The Broken Social Scene multitasker
don’t take no shit – just government dough.
BY JAMIE GADETTE
Who is Brendan Canning? Those
well familiar with Broken Social Scene recognize him as a co-founder and
pivotal member of the expansive Toronto indie-rock collective-a low-profile
George Harrison to Kevin Drew’s charismatic John or Paul. Like the late Beatles
guitarist, Canning can easily hold his own as an artist. He just happens to
play well with others. On his 2008 solo LP, Something
for All of Us (the second in the collaborative-heavy Broken Social Scene
Presents series), Canning walked a neat line between individual and group
effort, pairing songs that sound like You
Forgot It In People b-sides with tracks like the funky horn-driven “Love Is
New.” Who, though, might Canning be without his brilliant cohorts – or, for
that matter, handy government-backed grants nixing the need for annoying day
If the Canadian government’s art
funding dried up, how would you fund your projects? Would you shave your beard
and get a job in accounting-or maybe soccer commentating?
Fortunately I am very good at
socking away money. However, here’s a list of things I could do without my
monthly musical welfare checks:
We have a spare room so I could
easily become a landlord and could also give up television and rent out that
room. Also, since I’m already walking our dog, I could definitely walk a few
others for some extra cash. My DJ-ing on the side would also bring in a little
extra. I am definitely not an accountant and have lousy accounting skills… and
I have also given up the dream of being a soccer commentator.
How do you think a day job might affect
your creative process?
I need a lot of sleep in order to
be creative and I imagine a day job would require me at some point to wake up –
or stay up – when I need my rest. Result: no creation time.
What about busking?
I’m not much of a busker, as I
feel there are lots of others, mainly in NYC subways, who do it better than me.
Stiff competition for sure.
How often do American bands give you
shit for your government hook-up?
I don’t take shit from other
bands. Anyway, it’s usually envy they express.
I hear you’re kind of into drum ‘n’
In 1995. I was into-and still am,
just not like I used to be-house music, and am now trying to unload some of
those rare gems from 1998. Drum ‘n’ bass was too hard to dance to but was very
exciting when you heard it for the first time like, ‘Holy shit! What is this?’
Then you say prettier girls go to parties where house music is playing.
What do you have in the works for 2009?
More solo material? A new Broken Social Scene record?
I have a record-or a bunch of
songs-I’m now finishing where I split the vox with a girl named Jeen O’Brien
and am producing alongside longtime collaborator and friend, Bernard Maiezza.
We used to call it CookieDuster and might still. Otherwise, there will be much
more recording this year because that’s what we do. Probably some solo, and
probably some BSS.
What do you think might happen if you
were forced into isolation for a year? With none of your buddies to bounce
ideas off of or to lend a hand, what kind of record would you turn out?
I do have shitloads of acoustic
pieces and piano pieces on my answering machine at home. It’s just a matter of
getting down to it. Soon.
[Photo Credit: Norman Wong]