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- Posted on Mar 11th 2011 3:00PM by Melody Lau
"I couldn't manage both lives," Krakus tells Spinner of her juggling act between school and music. "It's been on hold for a couple of years. If I were to go back now I'd have to take courses again and catch up."
Shortly after she began playing local bars while attending school in London, Ontario, the singer-songwriter became friends with fellow Canadian folk-pop artist Basia Bulat and went on to open for her and many other bands travelling through town. Now, Krakus reveals that she most likely wouldn't want to return and study literature, instead noting an interest in activist-based education.
"I don't really think that I need to go to school for that though," she explains. "I'm involved in a lot of those sorts of campaigns and organizations anyway just because of the fact that I'm an artist and I'm committed to community events and attached myself to those sorts of projects."
This activism and passion for politics is apparent in some of her lyrics, especially in the song 'No Coins' from her latest release 'And Now We Sing.'
"It was a song born out my anger towards arts funding, especially our current federal government in Canada," Krakus says. "They just don't appreciate the world of the arts and the community and that song is about finding a way of having a voice."
Krakus draws from many musical influences, but when it comes to political trailblazers of music, she points out one clear favourite: "I listen to the Dead Kennedys and go 'Oh my God, why don't people say stuff like this now in music!'"
And why don't they? "A lot of people in the music industry are comfortable and when you're comfortable, you don't complain," Krakus says. "For me, I find that surprising because I'm not comfortable. I've been poor for many years and I see that with all my friends."
She credits the punk scene for its ability to raise economic issues through their music, adding that the scene. "[It's] so much more aware of the relationships between the economic realities and social policies in their environments and tries to get the community rallied up to do something about it," she says.
That being said, Olenka and the Autumn Lovers are a far cry away from being a punk band, with their wistful Eastern European folk-pop melodies, but Krakus argues that genres shouldn't determine the types of messages musicians send through their songs.
"A lot of people just assume that song writing is either something that falls onto their laps by some kind of higher power or it's just them talking about their lives," says Krakus. "So much of contemporary writing is basically confessional diary writing and I'm not interested in that. I like to think of pop music as a base where we can introduce more profound literary themes."
"I can't help that that sort of aesthetic is the one I was raised in. I just want to help people become more self-critical and ask questions," she adds. "This should be promoted through any and all forms of art."