Transcript: Making Music, Activating Change | Oct 01, 2021

Nam Kiwanuka sits at the Agenda news desk. She wears a dark blue blazer over a green shirt. A monitor behind her shows a lowercase ‘a’. Nam holds a pen between her fingers as she rests her hands on the desk. Papers, a cell phone, and a glass of water sit in front of her.

Text reads, “Making Music, Activating Change.”

Nam begins,
A FORMER POET LAUREATE
FOR EDMONTON, ALBERTA, WHO SPENT
FORMATIVE MUSICAL YEARS IN
MONTREAL, ROLLIE PEMBERTON --
WHOSE STAGE NAME IS CADENCE
WEAPON -- NOW CALLS TORONTO
HOME.
HE'S A RAPPER, PRODUCER, WRITER,
AND THIS WEEK HE WON THE HUGELY
PRESTIGIOUS POLARIS MUSIC PRIZE
FOR HIS FIFTH ALBUM, "PARALLEL
WORLD."

The cover of Cadence Weapon's record “Parallel World” features a blurry, distorted image of the artist.

Nam adds,
IT'S A GROUNDBREAKING RECORD,
AND CADENCE WEAPON KICKS OF HIS
U.S. TOUR SUPPORTING IT TONIGHT
IN DENVER, COLORADO. AND
THAT'S WHERE WE FIND HIM.
HI, CADENCE.
REALLY, REALLY NICE TO MEET YOU.

Cadence Weapon sits in front of a navy blue wall. He wears a light pink and baby blue t-shirt. White headphones dandle from his ears. His light stubble thickens under his chin and over his lip.

Cadence responds,
HEY, WONDERFUL TO MEET YOU.

Nam states,
HUGE WEEK FOR YOU.
YOU WON THE POLARIS.
YOU PERFORMED AT THE GARRISON.
NOW YOU'RE IN THE STATES.
BEFORE WE GET TO OUR CHAT, I
JUST WANTED TO SHOW A CLIP OF
"AFRICVILLE'S REVENGE" OFF YOUR
ALBUM "PARALLEL WORLD."
SHELDON, PLEASE ROLL.

The cover of Parallel world is again featured. Sound waves travel up and down.

Cadence raps,
WISH MY PEOPLE WERE TREATED WITH
REVERENCE
INSTEAD, THEY'RE TREATED AS
IRRELEVANT
DISRESPECTED CAUSE OF
RESEMBLANCE
COURTS WANNA SEE US BE
RECIDIVISTS
ALL OF THIS, IT GETS RIDICULOUS
WE'VE BEEN FAILED BY
REPRESENTATIVES
GET SO TIRED OF THE RHETORIC
GET MOVED OUT FOR OTHER
RESIDENTS
NO MORE LIVING WITH THE
RETICENCE
SAY WHAT I FEEL WITHOUT
REGRETTING IT
SMART, BLACK, HANDSOME PLUS I'M
ELOQUENT
ALL THEY NOTICE IS THE MELANIN

Text reads, “Making Music, Activating Change. A Winning Trajectory”

Nam repeats,
SMART, BLACK AND
ELOQUENT.
AND HANDSOME.
NICE TO MEET YOU.
THAT RECORD HAS BEEN ON -- I'VE
BEEN PLAYING THAT A LOT.
THE ALBUM ITSELF IS INCREDIBLE.
BUT, FOR ANYONE THINKING THAT
YOU'RE AN OVERNIGHT SUCCESS,
THIS IS NOT YOUR FIRST NOMINATION
FOR THE POLARIS PRIZE.
WHAT HAS THE ROAD BEEN LIKE FOR
YOU TO FINALLY GET THIS
RECOGNITION?

Text reads, “Cadence Weapon. Musician, Parallel World”

Cadence replies,
OH, IT IS VERY MEANINGFUL TO ME.
I MEAN, I FEEL LIKE I'M SOMEWHAT
SYNONYMOUS WITH THE POLARIS
PRIZE BECAUSE I WAS NOMINATED
FOR THE VERY FIRST ONE IN 2006.
YOU KNOW, I'VE GONE THROUGH A
LOT IN MY MUSIC CAREER.
AND JUST TO HAVE THIS LEVEL OF
RECOGNITION, LIKE I FEEL LIKE
I'M WALKING ON A CLOUD.
IT HASN'T TOTALLY SUNK IN.
BUT IT FEELS AMAZING.

Nam responds,
WELL, YOU CALL YOURSELF THE
SUSAN LUCCI OF RAP.
ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID, NEVER A
BRIDE UNTIL THIS MOMENT.
IN YOUR ACCEPTANCE SPEECH, YOU
SAID THAT YOU HAD NEVER WON
ANYTHING.
AND NOT MANY PEOPLE CAN SAY THAT
THEY HAVE ONE ALBUM NOMINATED.
YOU'VE HAD SEVERAL ON THE LONG
LIST, SEVERAL ON THE SHORTLIST,
AND NOW THAT YOU'RE A WINNER.
AT ANY POINT THROUGHOUT THIS DID
YOU EVER FEEL THAT YOU HAD
ALREADY MADE YOUR BEST MUSIC AND
THAT YOU MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO
MAKE THE LIST AGAIN?

Cadence answers,
NO, NOT AT ALL.
I ALWAYS FEEL LIKE MY BEST MUSIC
IS AHEAD OF ME.
I STILL FEEL THAT WAY NOW.
I THINK THE WEIRD THING IS MAYBE
THE PERCEPTION, IT'S LIKE, OKAY,
HE'S BEEN NOMINATED FOR POLARIS
ALL THESE TIMES, HE'S MADE ALL
THESE RECORDS, LIKE, YOU KNOW --
THERE'S BEEN TIMES WHERE I'VE
HAD LONG GAPS BETWEEN ALBUMS.
I HADN'T PUT OUT AN ALBUM FOR
SIX YEARS BETWEEN MY THIRD AND
FOURTH ALBUM.
I ALWAYS KNEW IN MY OWN MIND
THAT I COULD MAKE BETTER MUSIC.
AND I FEEL LIKE WEIRDLY THE
PANDEMIC ALLOWED ME TO HAVE THIS
LEVEL OF SUSTAINED FOCUS THAT I
HAVEN'T HAD SINCE I WAS LIKE A
TEENAGER, YOU KNOW.
IT REMINDS ME OF BEING BACK IN
MY MOM'S ATTIC MAKING BEATS WHEN
I FIRST STARTED.
I FEEL LIKE I BROUGHT THAT SAME
ENERGY AND IT HAD GREAT RESULTS.

Nam replies,
BECAUSE I THINK FOR SOME
PEOPLE, THE PANDEMIC, WE ALL
EXPERIENCE IT AT THE SAME TIME.
BUT FOR SOME PEOPLE, IT AFFECTED
THEM IN DIFFERENT WAYS.
WHY DO YOU THINK IT AFFECTED YOU
IN A WAY WHERE YOU, I GUESS
FOUND YOURSELF TO BE MORE
CREATIVE?

Cadence says,
YEAH, WELL I MEAN, FOR INSTANCE
RIGHT NOW I'M IN DENVER, AND
LIKE I'M ON TOUR.
THERE'S USUALLY ALL THESE OTHER
DISTRACTIONS THAT PREVENT ME
FROM HAVING THE SPACE AND TIME
TO REALLY CREATE NEW MUSIC.
BUT WITH THE PANDEMIC, THAT WAS
COMPLETELY OVER. WHEN IT FIRST
HAPPENED, LIKE A LOT OF
PEOPLE -- I HAD ALL THESE PLANS,
I WAS SUPPOSED TO DO SOUTH BY
SOUTHWEST, I WAS SUPPOSED TO
PLAY A BUNCH OF FESTIVALS AND
STUFF AND THAT WAS OVER.
I HAD TO KIND OF RESIGN MYSELF
TO BEING LIKE LET ME JUST STEW
IN THIS FORCED ISOLATION
SITUATION, RIGHT?
AND FOR ME, IT REALLY DID RESULT
IN A VERY PRODUCTIVE PERIOD FOR
ME BECAUSE NOT ONLY DID I WRITE
AND RECORD AND PRODUCE THIS
ALBUM, BUT I ALSO HAVE BEEN
WRITING A BOOK AT THE SAME TIME.

Nam states,
WE'LL TALK A LITTLE
BIT ABOUT THE BOOK, IF WE GET
TIME, BECAUSE WE HAVE LOTS OF
THINGS TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT.
BUT THE CLIP THAT I PLAYED AT
THE VERY FRINGE, AFRICVILLE'S
REVENGE, YOU PLAYED HOMAGE TO A
BLACK COMMUNITY IN HALIFAX.
THE COMMUNITY WAS AROUND FOR 150
YEARS, BUT IN THE '60s, THE
CITY OF HALIFAX DEMOLISHED THAT
COMMUNITY, THAT BLACK COMMUNITY.
THIS IS SOMETHING THAT I NEVER
LEARNED ABOUT IN SCHOOL.
WAS THIS INTENTIONAL ON YOUR
PART, TO SHARE A HISTORY?
BECAUSE I THINK WHEN WE THINK
ABOUT WHO BELONGS IN CANADA, WE
THINK CERTAIN GROUPS BELONG AND
OTHERS DON'T.
SO WAS THIS INTENTIONAL ON YOUR
PART TO SHARE THAT HISTORY?

Cadence responds,
YEAH, THAT WAS VERY IMPORTANT
TO ME.
YOU KNOW, I STARTED THINKING
MORE ABOUT BLACK CANADIAN
HISTORY SPECIFICALLY BECAUSE I
WROTE AN ARTICLE FOR THIS
PUBLICATION HAZLITT ABOUT LITTLE
JAMAICA IN TORONTO WHICH IS KIND
OF UNDERGOING LRT-BASED -- YOU
KNOW, TRANSIT-BASED
GENTRIFICATION AND I STARTED
DOING MORE RESEARCH AND THINKING
OF OTHER COMMUNITIES THAT HAVE
BEEN DISENFRANCHISED IN A
SIMILAR WAY.
AND I WAS LIKE, OH, DAMN,
AFRICVILLE.
I NEVER LEARNED ABOUT THAT IN
SCHOOL, I NEVER LEARNED ANY
BLACK HISTORY IN SCHOOL
GROWING UP IN EDMONTON AND
THAT REALLY MADE ME
FEEL LIKE I'M VERY OTHERED.
I FELT MAYBE I'M NOT A PART OF
LIKE, YOU KNOW, THE CANADIAN
TAPESTRY OR WHATEVER.
YOU KNOW?
I THINK IT WAS REALLY IMPORTANT
FOR ME NOT ONLY TO HIGHLIGHT
THIS BLACK CANADIAN HISTORY BUT
I FEEL LIKE THE ALBUM ITSELF IS
A DOCUMENT OF BLACK CANADIAN
HISTORY.
IT'S LIKE MY EXPERIENCE.
IT'S MAYBE, YOU KNOW, NOT WHAT
YOU WOULD ASSOCIATE LIKE
MUSICALLY, YOU KNOW, ELECTRONIC
MUSIC, EXPERIMENTAL MUSIC, YOU
KNOW, U.K. GRIND INSPIRED MUSIC,
IT'S NOT WHAT YOU EXPECT FROM
CANADIAN RAP BUT NOW I FEEL LIKE
I'VE PUT THE FLAG DOWN FOR BLACK
PEOPLE IN CANADA WHO THINK
DIFFERENTLY AND MAKE DIFFERENT
KINDS OF ART.

Nam states,
AND MUSIC IS MUSIC.
I JUST WANT TO PICK UP ON A WORD
YOU JUST USED, YOU FELT OTHERED.
BECAUSE ON ANOTHER TRACK, EYE TO
EYE, YOU RAP: THANK GOD I MADE
IT HOME TODAY.
IF I WALKED ANOTHER BLOCK, I
MIGHT HAVE BEEN BLOWN AWAY.
I DON'T THINK I'D BE SURPRISED.
THESE THINGS HAPPEN EVERY DAY.
SOME PEOPLE WATCHING OR
EVEN LISTENING TO THIS,
THEY MIGHT BE SURPRISED
THIS IS SOMETHING THAT YOU
CONSIDER DAILY.
WHAT DOES THAT DO YOU TO YOU IN
HOW YOU SEE THE WORLD AND HOW
THE WORLD SEES YOU?

Cadence replies,
WELL, YOU KNOW, THAT SONG IS
REALLY INSPIRED BY THE CONCEPT
OF DOUBLE CONSCIOUSNESS, AND
IT'S SPECIFICALLY INSPIRED BY
THE CHRIS COOPER/AMY COOPER
INCIDENT IN CENTRAL PARK THAT
HAPPENED WHERE THIS BLACK
BIRDWATCHER AND THIS WOMAN WHO
WAS CANADIAN, SHE TRIED TO
WEAPONIZE THE POLICE AGAINST
HIM.
AND THAT'S SOMETHING THAT I
THINK A LOT OF BLACK PEOPLE CAN
RELATE TO, THIS IDEA OF, LIKE,
YOU CAN BE JUST WALKING DOWN THE
STREET AND ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN,
YOU KNOW. IT’S LIKE
WHETHER IT'S LIKE POLICE
BRUTALITY OR JUST EVERYDAY KIND
OF MICRO-AGGRESSIONS.
I JUST REALLY WANT TO TALK ABOUT
THAT BECAUSE I'VE NEVER HEARD
ANYONE DISCUSS IT IN A SONG IN
THAT WAY. AND IT’s SOMETHING
EVEN LIKE I LIVE IN TORONTO AND
I USED TO LIVE IN RONCESVALLES
AND I REALLY WAS INSPIRED BY THE
IDEA OF THERE'S ALL THESE NICE
WHITE RICH PEOPLE IN THE
NEIGHBOURHOOD AND I'M WALKING ON
THE SAME SIDEWALK AS THEM AND
I'M THINKING, OKAY, I DON'T WANT
TO WALK TOO CLOSELY BEHIND THEM,
I DON'T WANT TO FEEL
THREATENING.
IT'S THIS WEIRD MENTAL CALCULUS
THAT BLACK PEOPLE HAVE TO MAKE
THAT I DON'T THINK IS REALLY
WELL-KNOWN. THIS IDEA OF
THINKING OF HOW I'M
PERCEIVED AS WELL AS LIKE
PERCEIVING MYSELF AND THE WAY I
TYPICALLY DO. YOU KNOW
IT'S LIKE THIS WEIRD DICHOTOMY
THAT I OFTEN HAVE TO DEAL WITH.

Nam adds,
AND YOU MENTIONED
RONCESVALLES, IT’S A
COMMUNITY IN TORONTO.
I USED TO LIVE NEAR THERE.
IT'S INTERESTING BECAUSE I THINK
THE PANDEMIC HAS ALLOWED OTHER
PEOPLE TO MAYBE CONSIDER OTHER
PEOPLE'S EXPERIENCES. BECAUSE
BEFORE I THINK…I DON’T KNOW,
DO YOU THINK YOU HAD THAT
FREEDOM TO TALK ABOUT THESE
THINGS BEFORE THE PANDEMIC?

Cadence says,
YOU KNOW, IT'S DIFFERENT.
IN MY LAST FEW ALBUMS, I REALLY
TRIED TO BE VERY EMPATHETIC AND
I TRIED TO PUT MYSELF IN
DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES AND RAP
FROM DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES, BUT
PARTICULARLY, YEAH, THE
PANDEMIC, I DEFINITELY WAS
REALLY HONED IN ON THAT.
I MADE IT MORE A POINT OF
EMPHASIS TO REALLY TALK ABOUT
THESE SUBJECTS, ESPECIALLY
BECAUSE I WAS REALLY INSPIRED BY
THE GEORGE FLOYD PROTESTS AND
JUST SEEING THIS UPRISING OF
COLLECTIVE ACTION, IT REALLY
SPURRED ME ON AND I WAS JUST
LIKE, OKAY, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT
THIS STUFF ON THE NEWS NOW.
PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT
MICRO-AGGRESSIONS AND
INSTITUTIONAL RACISM ON A LARGE
SCALE, AND THESE ARE THINGS THAT
I -- I USED TO QUESTION MYSELF
AND BE LIKE, IS THIS REALLY
HAPPENING?
IS IT REAL? AND IT'S LIKE I KNEW IT.
THAT'S HOW I FELT. I KNEW IT.
AND NOW IT'S A REGULAR SUBJECT
AND SO THAT MADE ME FEEL LIKE
I'VE GOT TO GO IN.
I'VE GOT TO DO THIS.
I'VE GOT TO BE NO HOLDS BAR, BE
TOTALLY HONEST AND FORTHRIGHT
HOW I FEEL ABOUT THESE ISSUES.

Nam responds,
AND EARLIER THIS SUMMER
TOO YOU SHARED AN ESSAY WHERE
YOU SHARED YOUR EXPERIENCES WHEN
WE TALK ABOUT BEING HONEST, YOU
TALKED ABOUT BEING SIGNED TO A
THREE-SIXTY DEAL AND YOU WROTE IN
YOUR ESSAY THAT DURING THE FIRST
TEN YEARS OF YOUR CAREER YOU
BASICALLY DIDN'T MAKE A DIME.
YOU TRAVELLED THE WORLD AND YOU
PLAYED HUNDREDS OF SHOWS.
AND YOU WERE PENNILESS THE WHOLE
TIME.
HOW DID YOU GET YOURSELF UP
EVERY MORNING AND CONTINUE TO
MAKE MUSIC EVEN THOUGH YOU WERE
IN A SITUATION WHERE YOU WERE
BASICALLY NOT MAKING ANY MONEY
FROM ALL THE WORK THAT YOU WERE
DOING?

Text reads, “Cadence Weapon, Polaris Music Prize Winner”

Cadence answers,
WELL, YOU KNOW, IT WAS A
SITUATION WHERE IT WAS KIND OF
LIKE THERE WAS A CARROT ON THE
OTHER SIDE WHERE IT'S LIKE, OH,
IF I KEEP GOING, EVENTUALLY IT'S
GOING TO BREAKTHROUGH AND IT'S
GOING TO BALANCE OUT AND I'M
GOING TO MAKE SOME MONEY.
BUT FOR ME, I JUST LOVE MUSIC.
IT'S OBVIOUSLY SOMETHING -- I
WOULD DO IT FOR FREE AND CLEARLY
I DID IT FOR FREE FOR MANY, MANY
YEARS.
I JUST ALWAYS BELIEVED IN
MYSELF.
I KNEW EVENTUALLY I WOULD
EXTRICATE MYSELF FROM THE
SITUATION AND I WOULD MOVE ON
AND DO THE KINDS OF THINGS I'M
DOING NOW.
BUT, YEAH, IT WAS REALLY HARD.
THERE WERE DEFINITELY SOME
MOMENTS WHERE I FELT LIKE I
DIDN'T WANT TO MAKE MUSIC
ANYMORE. YOU KNOW LIKE
I REALIZED WHEN I WROTE THAT
ESSAY, SO MANY PEOPLE REACHED
OUT TO ME, SO MANY ARTISTS, SO
MANY PEOPLE WITH SIMILAR
STORIES, SO MANY PEOPLE
RESONATING WITH WHAT I WAS
TALKING ABOUT.
I WAS JUST KIND OF LIKE, WOW,
THIS IS WAY WIDER THAN I HAD
EVER IMAGINED.

Nam states,
WELL, IT'S A GREAT
THING THAT YOU DID BECAUSE WE
END UP THIS WEEK WITH YOU
WINNING THE POLARIS PRIZE.
I JUST WANTED TO SHARE A LITTLE
EXCERPT FROM YOUR SPEECH AFTER
YOU WON THE AWARD.
YOU SAID:

Text reads, “If I won this, I wanted to announce that next year I will be using some of my resources to organize some voter registration events around the
Toronto municipal election as well as the Ontario provincial election because we need some changes to our leadership and we need to make things more
equitable for people in this city to be able to vote. I also just want to take this
time to mention that Justin Trudeau has worn blackface so many times he can't even remember how many times and he was just given a third term.
That's exactly why I need to be making rap records that are political, that are about these subjects because that's still a fact today.”

Nam asks,
WHAT DOES IT SAY ABOUT CANADA'S
POLITICAL LANDSCAPE THAT A PARTY
WITH A LEADER WHO WORE BLACK AND
BROWNFACE ON MULTIPLE OCCASIONS
HAS BEEN REELECTED FOR A THIRD
TERM?

Cadence replies,
WELL YOU KNOW, IT'S THIS IDEA OF,
YOU KNOW, WHAT I CALL THE CANADIAN
MYTH, THIS IDEA WE'RE NICE,
POLITE PEOPLE, YOU KNOW, BUT
IT'S REALLY ONLY TO YOUR FACE
BUT, YOU KNOW, WHEN YOUR BACK IS
TURNED, THAT'S WHEN THE KNIVES
COME OUT SOMETIMES, YOU KNOW?
I FEEL LIKE, YOU KNOW, WE'RE NOT
AS PROGRESSIVE AS WE THINK WE
ARE AS A NATION SOMETIMES, YOU
KNOW.
I FEEL LIKE, YOU KNOW, DESPITE
HAVING OTHER ALTERNATIVES,
SOMETIMES IT DOESN'T FEEL LIKE
THERE'S A REAL ALTERNATIVE.
YEAH, IT'S DISAPPOINTING,
ESPECIALLY, I MEAN, WE ALL SAW
HIS VACATION YESTERDAY.
I JUST, YOU KNOW, AS AN ARTIST,
I'M INSPIRED BY PEOPLE LIKE
PUBLIC ENEMY, THE CLASH, GIL
SCOTT-HERON, PEOPLE WHO SPOKE
TRUTH TO POWER.
I FEEL THAT'S THE ROLE OF THE
ARTIST. YOU KNOW, THAT IS
TRULY MY CALLING.
IT'S LIKE PUT THESE LEADERS, YOU
KNOW, ON ALERT, YOU KNOW,
BECAUSE IT'S LIKE, WE NEED TO
HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE, YOU KNOW?

Text reads, “Making Music, Activating Change. Rap and Civic Engagement”

Nam says,
WELL YOU REFERENCE THE
UPCOMING MUNICIPAL AND
PROVINCIAL ELECTIONS IN YOUR
SPEECH AS WELL, AND YOU
MENTIONED MAKING VOTING MORE
EQUITABLE. IN WHAT WAYS IS IT
NOT EQUITABLE AND HOW ARE YOU
GOING TO COMBAT THAT?

Cadence answers,
WELL, I LIVE UP ON EGLINTON
NEAR LITTLE JAMAICA AND I SEE
THE VERY DIVERSE NEIGHBOURHOOD
AND THE FEELING I GET ESPECIALLY
WITH THE LAST ELECTION I FELT
THERE WAS A LOT OF ELEMENTS OF
VOTER SUPPRESSION. I SUSPECT
THAT.

Nam asks,
WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?

Cadence adds,
OH WELL, I MEAN THE FACT THAT THEY
WERE TAKING POLLING PLACES OUT
OF UNIVERSITIES, THERE WERE LESS
PLACES TO VOTE, SUPER LONG LINES
AND STUFF.
I FIND THAT STUFF IS ACTUALLY
ALL BY DESIGN.
BECAUSE IF YOU KEEP VOTING
NUMBERS LOW, YOU CAN KIND OF
PREDICT THE RESULTS A BIT
BETTER, IN MY OPINION, YOU KNOW?
SO MY IDEA IS, LIKE, LET ME GET
PEOPLE MORE ENGAGED AND MORE
EXCITED ABOUT VOTING WHO DON'T
REALLY THINK ABOUT IT OR THE
VERY MANY PEOPLE WHO DON'T VOTE
AND THEY SEE THAT THIS IS
SOMETHING THAT HAS JUST CHANGED
SO MANY LIVES AROUND THE WORLD,
THE FACT THAT YOU'RE ABLE TO --
YOU KNOW, YOUR VOICE CAN BE
HEARD.
AND IF YOU VOTE, YOU CAN
COMPLAIN ABOUT THE RESULTS
LATER, YOU KNOW? I'M JUST LIKE
A REALLY BIG VOTING ADVOCATE
AND I THINK I'M REALLY
EXCITED ABOUT THAT PART OF
PUTTING TOGETHER THESE VOTER
REGISTRATION EVENTS.
THERE'S GOING TO BE BANDS AND
STUFF, YOU KNOW, PEOPLE WITH IPADS
REGISTERING PEOPLE.
I THINK IT'S REALLY EXCITING
ESPECIALLY IN A NEIGHBOURHOOD
LIKE MINE OR LIKE PARKDALE,
PLACES THAT ARE JUST VERY
DIVERSE. THAT THE MORE
ENGAGEMENT THAT WE CAN
HAVE THE MORE WE CAN HAVE
LEADERSHIP THAT REFLECTS THE
PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITIES.

Nam states,
I SUSPECT -- WELL, THE
PRIME MINISTER SAID THAT ONE OF
THE REASONS WHY THERE WERE LESS
POLLING STATIONS WAS BECAUSE
OF THE PANDEMIC.
BUT WE DO FIND OURSELVES IN A
SITUATION WHERE WE LIVE IN A
WORLD THAT SEEMS TO PARCEL
ISSUES EITHER LEFT OR RIGHT.
WHAT ROLE DO YOU THINK THAT
PLAYS IN MAYBE THE VOTING APATHY
THAT WE'RE SEEING?

Cadence replies,
OH, WELL, I MEAN, A PART OF
IT IS JUST, YOU KNOW, IT WAS AN
ELECTION THAT NOBODY WANTED, YOU
KNOW, AND IT JUST FELT LIKE
THIS -- ESPECIALLY DURING A
GLOBAL PANDEMIC, YOU KNOW, IT
FELT LIKE A BIT OF A POWER GRAB
OR SOMETHING. I DON'T KNOW.
I WAS JUST REALLY DISAPPOINTED
THAT THAT HAPPENED IN THE FIRST
PLACE.
BUT, YEAH, ON THE LEFT VERSUS
RIGHT SIDE, I MEAN, I FEEL LIKE
BOTH SIDES REALLY WOULD PREFER
LESS PEOPLE TO VOTE AND I FEEL
THAT THAT'S A GOOD ENOUGH REASON
FOR ALL OF US TO VOTE, AS MANY
PEOPLE TO VOTE AS POSSIBLE,
ESPECIALLY YOUNG PEOPLE WHO ARE
CONSTANTLY DISENFRANCHISED FROM
VOTING BECAUSE THEY CAN'T PREDICT
WHAT YOUNG PEOPLE ARE GOING TO
DO AND USUALLY YOUNG PEOPLE VOTE
MORE PROGRESSIVELY. YOU KNOW,
I THINK ALSO I'M JUST TIRED OF
THE BROKEN PROMISES AND THE IDEA
OF WHEN ARE WE GOING TO GET RID
OF FIRST PAST THE POST, THESE
BROKEN PROMISES.
WE NEED TO MOVE ON.
WE NEED TO HAVE TRUE DEMOCRACY
IN CANADA.

Nam says,
I KNOW YOU MAKE MUSIC
AND YOU'RE AN ARTIST, BUT WOULD
YOU EVER CONSIDER RUNNING FOR
POLITICAL OFFICE?

Cadence responds,
YEAH, I THOUGHT ABOUT IT.
ACTUALLY DURING, YOU KNOW,
LEADING UP TO THE FEDERAL
ELECTION, I WAS ACTUALLY ASKED
TO POTENTIALLY PUT MY HAT IN THE
RING --

Nam asks, FOR WHICH PARTY?

Cadence says,
-- FOR THE FEDERAL ELECTION.
OH, I SHOULDN'T SAY.

Nam laughs.

She states,
YOU CAN SAY. IT'S JUST TWO FRIENDS
TALKING.

Cadence adds, WELL --

Text reads, “Making Music, Activating Change. The Personal is Political”

Nam replies,
YOU DON'T HAVE TO --
BUT IT'S SOMETHING THAT YOU'VE
CONSIDERED?

Cadence replies,
OH, FOR SURE, YEAH, YEAH.
IT'S SOMETHING MAYBE FOR FURTHER
DOWN THE LINE.
THE IDEA IS I'VE GOT THIS ALBUM.
I'M QUITE BUSY WITH IT.
I'M WRITING A BOOK.
IT WASN'T THE RIGHT TIME, YOU
KNOW?
BUT I THINK SOMEWHERE DOWN THE
LINE -- I THINK PEOPLE COULD
PROBABLY PREDICT WHERE I WOULD
GO.

Nam responds,
YOU KNOW, YOU COME
FROM A FAMILY THAT'S SUPER
ACCOMPLISHED.
YOUR GRANDFATHER WAS CFL HALL OF
FAMER, YOUR UNCLE WAS A
MUSICIAN, YOUR DAD A
GROUNDBREAKING DEEJAY IN
EDMONTON, AND IN 2009, AS I
MENTIONED, YOU WERE SWORN IN AS
THE CITY OF EDMONTON'S POET
LAUREATE FOR A TWO-YEAR TERM.
WHEN YOU WERE IN THAT POSITION,
TO WHAT EXTENT COULD YOUR WORK
BE POLITICAL OR I GUESS
SUBVERSIVE GIVEN YOU WERE A PART
OF THAT SYSTEM.

Cadence says,
OH YOU KNOW, IT WAS FINE. I WAS STILL
ABLE TO SPEAK TO THE THINGS I WANTED
TO. MY THING WAS I WAS TRYING TO DO
THINGS THAT WERE REALLY EDMONTON
FOCUSED AND ABOUT OUR CULTURE
AND LIFT THAT UP
I NEVER FELT LIKE, OH, I CAN'T
SAY ANYTHING OR I CAN'T DO THIS
EVENT.
I NEVER FELT ANY BARRIERS.
BUT I FEEL LIKE THE PROBLEM WITH
GETTING INVOLVED IN, LIKE, PARTY
POLITICS, IS YOU HAVE TO TOE THE
PARTY LINE.
FRANKLY, I'VE NEVER BEEN VERY
GOOD AT THAT.

Nam replies,
WELL MAYBE THAT'S WHAT
FIGHT THE POWER MEANS, RIGHT?

Cadence states,
ABSOLUTELY. YOU KNOW,
I THINK SOME OF THE GREAT
LEADERS IN THE HISTORY OF THE
WORLD DIDN'T TOE THE LINE.
SO, I DON'T KNOW.
MAYBE IT IS A GOOD IDEA.

Nam says,
WELL, YOU'RE IN THE STATES.
YOU'RE IN DENVER, COLORADO.
AND YOU'RE GOING TO BE HEADING
OUT ON A U.S. TOUR.
SO MANY CANADIAN ARTISTS END UP
LEAVING CANADA TO SEEK
RECOGNITION THEY MIGHT NOT BE
GETTING IN CANADA.
DO YOU EVER FEEL THE NEED TO
HEAD SOUTH?

Cadence laughs.

He replies,
YOU KNOW I'VE THOUGHT ABOUT IT,
OF COURSE.
IT'S SOMETHING THAT'S BECOME
QUITE COMMON, THAT KIND OF LIKE
TORONTO TO L.A. PIPELINE, I'VE GOT
SO MANY FRIENDS. BUT I DON'T KNOW.
I'VE BEEN IN TORONTO NOW FOR SIX
YEARS.
I FEEL LIKE THE MORE TIME I'M
THERE, THE BETTER THINGS SEEM TO
BE FOR ME, YOU KNOW?
I FEEL LIKE I'M REALLY
DEVELOPING IN A GREAT COMMUNITY
THERE.
I DON'T REALLY HAVE ANY PLANS TO
MOVE ANYWHERE ELSE.
MY THING IS I REALLY FEEL LIKE A
REAL, YOU KNOW, RESPONSIBILITY
AS A CANADIAN ARTIST TO REALLY,
LIKE, YOU KNOW, SHOW PEOPLE THAT
YOU DON'T HAVE TO MOVE TO L.A.
OR NEW YORK AND YOU CAN REALLY
MAKE A DIFFERENCE WITH WHAT
YOU'RE DOING WITHIN CANADA.
AND I FEEL LIKE PARTICULARLY
THIS RECORD.
IT'S DEFINITELY TELLING ME
CANADA IS A FINE PLACE TO BE.

Nam adds,
YOU MADE THIS RECORD,
AS WE'VE MENTIONED, DURING THE
PANDEMIC.
HOW DID THAT IMPACT YOUR
CREATIVE PROCESS AND WHAT YOU
WANTED TO SAY ON THIS ALBUM?

Cadence replies,
OH, HEAVILY. I WAS HEAVILY
INFLUENCED BY THE PANDEMIC.
THIS RECORD COULDN'T HAVE
EXISTED IN ANY OTHER
CIRCUMSTANCE.
AND IT'S SO STRANGE MAKING AN
ALBUM LIKE THIS, I HAD TO DO
ALMOST EVERYTHING REMOTELY.
I WAS DODGING THE DIFFERENT
LOCKDOWNS AND STUFF TO BE
ABLE TO GET INTO MY STUDIO.
AND IT WOULD BE A MAD DASH TO
RECORD AS MUCH AS I COULD.
DEFINITELY THE RECORDING PROCESS
HAD LIKE A REAL URGENCY AND A
REAL FRANTIC ENERGY TO IT.
I FEEL LIKE THAT IS REFLECTED --
WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT IS VERY
OF THE MOMENT.
I THINK THAT REALLY RESONATED
WITH PEOPLE.
ESPECIALLY WHEN WE'RE IN THIS
ERA WHERE YOU AND I, WE'RE
SPEAKING VIRTUALLY. YOU KNOW LIKE
SO MUCH OF OUR LIVES ARE MORE
CONNECTED ELECTRONICALLY THAN
EVER AND I WANTED TO REALLY MAKE
A RECORD THAT SPOKE TO THOSE
THEMES.

Nam responds,
WELL I'M GLAD YOU BROUGHT
THAT UP BECAUSE THAT TRACK I
GUESS YOU'RE REFERENCING IS "ON
ME."
YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT THE FACT
THAT WE'RE KIND OF BEING
SURVEILLED ON OUR PHONES, CC TV.
AS A MUSICIAN, CAN THAT WORK TO
YOUR ADVANTAGE IN THE WAY THAT,
HAVING HAD THE ISSUES YOU HAD
WITH THE THREE-SIXTY DEAL, BEING
ABLE TO CONNECT DIRECTLY TO
YOUR FANS?

Cadence states,
THAT'S ONE OF THE MOST
IMPORTANT THINGS TO ME.
YOU KNOW, I'M ALWAYS LOOKING FOR
NEW WAYS TO, LIKE, HAVE A
BUFFERLESS CONNECTION WITH MY
AUDIENCE. BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE
WITH THE DIFFERENT SOCIAL MEDIA
COMPANIES, THEY RELY ON
DISCONNECTING ME FROM MY
AUDIENCE. I BRING PEOPLE TO THEIR
PLATFORM, BUT THEN I CAN'T REACH
THEM ALL WITH MY POSTS.
I CAN'T ON THE STREAMING
COMPANIES, LIKE, THOUSANDS OF
PEOPLE LISTEN TO MY MUSIC EVERY
MONTH, BUT I CAN'T MESSAGE A
SINGLE ONE OF THEM, YOU KNOW?
AND SO I’VE LOOK FOR DIFFERENT
PLATFORMS.
I HAVE A NEWSLETTER THAT HAS
BEEN A REALLY GREAT EXPERIENCE
WHERE, YOU KNOW, IT'S LIKE OVER
A THOUSAND PEOPLE RIGHT NOW
WHERE THEY'RE ABLE TO CONNECT
DIRECTLY WITH ME, YOU KNOW?
AND I'VE BEEN GETTING MORE INTO
DOING THINGS LIKE TWITCH WHERE
IT'S THIS ONLINE STREAMING AND I’M
DEEJAYING AND PLAY TRACKS THAT I
FOUND.
BUT I FEEL LIKE MY REALLY CLOSE
FANS, I'M ENGAGING WITH THEM IN
A WAY THAT WASN'T POSSIBLE IN
THE PAST. YOU KNOW,
I'M TRYING TO BRING IT BACK TO
THE OLD INTERNET WAY OF BEING
WHERE IT WAS KIND OF LIKE THE
WILD WEST AND THERE WEREN'T --
THE AD COMPANIES DIDN'T HAVE AS
MUCH CONTROL OVER THINGS AND YOU
COULD JUST KIND OF LIKE CREATE
AND HAVE COMMUNITIES WITHOUT
BEING, YOU KNOW, COMMODIFIED.

Nam replies,
WELL, YOU KNOW, WE
KEEP HEARING ABOUT WANTING TO
MOVE TO THE NEW NORMAL.
AND YOUR ALBUM HAS KIND OF BEEN
DESCRIBED AS DYSTOPIAN.
I DON'T KNOW IF YOU LIKE THAT
DESCRIPTION OR NOT.
BUT I THINK EVEN WITH SOME OF
THE MUSIC THAT -- THE TRACKS
MIGHT MAKE SOME PEOPLE
UNCOMFORTABLE.
WHAT DO YOU THINK WE SHOULD ALL
CONSIDER WHEN WE'RE IN THIS
MOMENT AS WE CONSIDER ON HOW WE
MOVE FORWARD HOPEFULLY PAST THE
PANDEMIC?

Cadence responds,
WELL, I WOULD SAY DON'T RUSH
TO NORMALIZE OR WHATEVER.
THERE IS NO NORMAL. THAT'S OVER.
WE'RE IN A NEW ERA, YOU KNOW,
LIKE, AND I FEEL LIKE -- I JUST
SPOKE DIRECTLY TO WHAT'S
HAPPENING IN THE WORLD AND IT'S
A REFLECTION OF WHAT MY REALITY
IS AND, YEAH, IT CAN BE
UNCOMFORTABLE, YEAH, MAYBE IT
FEELS DYSTOPIAN TO SOME PEOPLE,
BUT I DON'T KNOW IF YOU LOOKED
OUTSIDE LATELY, BUT WE'RE IN A
CRAZY TIME.
THE PANDEMIC HAS COMPLETELY
UPENDED EVERYTHING THAT WE ONCE
KNEW.
I'M OUT HERE PLAYING SHOWS IN
AMERICA AND FEELING QUITE
ANXIOUS ABOUT IT, YOU KNOW,
LIKE, IT'S WEIRD TIMES.
AND SO I'M HAPPY TO SOUNDTRACK
THEM.

Nam asks,
ARE YOU FEELING ANXIOUS BECAUSE
OF THE PANDEMIC OR JUST THE
MOOD OR ...

Cadence answers,
OH, I MEAN, IT'S VERY HIGHLY
CHARGED ENERGY, ESPECIALLY IN
AMERICA.
YOU KNOW, IT'S JUST MASKS AND
THINGS ARE JUST WAY MORE
POLITICIZED. IT'S KIND OF GNARLY.
AND THERE'S NO CAPACITY LIMITS
AT THE SHOWS.
IT'S JUST LIKE GAME ON.
IT IS NORMAL HERE.
BUT IN THE WRONG WAY.

Nam says,
WELL CADENCE, THANK YOU SO
MUCH FOR SPENDING SOME TIME WITH
US AND HUGE CONGRATULATIONS.
HOPEFULLY, WE'LL HAVE YOU BACK ON
TVO AT SOME POINT DURING THE
ELECTIONS.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR TIME.

Cadence replies,
THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

Text reads, “Making Music, Activating Change. Produced by: Liane Kotler @LianeKotler”

Watch: Making Music, Activating Change