Side Projects #2 – Why Pay More?

In April 1986 PnrH and dWM wrapped up their weekly Building Balanced Children radio show on the Toronto community radio station CKLN-FM. dWM promptly started a new weekly radio show; the groundbreaking culture-jamming Why Pay More? The premise of Why Pay More? was to create a meta-radio show by sampling bits of all the previous weeks’ shows broadcast on CKLN, and then slicing, dicing, processing and regurgitating the content into a weekly 30 minutes of radiophonic mayhem. The show lasted until September of 1986. Check out the Best of Why Pay More? compilation:

Best of Why Pay More? Side A

Best of Why Pay More? Side B

Side Projects #1 – Building Balanced Children

In January 1986 PnrH and dWM began a weekly radio show on CKLN-FM, a Toronto community station. The show was called Building Balanced Children and the premise of the show was to perform a live improvised mixdown using 100% sampled material. They used turntables, tape loops, digital delays and the first affordable digital sampler – the Ensoniq Mirage.

They performed the  Building Balanced Children show under the name Security Operations Consultants, which they would also use for a live performance in the fall of 1986.

The  Building Balanced Children show lasted until April 1986, and during its run  produced some of the most extreme music being broadcast on the Toronto air waves at the time. Hear for yourself – here’s both sides of the BBC compilation tape release:

Best of BBC Side A

Best of BBC Side B

The original PnrH artwork for the Best of BBC cassette tape

Cassette Culture #3 – A Collection

After the move to Toronto, in 1985 SCW released the compilation cassette tape “A Collection”. This consisted of greatest hits from the first two tapes and selected recordings from their live shows. We won’t post any audio here because it’s  documented in previous posts.

“A Collection” cassette tape cover – folded out – by PnrH

The Move to Toronto

Between 1985-1986 the members of SCW finished their studies at the University of Waterloo and headed to the big city. PnrH and dWM were the first to leave, followed later by Roba and Jeff-o. PhrH and dWM embarked on a series of side projects, and SCW played a few one-off gigs, but no new SCW material was recorded during this time. Jeff-o, PnrH and dWM ended up living in a house together in a seedy part of downtown Toronto, but practice/recording space was limited to a tiny section of the slug-infested basement. By this time SCW had sold off all their analog synths and drum machines and were starting to use ‘real’ instruments (drums, guitar, bass, sax etc.) but were also experimenting with some of the new digital sampling technology that was becoming affordable.

Cassette Culture #2 – Model 152 Blow Gun

SCW’s second release on cassette came out in mid-1985 and was a mixture of new material and live recordings from the Sweet Children of the West show in April that year. The new material continued in the same techno-industrial post-punk style of the first cassette, with added horns in some tunes. This release marked the end of SCW’s use of analogue synths, and drum machines – all future work was done using either ‘real’ instruments played live or digital samplers, drum machines and effects.

“Model 152 Blow Gun” cassette tape cover – folded out – by PnrH

In the First Days…

Bass, tapes and drum machine…

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Live Show #2 – Sweet Children of the West

On April 17 1985 SCW returned to the Mayfair Hotel in Kitchener, Canada for another performance. This time they performed upstairs at a club called Level 21. For reasons that aren’t entirely clear they performed as Sweet Children of the West; the name would be resurrected later on when they were banned from performing as Sucking Chest Wound. The focus of the show was on videos prepared beforehand and played back on video monitors located throughout the performance space, along with slides projected onto the stage.  SCW performed largely behind screens, occasionally venturing out onto the stage to tweak knobs etc.

Here’s an edit of the performance

Live Show #1 – Chandelier Performance

The first proper SCW performance occurred on November 30, 1984 at the Chandelier Room of the Mayfair Hotel in Kitchener, Canada. The show came about through a Fine Arts course that PnrH was taking at the University of Waterloo. The show was actually marked by his professor and applied towards his credit for the course!

Ticket for the show – by PnrH

Front side of ticket for Chandelier Performance Nov 1984

The performers included all four members of SCW plus an additional four performers recruited for the show. SCW played in the background while the other four were up front using various mic-ed up domestic and industrial tools: Charles on vacuum cleaner/balloon, Jim on sewing machine, Claudio on power tools and John on heavy metal. Film projections and video were also part of the staging. All the performers wore masks cast from their faces with plaster bandages, similar to the ‘death masks’ dating back to the middle ages. The workers rose up against their slave masters but the power tools of the workers were no match for the media tools of their slave masters… Continue reading

Cassette Culture #1 – Arbeit Macht Frei

By mid-1984 SCW had established a living, rehearsal and recording space at Willow St. in Waterloo, Ontario, and had access to the electronic music labs at the University of Waterloo. In August of that year they released their first cassette, entitled Arbeit Macht Frei.

“Arbeit Macht Frei” tape cover – folded out – by PnrH

The cassette was 90 minutes in length, with about 32 individual tunes. Here’s some highlights:

Kill Pigs

All you wanna do is kill yourself

All you wanna do is kill yourself

Why’re you trying to kill yourself?

Why aren’t you trying to…

Kill Pigs!

Kill Pigs!

Kill Pigs!

SCW salutes their punk roots…

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