The first in a series of local Artist Residencies took over the studios of CFRC at Queen’s on the weekend.
On February 2, CFRC welcomed David Parker – who performs under the pseudonym Slow Man Tofu – as the first musician that will be part of a broader series welcoming local residencies and workshops to CFRC.
Parker’s workshop focused on electro-acoustic composition using magnetic cassette tape, exploring electronic music composition tools and teaching attendees in a hands on way how to cut and create tape loops.
Overall, the workshops and residencies are focused on electronic music and its local creators in Kingston, with CFRC Executive Director Dinah Jansen saying that the station saw the local electronic music scene as a somewhat underserved market.
“We had a realization that in our programming schedule, we just did not have a lot of electronic arts represented in our own programming,” Jansen said.
“We thought about what are some different ways that we can also find opportunities for those artists to not only still get paid, but also be able to promote their work in a non-traditional way and also impart some knowledge to other folks that might be interested and further just to be able to actually perform.”
For the first performer/workshop leader David Parker, it was a great experience for both himself and the audience.
While pinpointing that audience for a more niche music style in a smaller city like Kingston may be difficult, Parker says it brought out a group that was passionate about the music and was eager to learn.
“The people who came were really enthusiastic and interested and that’s very special,” Parker said.
“It can be hard to find an audience that connects to something that is really out of the ordinary… the people that came were quite enthusiastic about the stuff we were doing.”
The ongoing Airwave YGK Artist Residencies are partially funded thanks to a grant from the Kingston Arts Council, and weekly beginner level workshops will kick off on February 26 with a fee of $12 for all six sessions.
Those workshops will be run by local DJ Matt Almeida, who will also be one of the seven artists in residence at CFRC at a to be determined date between February and May.
Since pandemic related rules have loosened and musicians have been permitted to visit the CFRC studios more often for performances and interviews, the campus station has put an emphasis on collaborating with local musicians.
This new series provides that opportunity while also including an educational component, which Dinah Jansen says especially in a discipline like electronic music that may be a little more niche and requires equipment that isn’t routinely available, these sessions provide people with a chance to explore a genre and a pastime that they may otherwise been unable to access.
“There are maybe not a lot of opportunities for others to be able to learn these kinds of skills because, one, getting the equipment itself is also quite expensive,” Jansen said.
“We have the equipment in-house and we would like to make better use of it, for community members to be able to come in and make use of it… The idea here is that the teaching element is something to pass down, a great way for folks that are interested in trying to figure out how to break into the scene, but don’t know where to start. We wanted to provide the opportunity to connect folks that are interested in these art forms to connect with local professional artists and learn directly from them.”
The teaching element provides an opportunity not only to feature local artists, but to grow the local artist community of prospective musicians.
For Parker, really providing a space to build community through music is why stations like CFRC are important to local creators.
With essentially all the music in the world so easily accessible through streaming services, it’s initiatives like this -not to mention actually paying musicians fairly for their work – that keep campus and community stations as vital to their local scenes.
“As things switch more to online streaming platforms that that don’t remunerate musicians properly, I think that Campus Community Radio plays a more and more important role in the sense that opportunities are fewer and further between, especially financially,” Parker said.
“Campus Community Radio can be a hub of activity, and sharing, and learning. And, yeah, I think it’s really crucial.”