Saskatoon, Treaty 6: Chad Munson
I doubt there’s a person in the Saskatoon music scene that doesn’t know Chad Munson, be it through performing in a multitude of projects throughout the years (Foal, Blood Music, Golden Smoke, and for the last few years as primary guitar slinger in The Moas), or as a sound engineer on more than a few notable recordings.
Recently, Chad has turned his attentions to a synth drone project under his own name, started Magnetic Domain, a short run ‘textural sound’ cassette label, and helped co-create Unheard Sound Series, a monthly sound showcase to encourage further experimental performances in the city. Chad is an advocate as well as a performer, and someone that helps keep the Saskatoon arts scene alive.
KC: What kinds of projects are you involved in right now?
At the moment, I’ve been juggling a few musical projects. Under my own name, I compose experimental electronic work that is focused around modular synthesizers and digital signal processing. I’m fairly new to modular synthesis, so lately it’s been a lot of learning about control voltages and how to integrate them into my digital set up.
I also run an experimental cassette label called Magnetic Domain that releases work in small editions. October was a busy month for the label, as I released three new cassettes, and curated a Nuit Blanche performance with Blackflash Magazine. Most recently, I co-host a monthly experimental night at Vangelis Tavern with Travis Cole and Tod Emel called The Unheard Sound Series. The goals of the series are to foster the growth of the experimental music community in Saskatoon and surrounding area, to encourage new performers to take part in the evenings, and to task veteran performers to explore areas outside of their typical practice.
KC: What’s your day job? What do you like about it? What’s challenging?
By day, I work as an electrician for a company that designs and builds heavy mining equipment. I worked as a construction electrician for years and never really felt that the construction world and me were a great fit, so finding this job was a very welcomed change.
I like that my job and my music practice keep me in a similar head space. A large part of my job is understanding circuits and signal flow, and when working with modular synthesizers I use a lot of the same principles. Often working on circuits at work will spark a great idea to try out in the studio when I get home.
The most challenging part of my job is troubleshooting issues with machines when something doesn’t quite work. It can be frustrating at times, but we have a pretty great group of people to bounce ideas off of, so often, when all is said and done, I’ve learned something valuable.
KC: What’s important to you?
Friends and family are very important to me. I don’t have a very large family and I am an only child so I consider my close friends part of my family.
Good food and drink, a fantastic meal or a drink with a friend always makes the day good.
Being able to create. It has an enormous effect on my sense of well being and grounding. There have been times in the past where I have been too busy to find the time to create, and my whole being suffered. It took me many years to find a balance between art and work, and I now try to make sure I block out good chunks of time throughout the week to work on music. It’s kind of like taking my daily vitamins.
KC: What do you like most/least about Saskatoon?
Saskatoon’s size is very pleasing. It’s small enough to always feel familiar but large enough to stay interesting. There are some truly fantastic people in this city and you get a chance to meet them all.
My least favourite aspect of Saskatoon is the stigma attached to the west side and the latent racism that tends to accompany it.
KC: What is your impression of Regina?
Regina has always been hard for me to read. I’ve had really great times there, with fantastic people, but I really don’t feel I’ve spent enough time in the city to really get a gauge on it.
KC: How do you survive the winters?
I’m a fall/winter kind of person and have always found winter to be a big creative influence for me. When I was a teenager I walked a lot, the best walks were always late night winter walks. They acted as a form of meditation allowing me to sort my thoughts and ideas as I trudged from one area of the city to another. Now, in the winter, I spend a lot of time in my studio working out ideas, while drinking a fine porter or stout.
KC: (From the Proust Questionnaire) Where would you most like to live?
I would love to live in Glasgow, Scotland. Three years ago, I went on a tour with Slow Down Molasses, filling in as their guitar player. When we arrived in Glasgow it was chilly and a bit rainy out, I felt instantly at home.