June 14, 2010
Photographer and California native Francesca Tallone lived in the remote but vibrant city of Halifax, Nova Scotia from 2004-2007. Today, she profiles the art and music scene there.
Nestled quaintly on a peninsula in the Atlantic, halfway between the North Pole and the Equator (it’s true, a sign on the highway proclaims it) lies Halifax, Nova Scotia, an oasis of unstoppable creative energy. Some of Halifax’s powerful swell of musical and artistic fortitude might have something to do with its isolation, but with six universities, including the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD), serving a population of less than half a million, talented people from all over Canada meet, and suddenly a tiny town is an explosion of artistic dynamos.
The marriage of Halifax’s artists and musicians has spawned countless bands, record labels, and music festivals. Many of Halifax’s most prolific folks met at NSCAD and have gone on to have successful art and music careers. Paul Hammond and Seth Smith, the duo behind screenprinting company Yo Rodeo! are both in awesome bands right now: Cold Warps and Dog Day, respectively. The band Soaking Up Jagged, featuring Rebecca Young, Mitchell Wiebe, Chad Jagoe and James Matthews, met at NSCAD a decade ago and have continued to make music after a few years’ hiatus. Rebecca and Mitchell also make up 2/3 of Pastoralia, along with illustrator Ray Fenwick, who are, sadly, currently on an indefinite hiatus. And the bands DUZHEKNEW, featuring Adam O’Reilly, Pat Ryan and Aaron Mangle, and Cousins, featuring Pat and Aaron, recently went on tour together in a 20-year-old diesel car as DUZ/CUZ and self-released a split cassette for the trip.
If you find yourself with nothing to do next weekend and feel like a fifteen-hour road trip up the Eastern Seaboard, you should check out the Obey Convention, an awesome festival in its fourth year, founded by Darcy Spidle of Divorce Records. In each year of it’s existence, Obey never fails to unleash a new wave of experimental noise, art, and no-wave rock onto the willing attendants, who feel the burn in their ears for weeks after. Dog Day, Cold Warps and DUZHEKNEW are playing this year, along with nearly 40 other bands from around the world, and in the past Soaking Up Jagged, VKNGS and Noveller, a recent Converse.com feature musician, have played outstanding shows. It also gives you an excellent excuse to swim in one of nearly fifty gorgeous lakes, all within Halifax city limits. I’d drive fifteen hours for that.
Here are some links to more of the sights and sounds of Halifax: