Chad VanGaalen may be many things to many people, but one thing is certain: he embodies the do-it-yourself aesthetic at nearly every level. From self-production and designing his album artwork to building instruments and animating his own music videos, it’s difficult to think of something that VanGaalen isn’t good at. Now after three diverse albums of homespun folk rock, the Polaris Prize nominated Albertan has released his electronic side project, Snow Blindness is Crystal Antz, under the moniker Black Mold (on the Calgary-based label Flemish Eye). Stylus caught up with Chad VanGaalen to discuss his musical alter-ego, his artwork, and why it's unlikely that he'll be invited back to perform at the Winnipeg Folk Festival any time soon.Intrigued? Of course you are. Who get's banned from Folk Fest? Well, you'll have to wait and see. All I'm going to say for now is that it has something to do with "corpse porn."
We also spent five or so minutes discussing the Polaris Prize, for which Chad's third album, 2008's Soft Airplane, is nominated. Now, I realize pretty biased, but I do not see how any of the other nominees (save Fucked Up's The Chemistry of Common Life) should even stand a chance against such a strong, engrossing album from an artist who is (arguably) Canada's best and most original young songwriter. Chad was also nominated for 2006's Skelliconnection, which should have won instead of Patrick Watson's crappy Close To Paradise. Besides, Mr. VanGaalen has also produced one of last year's best records (Women's self-titled debut) and is at work recording their follow up.
Best of all, I recently discovered that Chad VanGaalen was once a guest on David Letterman, but not as a musician. His performance here fits into a segment called "Stupid Human Tricks." Unfortunately, you'll have to wait until 2:34 in the clip until he appears, but, trust me, it's worth it.