Sound Warriors~Talk & Play
is Corina MacDonald, a Montreal dj and producer exploring the deeper reaches of electronic music. Corina’s live performances and dj sets reveal a veteran talent for creating aesthetic links between various styles. Her commitment to finding and sharing new music is reflected in her radio show modular systems on Montreal’s CKUT.
She released her first EP, Memory Junction, in 2011. Since then she has continued to develop her process through a series of EPs and regular appearances at events in Montreal and beyond, both as a headliner and in support of international artists. Expanding rhythmic space with an eye on the dancefloor, her live sets take a soulful approach to machine rhythms, drawing from the techno/house/electro continuum with an experimental edge to captivate mind and body.
If you use an artist name what was the basis and inspiration for your choice
I came up with CMD by extracting letters from my name. My dj name going back to the early 2000s was Cyan, but when I started this project I felt that it deserved its own name. I like that it gave me a new starting point and didn’t have prior connotations or references, other than a computational one which seemed suited to my music and work in general. Since then, I’m still Cyan on the radio but the name CMD has slowly taken over for my production and djing.
Tell us a little bit about the process of making the track on the sound warrior 005..what kind of rituals seem to work best to get the process rolling?
I usually start out in an unstructured way, creating sketches by adding, removing and modifying different sets of sounds. It’s a low pressure way to get something started, or to abandon something else and move on. I find this is a fun process that I can do even when I don’t have a lot of time. Once I do have a sketch that I like, then I spend more time with it, playing it out in different ways until I figure out how I want to develop and arrange it.
What motivates or inspires you in the world to create as a producer
I feel like I’ve been so deeply involved in this music for so long, as a fan, a dj, a radio show host, a writer, that at some point I just had to manifest my own take on all of that, my own sound or approach. I feel inspired by finding new music that I love, and sharing it on the airwaves, and by being part of a collective experience at a show or on a dancefloor, either as a performer or as an audience member.
I also find the production process itself inspiring because I love the craft of it. Especially as someone who has no formal musical training, it gives me a different entry point, and I really like the learning- by-doing aspect of production and the sense that as I learn more I am refining my own approach and sound.
What role can this music we make have in terms of engaging people, changing perspectives, beyond the scope of electronic music.
What happens in our electronic music communities and on dancefloors is crucially tied to broader social, economic, political issues. Right now many communities are dealing with issues of diversity, gentrification, and safety that are related to larger structural issues, but these problems are sometimes dismissed in the context of nightlife. I think that in organizing and participating in events there is always a possibility to engage people on issues that impact our lives outside of the party. I have big respect for groups like female:pressure, Discwoman, and the Sound Warrior label, and others that are making visible and countering the structural problems in music scenes and their connections with broader systemic sexism, racism, homophobia and transphobia.
Initiatives like Sound Warrior focus on a goal to not only spotlight other women’s talents but to also offer support and camaraderie, to what extent personally do you feel this is something that is needed in general and can it bring more talent to the forefront?
Personally, being a part of online networks of women in music has been a really positive experience, it has been a place to meet friends, share info as well as compare experiences and find solidarity in different cities and countries. I think its how many labels, artists and promoters get to know each other. As a dj I’ve found a lot of great artists this way whose music I play out or on air, that I might not have encountered through other channels. In addition to support amongst individuals, these networks help to increase visibility and diversity in electronic music booking and publishing more widely, so I think there is an important role there in promoting diverse talents.
What are the next projects production/djing you will be involved in for this year and what projects would you like to bring to fruition? And what would be your dream collaboration if you had your choice?
I have an EP coming out this spring on Jacktone Records, and another sometime later on Low Noise Productions. In early April I am performing at the first edition of a new music festival called Electric Circuits run by a non-profit collective of musicians, producers, promoters and media artists in Kingston, Ontario. In the fall I’m hoping to put together some shows in Europe.