Small Talk: COREY ISENOR

Who are you and what do you do:
I am Corey Isenor, a human from the planet ‘Earth’. I do many things including walking on two legs and being able to jump average distances. As well, I enjoy many artistic endeavours including the making of visual art and photography while also song-writing and composing music. I also live on the south shore of Nova Scotia where I currently sit and sleep above the Lahave Bakery and look out to the river when the mood strikes me.

Current obsessions:
Food is the most current and forever front-runner, I like eating it, cooking it, harvesting it and growing it. When I can, I eat many different kinds, not all at the same time, but over different meal times throughout my life. I recently got my fix of Korean while visiting Toronto and it was fantastic. Musically I’m currently obsessed with the record Attack In Black never released, Kurt Vile’s Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze, the Double-LP soundtrack to Neil Young’s Journey Through the Past, and Rodriguez’s Cold Fact. I’m also really obsessed with Cribbage, like ‘playing-it-on-the-internet’ obsessed.

A song or a record that will always put you in a good mood, without fail:
Neil Young’s Harvest, for sure. I’m guessing, or at least hoping a lot of people would feel the same way. Everything from the artwork and photography to the freakin’ songs. Figuratively pure gold.

Tell us about an album or artist you think is really under-appreciated, and why they are deserving of more praise:
I’d have to go with Sandro Perri. I don’t know if he is under-appreciated, he may get the right amount of appreciation he feels comfortable with, but I think he’s a wizard-king when it comes to his latest album ‘Impossible Spaces’. I was totally re-introduced to music when I heard it, a music with the best kind of creativity and skill. I feel like I’m constantly still re-introducing it to people rather then re-visiting it and don’t know why more folks aren’t gushing about it.

Most played track on your iTunes:
That would be ‘Highway (Reprised)’ by Mark Mothersbaugh from the Bottle Rocket soundtrack. It has 14 plays, which shows how much I actually use iTunes, but it’s deserving of it’s place at the top. I’m a big fan of all the Mark Mothersbaugh music from the various Wes Anderson movies but that track is definitely my favourite.

Most cherished musical object:
As of now it would have to be my 1976 Guild D-25 acoustic guitar, left-handed of course. It has a wicked wine-red finish, plenty of dings, and was even factory-made for a left-handed musician, which at the time would have been a rare thing. I only say that because the neck of the guitar was originally built for a right-handed guitar but they flipped it over in the factory for mine, so it has fret markers on both sides of the neck.

Proudest moment:
I’d prefer to say ‘Proudest Achievement’ and that would be crossing Canada for this first time this past November, with the inclusion of surviving the rolling of a van into the ditch on my way to Dawson City, YT on the second day of tour with everyone surviving and our gear being fine.

Most vulnerable moment:
There are a couple times in my life when I feel most vulnerable and they kind of compare equally. I would say I’m most vulnerable being naked with a lover, self-conscious about my appearance and actions, but also somewhat comfortable in a way. At the same time I’d say I’m most vulnerable when playing music with other people, especially in a jam sort of situation. I’m a self-taught musician and not familiar with scales so I can get really lost and become a little embarrassed about it.

If you could score a film for anyone, who would it be and why:
Definitely the Coen Brothers. This would probably be another category I’m sure many would agree upon. They’ve made some of the best films in Western cinema and have an aesthetic that I really agree with, plus the stories they choose to work with, the cinematography, and their musical selection are always inspiring and fully captivating.

Your favourite use of a song in a film:
This won’t go to a Coen Brothers film however, but to Rushmore by Wes Anderson and ‘Ohh La La’  by The Kinks featured at the very end of the film. It’s a beautiful moment that sums up the plot beautifully.

Favourite venue to play in and why:
George’s Fabulous Roadhouse in Sackville, NB. I’ve played the best shows in my musical career there and they’ve included both sold-out CD-Releases and total flops. In between they’ve included opening for the likes of Luke Doucet, Justin Rutledge, Two Hours Traffic, and more, while at other times hosting the best show goers, the nicest sound guys in Canadian music, the driest bartenders and the greasiest breakfast in all the land. It’s become a Sackville monument, and I’ve witnessed some amazing Sappyfest and Stereophonic festival concerts there. I look forward to returning soon, whenever that may be.

Dream venue to play in and why:
Probably Massey Hall in Toronto, ON. I’ve never been to a concert there before, or even inside the building, so there’s already the mystery of the space. More so it’s the musical history that’s taken place there and what it means to play the venue once you finally do. Some of my favourite musicians in history have played there, if not also recorded amazing live albums and continued to create the legacy it holds today.

First band t-shirt you ever purchased from a merch table:
I don’t know when I went to my first live show, but the oldest band t-shirt I currently have is from the Golden Dogs. I think I bought it in Halifax, NS at a New Years Eve party at the Marquee hosted by Joel Plaskett. It was probably 7 years ago now, I’m not entirely sure, but I still have the shirt and the silk-screened target logo is finally starting to wear down and feel comfortable.

Band you’d leave your bandmates for:
We’ll I’m not fortunate enough to always play with bandmates, so I’m always either leaving them or them me, but if I did have/play in a consistent band then I’d probably break the news and tell them I’m going on tour with Fleetwood Mac, right before they released ‘Rumors’. I don’t think anyone could blame me for that.

Album you want to expose your kin to whilst in the womb:
There are too many albums, I’ll be blasting that baby with so many good kinds of music that their mother will know more about what I like then I do by the end of it. If anything, they’ll have the pleasure of growing to Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On, kind of as a joke.

If for some reason you lost the ability to make and play music, what would fill that gap:
Visual art. I’ve got a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and practice photography, printmaking, drawing, and sculpture whenever I’m not making music. I’ve also ended up doing a lot of graphic design these days and really enjoy the challenge of pairing words and visuals to convince an audience of an idea.

What was your last dream about:
I’m one of those people who dreams fairly consistently but never really remembers them after waking up. Any time I do remember it’s usually from being half-awake or asleep and getting caught in that in-between world. I think my last dream had something to do with a new years party in the future, happening inside some kind of grain silo with many friends and drugs, and then waking up to the after-mess with no-one really around and kind of going through the day meeting whoever returned to say their goodbyes or find things they left behind.

Check out Corey’s latest southern souls session here – https://southernsouls.ca/corey-isenor-part2