Canadian Crack Mayor Inspires Peaches Protest Song (interview)
“I thought you might be interested in a track I did with my new project #entertainment, we’ve got Peaches on it and some other folks and it’s about being ‘Bored of Rob Ford’.”
Though she’s best known for being one of Canada’s fiercest (and best) alternative/ electro DJs of the last 10 years, DJ Betti Forde is also one of Canada’s most educated and enlightened DJs, teaching courses on gender and popular culture as well as being an instructor at York University’s Writing Centre.
On course to land a PhD in Women’s Studies at the same institution in spring 2015 (or in less than two years), she’s passionate about the subjects she’s studying.
“I’ll technically be a Doctor of Philosophy in the area of Women’s & Gender Studies’, she chuckles, “This fall I’ll be teaching my own course, ‘Representations of Women’s Strength & Anger in Popular Culture’.
Education and anger management issues aside, she’s hear to talk about her new nighttime project, queer collective #entertainment, and their aforementioned single ‘Bored of Rob Ford”.
“If you haven’t heard over there in Berlin, we have a dipshit mayor here in Toronto and he’s totally outta’ hand,” she explains, “Just Google his name, you’ll die.”
Entering ‘Rob Ford’ in Google indeed reveals a plethora of scandals as well as predictive keywords ‘rob ford crack’, ‘rob ford video’ and ‘rob ford gawker’. The top recommended searches bring up scores more links to one of his latest escapades involving an video allegedly showing the Mayor smoking crack.
While Mayor Ford continues to deny it’s him in the secretly filmed video, Gawker launched a successful US$200,000 crowdsourcing campaign to raise money to buy the clip, after its drug dealers owners, in a bizarre twist, offered it up publicly for sale.
In the event, the video has yet to turn up, though the story prompted a further deluge of even more critical articles examining the 48 year old Ford’s apparently seriously delinquent past. (Globe & Mail)
“Bored of Rob Ford’ is available via ITunes, Betti explains, with ‘all proceeds benefitting the hassle-free clinic here in Toronto, a dope feminist, queer and sex positive clinic that provides sexual health services for free/low cos
Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): What prompted you to record the song?
Betti Forde (#entertainment): “Originally, the concept of the song arose because Ford was such a unrepentant homophobe. I’ve actually been stewing on this track for a year now. I was trying to make it last year with Lady Miss Kier (Dee-lite) and an NYC-based producer in order to perform it with her last year at Toronto Pride 2012.
Kier was super into it but it was too difficult to organize with her summer tour schedule. Fast forward to May 2013 and I just started a new project called #entertainment with a DJ and music producer named Dislexia, aka Ryan Carroll, who I met when we DJed together earlier this year a monthly dance party called Gay Night for Queers.
This April #entertainment just dropped the first song we did together, a remix of Procon’s track “Pretty Pony”, and with Pride approaching I asked Ryan if he’d be interested in doing a Rob Ford protest song since him and I will be DJing and performing as #entertainment for Pride on June 28. He was down, and as I was continuing to mull over ideas and lyrics, I heard that my buddy Peaches was coming to town for the LGBTQ film festival and I thought, “gee, wouldn’t it be great to get Peaches on the track? I bet she is also quite bored of Rob Ford”.
Skrufff: How long did it take to write/ record: who did what?
Betti Forde (#entertainment): “Less than a week from writing to mastering. Once I started conniving to get Peaches on the track, to speed things up I asked Ryan if he could make a beat ASAP, which he did in a few hours basically. I saw Peaches at the film festival after party the next night, sang/rapped her the lyrics I had written the night before, basically screaming them at her over the music and chatter, and she agreed to do a little something on the song.”
Skrufff: What happened next?
Betti Forde (#entertainment): “Ryan and I worked on the instrumental and my vocal parts over the weekend, in between DJing together both Friday and Saturday night which was a bit hectic, especially as we both have “day jobs”. Then on the Sunday, Peaches, Joel Gibb (Hidden Cameras), Michael Venus (star of OutTV’s weekly “sitcom” The Face of Furry Creek) and some more of my friends came to my house and we recorded everyone.
It was an absolute blast and Cultureshock.tv filmed the whole thing, so we’ll be dropping both a music video and a behind the scenes video shortly, look for it. Then Ryan and I worked on the track and sent it to my pal Stunt Man (who worked with my old group StinkMitt a great deal) at Suite Sound Studios in Vancouver to be mastered,.
And in the meantime D!n!s’ did the artwork and Andrew Awesome has been coordinating all the admin/Itunes/everything else stuff. I called Andrew from the kitchen of Margret Bar at my gig over the weekend that we were make the track, after realizing we should put track on Itunes and donate the profits to a charity that Rob Ford derides. So a clean version of the track is up on itunes and all proceeds go to Toronto’s Hassle-Free Clinic, which is totally woman, trans and sex positive.”
Skrufff Why did you decide to set up your new queer collective #entertainment?
Betti Forde (#entertainment): “Sort of a fluke. I promised myself that when my comprehensive exams for my PhD were completed that I’d make music again. I was going to go it alone even though I’m a total beginner-hack-producer, and I already decided on the name #entertainment for any new music I made,
When I met Ryan and found out he was using some of the same music production software that I was trying to learn, we teamed up for the aforementioned Proncon remix. Because we worked so well together, and had similar taste in records and because Ryan’s so talented, I asked him if he wanted to be my partner in #entertainment as we complimented each other; he produces, I write lyrics, sing and rap.
And in talking about it we decided we wanted to be somewhat political, as we are political people fighting for human rights always, and that we want to work with lots of like-minded musicians and do lots of collaborations. And that concept reminded us of the UK soundsystems like Soul 2 Soul and Bassment Jaxx. So we envisioned ourselves like that, a sound system that focused on dance music, and with a queer, DIY-punk aesthetic.
Skrufff: What’s the purpose/ aim of the collective?
Betti Forde (#entertainment): “To shake up asses and minds.”
Skrufff: Anything to add?
Betti Forde (#entertainment): “We are performing live at Toronto Pride on June 28 at midnight for “Kick Out the Jams” on the Bud Light South Stage. We’ll be doing mostly a DJ set but also some live tracks, including “Bored of Rob Ford”, and we’re thrilled to be joined by Didgeridoo player Tristan Chanel and internationally renowned voguer JoJo Dancer. We’re also super honoured to be on the bill with Rough Trade’s Carol Pope that evening. Go to www.pridetoronto.com for more details.”
http://bit.ly/14KkQWF (Rob Ford Crackstarter fundraising campaign)
(Download the track on itunes here: http://bit.ly/195cZaB
Jonty Skrufff: https://twitter.com/djjontyskrufff