Get lost in the latest video from this new collaboration between the Toronto punk great and the Canadian poet and photographer
New York City had Talking Heads. England had Wire. And while Canada was more known for Rush and Molly Hatchet in the late 70s, Toronto’s small but mighty punk scene had their own button-pushing heroes in The Scenics.
Four decades later, the group’s fearless leader Andy Meyers continues to break new ground as a creative force in Canadian music with Deeper Into The Forest, a new collaboration with renowned poet and photographer Diana Hayes. With Meyers building atmospheric soundscapes utilizing a century old pump organ, a 1951 model Telecaster and a 40-year-old Guild acoustic guitar and singer Susheela Dawne singing harmonies, Hayes weaves in spoken meditations rooted in her love for nature and extensive work in palliative care.
The Rock & Roll Globe is honored to present the video for the duo’s new single “Psyche and The Ladder,” a Cinéma vérité acid trip of sorts culled from archival film footage in the public domain.
“We decided to make this video out of film scavenged online,” Meyers told me over Facebook Messenger this week. “It’s like you’re making a collage, which is something I’ve done going back to using scissors and glue to make handbills for the Scenics. Because you can only use footage you find, you’re not going to literally repeat what the words and music are saying, but you’re trying to shine a light into the song and reveal it through other imagery.”
For Meyers, there’s one particular moment of cosmic kismet in the video that he found most intriguing in the context of this collaboration.
“I found some ice skating footage from the late 1940s,” he explains. “It was really different from the other two, but I kept returning to it, and ended up using it.
When Diana saw the video, she said ‘I must have told you that I skated on rinks in Calgary practically before I walked. I had so many hours of figure skating lessons as a child.’ She’d never told me, but that’s the beauty of working this way. Sometimes the random pieces you find have deeper resonances.”
Meyers, whose instrumentation is reminiscent of the more esoteric works of Thurston Moore or Tom Verlaine, also attributes Mother Nature herself as that key third element to “Psyche”, bringing the music in alignment with Hayes and her deep connections to nature.
“After Diana laid down her vocals, I was in my house and got an idea for some music to go with them. It was a warm spring evening,” he tells Rock & Roll Globe. “I went outside to go to my studio and when I went outside I could hear the frogs chirping by the lake in the valley. It felt like a great sound for what was going to be a pulsing and surging song, so I stuck a couple of mics out the door of my studio and recorded the frogs. you can hear them behind the backwards guitar at the very beginning of the track. The frogs run through the whole song. :)”
Deeper Into the Forest was made possible through a grant by the British Columbia Arts Council.
Poems heard on the CD are selected from Diana’s book Labyrinth of Green, published by Plumleaf Press/Rubicon 2019.
VIDEO: Diana Hayes/Andy Meyers “Psyche and the Ladder”