By Troy Hasselman, March 13 2019 —
Calgary experimental electronic artist Kerry Megan — who performs under the name Wish Lash — is set to begin their Ascension//Descension Tour of Western Canada with fellow local acts Carbolizer and Corinthian, presented by local experimental label Deep Sea Mining Syndicate. The tour will begin in Calgary with a show at the King Eddy on March 14, before travelling to most major cities in Western Canada over the next week.
Megan says the touring artists have roots in many Calgary musical institutions.
“Evangelos is from Deep Sea Mining Syndicate, which is his record label, and he performs as Corinthian. He’s been a mainstay in the Calgary DJ and electronic scene for a really long time,” Megan says. “He was the person that taught me how to use all of the software that I make my music with. We met through CJSW and that’s how we forged our music relationship. Carbolizer is Adam Fox and he’s also been making music for a super-long time and works at the National Music Centre (NMC). The three of us are all involved in cultural institutions and also create music.”
The tour promises to offer a showcase of Calgary’s experimental scene — a scene that isn’t associated with any specific venue but rather with a shared do-it-yourself ethos and a darker, punkish sensibility, with Deep Sea Mining Syndicate serving as a platform for many acts.
“I think it’s a really interesting scene and there’s lots of people up and coming. There’s less permanent venues than if you’re into jazz or rock music, for example. The experimental scene is maybe more DIY and very rhizomatic,” explains Megan. “Deep Sea Mining Syndicate has a very punk approach to releasing music. They release a lot of pretty challenging things and have a good following and are well-curated. It’s very approachable because it’s so hands-on from Evangelos, who does most of the work.”
Touring in Canada offers a unique set of challenges, with the issues of hours of driving between major centres and unpredictable weather. According to Megan, Canadian artists also face difficulties touring in the United States.
“It’s incredibly easy as an American musician to tour Canada and unfortunately the US introduced this visa that you have to go through an incredibly long process to get and be able to perform in the states. It’s $1,000 to enter once and $3,000 to enter multiple times in a year,“ says Megan. “It’d be great to go from Vancouver to Seattle, to Portland and on, but that’s not really possible. A lot of artists don’t hit Calgary a lot because it’s pretty remote and Saskatoon and Winnipeg are more so. So I think it’s really special to be able to go to those places. Having three people who drive helps immensely as well.”
Along with the upcoming tour, Megan is beginning a residency at the NMC where she hopes to use some of the centre’s equipment and technology to help finish her upcoming album.
“Every November, NMC does a big call for musicians from anywhere in the whole world in any genre of music. Sometimes they’ll approach people like Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, who played at Sled Island — she’s an electronic musician who uses a lot of modular synthesizers — but mostly it’s about taking initiative and applying to them,” says Megan. “When you’re in a residence you get about a week with access to their full music collection and tech to help you navigate because it’s so overwhelming. You can do anything you want so you don’t have to be recording an album. They also support research or experimentation or doing something out of your comfort zone.”
The Ascension//Descension Tour begins with a show at the King Eddy on March 14. A full tour schedule can be found on the Deep Sea Mining Syndicate website. Door tickets are available for the March 14 show at the King Eddy for $10.