Founded in 2005, the Canadian New Music Network (CNMN) is all about being inclusive and accessible. Chamber music, improvisation, electro-acoustics, new opera, orchestral music, sound art, whatever – these are all just different paths to the same goal. We need to work together.

The basic premise of CNMN is simple: creating new music as a form of personal expression is an important part of the larger musical ecosystem in Canada. We felt that the larger “new music” community did not have a single, strong, unified voice that could articulate the larger artistic and social values that this music brings to the Canadian cultural matrix.

CNMN has two primary goals:
1) Networking – creating a cultural space and specific events that bring the entire new music community together, to work on common problems and find solutions.
2) Representation – to work with arts councils, government agencies, educators, the media and the public to promote the value of creative art music, both as an art form and as a social value in Canada.

We are a professional association in that we represent a specific professional community – the new music world (“contemporary classical” would be another term, but that felt far too narrow for our inclusive vision). However, membership is based solely on a simple philosophical belief – if you believe that supporting “new music” as a cultural value in Canada is important, you should join.

Our members include other arts organizations, new music ensembles, festivals, orchestras, composers, performers, improvisers, jazz musicians, experimental noise artists, visual artists, music educators, student composers and performers, musicians in other fields, curious listeners, avid fans…you get the idea. We currently have more than 500 members.

Our single most important activity is the networking conference entitled FORUM. These two-day conferences are exciting events where new music artists from across Canada and from the international community meet in order to both discuss important issues for the community, and to talk about new artistic projects. Half commercial arts market, half academic conference, it’s a great place to meet new people, talk about new ideas and projects, and find new partners from across Canada and on the international scene.

Previous FORUMS were held in Winnipeg (2007), Toronto (2008), Montreal (2009), Halifax (2010) and Vancouver (2012). Our Vancouver event was our most successful to date, with 112 participants.

The next FORUM will be held in Calgary from Jan. 24-26, 2014. We’re planning on expanding our international partnerships for this FORUM, and bringing in a wide range of international guests from the U.S. and Europe. If you want to expand your network of contacts and get new ideas off the ground, this is the place to do it.

CNMN maintains a very comprehensive website (visit for more info), a thrice-yearly e-Bulletin to members on activities and projects, and is constantly involved in representation within our sector, working with partners such as the Canadian Arts Coalition and the Coalition for Music Education in Canada, in order to help bring new music to as many Canadian listeners as possible.


Vancouver garage-rock duo The Pack A.D. have one rule of songwriting: no love songs. Their lyrics are cool, edgy with a bit of humour – and definitely unusual.

“Rid of Me,” a funny – or is that sad – song on their latest release, 2011’s Unpersons, begins:

Well I drank two bottles of wine / And then I threw up / And felt just fine / I was only thinking of you / And then I thought of you / And then I forgot again

But love? Guitarist/vocalist Becky Black and drummer Maya Miller will have none of that. Instead, try this one on for cool: “My robot can kill your robot with the power of my mind” from the song “8.”

“The only thing I’ve ever mandated for myself is that I will not write a song about any kind of ‘Oh, I love you,’ or ‘This guy broke my heart.’” – Maya Miller of The Pack A.D

“There are some themes that come up pretty quickly,” says Black of the duo’s songwriting. “Robots and the fear of robots; aliens and alienation; and [the idea that] people are lame and animals are kind of cool.”

Miller agrees. “The only thing I’ve ever mandated for myself , and Becky seems to agree with [with one exception].. . [is that] I will not write a song about any kind of ‘Oh, I love you,’ or ‘This guy broke my heart.’ I’m not going to write about love.”

The two started playing together in 2006, and wrote their entire debut album, Tintype, more than 18 months before ever playing a live show. Since then, Black says, “Our genre has changed album to album. We started out playing fairly simple blues-rock, because that seemed like the easiest thing to play. Then we got better at our instruments and expanded from there.”

For The Pack A.D.’s last three albums – including the next one, due out in early 2014 – Black says they’ve booked off a month or two, getting together every day in their jam space.

“It’s just drums and guitar, so we come up with a song in, like, five minutes, and then maybe the

“It’s just drums and guitar, so we come up with a song in, like, five minutes.” – Becky Black of The Pack A.D.

next day [we find] it’s not that great and we just move on. And sometimes it ends up being great.” Lyrics, however, are typically written in the studio on what Miller calls “a pressure-cooker deadline.”
The new single “Battering Ram,” from the forthcoming album, is about “somebody who gets bullied or [is] generally dissatisfied with life, and then they take their rage out like a battering ram,” says Black, adding that the song has a “rockin’ anthemic chorus.”

“It’s our version of an anthem song,” says Miller. “I don’t know if that’s because we went on tour with Our Lady Peace – we might’ve got a little influenced, anthem-wise. But it also distinctly sounds like us. It’s our version of garage rock.” – KAREN BLISS

Track Record

  • Miller is “really really” into playing tennis
  • Black is writing stories and also draws. She’s working on a comic.
  • Miller is writing a book about being in “this band, in combination with being in a band.

Publisher: Network One Music Canada Ltd.
Discography: Tintype (2008), Funeral Mixtape (2008), We Kill Computers (2010), Unpersons (2011), Title TBA (2014)
SOCAN Members since 2006

Ian Campeau will never forget the first Electric Pow Wow night. It was 2008 and he and fellow Aboriginal DJ Bear Witness had the idea to host a club event in Ottawa similar to ones held for the Korean and East Indian communities.

“We wanted to throw a party that was culturally specific to the First Nations people,” recalls

“We started adding pow wow vocal and drumming samples to electronic dance music and people went crazy.” – Ian Caopeau of A Tribe Called Red

Campeau, a.k.a. DJ NDN. “We started adding pow wow vocal and drumming samples to electronic dance music and people went crazy. It was obvious this was a big thing that was missing in the community.”

Campeau and Bear Witness then teamed up with Dan General, a.k.a. DJ Shub, to form A Tribe Called Red, and their Electric Pow Wow nights became even bigger events. Initially, their music was all mash-ups, mixes of styles ranging from hip-hop and house to dancehall and dubstep. But with the song “Electric Pow Wow Drum,” the trio created an original anthem.

“Right off the bat, it seemed like we’d hit a pretty big home run,” recalls Campeau. “ [U.S. DJ and tastemaker] Diplo heard the track, loved it and started blogging about it on his Mad Decent blog. Within days of that, we were getting tweets from MTV.”

The momentum kept building. A Tribe Called Red’s self-titled debut album became a candidate for the 2012 Polaris Music Prize and was included in The Washington Post’s Top 10 albums of the year. The trio toured across North America and Europe, thrilling audiences in Edinburgh and at the World Music Expo in Greece.

With its 2013 Polaris Prize shortlisted follow-up album, Nation II Nation, A Tribe Called Red has only

“With ‘Electric Pow Wow Drum,’ right off the bat, it seemed like we’d hit a pretty big home run.” – Ian Caopeau of A Tribe Called Red

seen its popularity grow, and they’ve performed at major events like Detroit’s electronic music festival and the Montreal International Jazz Festival. Next up, the group is making an album for Pirates Blend, the label owned by Bedouin Soundclash’s Jay Malinowski, Eon Sinclair, Sekou Lumumba and their manager Dave Guenette.

Campeau says he and his bandmates are happy to be the face of the Aboriginal urban youth experience. “As First Nations people, we’ve always been seen as something from the past,” he says. “With this modern twist, it’s showing that we’re still here. That’s the message of our music.” – NICHOLAS JENNINGS

Track Record
• Campeau joined a First Nations drum group at the age of 10, and was the drummer of Montreal punk band The Ripchordz in his 20s.
• General is a two-time Canadian winner of the DMC Championship, the annual DJ competition hosted by Disco Mix Club.
• Bear Witness doubles as the crew’s visual artist, and creates videos that take racist portrayals of indigenous North Americans and re-work them into social commentary.

Publisher: A Tribe Called Red
Discography: A Tribe Called Red (2012), Nation II Nation (2013)
SOCAN members since 2013

PHOTO CREDIT: Pat Bolduc (colour photo)
Sébastien Roy (B&W photo)