Throughout the Summer Institute, we'll be bringing you Bite Sizes which is sort of an episodic mini studio visit where we get to know bits about what the participants are up to and a bit about themselves. In this episode we speak with writer/musician Daniel Colussi. He shares some of his experiences of being in the institute and how it has been somewhat of an appropriate crossover coming from his MA in Cultural studies at the University of Winnipeg.
"It been a collaborative type of environment which is very useful", he describes how "people bring in and share their own interests, readings, and practices. It definitely helped me think in a different way from school and bridge out of academic concerns into different ways of writing. It got me thinking about how I can apply some of the workshops with Chris towards the music that I make as opposed to writing essays. She talked about trying to write specifically about something that’s ephemeral, or vague, or undefined, but to try to write about it as succinctly and precisely as possible. I found that to be very useful."
Colussi also added how the Robert Dewhurst's poetry workshop brought up some interesting points about writing poetry through listing and even just making lists of words. Listing things in your immediate view as a way to frame ideas or make concrete certain passing moments, he explains.
I hesitate in how I wanted to phrase the question of how Colussi approaches music making because I felt it too vague of an enquiry, but he meets me half through my utterance: “I know it's so weird, it seems awkward to ask someone. Is the same for an artist?” He asks me. I tell him I suppose so but I personally do think it is very vague and an annoyance of a question. He continues, “when you talk to artists and ask what their practice is, it turns into a very educated academic and prepared answer” Yes, it's very true, I respond. “With musicians, it becomes a very different answer and it feels awkward to ask. But it seems like everyone should just talk about what they do” he point outs. And of course, I agree with that but I guess that in some ways has to do the histories those two forms delineate, which makes everything unnecessarily complicated. He adds that "people almost expect a weird answer, but its pretty straight forward - its just guitar-based pop music. Everyone thinks you make like weird drone, post dub step, cloud music."
I switch out for a generic question on what the world needs more of. And to that, he responded with: “I guess compassion and empathy for other people. What the world needs now is love sweet love.” He also shares another answer: when people talk about resources, and how our current rate of living and consumption requires another couple earths, maybe what we need more of is another planet and a half. If there was two other earths right beside ours that would be awesome. No one has to suffer or give anything up.