Igor Mukhin News of punk band Pussy Riot's guilty verdict today on charges of…
- Posted on May 25th 2011 5:00PM by Sebastien Grainger, DFA1979
Courtesy of National Parks Project
In honour of the disc, Spinner recruited various musicians who participated in the expedition to share their experiences making music in the depths of Canada's wilderness. Our fifth report comes courtesy of Toronto musician Sebastien Grainger of Death From Above 1979 fame, who visited Mingan Archipelago in northern Quebec.
I was when I was younger I went to summer camp and was a camp counselor and I went on camping trips in the past when I was a teenager ... so I had confidence in this scenario from being a kid in the woods. I wasn't intimated by the nature aspect. I was more anxious about hanging out with strangers more than anything. That was the biggest pre-trip concern for me, just going into the middle of nowhere with people I didn't know. The social aspect of that was initially frightening to me.
I think when you're headed out with a band and you're meeting new people, it's always on your terms and you're able to navigate it comfortably because you know there's going to be a show and there's going to be kids there and they're going to want to talk about the band and the record and what's on my T-shirt. And it's very easy to navigate. But it's not an intimate connection that you have with these people. And my anxiety was around going somewhere [with new people]. I knew that the musicians would get along -- that's a no-brainer, people who aren't musicians, I feel like they don't fully know what we're talking about -- but it was like everyone else, the film crew. I got proved wrong; there was no need to be concerned at the end of the day.
The whole nautical aspect of the trip was something I wasn't prepared for. I knew we were going out on a Maritime location, and I knew it was some sort of island situation, but I didn't realize we were going to be on a proper sea vessel for so much of the trip. So that added a strange bookend to everything we did ... Between the musicians, the camera crew and the filmmakers all the way across to the sea captain and park ranger, we were all part of this thing.
I brought an electric guitar and a bunch of pedals and Dan [Werb from Woodhands] brought a drum machine and a keyboard. So we still had that acoustic aspect from [indie songstress] Jennifer [Castle] but our intention was to bring something a little bit more subversive and funky to that environment.
And the lighthouse was an extension that. We were in this building that nature had had it's way with. It was a tall, old, run-down lighthouse and it became an extension of the instruments that we brought, and an extension of the subversion of what music and nature is, because we were in the middle of nowhere on this island but in a building. So an interesting dichotomy. Like, when you're playing, you're actually playing the lighthouse, you're hitting tones that are reverberating, you're using it as a great big reverb chamber. But, then, you're really part of the whole thing, too, cause you're sitting in there.
[Director Catherine Martin] had a preconceived idea of what she wanted to do [for the film], so she came into the environment very prepared for what she wanted and it was up to us to seduce her into using the unknown and our music and adapting to the scenario ... Her conceptions were so strong and her preparation was so strong, so her film is very sort of isolationist, which is what her angle was ... Which is funny, because my overall impression of the trip is that it was very social and an extremely enlightening creative expression, but that aspect of it doesn't show in her film. Her film was very focused on the scenery and the elements and the beauty of what is there naturally. But if you were to turn that camera around you would see this whole love-in.