Edmonton artists give their feedback after being shortlisted for the Edmonton Music Prize
Five years ago, the city teamed up with the Edmonton Arts Council and Alberta Music to create the Edmonton Music Prize. The prizes for first ($10,000), and two runner-ups ($1,000 each) are financial awards given to musicians who have released a full-length album in the last 18 months and have made a unique contribution to Edmonton’s music scene. The winners will be announced in early January. In the meantime, we spoke with a few of the nominees about their musical roots and thoughts about the Edmonton Music Prize.
Farhad Khosravi is a composer and santur (Persian dulcimer) player from Iran who moved to Canada in 2012. He released his album ‘Sleeping in Sorrow’ last September. The album plays as a cinematic score with a contemporary take on Persian classical music.
Vue Weekly: Is there a theme throughout your album Sleeping in Sorrow?
Farhad Khosravi: Yeah. It’s child labour. I had this idea in my mind to work on music surrounded around that topic and I realized some of the original collaboration could be transformed to match this concept and album. There’s three pieces which have Persian lyrics in them are written specifically for child labour written by a friend of mine who is a poet in Edmonton.
VW: Did you ever envision you would be nominated for a Edmonton Music Award?
FK: Honestly no. This was my first experience recording and I had no idea where it would go. I just wanted to get it out. It’s also Persian music, but experimental and my own modern interpretation of it. I used to play more classical style, but I really had no idea what it would sound like for a western or Canadian audience. I basically wanted to tell a story through the instrumentation kind of like a film score.
Dana Wylie is a member of the Celeigh Cardinal Band and the Mad Dog Experience and is also a singer songwriter with her own solo project. She released her down-to-earth roots folk album ‘The Earth That You’re Made Of’ last October.
VW: Would you say there is a universal theme on your newest album The Earth That You’re Made Of?
Dana Wylie: It’s pretty well described in the title and its a theme that continues to exist in all of my songs. The idea of groundedness and growth through your life as a human. For me, it touches on the way our world works. We have this advanced sort of consumerist, capitalist world we live in where nature is nature and everything is everything, but then there’s us. We are somehow separate from it and think we are the masters of it.
VW: Have you thought about what you would do with the prize if you won first or one of the runner-ups?
DW: I suppose if I got the first prize I would set it aside for another album and I feel that because I just released this one, I’m not chomping at the bit to make the next one. And as a full time musician now, things are always tight. So as a musician, whatever bits of money you get you’re always throwing in the hole and seeing if the hole fills up.
The Royal Foundry is an electro-pop group that released the full-length album ‘Lost In Your Head’ last year.
VW: You guys started off as a more folk Americana group, but then morphed into this high energy electro-pop hybrid. What was the reason for the switch?
Jared Salte: All my bands before were all kind of electro alt pop with a bit of prog rock. If anything, the folk was a diversion to that. This is truer to our style.
Beth Salte: I think the first time we wrote together it was more natural to go towards folk, but then we wrote “Running Away,” which was the beginning of this era of experimenting with keyboards and synths which brought us more joy. TSN actually used that song for some sports thing, too.
VW: Did you ever think The Royal Foundry would have been nominated for an Edmonton Music Prize?
JS: A lot of bands we have gotten to know are a part of it, but I’m honestly shocked we even made the list to be honest.
BS: It’s really cool that the city has something to honour musicians. It’s definitely one of the greatest fears, but also greatest excitements to release something as a musician and see if people accept it.