By Katie Sage (Host of In Rainbows, Monday 10:00-11:00am)
It was a rainy Saturday morning when I met up with multi–disciplinary artist of mixed ancestry from the Siksika Nation – Chandra Melting Tallow, who performs under the moniker Mourning Coup. Living and working in Vancouver, BC, she happened to be visiting Victoria, so we found some shelter in Paul’s Motor Inn to have a conversation about her new album Baby Blue released this fall on No Sun Recordings. The album was five years in the making and very personal. She wrote, produced, and recorded all of the material on the album. Her love of music began at the age of three.
“I would blast Madonna and give lavish performances in my living room, singing was the first thing I ever wanted to do,” she says.
She longed to learn the piano growing up, but her family couldn’t afford putting her in lessons.
“Whenever I was near the instrument I would experiment, developing an intuitive relationship with it, and working by ear.”
At 17 she wanted to be an artist, and at 22 she studied art at Concordia University in Montreal. She was taking sound classes, and interested in noise, this is when Mourning Coup was developed.
“It all started as a noise/performance art piece, then the concept kept being elaborated upon to become solely a noise project,” she explains.
She had a roommate who was a jazz student, and gave her exposure to a Fender Rhodes keyboard. She learned how to record at school and subsequently composed “Snow Day,” which gave her the foundation for creating songs. Chandra has always seen Mourning Coup as a band, and not a solo project. She had five people playing with her at that time.
The composition of the album helped her to survive many obstacles while exploring themes of disability, intergenerational trauma, and the relationship between the physical and spirit world. For the next album she is interested in elaborating on different ideologies and concepts. “I am interested in/opposed to theory and academia because it is inaccessible, so I plan to utilize the arts as a way of disseminating concepts explored in philosophy and metaphysics,” says Tallow.
The title of the album, Baby Blue is a nickname that a woman she didn’t know gave to her. “She just knew things about people – at that time everything was that colour and it was who I was.” She tells me that the book of that time is closed.
Chandra is finishing her next album, and giggles “there is a new song, but the title is a secret.” She is learning bass right now as a way to hash out ideas, however she isn’t interested in perfecting the instrument. She wants to focus on her vocals, and becoming a stronger producer.