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Canadian Music speak 

Chris McCluskey talks to dozens of artists.

Jesse F. Keeler Death from above 1979/ MSTRKRFT

Favourite Canadian song of the year: Metric, “Monster Hospital”Favourite Canadian album of the year: AIDS Wolf, The LovversOn the Junos: I was nominated personally for best design but lost to a really ugly record cover. Oh well.  Who will win in the future?: Seripop…and they should keep winning until they decide to retire.

John Mullane In-Flight Safety

Favourite Canadian song of the year: Joel Plaskett, “Natural Disaster”Favourite Canadian album of the year: Tie between Violet Archers, End of Part One and Tegan and Sara, So JealousWho will win in the future?: Halifax artists like Mardeen, Jill Barber, Dog Day, Wintersleep, Museum Pieces, Jenn Grant.

BA Johnston

Favourite Canadian song of the year: The Doers, “Doin’ Yr Taxes”Favourite Canadian album of the year: Deadly Snakes, Porcella, The Doers, Plastic Bass EP, Escape Goats, Critically AshamedOn the Junos: I have never won anything. I’ve never even won at bingo.Who will win in the future?: I have no idea who will win anything, usually someone talentless and crappy wins, and while that should give me hope, it doesn’t. So probably The Trews and, I dunno, maybe the Our Lady of Tea Party.

Amanda Wilkinson

Favourite Canadian song of the year: Hedley, “Trip”Favourite Canadian album of the year: Hedley, HedleyOn Halifax: I absolutely love the city...the shopping isn’t too bad either! And the food is to die for. It’s a great excuse to have an award show there. I don’t think any of us are should be amazing!On the Junos: Incredible! A huge honour. It’s such a prestigious event. To be held in regard for an award like that as a Canadian is massive.Who will win in the future?: Hopefully Feist will continue to do big things. She is an incredible talent...reminds all of us why we do what we do.

NQ Arbuckle

Favourite Canadian song of the year: Martha Wainwright, “Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole”Favourite Canadian album of the year: Neck and neck with Geoff Berner’s Whiskey Rabb, Martha Wainwright’s CD, and the unexpectedly remarkable CD by Tegan and SaraOn Halifax: The singalongs and general bonhomie.Who will win in the future?: Elliott Brood (if they don’t win this time).

Jay Malinowski Bedouin Soundclash

Favourite Canadian song of the year: Kardinal Offishall, “See the Fire”Favourite Canadian album of the year: The Constantines, Tournament of HeartsOn the Junos: This is the first year we’ve been nominated...when we found out we realized that our music had started to make an impact outside our scene in Canada, which is always inspiring.Who will win in the future?: I think Celine Dion may win a few out for her in the underground.

Ryan Menard The Perpetrators

Favourite Canadian song of the year: “Molson Dry,” written by Rob Vaarmeyer of Andrew Neville & the Poor ChoicesFavourite Canadian album of the year: The tribute to Big Dave McLean---We Best Choose to Pick the BluesOn the Junos: I was nominated in ’98 with The Rockin’ Highliners. It’s about a million times better this time because the band is, to paraphrase Canadian rock institution Geddy Lee, closer to my heart.

Serge Samson Formerly of The Guthries

Favourite Canadian song of the year: Adam Puddington, “Deer in the Headlights,“ and Dale Murray, “The Way Back”Favourite Canadian album of the year: Nathan Lawr, Secret Carpentry and Jon Epworth & the Improvements, Wet on WetWho will win in the future?: Those with sufficient resources, I suppose. Hopefully Joel Plaskett, Matt Mays, Wintersleep, Jill Barber and maybe Carmen Townsend.

Chris BellAlive and living

Favourite Canadian song of the year: Wintersleep, “Nerves Normal”Favourite Canadian album of the year: The Constantines, Tournament of HeartsWho will win in the future?: The Constantines, Wintersleep, The Arcade Fire, Cuff the Duke, Broken Social Scene and Metric.

Asif Illyas MIR

Favourite Canadian song of the year: Joel Plaskett, “Happen Now” Favourite Canadian album of the year: Nelly Furtado, FolkloreOn the Junos: We are the Susan Lucci of the maritimes. I can’t count the number of nominations anymore--never won. But when we do, drinks are on us.

John-Angus MacDonald The Trews

Favourite Canadian song of the year: I really like the closing track of Prairie Wind, “When God Made Me,” and The Novaks, “I’ll Give you a Ring.”Favourite Canadian album of the year: The Novaks’ record. It blew me away, it has so much soul. Just from these guys from Wesleyville, Newfoundland, I was just so blown away by them. On Halifax: I just love the attitude on the east coast. Now that I don’t live there I come back and I see it more. Just this really fun-loving, laid-back attitude. Nobody’s standing in the audience with folded arms and, you know, the reading glasses on. On the Junos: The first year, three years ago now, we were nominated for Best New Artist and it was really exciting. You get to call your parents and go “Hey, I’m up for a Juno,” and they go “Hey, that’s something I’ve heard of, you aren’t wasting your life.” Going to the show the first time was exciting. The first year I met Alice Cooper there—-I met all sorts of people, and the show was entertaining. Doing the red carpet thing for the first time was cool.Who will win in the future?: Obviously The Novaks, and people like Matt Mays, who the industry obviously recognizes. He’ll have no problem, you know. There’s a girl called Carmen Townsend---she’s incredible, she’s from Sydney. I met her a couple of years ago and I just heard some new stuff of hers that blew my mind.

Joel Plaskett Joel Plaskett Emergency

Favourite Canadian song of the year: Two Hours Traffic, “Heroes of the Sidewalk”Favourite Canadian album of the year: Martha Wainwright, Martha WainwrightOn Halifax: I get to sleep in my own bed after the show.On the Junos: Been nominated once with the Hermit and twice with the Emergency. It was cool but the Hermit had already broken up. Awards ceremonies aren’t really my thing but we did get to crash the 2004 Junos with my giant boom box cranking Tone Loc.Who will win in the future?: Michael J. Fox?

Chris Murphy Sloan

Favourite Canadian song of the year: The Hot Springs, “Caco Disco”Favourite Canadian album of the year: Bring It Back Home (the soundtrack to The Life & Hard Times Of Guy Terrifico)On Halifax: 1) Having our moms come to the show and freak out. 2) Going to Tribeca and getting a late-night singalong going. 3) Being on THE COVER! of The Coast. On the Junos: We lost the kiss of death Juno (best new artist) to The Rose Chronicles in 1995. We actually took the Best Alternative Juno home in 1998 when the Junos still looked cool. I thought for sure the Best Alternative category would go the way of the Best Psychedelic Juno or Best New Romantic Juno but it’s still here.Who will win in the future?: Cyborgs, Celine Dion, Canadian Idol’s, The Rose Chronicles (you haven’t heard the last of them).

Todd ClarkPilate

Favourite Canadian song of the year: No Dears album has come out this year…what keeps coming to mind is either a Matt Barber or a Matt Mays song. For me it’s not that “Cocaine Cowgirl” song, it’s “What are We Going to Do Come the Month of September.” On the Junos: We were nominated I think for a couple of Junos two years ago. We didn’t win any Junos, but we knew when we were nominated we weren’t going to win. It was just enough to be there and be nominated. But when that happened we were a young band and you’re like “This is great,” but looking back you kind of take those things for granted and it might be the only time you ever get nominated. So I think it was a nice nod from someone in the industry.Who will win in the future?: I think The Meligrove Band. It looks like Inward Eye is going to have a lot of support behind them.

Brian O’ReillyTheir Majesties

Favourite Canadian song of the year: Our favourite song, without a doubt, is “Photograph,” by Can-rock stalwarts Nickelback. Everytime we hear it, it makes us laugh.Favourite Canadian album of the year: Broken Social Scene’s second album was a masterpiece of epic proportions, and The High Dials CD is also perfect. Kalan Porter and Hedley both released genre-defining works, and should be included on any music lover’s list.On the Junos: We can only imagine that making it with a girl---and, by association, winning a Juno---is a lot like that scene in the movie Losin’ It with Tom Cruise, when he “loses it.” So to answer your question, we still have no idea.Who will win in the future?: We would like the answer to be either Broken Social Scene, The Arcade Fire, The High Dials, The Meligrove Band or perhaps BA Johnston. We think Nickelback will continue their dynasty... akin to that of the NY Islanders circa the late ’70s, early ’80s. Chad Kroeger IS Mike Bossy.

Steve BaysHot Hot Heat

Favourite Canadian song of the year: God… has Rita MacNeil put out anything recently? No, probably like, Neil Young. I mean, there’s tons of music I totally love and I’m totally blanking right now. I really like that New Pornographers single.Favourite Canadian album of the year: The album I listened to the most was The Arcade Fire album. On Halifax: The first time we played there was at this weird little hall, I can’t remember the name. We played actually twice when we were there, once was at a bar… and we only went there once but played twice in a row, but once was at a bar and one was in this all-ages room. And all the kids were around the stage, it wasn’t like they were in front of a barrier. They were actually on the stage and kind of in the drum kit and it was so fun. And we’re all Sloan fans, so we were stoked to walk into thrift stores and hear Sloan being cranked on the stereo.On the Junos: We were nominated for Alternative Album of the Year before, and...I just kind of assume being from an island I never get that sense of Canadian camaraderie like east coast bands get. I just kind of felt a bit separated from the Canadian music scene, but now I feel more like a part of Canada which is cool. But we didn’t win before.Who will win in the future?: There’s a really cool band that I’m helping with their record right now out of Vancouver called Bend Sinister. They basically sound like a mix between Rush and Metallica. But they’re more ’70s. I think people are going to be hearing about them eventually.

Casey LaforetElliott Brood

Favourite Canadian song of the year: Jon-Rae and the River, “Oliver’s Song.” Favourite Canadian album of the year: Fembots, The CityOn Halifax: I guess to me it’s the mystique of the east coast and the legend I’ve heard about how kind the people are out there. I’m excited to find out how people are out there first hand. On the Junos: It’s obviously an amazing thing that you don’t expect. We found out about it when we were in Thunder Bay and our record label called us screaming and yelling, “You guys got nominated!” We didn’t really know what to think of it…we didn’t know, we had no idea what had happened. And then it was like, “Wow, this is really our first record and how do we handle this, and what do we have to do now?” Our parents and family are just super blown away by it.Who will win in the future?: Jon-Rae and the River is a band that’s so new and different to me. I don’t know if commercially they’ll ever, you know, hit it like some of the big bands who are winning these Junos and stuff like that. I think The Diableros are up there.

Tom Wilson

Favourite Canadian song of the year: Fuck, I know exactly what it is. “Far Away Like a Radio” by Colin James, because I co-wrote it. Favourite Canadian album of the year: That Joel Plaskett record is pretty well my favourite. I think Joel’s got the rock in him, the flame…he’s a really talented guy and he loves playing music.On Halifax: I never really got to know Halifax when I was touring in the past with Junkhouse. The tour bus would pull into town and we’d play, and we’d drink everything in sight and we’d fuck anything we could get our hands on and then we’d leave. I never really spent much time there, so I dunno, for one thing there’s nothing like walking downtown, strapping on your guitar and playing music for people. On the Junos: My feeling is that if you’re going to be involved in the game besides just the love of playing music, I guess it’s better to be nominated then not nominated. If I am going to be nominated I want to fucking win. I’ve been nominated a lot, I’ve won three times so I don’t know how my average is as far as winning and losing goes but, I mean, it has nothing to do with music at that point. It has to do with am I gonna fuckin’ win…and I’m competitive and I’d rather win.Who will win in the future?: The Hamilton Tiger Cats. That’s my answer.

Bill PriddleDon Vail

Favourite Canadian song of the year: Joel Plaskett, “Love This Town.” I knew your band in the early days.Favourite Canadian album of the year: Broken Social Scene, Broken Social Scene. Even though I didn’t get to play on it.On Halifax: There’s got to be something in the water, most of my favourite shows have been in Halifax. The fans are awesome, and the clubs always play amazing music.On the Junos: I believe Treble Charger was zero for six. The after party drink-up always washes away the bad taste of losing.Who will win in the future?: My upcoming solo record will win best alternative in 2007, edging out Don Vail.

Rob BenvieCamouflage Nights

Favourite Canadian song of the year: Not necessarily my favourite, but the song I’ll associate with this year is probably “Romantic Rights” by Death From Above 1979.Favourite Canadian album of the year: Diana Krall, Christmas Songs. She’s so talented! And sexy!On Halifax: Halifax is my hometown, but Camouflage Nights has yet to play there. When we do, I look forward to good partying and raunchy girls.On the Junos: Thrush Hermit was nominated for Best Alternative Album in 1999. We went to the reception and got trashed. It was actually pretty boring. The only interesting thing was counting how many bathroom coke breaks that guy from The Tea Party took. We lost to Julie Doiron and the Wooden Stars. Fuck that shit. We were SO much more alternative than them.Who will win in the future?: I’ll assume that Theory of a System Nickel will keep winning. It would be nice if The Dears won something, if only to keep Murray from crying again. My vote would go to From Fiction.

Luke Doucet

Favourite Canadian song of the year: It’s hard, I like a lot of Canadian artists. What is the second track on La De Da? “Happen Now,” that’s a great song. There’s a song called “I Feel for the Driver.” It’s a Ron Sexsmith song, and it’s off Retriever.Favourite Canadian album of the year: The New Pornographers, Twin Cinema. On Halifax: One is the nostalgia because that’s where I’m from, so I want it to be a positive experience. Whenever I play Halifax, which is pretty rare, I always hope that somebody’s going to come up to me and be like, “Yeah, I was in your class in like, grade two…back in 1980.” It doesn’t happen, but I always hope somebody would.On the Junos: I have my own kind of cynical take on awards, the politics involved and the bullshit. The pageantry of this kind of thing is a little bit tacky, but I’m flattered. Who will win in the future?: Shout Out Out Out Out. They’re going to be rock stars, they’re going to win stuff and they’re amazing.


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