Nathalia Pizarro is talking about her incessant need to create. And as the charismatic frontwoman of Vancouver band Chains of Love, head of Manimal PR, and fine artist (a.k.a. TIT), it’s fair to say this is one hastily swimming shark.
Following the release of Chains of Love’s Misery Makers Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 and a hectic period of touring, Pizarro is taking a well-deserved break from life on the road. In the meantime, she’s adding more creative pursuits to her already long list of projects – one of which is art. “It’s something I started doing again because I wasn’t really playing music or performing, which is such a huge part of my life. I decided to find a way to channel my creativity in a different way.”
Pizarro’s “day job” is running the PR division at Manimal, the LA-based record label behind artists like Warpaint and Bat for Lashes. It’s something she loves doing, not only because it’s a way to stay connected to the music industry, but it’s also made her into a more “gracious” artist.
For a woman so overflowing with creativity, it’s hard to imagine Pizarro ever considering a more traditional career path. But around the age of 21, she said, “Fuck it – I’m not going to do music any more. I’d been hustling since I was a teen and I wanted to do something so removed from the arts to take a break.”
She set out to become a vet and even applied to a biology degree program. “I remember doing homework in the studio and he [Felix Fung of Chains of Love] was like, ‘What are you doing?’” It was the wake-up call she needed to continue following her true passion.
It’s yet another example of Pizarro’s diverse intellectual interests and talents. “It’s hard to feed everything, but I do have a fascination with science, especially with physics and space. I think it’s what’s spawned my curiosity about a lot of different things.”
Pizarro credits her strong work ethic to her “extraordinary” mom (“really the only female role model in my life”), who singlehandedly raised her and her brother. “It’s not like she could afford to take me to guitar lessons. She did what she could, but she inspired me to take care of my own things. My happiness is my own responsibility. I can’t wait around for someone to pay for it.”
Feminism to me means respect for women and honouring the female. I really believe in a matriarchal society.
Having such a strong female influence undoubtedly helped to shape Pizarro’s views on gender equality. “Feminism to me means respect for women and honouring the female. I really believe in a matriarchal society. I pray that one day things turn around for all of us humans and things become more neutral.
Pizarro, who admires a long list of female artists – including Cosey Fanni Tutti, Billie Holiday, Mama Cass, Janis Joplin and Ronnie Spector – would like to see more women in music. “More female producers. More record label owners. More women behind the scenes.”
So, what’s next for Pizarro? She’s currently working on an “off-the-cuff” music collaboration with an LA-based producer, but she’s keeping tight-lipped about it for now. And her art will continue to evolve as she experiments with new mediums, like Photoshop and illustration.
But I get the sense that Pizarro’s work will never be done. “As an artist, you can’t just show up to work nine-to-five – you have to really clock in your hours and consistently show up for your art.”
Garland Jeffreys’ album, 14 Steps to Harlem, grew out of a soulful period of retrospection late in the artist’s life and career. As a veteran songwriter, Jeffreys started writing provocative, ahead-of-its- time, genre-bending songs in the early 1970s, with lyrics focused on everything from relationships to racial diversity to political turmoil. Now in his seventies, the New York musician is looking back on his life with an album that takes on bold topics and includes a title track inspired by his turbulent relationship with his father. Jefferys spoke with Georgie about his latest release, his relationship with Lou Reed and his somewhat unconventional approach to songwriting. Georgie—14 Steps to Harlem is a great album. Garland Jeffreys—Thank you. I’m very proud of the record. I took some chances in recording it but had confidence that it could be something special. You don’t know a record is good or bad until it’s done – then you know. I worked on the album with my co-producer, James Maddock, who’s a great artist in his own right. G—The title track, “14 Steps to Harlem”, stood out to me. I read that it was written with your father in mind. Did the experience of writing about your dad
Since his 2005 breakthrough, Breaking Kayfabe, Cadence Weapon has been an artist to watch. The two-time Polaris Music Prize nominee, writer, producer and rapper is known for his innovative musical style and has made waves worldwide. Following a five year hiatus – which included a move from Montreal to Toronto and a stint as Edmonton’s poet laureate – Cadence Weapon returns with a new self-titled album. Cadence Weapon is armed with furious flows, big collaborations and themes that include dance-party politics and dystopian futures. For his latest effort, the rapper is noticeably more focused and is reintroducing himself in a big way. Georgie caught up with Cadence Weapon to talk about the new album, his musical journey, and the L-word: legacy. G—Your new self-titled album is being called a “reintroduction to Cadence Weapon.” What does that mean? Cadence Weapon—I feel like I’ve matured a lot more and the music really reflects that. There is a reason why this album is self-titled. It feels like a rebirth for me; it feels like my first album in a lot of ways. I feel like the creative process for this album is what I’ve always wanted to do in my career. I was
Using his life experiences growing up in downtown Toronto as a source of inspiration, Langston Francis is on his grind as a young artist discovering himself and the world of music around him. We caught up with Francis on the heels of his debut single release to talk about his foray into music, early influences and his direction as an artist. G—You are still in high school. Do you find it hard to juggle your new music career with school? Langston Francis—It’s challenging. For example, I had two exams in one day, then a show at night and I was feeling under the weather. I have school every day, so it definitely gets hard to juggle things sometimes, but it’s sort of something I just have to take in stride. I’m just so grateful for all the opportunities I have. G—Can you tell us a little about your first single, “FCKD IT UP”? LF—I wrote the song and beat when I was 14. At the time, the song had a certain meaning to me. We ended up finishing the song about 12 months later, after that it took on a whole new meaning. As I grow up and change