Join us on June 2 for the latest in our Equalizer series, a panel style discussion with three local artists on how they translate their music to a live performance setting. Learn about the evolution of their set ups and which equipment they use and love the most. There will be ample opportunity for questions from participants, so this is a unique opportunity to glean insight from some of Winnipeg's most enigmatic performers.
Equalizer workshops are designed to offer a safe and encouraging environment to women and non-binary people who are interested in learning the ins and outs of audio production.
Originally from Toronto, Joanne Pollock now makes electronic music from her home studio in Winnipeg. She began dabbling in production in 2010 when she downloaded her first DAW. In 2012, she released her first EP, December. That same year she met Aaron Funk, and together they formed the band Poemss, whose debut album was released on Planet Mu in 2014. After another EP release and touring throughout Canada and Europe, she released her first solo full length album, Stranger, on Timesig in 2017. She has since produced and mixed music for other artists throughout the city and beyond.
Mirror Frame is the solo electronic sound project of artist Alison Burdeny, a Transwoman living and creating on Treaty One territory. Her works have been performed in Treaty One, Treaty Four, and on Unceded Coast Salish territories. As a composition student at the University of Manitoba, her works incorporate years of self-taught experimentation, multi-instrumental performance, and an obsession with soundtracks, into mind bending textures and reflective, abstract spaces.
Rayannah bends noise into music by running voice, breath, synth and percussion through loop pedals. Underscored by intricate beat-making, her evocative lyrics in French and English rise above dense soundscapes, pulling listeners into a world both dark and sweet.
Get to know them better with our little Q+A...
When you were 6, what did you say you wanted to be when you grow up?
Joanne: A therapist
Mirror Frame: When I was six I was too busy reading Star Wars books to actually pay attention to reality or my future. I think when I was 12 I started to develop a sense of the future and wanted to become a filmmaker, after watching the Matrix... too many times.
What piece of gear, that you don't have already, would you most like to own?
Mirror Frame: I really want an Elektron Digitone. Over the winter I had to sell almost all my gear for financial reasons, which sortof has me at a blank slate except for my Elektron sampler. The Digitone is an amazing sounding FM synth with a very complex sequencer that you can essentially write whole arrangements with. I've been dreaming about it for a while.
Rayannah: I don't currently have a heavy synth bass. I'd like to add a Moog to my setup!
What piece of gear that you do own made the most significant improvement in your live show?
Mirror Frame: My Elektron Octatrack made a huge difference in regards to my live show. I program all my songs in it using its arranger, and can manipulate almost any part of the song live, as well as sequence my synths. It can be programmed in such a way that there are randomizing elements or probabilistic elements to each programmed sound/note, which makes for very dynamic arrangements. You can loop the same 16 steps over and over and have it sound different every time, which adds a lot to its already very flexible performance options. It's like it improvises along with you, if you tell it to.
Rayannah: My loop pedal+mixer combination is what has allowed me to dive into beat-making and mixing live. It makes for a more dynamic show. The real game changer lately however has been using in-ear monitors.
Who are you greatest inspirations, musically?
Joanne: Anyone who does anything really wild and out of the box
Mirror Frame: My friends are my greatest inspiration, honestly. My music takes its sonic/tonal inspiration from a lot of different artists, mostly electronic these days (and too many sources to mention)... The deeper inspiration I feel comes from my friends who just put the hard work in to learn and be the best musicians they can be. I have some friends in bands in BC who mostly play house shows and write music about dealing with very real every day problems. Their music isn't particularly technical or necessarily engaging from a theoretical standpoint, but the heart is very front and center, and that's what matters most. It's that display of honest vulnerability that comes from a place of survival and processing real things (trauma, oppression, etc) that I find the most inspiring, and it's why I am so obsessed with making music in the first place. One band, Crazy Bitch Separatists, is like the loudest most chaotic example of that I can think of, they just hit their synths and yell about things that bother them and have pillow fights at shows. I usually cry with joy when I see them play, which of course isn't often anymore cause most of them live in Vancouver and one of them lives in Montreal.
Rayannah: There are so many! A few important ones include Solange, James Blake, Salomé Leclerc, Becca Stevens, Rosalia, Moses Sumney, Sarah Vaughan, Joni Mitchell, and Sufjan Stevens.
What is the best advice you have ever been given relating to your career in music?
Joanne: You do you
Mirror Frame: I don't necessarily have anything aphoristic that was passed to me that I can then pass on to other folks about music specifically... But I've found that allowing myself to be vulnerable and real in my music is what has been the most challenging, and what I've had to do the most processing about. On a basic level that has looked like learning to not compare myself to others so readily, especially not comparing myself to others who have privileges or advantages that I don't, because there are political factors that often make access to resources really difficult, and I can't blame myself for that. Especially after selling most of my gear to afford groceries, and like, still comparing myself to other folks who have thousands of dollars worth of gear. The lesson that's come out of that is that being a musician, especially a musician whos practice evolved out of basic survival and coping, is based around unquantifiable inner things. If you can recognize that the desire to work at it and learn and grow and express yourself and survive is its own thing, and doesn't have to be caught up in capitalist meritocracy or really distorted ideas about your self worth, then that's the most freeing thing. Working towards that has been so valuable to me, and that's I guess something I would encourage other artists to at least consider.
Rayannah: Details are important, really important, but sometimes you can get too close and lose perspective or even your love for what you do. You have to protect that above all else.