The Ecology of Experimental
Music Performance in Canada
The Ecology of Experimental
Music Performance in Canada

I Have Eaten the City


Registry Theatre, April 25, 2007
Open Ears Festival of Music and Sound, Kitchener-Waterloo


I Have Eaten the City are members of the Association of Improvising Musicians Toronto (AIMToronto), a loose collective that runs several improvisation series and facilitates short residencies by master musicians. Valdivia and Storring have degrees in composition and are thus steeped in classical, modernist and postmodernist traditions. Their description of the Toronto scene, however, suggests that they have no problem crossing over genre boundaries within experimental music. Many thanks to I Have Eaten the City for permission to post these video and interview excerpts on the Sounds Provocative website.

NS There are several communities in Toronto. There’s the improv community, and there’s also a really vibrant scene, a variety of weekly series.  There’s one in particular called Poor Pilgrim that happens on Dundas West at the Press Club, a sort of weekly experimental series.  It’s fairly diverse.  It spans the gamut of different experimental styles (barring contemporary classical, but the promoter wants to bring that stuff in too.)  They have experimental rock, electronic, the noise people, experimental improv stuff.

CF Strange folk stuff.

EW Tell me about the venue.

NS It’s this tiny bar called the Press Club. It’s a very strange space, very narrow. They have great import beers!  I’ve been there on other nights when there’s like 4 people. And there are people who hang out on Poor Pilgrim nights, they’re odd people who don’t necessarily like the music but they’re regulars.  They have projections and DJ nights – I DJ there sometimes and I can play whatever. I play world music – I play, like, Charles Ives [general laughter]. 

The AIMToronto thing is a bit different, it’s a little more ‘sit down and take it in’ where this is more sensory overload.

CF Community, social, it’s a bit of everything. And everybody’s incredibly open. Whether or not they have the skill to perform this vast array of musical idioms they welcome new people.

BV A lot of them are art students. It’s always great to play there, it’s never stuffy.

EW How many nights a week does it happen?

CF For that it’s once a week; it’s taking a hiatus for May because there’s the “Bummer in the Summer” crew from last year…

NS That’s another festival that they had last August. It’s named after a song by the band Love. Yeah, they had a festival last August that we played at with Barnyard Drama and the aforementioned Jason Hammer.  We had “I Have Eaten Barnyard Drama” and that was great. [General agreement]

CF They’re doing a month of Wednesdays at the Tranzac in the back room.  We’re doing a mash-up this year with our friend Max Smith whose [stage] name is Nifty and with Michael Keith.  So “I Have Eaten Nifty Michael Keith” [laughter]