In The Know...Chattin' It Up With Paper Moon And Magnum K.I. About The 100 Mile Musical Diet

>> Friday, 4 June 2010

If you’re looking for a totally unique, totally fun, and totally satiating concert-going experience, the 100 Mile Musical Diet is the sonically delicious event for you.

Taking place on Thursday, June 10th at the West End Cultural Centre, the 100 Mile Musical Diet involves Winnipeg bands covering other Winnipeg bands’ records.

In their entirety. 

With some creative reworking.

For the inaugural edition of the locally flavoured soiree, resident pop darlings Paper Moon are handling iconic punk-rockers Red Fisher’s record War Wagon. On the flip side of the coin, heralded hip-hop group Magnum K.I. will twist the beloved Weakethans’ Reconstruction Site into something fresh and invigorating.

And you may want to bike it to the WECC on the 10th: that night the venue launches its new and much-welcomed bike valet service! Simply bring your bike inside and the hardworking volunteers of the WECC will “park” it in the basement, and then retrieve your wheels whenever you desire. No more riding home without a seat!

If you’re interested in checking out this delightfully innovative evening, I’ve got a pair of tickets for giveaway, courtesy of the fine, giving folks at the West End Cultural Centre. To enter, flip me an email (on the right) by Wednesday,  June 9th @ high noon with “100 Mile Musical Diet Ticket Giveaway” in the subject line and your name in the email’s body. I’ll draw the winner shortly past noon and contact the lucky person right away.

I recently tracked down both Ismaila Alfa of Magnum K.I. and Chris Hiebert of Paper Moon and conducted two separate interviews about their participation in the 100 Mile Musical Diet. Divided into two parts below, we discussed why they chose the album they did, the self-directed learning process, other records considered, and a few other things to boot. 

Part I – Chris Hiebert (Drummer for Paper Moon)

Painting Over Silence: You’ll be performing seminal Winnipeg punk-rock act Red Fisher’s record War Wagon in its entirety. What is it about this album that intrigued Paper Moon enough to choose it for the inaugural100 Mile Musical Diet?

Chris Hiebert: There were a couple of reasons for picking that album.  Red Fisher holds a special place in most of our hearts for one reason or the other, and Allison's first all-ages show ever was a Red Fisher show, so there's a certain amount of nostalgia involved.  Also, Johnny Stewart was actually hoping to become part of Paper Moon while we were living in Vancouver a couple of years back (which, alas, never actually happened) so it seemed "right" to pick HIS band when we were asked to cover another Winnipeg band's music.  We actually discussed with Johnny which album we should choose and we ended up with War Wagon because we all felt that it was Red Fisher at their height of proficiency and musicality. 
And I own a set of Jason Tait's old drums, so there's another Paper Moon/Red Fisher connection. 

PoS: Is your approach to tackling War Wagon more of a reimagining of the sound with that irresistible Paper Moon pop-rock flair, more of a loyal, straight-forward cover that retains the punk sensibilities of the original release, or somewhere in between? 

CH: A bit of both.  We took most of the songs, deconstructed them and then re-arranged them in our home studio.  We definitely pop-ified some of them while some others retained a bit more of the pop-punk edge.  While we were tempted at times to take the easy way out and simply play the album note for note, it would've felt wrong.  Cheap.  Dishonest.  So we only did that for a couple of the shorter songs.  Oops.  Hey, this process was fairly exhausting so we had to draw the line somewhere! 

PoS: Learning another band’s record all the way through surely involves a lot of time, tons of energy, and even more patience. What has this rather unique, self-directed apprenticeship been like for the band so far?

CH: Holy crap.  WAY more work than we thought in the beginning.  We tried just bashing them out in the practise space but just ended up basically playing the exact songs so we decided on the deconstruction route instead.  That got off to a very slow, disheartening start.  Lots of staring at blank ProTools sessions and poking randomly at a keyboard until deciding to just take a nap or something instead.  But we finally got a beat down for one, or a melody for another, and it just snowballed.  It's been tough, we haven't had as many practises as I would've liked due to basement flooding and scheduling conflicts, but it's been a lot of fun.  I think we might end up continuing to play one or two of these songs in future sets. 

PoS: So…approximately how many time HAVE you heard War Wagon over the past week? 

CH: Not so much during the last week, in fact not as much as we would've liked.  The first couple of weeks were saturated with War Wagon while we were all getting familiar with it, but we actually tried to avoid too much of it when we were demoing the Paper Moon versions, so as not to fall back on the originals.  I can say, though, that there was a lot of lost sleep during those weeks.  Lying in bed, staring into the darkness with Cookie Dough or Crank Bait on infinite repeat in our heads.  Could be worse, though.  We rearranged Under The Sea from The Little Mermaid for a benefit comp a couple of months ago...imagine THAT screaming through your brain over and over at 3am. 

PoS: Were there any other local releases you considered before ultimately landing on this Red Fisher record? 

CH: Mike Petkau originally wanted us to do God Shuffled His Feet by the Crash Test Dummies but we didn't really have any connection to that one so we started throwing around some other ideas.  A couple of other notable considerations were something by The Watchmen, or Propagandhi's first record which would've been pretty fun.  Mike's vision was to have us play something that was very different from the usual Paper Moon style, and having Allison singing about sticking the $%&*ing flag up your *@%# ass would be a departure indeed, though perhaps too much so.  

PoS: And finally, what’s in store for Paper Moon during the second half of 2010?

CH: Some of us will be participating in the Manitoba Half Marathon on June 20, and training for that is taking up a surprising amount of time and energy.  We will also be playing at the Forks on Canada Day.  Besides that, we've been working on a bunch of new songs.  We'll probably work on a bunch more, and maybe end up with an album's worth of material.  Should that occur, then our plans may shift from leisurely walks in the park and lying on beaches to becoming pale and gaunt in the recording studio, but we'll see. 

Part II – Ismaila Alfa (Lyricist/Songwriter for Magnum K.I. ) 

Painting over Silence: You’ll be performing hometown heroes The Weakerthans’ hit record Reconstruction Site in its entirety. What is it about this album that intrigued Magnum K.I. enough to choose it for the inaugural 100 Mile Musical Diet?

Ismaila Alfa: It's mainly because we wanted to make sure we got to cover the iconic"One Great City"

PoS: Your approach to tackling Reconstruction Site involves a hip-hop reimagining of the Weakerthans guitar-centric sound. Are any additional musicians required to do so, or is it strictly Magnum K.I.’s core involved (you and DJ Kutdown)?

IA: Yes, we will be performing with Curtis Nowasad on drums and Will Boness on keys but they do play with us once in a while for our bigger shows and we would like to make them permanent fixtures in the group.  And other than Kutdown and me our group consists of Rob Crooks (co-writer and co-producer) as well as recently added vocalist Fenom.

PoS: Learning another band’s record all the way through surely involves a lot of time, tons of energy, and even more patience. What has this rather unique, self-directed apprenticeship been like for Magnum K.I. so far?

IA: It's actually pretty familar to us.  As I mentioned we regularly translate our sampler based album into a live band performance.  The only added difficulty is replacing guitar solos :)

PoS: So…approximately how many time HAVE you heard Reconstruction Site over the past week? 

IA: Fully..5 times through actual speakers but at least 40 times in my head...sometimes I wake up humming "Time's Arrow".

PoS: Were there any other local releases you considered before ultimately landing on this celebrated Weakerthans record?

IA: No. Mike asked if we would cover the Weakerthans and I just said yes..immediately and never considered asking to cover a different band.

PoS: And finally, what’s in store for Magnum K.I. during the second half of 2010?

IA: Hopefully a fundraiser for a new video for our song "Phoenix" which we are hoping to attach to an awareness campaign about exploited youth and missing and murdered women in Manitoba.  We are also hoping to get out on tour later this year.  Other than that we will just be creating our next album with our newest member Fenom. 


Dana,  8 June 2010 at 13:03  

Too bad this is same night as Pornos...

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