In Between the Acts, The Globe and Mail takes a look at how artists manage their time before and after a creative endeavour.
Four months ago, after years of living on a farm in Burk's Falls, Ont., the stylish singer-songwriter and side-hustle rock drummer Hawksley Workman uprooted with his wife to Montreal. In advance of a Christmas-album tour of Calgary, Regina, Saskatoon and Ottawa this month, the musician spoke to The Globe about the artistic energy of his new home city.
I had grand plans within days of my arrival to Montreal of getting right down to work, and becoming more prolific and more involved. There's a feeling of urgency in the city. I'm surrounded by people in my neighbourhood who are making things and being busy.
You go down the street to Café Olimpico and all the usual suspects from the Montreal indie-rock movement of a few years ago are there. They're still here and they're around my age and they're trying to figure out what's coming next. We're all still interested in our vitality and still involved in being innovative and being honest with what we're doing.
Steve Ramsay from Young Galaxy is a guy with kids who was in a cool indie band back when it really counted in Canada. And now we're 40-year-old guys who still have that fighting spirit. We still have that desire to push and make spectacular things.
So, there's something going on here. I think because of the relative cheapness of living in Montreal, we all have rehearsal studios up the street from our houses. To have a place to make noise, that's something that is becoming nearly impossible for working musicians in Toronto and Vancouver.
I think that's one of the reasons this still feels vital in a way. The spot where Arcade Fire used to rehearse is now being used by Wintersleep and Stars. You can walk by and hear them rehearsing. It's a funny little city, where there's been this culture of making things and putting things out into the world. It's a neutral zone – it's own little bubble.