Spotlight Artist: Mallory Chipman

Our April 17th Spotlight is just a few days away! Our final artist that is performing this Tuesday is Mallory Chipman. We talked with her about her release Rags and Feathers: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen. Take a peek and catch Mallory at our Spotlight in the Triffo tomorrow!

Are you excited for the Spotlight, and what are you looking forward to most?

Of course I’m excited! Last year’s Artist Spotlight was one of the highlights of my year, and I can’t wait for what is to come this time around – especially in the new building! I’m really looking forward to performing in the beautiful state of the art Triffo Theatre alongside my incredibly talented labelmates, Chandelle Rimmer & Tom Van Seters and Joshua Rager. There’s nothing quite as special as being in great company.

Do you have a favourite tune on your record, if so – why is it your favourite?

Funnily enough, my own composition “Tune for the Troubadour” turned out to be my favourite song on my album, Rags and Feathers: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen. I only find it funny because this record is a tribute album to one of the greatest songwriters of all time, Leonard Cohen. While I don’t believe that any of my original tunes could rival his in any way compositionally, “Tune for the Troubadour” acts as my love letter to the work and legacy of Cohen himself, thus I believe its truly emblematic of the entire record as a whole.

What is your process as an artist when writing and/or performing your music?

Gosh, that’s a hard question. Every composition comes to me differently – sometimes it’s melody first, sometimes the lyrics flow as poetry years before I’ve added anything musical to them, and sometimes I find myself jamming at the piano playing with different progressions, and then the harmony establishes itself as the initial piece. The common thread between these different processes is that they never occur when I plan to sit down and write a tune. Inspiration for composition always comes when I’m doing something else; walking my dogs, having a shower, getting groceries, you name it!

Is there any artist or album that you drew inspiration from while making this record?

Well, in the case of this specific record, the answer to this question is quite obvious. Rags and Feathers is a tribute album to Canadian icon, Leonard Cohen. Throughout the process of making this album, Leonard’s thoughtful lyricism and the fearless attitude that seems to permeate his music inspired me and pushed me to write and perform with a musical confidence I had never explored before.

What is your favourite Netflix show to binge watch?

The Mindy Project, hands down! I’m quite certain that Morgan Tookers is my alter ego.

Spotlight Artist: Joshua Rager

Joshua Rager is a Montreal-based jazz musician. His album Jondo was released this year with Bent River Records, and he is another artist that is performing at the 2018 Bent River Records Artist Spotlight! Here is our interview with Joshua so you can get to know him a little more!

Are you excited for the Spotlight, and what are you looking forward to most?

Yes!! What an unbelievable opportunity I’m being given by Bent River Records to perform my music with a hand picked group of some of Edmonton’s finest musicians. I can’t wait to hear these great players perform my music and it will be interesting to hear their unique interpretation of it. Of course it’s also a great chance for my music to gain exposure to an audience in western Canada. There is a lot of energy coming out of Grant MacEwan these days and it’s a pleasure to get invited to the hub of all this great music.

Do you have a favourite tune on your record, if so – why is it your favourite? 

I must say that I do not have a favourite tune on the record. When you write and arrange music, your pieces become almost like little children, each with their own personalities and quirks and as parents we learn to celebrate them all and accept their shortcomings, their strengths and weaknesses. There is some really great playing from the musicians particularly the great saxophonists Donny Kennedy and Frank Lozano. Also our drummer Rich Irwin brings a great energy and feel to the music.

What is your process as an artist when writing and/or performing your music? 

I usually work with ideas that have been on my mind for a while. They might not even be very concrete, like a melody or a chord progression. Sometimes original music is born from a feeling that needs to get explored. Usually for me I get a sense of the vibe of the piece first. Like: This is going to be a fast jazz swing tune with lots of energy, or this is going to be a moody or yearning kind of melody. I like exploring “light” and “dark” sounds especially when thinking about harmony. The other thing I can say is that from my experience the best music happens quite quickly. I have to get it out in a short period of time before I can think about it too much. Once my thinking brain becomes engaged the process can get bogged down to an endless series of unanswerable questions.

Is there any artist or album that you drew inspiration from while making this record?

Probably the music I have studied the most recently has been Herbie Hancock and Walt Weiskopf. There is a Herbie Hancock record called The Prisoner which, as a university student, I transcribed and studied. Walt Weiskopf has a wonderful record called Sight to Sound which really opened my eyes to the possibilities of form in small group writing. Walt seems interested in deconstructing the chorus structure in jazz while still basing form on repetitive structured development. Essentially he’s a master at writing chorused based tunes which he obscured by arranging them in a through composed fashion. You often see this more in larger ensemble writing so I think it’s particularly interesting the way he writes like this for smaller groups.

What is your favourite Netflix show to binge watch?

Me, I don’t watch too much tv. Over the holidays I caught a few episodes of Fargo which had, I think, a really fresh take on traditional narrative storytelling. It seemed very smart to me what they were doing. Otherwise I catch a Spongebob or two with my kid after homework time.

Spotlight Artist: Chandelle Rimmer and Tom Van Seters

With the Bent River Records Artist Spotlight coming up, we sat down with Tom Van Seters and Chandelle Rimmer and asked them a few questions regarding the Spotlight and their upcoming record Stillness Falls.

Are you excited for the Spotlight, and what are you looking forward to most?

Tom: Really excited! Looking forward to performing this music live for the first time.

Chandelle: Ditto, Tom stole my answer. But yes, excited to share our work. I am very proud of this project.

Do you have a favourite tune on your record, if so – why is it your favourite?

T: For me it’s “Cowboy Jazz”. The arrangement came together gradually over a long period of time. Originally there were no lyrics but when Paul heard it, he insisted Chandelle write some words. I think the end result really captures the spirit of a cowboy on the prairies.

C: I like “Cowboy Jazz” too but I think “Vacant” is one of my favorites. We had a clear vision with this one from the beginning; a simple pop melody and chord progression that we would convert to a contemporary jazz vibe. For me, this song melds my roots as a pop singer and my love for jazz. Plus, while the lyrics are a bit sad, I think that they will resonant with a lot of people.

What is your process as an artist when writing and/or performing your music?

T: As collaborators, I don’t think we have one process we always turn to, but we always try to stay true to our gut-instincts about how the music should sound.

C: I agree with Tom, but it was an exciting process to write as a team – I think we really pushed each other musically and creatively. Most importantly though, as collaborators we were very open-minded, supportive and communicated effectively through the whole process.

Is there any artist or album that you drew inspiration from while making this record?

T: When I hear Chandelle sing, it sure makes me think of Joni Mitchell sometimes.

C: Gee Tom, thanks! I found myself looking to Joni Mitchell quite a bit, her singing and lyric writing is nothing short of amazing! We had some ideas but really, we were trying to carve out our own identity as a team in this project. There weren’t a lot of models out there.

What is your favourite Netflix show to binge watch?

T: Most recently, my wife and I have been watching detective shows from the UK such as Shetland, Broadchurch, and The Fall. Yes, we’re very boring people.

C: I really like British period dramas. My latest however have been Shameless, Suits (who doesn’t like a good looking suit!), and This is Us, but I had to stop that one for a while as I was crying too much.

Be sure to see Chandelle Rimmer and Tom Van Seters’ performance at the 2018 Bent River Records Artist Spotlight on April 17th. Reserve your free tickets here: https://tickets.macewan.ca/TheatreManager/1/tmEvent/tmEvent21.html

You’re Invited!

Well everyone, the time has come again… You’re cordially invited to our 2018 Bent River Artist Spotlight! It will be an evening full of wonderful music brought to you by three of the artists on the Bent River Records Label. Montreal-based Joshua Rager will be performing music from his latest release, JondoMallory Chipman will once again grace the stage by performing tunes from Rags and Feathers: A Tribute to Leonard Cohenand Tom Van Seters and Chandelle Rimmer will captivate the audience with music from their first release together (and the latest Bent River Records release) Stillness Falls.

The event will take place in the Triffo Theatre on Tuesday, April 17th. There will be a reception and cash bar at 6:00pm, and the live performances will begin at 7:00pm. Make sure that you go online to the MacEwan Box Office and reserve your free ticket. We also will have a booth set up where you can purchase BRR merchandise, and the albums on the BRR Label.

Reserve your free tickets for the Spotlight on April 17th here:

https://tickets.macewan.ca/TheatreManager/1/tmEvent/tmEvent21.html