The rain was crazed. The line up was long. The door people bored and uncooperative. But Friday night was very, very young. We ran into the lovely Ethan Kath of Crystal Castles, waiting at the door for a friend trying to convince the disgruntled staff to let him/her in upon arrival. He introduced us to Kontavoid, the Toronto-based project of Cam Findlay. His music is played over synths while wearing a dark masque and is what Purgatory or maybe ghost dialect probably sounds like (in a really good way). Having previously drummed for Crystal Castles and currently drumming for Trust, as well as working on his solo and prominent work, Findlay has every right to come across as a pompous busy-body, but instead was all smiles, suits, and slicked hair.
We slid down the handrails to the crowds on Granville and ran up and down the carpeted stairs of the venue until we found a quit-ish corner to conduct the interview. Having to shout over the loud tunes and the first few screams of Crystal Castles, this is how weee goooo:
Winnie Cooper- Where’s your mask?
Cam Findlay- I only wear it for the first half of the show but then it gets too sweaty and gross.
WC- Your from Toronto, how’s the music scene holding up at the moment?
CF- Toronto’s cool. I like it a lot. I’ve grown up there so I don’t really know anywhere else but I think its got a great music scene and despite whatever snobby stereotypes people may have about the city, it’s a really great scene.
WC- A lot of the best Canadian bands hail outta there
CF- Yeah! It’s funny because there are a lot of bands from the city, and they branch out elsewhere and then make it big and you realize they are from Toronto later. But, I mean the stuff I’ve been doing, we really stick together and do shows. There’s a community and it’s awesome.
WC- And the underground stuff?
CF -There was a big rave scene, a lot of after hours that kinda died out and that has been almost destroyed because of the development of condos. But there were some warehouses where we had parties. None of those after hours are there anymore. There’s a lot of electronic stuff coming out of Toronto though.
WC- When did you start making music?
CF- I started drumming for Crystal Castles in 2007, I was their original drummer. They were my first professional band.
WC- What about your first non-professional bands?
CF- I used to play in some shitty punk bands. There was a place called the Q-bar that I used to play at back in Toronto. They didn’t care about serving alcohol and you could do whatever you wanted, if your band existed for like 3 days you could play there and all our buddies would come out and the bar tenders would give out free pitchers at the end of the night if door sales went well. But its like a martini bar now…
WC- Is Trust your side project?
CF- No, they are just my friends from Toronto, its very small, you either know someone in a band or someone else, it’s a very small scene, I got tied up and worked with them in the beginning of this year, I did a few European shows.
WC- Where do you see Kontravid going?
CF- I don’t creatively contribute to Trust or Crystal Castles. Kontravoid is my main thing. So I want to pursue this mainly.
WC- If you had to tour with one person who is alive right now, who would you tour with?
CF- Oh man…maybe Skinny Puppy but I would feel very intimidated; none of my stuff stands up to them…
WC- Whose your biggest music crush?
CF- Gotta say Bowie
WC- Is there a theme that carries throughout your music? Even a mistake theme?
CF- None of my songs are subjective, I feel like I combine words that don’t tell a story.
WC- So the meaning develops afterwards.
CF- I guess so, I leave it open for people to take it how they want.
WC- A lot of electronic music is not obvious anyway, the music is usually profound and moody itself.
CF- Totally. I work with the instrumentals and then the vocals, so I try to let the instrumental parts come through. Maybe if I started as an instrumentalist or lyricist it would be different, but I started as a drummer.
WC- Do you ever look back at your early stuff like, “Eww I thought that was cool.”
CF- Yeah! It’s mostly terrible to be honest. But it has a nostalgic value.
WC- So you’ve materialized different parts of your life, or your own personal history, through recording…
CF- Yeah totally! It’s cool to see where you come from. I have a lot of stuff recorded, stuff that should be scrapped but its cool to go back to it.
Interview by: Josefa and Paulette Cameron