CFUV’s Georges Dupuis Interviews PFW/Always a Bad Thing/General Purv

Georges Dupuis, host of CFUV’s Music of the Last Century, interviews PFW on the special New Year’s Eve broadcast (Dec. 31, 2018).

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Interview with Paragon Cause

Paragon Cause are the duo of Marnie VanKheul (Gatineau) and Kirwan Opthof (Ottawa).

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When did Paragon Cause start?


Just over a year ago. I met Marnie on-line. Right off the bat we started writing and recording songs together. We’d never met before. We’d both been in other bands and we were looking for something different.

You met on-line?


There’s a site where musicians can meet. So Kirwan says, “Come and meet me in my basement lair.” And I’m like, “OK.” [laughs]

You’ve released one album ‘Escape’.


The songs on ‘Escape’ were the songs that we wrote as we were getting to know each other, oddly enough. So they were the first songs we did and we liked them enough that we said, “Let’s record and release them rather than waste them. It was a learning experience for the two of us to get some songs under our belt together.

Did you have a certain sound in mind that you wanted to create?


I used to play more blues rock. Back in Halifax I used to be the bass player for Rose Cousins. Then I was in band called Servo with the drummer from Joel Plaskett and Matt Mays. So I was in that scene and I got bored so I started doing electronic music just for fun. But I missed playing the guitar. For me it was just trying to find someone who had an interesting style. We never had a sound in mind. 


It started evolving as we played and played together more. There were long jams, like hours and hours. We’d get totally lost in weird modalities and stuff. It was awesome.

There are certainly trip-hoppy vibes in your music. 


We never really tried to sound like that whole lo-fi, vinyl-ie kind of old sound. But we both atmospheric music, even instrumental. A lot of our music would work as well with or without words. 

Was it an adjustment becoming a duo?


Before I met Kirwan I never really played on a keyboard, only classical instruments and real pianos. I was a bit of a purist in that regard. Then I discovered the wonderful world of synthesizers. Now I’m so addicted, I love it. It was a lot of learning — how sounds are made. It’s awesome. Now I have the chance to blend all of those together.

Are you conscious of the sound that you will ultimately create when you are writing?


Whenever I write music I have a melody in mind and lyrics. For the first album I was going through some not so pleasant experiences. So it was my therapy essentially. It was certainly creating a mood whether I was aware of it or not. 

Is is difficult to re-create your sound on stage?


I would say it isn’t, because a lot of the songs started out “live”. For example, “Curiosity” is a actually a live recording. We recorded it in one take. We wanted to challenge ourselves — we wrote the song and said, “Let’s just record it”, and we did it. On stage I work a drum machine and I have a guitar pedal that’s a sampler and a looper. We’ll sample and loop as we play live, plus we have 2 or 3 keyboards and some vocal effects. A few songs are a bit more challenging because there’s a lot of coordination with the drums. But overall it’s not too bad. The next album is going to be more of a challenge, however.


Yeah, we’re  going to need a drummer.


A Chat With Phono Pony

Interview by Mark Anthony Brennan

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Phono Pony are Vancouver’s Michael Kenyon and Shay Hayashi.


Was there a theme behind the album ‘Monkey Paw’?


For Monkey Paw the main themes are loneliness and conformity, and finding yourself within that. 

Do you have more music in the works?


We’ve finished most of the next album.


We need to trim the fat. We want the songs to be a bit more fluid than on the last album. I think we’ve found our sound a bit better. 


We’ve been listening to our fans. So we take what our fans like from us and try to make something we’re happy with. Music we can share with people that having been coming out to our shows and supporting us.


Not necessarily a concept album. Something cohesive without the glue.


There’s going to be a difference both in the writing and the recording. This will be mostly recorded “live” off the floor. 

Briefly with Expanda Fuzz

Interview by Mark Anthony Brennan

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Who are Expanda Fuzz?

Expanda Fuzz is a DIY music project started by two friends with the idea of melding art and distorted pop music.

Why the name?

We originally wanted to call ourselves The Who, but of course that name was taken. We toyed with the idea of The Who Jr, but due to our love distortion and fuzz pedals, we settled on naming ourselves after a classic pedal: The Gretsch Expandafuzz. (Fun fact and somewhat related – we ended up referencing the The Who in one of our songs, The Last Of The Who Heads).

Can you explain the band’s sound?

An homage to the bands we love who use dirty bass, fuzzy guitars, watery vocals, sweet, sugary, boomy, bass driven, mind expanding pop-punk-noise… with beats.

What can people expect at an Expanda Fuzz show?

Distortion-fueled pop music and some fashionable eye-wear. With beats.

What’s up next?

We’re working on our new LP….DIY, of course. And in a nutshell: we’ll be doing what it takes to achieve world domination.

Interview with Elliot Langford (Freak Dream)

Interview by Mark Anthony Brennan

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ID: How did Freak Dream start?

I was in a punk band called The Rebel Spell and a psych-rock band called Sprïng. Those bands both ended and I wanted to start a new project. I really wanted to start a project where I was the leader of the band. Partly as a personal challenge.

ID: Is that when you started singing?

In high school I had a band that did covers. I sang then, but as an adult I was always singing back-up. I wanted to be lead singer. That’s another thing I wanted to try.

ID: Did you have an idea of how Freak Dream should sound, or did it develop naturally?

A bit of both. I wanted it to be an outlet for something but I wasn’t sure what. I didn’t know whether it was going to be more rock-based or more electronic based. The strongest material that came out was highly influenced by Nine Inch Nails. That’s always a band that been important to me. So it all connected to that style. And now that it exists as a band that people know about I know feel pressure to do things in that style. I’m not going to suddenly drop a jazz song or an acoustic ballad in the middle of it. The first EP was all in one genre, it was all this noisy industrial thing. I tried on the album to open it up a bit more but there’s going to be limitations to it. It’s generally going to have singing in it, it’s going to have a mix of guitar and synths, and it’s generally going to be dark and have an angsty vibe to it. It would be uncharacteristic of the project to do anything too light or poppy or happy-sounding.

ID: How many members does the band have?

There’s two of us now. I recorded an EP on my own. I wanted to perform live in some way and I didn’t know what format to do that in. I tried the backing tracks with singing like karaoke over it. That worked for some people but I’m used to playing in rock bands, so I thought it was dull not to have a band. So then I put together a five-piece version of the band, which was fine but I kept feeling like I was twisting a bunch of my friends’ arms to be in the project. I’d already written all these songs so I had to send them music to learn and stuff. When it came time to do a tour the only one interested was Ryan, the drummer. That lead to us developing over the past year this current incarnation of the live band, where we play guitar and drums and I sing live, with backing tracks for the rest of the sound. In my wildest dreams we’d have more people in the band but given that we’re playing small shows and just getting started this is the way to have all of the big sounds of the recordings and still have the live energy of a band with guitar and drums.

ID: Are you a different person when you are on-stage?

I’m interested in being a bit strange and alien and surreal. I was talking to a friend because I was feeling shy about presenting some of the music because it’s kinda over the top. She said to just own it and not be afraid of playing a character. In my day-to-day life I’m pretty mellow and easy-going but the band is the over-the-top exaggeration of everything. It’s the maximum degree of passion or anger or sadness. So it’s an exaggerated caricature.

Briefly with Jen K. Wilson (aka Buildings and Food)

Interview by Mark Anthony Brennan

(Jen K. Wilson is a Canadian electronic music artist living in East York. ‘Quick Beat Save’ is her first solo album, recorded and produced at The Music Room, the home studio she shares with her husband and 10 year-old son.)


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ID: You make reference to “buildings and food”. Do you consider Talking Heads an influence?

I wouldn’t say they are a direct influence on my current music but I am a longtime fan and that album was a huge influence on me when I was first making music.

ID: How long have you been creating in music?

I’ve been making music all my life. I learned piano as a kid and taught myself guitar and started writing my own songs when I was about 13 years old. I made my first recordings when I was about 19 on a 4-track cassette machine. I’m not currently performing – I began this project with the idea of just focusing on the medium of recording.

ID: The music is obviously electronic but there are elements of singer-songwriter. Did you want to comment on that?

I started working with the intention of making an instrumental album. But I come from a history of writing songs and some of the music just seemed to call for vocals – I didn’t want to ignore that or fight against it so I just followed that path.

ID: When you sit down to create do you have a strong idea of the end product? Or is it more “go with the flow”?

A bit of both: some tracks start with a drum machine and improvisation, some with me sitting at the piano or with a guitar and writing the whole piece, others begin with a section of music in my head that I just put down and take it from there.

ID: What’s up in 2019 for Buildings and Food?


I’m enjoying a bit of a break and letting my recent release sink in… But I’m excited to go back in the studio in a few weeks and start working on some new material.

The Top 42 Canadian Albums of 2018 (According to Trinket Trance)


1. Bekah Simms – Impurity Chains

2. Jeremy Dutcher – Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa

3. Omhouse – Eye to Eye

4. Chris Lyons – Songs By Matt Mitchell

5. Foxtrott – Meditations I-II-III

6. Venetian Snares x Daniel Lanois

7. Hannah Epperson – Slowdown

8. Isla Craig – The Becoming

9. Wax Mannequin – Have A New Name

10. Thus Owls – The Mountain That We Live Upon

11. La Force – S/T

12. Building Castles Out of Matchsticks – To Dream Outside the Lines

13. Elizabeth Shepherd – Montreal

14. Tim Hecker – Konoyo

15. I M U R – Thirty33

16. Bernice – Puff LP: In the air without a shape

17. Chilly Gonzales – Solo Piano III

18. C. Diab – Exit Rumination

19. Versa – S/T

20. Ian William Craig – Thresholder

21. A l l i e – Euphoria

22. Bonjay – Lush Life

23. Sandro Perri – In Another Life

24. Colin Fisher – The Garden of Unknowing

25. Cancer Bats – The Spark That Moves

26. Khotin – Beautiful You

27. Baby Labour – Full Legal Stop

28. U.S. Girls – In A Poem Unlimited

29. Bahamas – Earthones

30. Cadence Weapon – S/T

31. Moka Only – Martian Xmas 2018

32. Ecklectic & Masocre – WAV

33. Charlotte Day Wilson – Stone Woman

34. Clara Engel – A Shore Far From Any Prison

35. Future Peers – I’m Sorry

36. Rhye – Blood

37. Dan Mangan – More or Less

38. Yamantaka // Sonic Titan – Dirt

39. shy kids – In a State

40. Jennifer Castle – Angels of Death

41. Shad – A Short Story About A War

42. Odie – Analogue