Posts tagged mind to make
MTM EP 9 - Cracking the Promotion Puzzle w/ Todd Simmons

What do you do if you you’ve got a great project but don’t know how to promote it? My guest this episode, Todd Simmons, aka Rod Skimmins can remember shows he’s been to since the age of 6, so maybe it’s no surprise he’s tapped into the essential keys to curating and promoting successful events.

Among his many events, Todd is currently producing and promoting Big Sound Vancouver; an evening of Motown classics performed live by a 26 PIECE golden era soul orchestra and ton of local very talented vocalists. 

In our interview, we explore Todd’s musical and performative past and pontificate on the early years of hip-hop. We discuss how, on multiple occasions, Todd grew event communities and how those communities sustained not just the parties he threw but himself as well. How playing the long game wins over short term gains and why attitude is just as important as authenticity. 

All that and the most important factor in making a memorable event… but you’ll have to listen to find out what that is. 


4Us - Blue Room Noble Nobel’s So MF Remix

Rock Master Scott & The Dynamic Three - The Roof Is On Fire

nka.Otherstein - SuhSmoove - Black History Month Beattape

Del The Funky Homosapien - The Undisputed Champs ft Q-Tip & Pep Love

Batch Mox - Cone - Noble Nobel Remix

Sync Mode - H.D.I.

nka.Otherstein - OneGee - Black

Big Sound Vancouver feat. Dutch Robinson - Aint Too Proud To Beg

huaeme - THENA


In this time of perfectly branded Instagram accounts, sponsored Facebook live events and heavily curated everything, few artists embody the bravado and brazen attitudes once found to be the hallmark of rock 'n' roll. Though Ali X has chosen not rock but Techno as his central genre, he nevertheless continues to create his music his way, unapologetically coercing his audience to submit to his grimy, funky loops and industrial machine sounds. 

After disbanding his Techo/House super group Azari & III, Ali spent time moving around some of music epicentres to settle in Mexico City, where he has found a new home, new community and new co-conspirator in Ximena. Together Ali X x Ximena are educating Mexico's future generations of electronic musicians about what real Techno music is and why it should be thus. 

In this interview with Ali, we talk about his formative creative pursuits in video terrorism, his experiences with drug addiction and how he now uses that relationship to rekindle his relationship to making his art.

Ali talks about the music scene in Mexico City. The crazy, chaotic atmosphere there and how that chaos translates into a feeling of freedom that feeds his creativity. We discuss the nature of isolation in creation. What it allows for and what it can take away. Ali also talks about the emotional impetus required for him to get into a creative headspace. We talk record labels, PR and having somebody in your corner. 

Finally, we talk about dance music culture now vs. during the early years of techno and rave and about our collective memories of primal and transcendental parties, and why that spirit doesn’t seem to exist so much anymore. 



Music throughout the show are all upcoming releases from Ali X x Xemena. 



MTM EP 7 - LeFade to Black and White w/ Michelle LeFade

Cartoons are often reserved for the funny pages or maybe the New Yorker, so if you saw some of Michelle LeFade's work for the first time, you could be forgiven for feeling like they don't belong in either. The stories they tell, and the manner in which she tells them don't often resort to word bubbles or ellipses. Instead, it's the line and the thickness of the brushstroke, the hyperbolic nature of the character's bodies or the wry smiles they wear that tell you more about what's going on in the frame. 

It's for reasons like these, along with a host of other more varied examples, that I wanted to invite cartoonist, illustrator and visual artist Michelle LeFade onto Mind to Make. I wanted to find out where Michelle got her style from, how it's evolved, what of herself she puts into that work, and where she's diverging from that path? 

In the interview we discuss the answers to the aforementioned questions, as well as the importance of staying true to your own perspective and how retaining your own voice can be the inlet to your own creative discovery and peace of mind. We talk about what it means to become a “professional” artist, and the role that social media is now playing in that process. Related to that subject, we discuss how time influences branding and the importance of staying true to your artistic vision through the rebranding process. Michelle talks about playing with audience perception, scale, form, minimalism and balance in her work and how she manipulates her practice due to necessity and how she still makes it work for her. 

Other topics include fetish, the feminine and the sexualization of women in art, using yourself as a subject, retaining old ideas as fuel for impeding creative blocks, and the single-minded focus that comes from working with ink and brush.


Instagram: @mainmitch



Aaliyah - O.I.A.M. (D. Matthew's other bootleg)
Missy Elliot & Janet Jackson - Burn It Up (BOT SHUDDIDOWN Edit)
Missy Elliot - Lose Control (Machinedrum Remix)
N.E.R.D & Rihanna - Lemon (BSNYEA Edit)

MTM EP 6 - What Resonates with James Harris?

James Harris (aka Hemingway) is a soft spoken, but clearly thoughtful and contemplative producer. Though he's been through some very real challenges in his life, he continues to see the potential in the universe. James' career is one that has been bolstered by the support of not only his family, but his local and online music and art community as well. I think James is a wonderful example of how discipline and playing well with others can do a lot to produce and sustain amazing work.

In this interview we talk about his beginnings in music, and the online community that helped support him releasing his music publicly and how coming out of his shell and performing with others in groups like Tush really transformed how he produces music now. 

We discuss James' experience with his arteriovenus malformation or AVM and how in the wake of that event, how his community once again helped him overcoming some of the challenges associated with that time, and what he's done since that time, including co-running his label Cosmic Resonance.

We talk a bit about meditation, neuroplasticity, and finally, being that Cosmic Resonance is primarily a vinyl based label, what it is about vinyl that can teach us about the past, the present and the future.


James Harris, aka Hemingway, has been producing and performing music live and as a DJ in Toronto over the past decade. He co-operates the label Cosmic Resonance Records with musical collaborator Chris Evans; a vinyl imprint featuring music from himself, Raf Reza and Korea Town Acid. Hemingway has a variety of releases and remixes under his belt on labels such as Stratford Court, Homebreakin’ Records, Brilliantine Records, Sweat It Out!, Apostasie Records and House Of Disco. His music draws influence from a record collection heavy on futurist styles of jazz-funk, disco, deep house, jungle, psych, dub, broken beat, new wave and mystical exotica. As a DJ, Hemingway’s sets are eclectic and escapist, notable for deep grooves and cosmic melodies. He has shared the decks with many reputable acts over the years, including Tornado Wallace, Jex Opolis, Oliver, RAC, Classixx, The Magician, Tim Green, Edit Murphy, Pelifics & Jeremy Glenn. James also hosts Astral Projections, a monthly party at Kensington Market’s Handlebar, bringing together a diverse community of bands and DJs from Toronto’s blossoming underground electronic music scene.

His latest release, Memoirs, is available on vinyl and digital formats and is being distributed to record stores worldwide through Honest Jon’s Distribution:

James recently collaborated in the studio with Jessica Cho as an engineer/percussionist for Korea Town Acid's latest EP 'Mahogani Forest' due out on vinyl and digital formats on June 15th, 2018

He is currently at work on a new EP. More details to come later this summer! You can hear a sneak peak here:


Click links to support/listen/buy!

Korea Town Acid - Bubble Tease (Cosmic Resonance)
Tafari Anthony - Fuck (Hemingway Remix)
Keenhouse - Aries (Hemingways Starlight Yacht Remix)
Hemingway - Blue Notes
Hemingway - Memoirs
Hemingway - Ocean Hues
Raf Reza - Pineapple Island
Korea Town Acid - Mahogany Forest

If you’re in Toronto, look out for James's event Astral Projections, often held at Handlebar with James and a slew of other very talented people.