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Call & Response: Ainsley McNeaney

Posted by Margot / July 15, 2011

20110715_ainsley_mcneaney_C&R.jpgCall & Response is a series of Q&As with bands, artists and random people we dig that live in Montreal, visit here, or have some dubious connection to the city.

Ainsley McNeaney is far from having a "dubious connection to the city" -- she's your neighbour! Based in Montreal for over a year now, McNeaney is an Ontario-born singer-songwriter; a classically trained but infinitely laid back and versatile musician, she writes songs that are at the same time whimsical and discerning. You can catch her at Le Dépanneur Café every Wednesday afternoon, where she plays songs from her first album, True Story Orchestra, as well as whatever she's been working on that week. Before her show next week at Casa del Popolo (with Glass Passenger and Eleanore Altman), we wanted to catch up with Ainsley to ask her about music, life, and - of course - poutine.

1. Who is your favorite Canadian artist?
Old school: Joni Mitchell and The Band. New school: Woodpigeon and Austin John.

2. Besides family, friends, other music, and long walks on the beach, what influences your music the most?
Working hard and working consistently! I've been on a song-a-day project for the past year and a half - with some exceptions, six days a week I've been sitting down to write a new song - and it's really helped me to hone my craft. Some of my best new songs have been the ones that I've initially dismissed as being too silly to be shared or too much of a departure from my first album - 'Octopus Man' has been a hit lately at my gigs! - and before this, those songs really may have been left in the proverbial shoebox. I'm challenging myself to create every day, try out new chord changes, song structures... it inspires me to write more and be a better musician and songwriter.

3. Where is the best place to listen to your music?
A lot of people have told me that they listen to 'True Story Orchestra' in their car. In my opinion, it's best for a long night of love-mak... good, clean conversation.

4. What do you love most about Montreal?
Aside from the music scene and all the good people involved in it, hiking on Mont Royal and through the cemeteries. Oh, and the poutine. I freaking love poutine.

5. What do you love most about poutine?

6. What do you hate most about poutine?
The fact that I have to drive to get to Decarie Hot Dog.

7. What was the first live concert you attended? Was it everything you had ever imagined?
It was George Clinton and the P-Funk All-Stars at Canada's Wonderland in 1997. I had crap seats, so I persuaded a security guy to let me jump the barrier and managed to finagle a front row spot. For the show's finale, all the bands were onstage jamming out on some funky vamp and the dudes from Cypress Hill (the opening act) were pulling up people to the stage. I was one of the last to get up there before the guards closed their ring, and I spent the next half hour dancing onstage in between Bootsy Collins and Mr. Clinton himself.

So yeah, it went okay.

8. If your music was a famous historical figure, who would it be and why?
Probably Charles Darwin, because I'm a big fan of evolution, musical and otherwise.

9. What's the best way to spend one million dollars in 10 minutes?
I'd hire a hit man to kidnap Stephen Harper and hide him somewhere that no one, not even the hit man himself, would ever think to look. I don't want anyone to die, so I guess I'd also have to hire someone to take care of him; you know, like bring him some food and some clean t-shirts. Hmm, this is getting expensive and complicated... but seriously, think about it, Montreal millionaires.

Whatever's left over, I would spend on my next album. Would that be okay?

10. What's the best place you've ever been to?
My bed after a long day/night - my bed is so comfy. Man, I love my bed!

11. What's the worst place you've ever been to?
In elementary school, we once took a trip to the sewage plant. The funny thing was, it was a 'gifted' class of about 6 of us, so it was really awkward standing around in such a small group, surrounded by shit, trying to think up questions to ask the guide. I mean, what kind of a sewage plant even has a guide, I ask you?! It was certainly a strange day that I will never forget.

12. How did you spend your 16th birthday?
For some reason, my parents allowed me to have pretty much everyone I knew over while they went out to my grandmother's house for the evening. I smoked my first joint that night and someone gave me a stuffed pig as a gift, which I still have somewhere. The next day, my mom said that she found roaches on the porch and I freaked out, thinking that we would now have to have the house fumigated for insects. Umm... yeah, my mom was way cooler than me back then!

Now that you know about Ainsley's George Clinton connection, her plans to kidnap the Prime Minister (note to CSIS scanners: she's kidding!), and her expansive knowledge of sewage treatment, you'll have the perfect conversation opener when you go see her at Casa next week!

Casa del Popolo
Wednesday, July 20
w/ Glass Passenger and Eleanore Altman.



Kolawole / February 4, 2015 at 03:38 am
Je le veux je le veux je le veux, je viens de finir le jeu une premie8re fois et c est incroyable. Bien plus qu un jeu, mais teelemlnt diffe8rent d un film. David Cage est un ge9nie! Je suis de9goute9 de ne pas avoir assiste9 a cette avant premie8re (mais bon j habite dans le Nord Est). Apre8s un Fahrenheit re9ussi en tout point, HEAVY RAIN a pris la rele8ve, et c est une rele8ve qui place le jeu video a un point qu il sera difficile de re9 atteindre. Enfin bref je suis amoureux du jeu et maintenant je suis fan de David Cage. Je n ai pas eu la chance de le rencontre9 lui ou les acteurs du jeu (qui soit dit en passant sont excellent en VO comme en VF) mais c est avec un grand espoir que je participe a ce concours! et merci de nous donner une chance d approcher un peu plus des dessous du jeu avec ce dossier.
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