Canadian Musician - May-June 2022 - Page 51

a song . This is what I ’ m going to do ,” like Paul McCartney-style . But now I just riff and I ’ m always surprised with what happens when I just do it that way . A lot of my practice is improvisational , where I just don ’ t really know exactly what I ’ m doing , what kind of chords , what kind of style of music I want to do . I think that ’ s why my albums are changing . Bleached Wavves was all shoegaze and what I could do in my bedroom , and now I ’ m starting to do what people will see on these next two EPs and LP , that kind of genre-crossing .
it ’ s a really great guitar , and it ’ s a Squier . So , that ’ s a piece of gear that I would absolutely love . For a pedal or a piece of recording equipment , I would love to get one of those MIDIverb racks from the ‘ 80s . You know , a lot of those classic shoegaze records were recorded with it . And the perfect example of it would be “ To Here Knows When ” by My Bloody Valentine , or “ Soon ” by My Bloody Valentine . The drum pattern is run through that reverb rack and it gives this really cool repeat effect and reverse reverb .
CM : How do you craft your songs to incorporate a mix of shoegaze and traditional music ?
Monkman : I have like a deer hide hand drum that I draw a lot of inspiration from . I just hit it , and I just do a rhythm and if I go into a trance , then I immediately will just start recording and I don ’ t even know if it will go further than that . It ’ s just a feeling , you know ? Just what feels right . And then I ’ ll grab the electric guitar and my perception of shoegaze music has always been experimental . That ’ s why I fell in love with it in high school , because of [ My Bloody Valentine ’ s ] Kevin Shields ’ open guitar tunings , and no real traditional structure , just whatever comes out , comes out . And that ’ s why that has always been my approach . I always felt lean on the open tunings , and it always , always serves the song .
CM : You touched earlier on the break you took from music for a long time . I ’ m interested to know what it was like , coming back to music after that , and how fast did you get back into it ?
Monkman : I stopped performing music in 2010 and then I did a show at a rehab centre that I attended . It was like a secret show in Vancouver to a bunch of recovering addicts and it was my only performance at that time . But from that performance , it kept me visualizing what I could potentially do when I got back . And I always kept writing in my notebook about what I was going to do but I knew I still wasn ’ t ready . It wasn ’ t until 2019 that I started noticing a lot of First Nations artists coming to the surface and getting attention . And it was really scary , because to be in bars and around drunk people and stuff is really triggering at times . But I knew surrounding myself with the right musicians would help me regain my confidence playing live . I really went for it . I went when I knew that I was ready to do it . I just jumped right into it , and I found bands . I had Bleached Wavves as a demo and people fell in love with it . I knew that this was my time and I had a feeling that if I didn ’ t put out Bleached Wavves that some other Indigenous group was going to do an album just like it . And so , there was this time that was going by and there was a lot of pressure on me and I did it , not just for the clout , but because this was something that I really had been planning and I needed to put it out . I jumped right into it from 2019 and I just worked effortlessly until now . I ’ m still going , you know , and it ’ s only been two years . I feel like a lot has happened .
CM : What is the next instrument or piece of gear that you have your eye on that you ’ d like to get ?
Monkman : I would love a J Mascis Fender Jazzmaster . I heard that
Brad Barr is a guitarist and singer-songwriter , known for his work with Juno-nominated indie folk band The Barr Brothers , who formed in 2006 in Montreal . His latest solo album , The Winter Mission , is an improvised solo guitar project .
CM : First , I ’ m going to ask you for a rig rundown of your live versus recording setups .
Brad Barr : So , live – starting with the pedals , I have two pedalboards , loaded with , right to left , input to output , a Boss tuner ; wah wah ; Ernie Ball volume ; DOD [ DFX9 ] digital delay , the old purple one ; Homebrew Electronics UFO Ultimate Fuzz Octave pedal ; Boss Tremolo ; [ Electro-Harmonix ] POG , the bigger red one ; Behringer Ultra Shifter / Harmonist ; then the Earthquaker Afterneath pedal .
That ’ s my first pedalboard , and then on the left : Union LA-2A compressor ; Electro-Harmonix Memory Man ; another Union