music production and also an ode to the metric system and our local big orange bridge.

M- Tell us a little about your video which you have released. It is beautiful.

J- Our newly released video is a collaboration between two film makers. Based in Berlin and Nelson. We chose 'Kite' as the song for our first video. It is a dark expose with an unusual stompy beat.

M-tell us a little about Richard.

J- Richard is the musical producer of Meter Bridge. He inspires me to come up with melody lines and intelligent lyrics to fit his brilliant compositions.

M- So Happy to have Meter Bridge on our first episode of Sirens, Selkies, and Songstresses.
Meter Bridge
Jan 28th

Ellen Torrie- Cobourg's Sweetest Rebel

By Meta


This lovely lady is named Ellen Torrie.  She is positively surrounded in music on a day to day basis.  She's ridiculously talented, and still quite young,  teenager in fact, just starting University.  Listen to her stories, they are fantastic.  

M- Ellen Ellen Ellen. You have always been a singer. How did you get started?

E-Meta, Meta, Meta. Hi. I think I have always been a singer, yes. As long as I can remember anyway. I started singing in choirs when I was seven years old. It quickly became my first love. My first audition song was "My Happy Ending" by Avril Lavigne which I think is hilarious. Then, I started writing songs around ten years old. They didn't become even kind of good for several more years.

M- What instruments do you play?

E- My main instrument is my voice. In fact, I'm in school for it. But I also play piano, guitar, strum stick, mandolin, ukulele, saxophone, and one song on the accordion if it's a really specific accordion and there's no one else listening.

M- Tell a couple stories about neat musical experiences.

E- I like this question. But it's very difficult to answer as I think most all of my experiences with music have been "neat" in one way or another.

Once upon a time, in high school, I was doing a co-op placement with a drama and music class of developmentally delayed teenagers. I didn't have a specific set of tasks because, with a class like that, it's sort of unpredictable what sort of help is going to be required at any given time. So, mostly I wandered around and talked to the kids, asked them about their day, supervised some group work, etc. One little gal was non-verbal, in a wheelchair, and had literally constant small seizures that left her exhausted and generally not very responsive to activity around her. But she was cute as a button and I gained a very significant soft spot for her. One day in class, I came in with a guitar. I was just learning how to play and I wasn't very good but I had a few chords down. I was playing to some of the kids when I decided to go over and see my favourite little gal. As soon as I played her the guitar, she absolutely lit up in a way that I still can't describe properly, but that turned her into a whole new person. Her whole face and body beamed. She smiled in every part of her. She even reached out the stroke the strings of the guitar while I changed chords. It was a totally sublime experience that truly made me understand the profundity and impact of music on people.

Another time, I was at a Shapenote singing convention in Waterloo, Ontario. I won't attempt to explain it now because it would take forever, but suffice it to say that it's a tradition of old American hymn singing that requires many people, lots of power, strength, cooperation, and energy. I have never felt closer to God (or that thing which is the source of all things) than I do when singing Shapenote music. It is like a direct connection to the divine. Anyway, some time in the afternoon, we sang a very familiar song, the name of which I will not remember. Everyone was really able to belt it out and let the sound flood building and spill into the summer breeze, release their inhibitions, and just sing. It was such a holy experience, singing that song. Something about it was so special. Everyone sort of looked around at each other mid-song with this knowing look that suggested we were all aware that there was a divine presence in the room right that very minute. I looked to my left and noticed goosebumps on a fellow singers calf. It may sound a bit weird, but it was such an intimate experience to be able to see the physical and emotional reaction on the skin of someone beside you. That was a moment I'll never forget.

Okay, one more. A few years ago, I was singing at a benefit concert for a child in my community who had cancer. We were raising funds to help his parents out. My little harbour town is home to a lot of over-the-hill Woodstock veterans in cover bands that play smokey bars on Friday night. I say this with pure respect, awe, and admiration, mind you. Anyway, I was just stepping into that scene and was pretty new to the rock & roll genre as a whole, having taken a pretty big step away from my regular position as 1st soprano in an Anglican church choir. I was singing Beautiful by Christina Aguilera with Urban Angel, a band fronted by the reincarnation of Janis Joplin had she been born an Ontarian, her name was Joyce. We literally hadn't rehearsed together once, and I wasn't even convinced I knew the song well enough to sing it (it was just a pop culture classic I was expected to know and therefore thought I did.) Well, the song started under the many-coloured spotlights, accompanied by the hurried voices and laughter of the Friday night crowd. I swear; Immediately, some sort of trance came over both Joyce and I when we started to sing. I belted like I had never belted before. We were perfectly synchronized, singing two part harmony, like we had been singing it together for years. By the end of the song, we somehow ended up holding hands. I hadn't noticed us do that. The crowd was on their feet. It was such a moment of connection and I discovered just how many ways you can move an audience.

M- Where and how do you feel most at peace?

E- I feel most at peace sitting on the Cobourg lighthouse, watching the lake Ontario, listening to music or just listening to the rhythm of the waves. The lake is a member of my family.

M- Do you have any musical goals these days?

E- Well, right now I'm studying music therapy. So I guess, long-term, it would be rad if I opened my own practice and either did music therapy with children that have developmental delays or young girls with mental health issues. But that is an extremely long-term goal. In a few years, after I finish my degree, I think I might get a guitar and a hippie-van and go on tour with my own music. I know I want to travel and play. I just don't know where or how, or when I'm going to be resourceful enough to make that a rewarding experience.

M- How do you see yourself spending your time 2015?

E- University doesn't allow time for many things other than university. So I foresee a lot of music theory homework in 2015. Personally, this year I hope to create a catalogue of all the songs I've written and get them all online and at least kind-of properly recorded. It would be nice if they were all in one place and could be accessed and promoted easily. To be honest, I actually just thought of that idea now but as of now, that's definitely a goal for this year.

M- Will you ever tour Nelson, BC?

E- Ha! Absolutely. One of these days, Nelson is in my future. The two main factors preventing me currently are funds and time. Both of which are scarce in my life right now. I am convinced that in the near future, there will be a time when going across Canada with my music is possible and when I do, Nelson will be underlined and starred on the list.

M- who are your top 5 inspirations?

E- Oh my goodness, only FIVE?

1. Joni Mitchell (No doubt)

2. Meta (obviously)

3. Judee Sill

4, Johnny Cash

5. Janis Joplin

(So many J names…)


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