The entirely enchanting Basia Bulat is one of the Montreal Jazz Fest’s busiest performers. On Friday night she played the first of three performances at the MACM before jumping up on stage during the Plants and Animals show at Metropolis. We met up early Saturday morning after I may or may not have drank a lot of whiskey with members of Plants & Animals and The Besnard Lakes at Casa del Popolo …
Brendan Murphy: Are you changing up your show every night?
Basia Bulat: Every night will be different. I’m also slowly working my way towards doing a song in French- I’m a bit nervous about it but I think it’ll be ok.
BM: When we last spoke, you were pretty busy with touring- has it let up at all?
BB: It’s been non-stop, but it’s not something that I think about in those terms. It’s just the life path I’ve chosen by being a musician and I don’t think I have it any harder or easier than anyone else. I just think about what else can I do with my music, how can I move forward. I’ve done two very folk-leaning records so I’m starting to think about where else I can take my music.
BM: Are you working on new music now?
BB: I’m always working on new arrangements of my songs, but I’ve been trying to write some new ones recently. I may have jinxed myself because the last record I wrote while traveling but this time it’s been a bit harder and I’ve been working better at home- I also now have a piano at home that I found on Craigslist.
BM: You can get pianos on Craigslist?
BB: I got the idea from Neko Case. I read an interview where she said that she found something like 20 pianos from Craigslist for free and rescued them and played them all on her last record. I’d never even thought of it, but what do you know, there’s all these pianos on there in need of a home.
BM: You’ve spent a lot of time in Montreal- what does it feel like to play the Jazz Fest?
BB: It’s very special. I made both my records here and a big part of me thinks that I wouldn’t have made my record at all if I hadn’t come to Montreal to learn French- which is terrible, but I’m trying! Every time I come here, to play or just to visit, I have such a special relationship with the city because I just feel so indebted that so many connections were made here. Somehow a lot of things seem to click when I come to the city. So, it really is just amazing to be able play the jazz fest.