2016 Artist Survey: Living Hour | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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2016 Artist Survey: Living Hour

Gil Carroll, Alex Chochinov, Sam Sarty, and Adam Soloway on Trump, News Sources, and Favorite Movies

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For Under the Radar‘s 14th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to 2016. We asked them about their favorite albums of the year and their thoughts on various notable 2016 news stories involving the music industry or world events, as well as some quirkier personal questions. Here are some answers from Gil Carroll, Alex Chochinov, Sam Sarty, and Adam Soloway of Living Hour. The Canadian band’s self-titled debut album came out in 2016 via Lefse.

For our annual Artist Surveys we emailed the same set of questions to musicians about Trump and the election, 2016’s deaths, self-driving cars, Stranger Things, first kisses, scary movies they shouldn’t have seen as a child, which Friends character they are most like, and much more.

Pick up or download Under the Radar’s Best of 2016 / 15th Anniversary Issue for Artist Survey interviews with Amber Arcades, Austra, Faris Badwan of Cat’s Eyes and The Horrors, Boxed In, Caveman, The Charlatans, Cursive, Lucy Dacus, The Dears, C Duncan, Sadie Dupuis of Sad13 and Speedy Ortiz, Dutch Uncles, Ezra Furman, Robyn Hitchcock, The Invisible, Justin Lockey of Editors and Minor Victories, Lost Under Heaven (LUH), Lush, Midlake, Phantogram, The Range, Springtime Carnivore, Sunflower Bean, Surfer Blood, TEEN, The Thermals, Nick Valensi of CRX and The Strokes, Jenn Wasner of Flock of Dimes and Wye Oak, and Yuck.

Top 10 Albums of 2016

1. Hello Shark: Delicate
2. Weyes Blood: Front Row Seat to Earth
3. Cass McCombs: Mangly Love
4. Forth Wanderers: Slop
5. Florist: The Birds Outside Sang
6. Mutual Benefit: Skip a Sinking Stone
7. Iansucks: Don’t Give In to the Bad Feelings
8. Parquet Courts: Human Performance
9. Teen Suicide: It’s the Big Joyous Celebration, Let’s Stir the Honeypot
10. Jenny Hval: Blood Bitch

2016 was regarded by many as a fairly tough and negative year. Was it also a hard year for you personally? If so, how? And also what were the high points for you?

Gil Carroll: We are super lucky to live in Winnipeg with a really nice and supportive music and arts community. Being surrounded by so many good people and cool shows happening makes even difficult or confusing times not so bad. It’s been a super fun and exciting year for the band. We had the two really nice tours in the U.K. and Europe and saw a lot of the U.S. and got to play some amazing venues. We also released our first album and made a fairly trippy music video, so that has all been delightful.

Sam Sarty: The energy around the year has absolutely been shaky. We went on a few tours, which were a highlight for sure, but there were undoubtedly some feelings of tension surfacing from time to time, especially when we were in the States around late October. Seeing Trump signs appear in dorm windows was a bit discouraging. But that being said, touring around has also proven there to be a lot of resilient folk out there who won’t let one year’s events push them back. I think everyone is dealing the best they can with all the highlights and lowlights of this year.

What are your thoughts on how the U.S. presidential election played out?

All: Watching from Canada, it was pretty shocking and eye opening, and set off alarms for us to re-evaluate how comfortable we are living here. Trump’s win seemed like a very backward step for pretty much everything we stand for (inclusivity, diversity, tolerance, understanding, opportunity for all etc.). It made us realize how much more prevalent hatred and intolerance are than we wanted to believe, and that it is critical for us to do our part to address that hatred and intolerance. We feel a lot less complacent about living in Canada now. Trump’s victory made us realize that something like that could happen anywhere and we need to be more wary of fringe political groups gaining steam.

Sam: I had a lot of hope to see the first female president, but that soon was replaced with uncertainty and fear. I was disheartened by the daily spewing of hatred and sexist remarks that arose in the campaign. I felt completely stunned that language like this was surfacing and worse being taken seriously. The whole thing has me reevaluating how I can trust in anyone or anything again. “Public” figures and media outlets feel so twisted and true information contorted and far away, it’s no wonder a basic trust in anything is damaged along the way.

Let’s discuss Donald Trump. What does the rise of Trump tell you about America in 2016? What concerns you most about a Trump presidency? How do you think his presidency might personally change your life? What message do you have for those who voted for Trump? What actions will you take over the course of the next four years to either protest a Trump presidency or support it?

All: It feels like Canada is a nice bubble in a world of scary shit. From our perspective as a small touring band from Canada, before the election, it seemed like the world was going the right way and there were increasing opportunities for equality and diversity. But then it totally popped! Now there is a fear of the same thing happening in Canada. We need to do our best to support the kind of world that we want to see. We can work towards that by being supportive of those most negatively impacted by Trump and his politics so that they know that they have support and a voice. It is really important for us to push back against people who say racist, sexist, and bigoted comments, and stand up and let them know that it is not okay. There needs to be solidarity with the most impacted communities. In terms of the band, there are already a lot of barriers for us to come to the U.S. to tour and we’re sure it won’t get any easier. Trump not believing in Climate Change also will affect us a lot. There is still no snow on the ground in Winnipeg when I am writing this and it is quite alarming. Where’s the snow???

What reality TV star would you have rather been elected president?

All: Padma [Parvati Lakshmi] from Top Chef.

If you were president, what would you try to accomplish in your first 100 days in office?

All: First we would deport Trump to Mars. Provide universal healthcare, abolish the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, increase funding to Planned Parenthood, abolish student debt, make university tuition free, provide women with longer maternity leaves, and save available abortion clinics. Legalize weed, reform the American schooling system, try to make schools better, pay teachers more. Legalize being topless everywhere for everyone. Possibly have a national nude day. Make P2 work visas free for all Canadian bands. Throw a free music fest with Slowdive headlining at The White House.

What are your thoughts on Brexit and the future of the European Union? To what extent do you think the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump were motivated by the same factors?

All: Fits the narrative of how the world is moving. Seems like it is obviously motivated by a lot of the same factors (including blind intolerance) that Trump capitalized on in the U.S.

We lost three highly influential music icons in 2016. What are your thoughts on the passing of David Bowie, Prince, and Leonard Cohen? And what are your favorite albums by each artist?

Gil: Leonard Cohen: New Skin for the Old Ceremony. David Bowie: Hunky Dory. Never really listened to Prince that much but I’ve listened to Purple Rain and thought it was pretty cool! It is sad but interesting when an influential artist dies. These artists were so uniquely talented they were able to change the way people think, feel and understand life, death, and everything in between. With both David Bowie and Leonard Cohen, they put out albums really close to their deaths which is a unique thing to be able to doto put out a piece of work before they die, about death, knowing that they have real influence and that so many people will hear it and feel those emotions, thoughts, and ideas, is a pretty powerful thing. They both made music that was simultaneously tragic and beautiful which is something I think most artists strive for.

What do you think Prince and Bowie’s afterlife project sounds like?

All: Trip hop.

Which Friends character are you most like?

Gil: Phoebe’s free spirit brother.

Sam: Ross.

What scary movie did you see way too young as a child, how’d you end up seeing it, and does it still scare you now?

Alex Chochinov: I saw Jaws when I was 5 years old. I love the movie but I still won’t go in the ocean, or a lake for that matter.

Adam Soloway: My brother was watching Silence of the Lambs when I was 5 or 6 and I remember walking into the room right as Anthony Hopkins bit the prison guard’s face off and then beat the other one to death. I’m more scared now than I was then.

Sam: Probably The Ring or something along those lines. The Sixth Sense was also a big one. I still question if people are ghosts or not on a daily basis.

Are you ready for self-driving cars and a more automated future?

Sam: A favorite pastime is dreaming about future technology, ask my YouTube history. Self-driving cars would be great. Eliminate road rage, prevent distracted accidents, hopefully have a great learning software across different brands of cars. Automated things are fascinating, but also terrifying. I don’t want my toaster spying on me. I don’t want water to need Wi-Fi.

Alex: No, scared.

Adam: No, they can’t be trusted. Automation is cool sometimes, but not if it turn us into mindless zombies.

Tell us about the most memorable fan encounter you had this year.

Sam: Probably a show we had in Calgary, where a person with dripping wet hands (?) kept walking up to me (wasted) trying to high five my face and keyboard at the same time, repeating a persistent “swooping-arms-action” that went up and down for at least an entire song. I was refreshed by the some speckles of water that hit me in the process.

Gil: This couple in Toronto that came to see us who had known about us from our very first ever demo when we were still called The Hours. It felt very cool to know that some people really care about our music.

Tell us about your first kiss.

Gil: We played a lot of questionable kissing games at summer camp.

Sam: Mine involved a countdown and some dunkaroos.

Under the Radar has been around for 15 years now, since December 2001. How do you feel the music industry has most changed in that time, both for the better and the worst?

Gil: Social media has been a huge change for bands. We have been able to discover and connect with so many cool artists and bands and labels all over the world just by sending a simple message and sharing music. I feel lucky to be a band that can connect with like-minded musicians and inspiring artists so easily.

Adam: Agents can send 10 emails in the time it takes to make one phone call; bands can send demos to 100 labels in 10 minutes with zero budget; publicists can send out thousands of press releases at a time; etc. I think it’s a great thing. DIY touring, too. Playing in some random-person-from-the-Internet’s basement is so weird and cool and you couldn’t do that 15 years ago.

Which Stranger Things character do you most relate with? Why?

Sam: I guess 11, but also Barb, as I too cannot shotgun a beer.

Which news source did you trust and turn to the most this year, in particular during the U.S. election?

Gil: Democracy Now.

Sam: I watched a lot of YouTube excerpts from “political comedy” type shows. Maybe not the most unbiased accurate information source, but the usual news channels/papers were beginning to get to me. I didn’t know who to trust anymore with what information was coming from where. So I thought, “Hey, let’s at least try to laugh with what’s going on and not feel completely terrible watching 2016 unfold.” Some sources included Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Democracy Now, CBC, The Guardian, and Huffington Post.

What do you miss most and least about the touring lifestyle when you’re not on the road?

Sam: The daily movement into something new and unknown. I miss being able to start a day in say, Fargo, then end up in Chicago by the end of it full of “you’ll-probably-only-see-this-once” experiences and sights. Something I don’t miss is living out of a duffle bag and not having a van dog :(.

Gil: Playing shows every night, going for brunch everyday, meeting amazing and talented artists everyday, seeing new beautiful things everyday.

Adam: European cheese, New York pizza, the American free pour of whiskey. I will never miss staying on people’s pizza-crumb couches, though.

What’s usually the biggest stumbling block to your happiness?

Gil: All the sadness in the world and people not being treated equally. The reality of so many people feeling helpless in the world.

Sam: My own self-criticism. It’s hard to talk to yourself with kindness and encouragement sometimes. I’m learning to change my inner dialogue towards more positive places and without any fictional self-made boundaries.

If you could travel back in time, which historical or personal event would you most like to change and why?

Gil: Trump winning the U.S. Election.

Sam: Hitler’s birth.

What band, besides your own, has the best name?

All: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Sparklehorse, Casiotone For the Painfully Alone.

What’s usually the first thing you do when you wake up and the last thing you do before you go to sleep, beyond the obvious tasks?

Alex: Smoke…and smoke.

Gil: Checking to see if we got any new Facebook page likes.

Adam: Check my emails to see if Sub Pop has signed us yet.

Sam: Pillow talk, with myself.

What’s your all-time favorite movie?

Gil: Dazed and Confused.

Adam: Moonrise Kingdom or The 25th Hour. Anything with Ed Norton, he’s my hero.

Sam: Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

What would be the worst punishment the devil could devise for you in hell, if he exists?

Sam: Having a thumb where thumbnails don’t stop peeling. Biting your lip in the same place over and over again for eternity, but only subtly across the days spent in hell, never expected, always happening when you think it’s finally done.

Gil: Playing a show with terrible uncontrollable feedback throughout the entire set every night.

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

Sam: Perfume Genius performing “O Magnum Mysterium” mashed up with their song “AWOL Marine.”

Gil: Stars of the Lid playing their album The Tired Sounds of Stars of the Lid.

Adam: “Fourth of July” by Sufjan Stevens sung by Fred Penner.


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toko bunga bandung
June 1st 2017

this survey is very interesting