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. 

MTM EP 5 - Visual Appeal with Oliver Husain

This week on Mind to Make, I'm speaking with visual artist and film maker Oliver Husain. Oliver is the creator of MTM logo (yeah!) and his pieces involve image, sculpture, movement and textile. In this interview we discuss the importance of training to underscore your practice. We discuss Oliver’s early influences, his humbling and educational experiences connecting with artists in other cultures and how the spaces you create in and show your work in change the context in which you see that work. For Oliver, perspectives ultimately remain constant despite the inspiratory sources we encounter, but technology is a tool he uses to breath new life into his work. Lastly we discuss the importance of not defining what art means and why being sure and safe are perhaps the biggest obstacles to achieving your artistic goals.

Music throughout the podcast was taken from Oliver Husain's films - Green Dolphin and Isla Santa Maria 3D (Sound design/Music by Michelle Irving) which can be found along with the rest of Oliver's portfolio at


If you're in Toronto between May 10th - June 16th, you can catch Oliver's latest show French Exit at the Susan Hobbs gallery



Working at the intersection of moving image, performance, sculpture and installation, Oliver Husain has developed a captivating and curious art practice. Oliver Husain (1969, Frankfurt am Main, Germany) is an interdisciplinary artist based in Toronto. He came to Canada in 2006 having completed a short-film trilogy set in Shanghai, Jakarta and Hyderabad. Husain studied fine art at the University of Baroda in India, and holds a BA and an MFA from HfG Offenbach, Germany. Solo exhibitions of his work have been held at Gallery TPW, Toronto; Western Front, Vancouver; Art Gallery of York University, Toronto; and Frankfurter Kunstverein, Germany (with DaGroup). His work has been featured in numerous group exhibitions, including Form Follows Fiction: Art and Artists in Toronto (2016), Art Museum at the University of Toronto; Depth of Perception (2015), Oakville Galleries; Qual und Wahl (2013), Kunstverein Wolfsburg; Blowing on a Hairy Shoulder/Grief Hunters (2011), ICA Philadelphia; and Q (2005), Para Site, Hong Kong. His films have been screened at numerous international events, including Toronto International Film Festival; Experimenta Festival, Bangalore; Malaysian Video Awards, Kuala Lumpur; New Generations Independent Indian Film Festival, Frankfurt; and San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival. A monograph on his work, Spoiler Alert, was published in 2012.