Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Hush Pup and Mystic Triangle: Summer tour wrap sesh

Hush Pup and Mystic Triangle performed at the Gore Street Cafe last month. 
Their June 22nd Show in our laudromat venue space was the second stop on a tour that will soon see them safely back in Toronto. Ida Maidstone- vocalist and keys operator of Hush Pup- spent a few minutes with the Tinderbox to describe their summer's journey.

Hush Pup. art by Double D's

How's the road treated yous this summer?

So far the road has been great. There are bumps here and there, like getting colds and pedals breaking, 
but overall it’s been really amazing getting exposed to music scenes all over the place

What have the shows been like?
How do people dig it?

The shows have been really cool.  
We’ve played a real mix of DIY spaces, festivals and bars.  
The variation in venues has made a mix of audiences...
if you’re playing in a bar sometimes you're background music to a party.  
Like in Regina: Ben (Mystic Triangle) -played a real college grad type party 
...where the audience was shouting requests at him haha.   
At a festival, people are there for the music,
so they're super attentive and interested...lots of photos and videos being made.
And then at DIY venues the audience interacts with you the most,
because you’re hanging before and after. 
 I think those are my favourite type of show for that reason.  
I like meeting new people, hearing about their lives and getting a sense of where I am.

Mystic Triangle in Vankouver

Tell me about some awesome bands you've played with on the tour.

Memorable bands we’ve played with on this tour are: Living Hour (Winnipeg), The Backhomes (Victoria), Hansmole (Victoria), Girlfriend (Seattle), Broken Water (Olympia/Portland), Pleather (Seattle), Gardner (Chicago), Sean Conrad (Oakland).

Does your set feel different in every town?

Our show feels a little different in every town,
 due to different sound set ups and different vibes, but it keeps its general feeling. 
 It's nice because the sound and feeling of playing with your band
is the constant as you move around.  
You’re able to go back into your zone and create that world wherever your body may be.

How else do you try and maintain that zone on the road?

I have about 3 journal style books I have going all at the same time in different bags haha.  
Sometimes I’ll write down ideas as they come to me in the car, 
or I might make a list of things about a city that caught my eye 
or something someone said in a conversation that was interesting.  
I also like to keep a list in my phone of music from other peoples iPods, 
or records we’ve listened to at people’s houses after the show.  
I take pics and videos on my phone and sometimes pull out a 35mm for a shot.  
I thrift on the road a fair amount too.  
Things you find remind you of the trip. 

What's the mood as you head north followng the american leg of the tour?

We’ve just finished the tour south with White Poppy, which was amazing.  
It was awesome to play as her band cuz we’ve always been big fans.  
Those shows introduced us to really great underground scenes 
where people really care about making art and supporting creativity.  
It was super inspiring.  The venues were very DIY. 
 Now I’m on my computer in the car we’re on the way to Denver to play a show 
(Mystic Triangle and Hush Pup)  
Utah is gorgeous…. we just saw a lizard at the gas station and an antelope out the window.  
Our car speakers broke so we’re all wearing separate headphones. 
We’re happy, inspired and excited to be heading home to Toronto.


Wednesday, 22 July 2015

MD Dunn in conversation with Sam Decter

Live  @ Water Tower Inn Thursday July 23rd:
an evening of acoustic music with Craig West, Kathy O'Neill and MD Dunn
Three songwriters for the same low price.

(photo: Ali Pearson)


When did you first start writing songs and what inspired you to start?


Long before I could write, I made up songs.
Some of my first memories involve looking out windows or sitting in the grass while singing. 
I used to narrate everything with songs: wind, rain, bird in a tree, someone walking a dog. 
As a child, after learning the basics of written language, I wrote poems, stories, and songs. 
I began to learn the guitar age 13 (33 years ago). 
Once the guitar entered my life, the songs were given more structure... 
I started playing guitar so that I could remember the melodies of the songs...
As far as inspiration, it was just something I had to do -- like breathing and eating. 
Of course, music inspired me. 
I grew up listening to my older brothers' record collections and to my father's country band. 
Early on, I listened to The Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens, Bruce Cockburn, RUSH, Charlie Pride, Johnny Cash, Cat Stevens and many others.
I used to sleep with 8-track cassettes of Cat Stevens. 
We had two -- Teaser and Firecat, and Tea for the Tillerman -- 
and as one played, I snuggled with the other. 
Those are my earliest memories.


And what kind of shows have you put on over the years?


I was slow in performing. The thought of playing for people terrified me into silence.
I was 21 when I played my first show, a summer festival in Sault Ste. Marie. 
Shortly after that, I moved away. For a long time, I played bars, cafes, small clubs, open stages, street corners, always as a songwriter. I came back to SSM in the late 90s. 
Maria and I met at her cafĂ©, The Fireball. Later, she and I hosted a concert series called Alt-Shift at the Art Gallery. The series ran for three years, featuring writers and musicians. 
It was a good time. I wish we'd documented it better, but the easy of digital hadn't arrived yet... 
Okay. I am rambling. The short answer is that I've played a lot of gigs and organized some.
I love to perform but also find it challenging, excruciating.

(photo: Brad Jones)


What can you tell me about living away from the Sault 
and your own perspective on local changes?


I think it is important. no matter where one is from, to go away, if even for a short time. 
If one can, it's good to make home in other places, rather than just pass through. 
There is much about the Sault that I have found frustrating over the years. 
Not too long ago, I thought of leaving. 
It can be lonely here in a way that I've not experienced anywhere else. 
Yet, it is very beautiful, and there are many, many fine people...
I've felt, and have watched, the momentum building over the last couple of years.
In general, the Sault is centuries ahead of where it was 18 years ago, when I returned here. People are more interested in homegrown art/music and more supportive than they were. Some of the things I experienced in the 1990s in the Sault 
are, in retrospect, astonishing and best not dwelt upon..., 
I am energized by the community growth happening now, and I stand in awe at the accomplishments of the community and arts workers I've met.


Your next show is on the 23rd? 


23rd at Water Tower with Kathy O'Neil and Craig West;

28th at the Bondar tent, two sets solo.

If you are near Wawa, Ontario, join me at Rock Island Lodge ( Naturally Superior Adventures ) at Michipicoten River on July 31st It's a beautiful place with a warm room and fun people. Tickets: $10 and a non-perishable food item for the Wawa Food Bank.

(photo: Sandra Hodge)