Mozart’s Sister’s in for Big Fun

Electronic musician joins in on Winnipeg’s winter music festival

Under the name Mozart’s Sister, Caila Thompson-Hannant records and arranges her own hypnotic electronic compositions. 

“I’m really aiming to make pop music,” she says. “It just kind of comes out a little bit twisted, or asymmetrical.” 

Giving her work the opportunity to go wherever it needs is a necessity for Thompson-Hannant. 

After starting out on the scene in indie rock acts Shapes & Sizes and Think About Life, Mozart’s Sister was a chance to take total creative control. Since then, she’s been honing her craft in order to transfer the sounds she envisions from her head out into the world.

“When I first started making music on a computer, it just sounded so bad,” Thompson-Hannant says. 

She says software for making electronic music are designed for easy workflow and take some time to get used to. “Getting something that’s rich and subtle takes a lot of practice.”

Since the start of her project in 2011, Thompson-Hannant’s noticed she places less importance on the initial creation of a track and more time crafting it through rigorous editing.

“There’s a huge creative component in streamlining and shaping things really to as much of an acute form as you can get them,” Thompson-Hannant says. 

She says she didn’t appreciate that as much when she was younger.

“I always thought that the real important part of creative output was the beginning, you know, catching that thing. And that’s true, but it’s the skill and the craft that carries it. I’m starting to really love that part of it.”

Thompson-Hannant is currently mixing a new record, the follow-up to her 2014 debut album, Being. In this newer work, she finds herself exploring themes that she describes to be quite innocent.

“It’s all about wonder and love,” she says. “My previous material has kind of been about striving, which makes sense, but in my life things are calmer now. I just feel more comfortable in my own skin.”

Mozart’s Sister is a headliner of the Big Fun Festival and will be playing a show on Jan. 30 at RAW:almond. 

It’s not Thompson-Hannant’s first time playing in Winnipeg, having performed at the Windsor Hotel in 2014. 

“The show I played in Winnipeg last time was probably my favourite of the tour,” Thompson-Hannant says. “It still almost has that frontier town feeling. In a natural way, it sort of feels dangerous, even a bit wild.”

Big Fun co-founder and marketing director Lauren Swan describes the venue, RAW:almond, as “a beautiful structure in the woods.” 

“We wanted to have a really big, electronic dance party,” Swan says. “We knew we had to get Mozart’s Sister. Her stuff’s awesome.”

Thompson-Hannant says that when a show goes well, it feels to her like time expands vertically and horizontally.

“It’s a pretty crystalline and precious feeling.”

Published in Volume 70, Number 17 of The Uniter (January 28, 2016)

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