The End: Kathryn Calder of Frontperson

The End: Kathryn Calder of Frontperson "I like that when we die we turn back into the beautiful world-the earth, the trees, the air, the rain, the ocean, etc."

Nov 02, 2018 Web Exclusive
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To end out the week, we ask Kathryn Calder of Frontperson some questions about endings and death.

Frontperson is a new duo that features Calder of The New Pornographers (and also a solo artist and formerly of Immaculate Machine) and Mark Andrew Hamilton (who has released six albums as Woodpigeon). They released their debut album, Frontrunner, in September via Calder's own label, Oscar St. The album was our joint Album of the Week.

The band's first single, "Tick - Tock (Frontrunner)," was shared via a video that featured various track & field events, sometimes running backwards, and was filmed at the 2018 Langley Pacific Invitational and the 2018 BC Masters Track & Field Championships. The album cover also features a track & field event and is a photograph that actually inspired the album title. Hamilton explained in a press release announcing the album. "About 20 years ago, a photographer friend of mine named Ambrose Fan gave me this incredible picture of a young girl with her fists clenched, getting ready to run a race at a track meet," he said. "I've lived in a lot of places since then, and this photo has always come with me. When we started recording at the National Music Centrebasically one of the world's best keyboard museums where we had pretty much free reign over their incredible collections of synths and suchI put the photo on the recording console, and it stayed there for two weeks guiding the making of our record. Whenever someone would ask what sound we were going for, I'd just point at that picture." 

Calder added in the press release: "The photograph is now our record cover, it was the inspiration for our album name, and it's still guiding this record, because we decided to use it as inspiration for the video for our first song, 'Tick-Tock (Frontrunner).'"

Read on as Calder talks about how she'd like to die, what songs she'd like performed on her deathbed and at her funeral, and her favorite endings to books and movies.

How would you like to die and what age would you like to be? 

I would like to be quite old, but not too old. I'd like to selfishly still have some friends and family around. I'd like to die in my sleep, wearing my most soft and comfortable PJs!

What song would you like to be playing at your deathbed?

I think something without lyrics would be nice. I really love Debussy, in particular "Rêverie L. 68: Rêverie"other songs too. I love his style of composing. It reminds me of sweet memories of my family and childhood, which seems like a nice thing to be thinking of as I die, as long as I'm drugged up enough to ignore whatever else might be going on. Depends on how I go. Ideally, of course, I'd put on some Debussy before going to bed and never wake up! But, in the alternative case where I might be unhappy or suffering, hopefully someone can drug me up before they put the Debussy on. Maybe it would get psychedelic, which could be cool!

What song would you like to be performed at your funeral and who would you like to sing it? 

"So Long, Marianne" by Leonard Cohen. It's one of my favourite songs of all time. Maybe it could just be a big group sing along. That seems nice!

What's your favorite ending to a movie? 

The ending of E.T. is pretty great!

What's your favorite last line in a book? 

The last line of Moby Dick is pretty incredible, and fitting too, because it's an ending about an ending. "Now small fowls flew screaming over the yet yawning gulf; a sullen white surf beat against its steep sides; then all collapsed, and the great shroud of the sea rolled on as it rolled five thousand years ago."

What's your favorite last song on an album?

I love last songs on albums. It tends to be the song I seek out first. I love quieter songs, and usually bands will put those songs closer to the end. I'm trying to think of my favorite last song, but maybe instead I'll pick the first time that I really realized I loved the last songs on records. I associate it with The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill from 1998. She had two amazing songs as the last songs on her album-"Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" and "Tell Him." Ever since then I always make sure to check out the last songs on records, and I also pick the last songs for my own albums carefully.

Whose passing has most affected you?

My mom's passing affected me tremendously. It was quite a cruel and prolonged illness (ALS), and it really made me think a lot about life and death and my feelings about it all. My dad's passing was sudden, and it happened in his sleep. It was much less dramatic, though I loved him just as much. I think when your loved one isn't suffering, it takes away some of the pain and feelings of helplessness.

If you were on death row, what would you like your last meal to be?

I'd love my last meal to be Thanksgiving dinner, except you wouldn't need to bother with the turkey. Just all the sides: roasted veggies, stuffing, mashed potatoes (or scalloped potatoes!), and pumpkin pie. Plus, hot chocolate with whipped cream. Delicious.

What's your concept of the afterlife? 

I like that when we die we turn back into the beautiful world-the earth, the trees, the air, the rain, the ocean, etc.

What would be your own personal version of heaven if it exists? 

I think somewhere with beautiful sunrises and sunsets, lots of mountains to climb with amazing views, forests with big mossy trees, fields of wildflowers, the nearby ocean would always be the perfect temperature for swimming, clear night skies every night, unlimited delicious food, and a cozy house that always smelled really nice, with all my friends and family close by, and tons of cute animals (kittens, puppies, goats, sheep etc.). And lots of music around.

www.frontperson.bandcamp.com

www.facebook.com/frontperson

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