Mr. Harper, are you listening?

Dust Adam Dust has a message for you

Winnipeg art-pop band Dust Adam Dust is hoping to capture Ottawa’s attention with Dear Harper, a video message project which welcomes people to tell the Prime Minister how they really feel.

The group – comprised of guitarist/vocalist Jay Hovland, bassist/vocalist Scott Ellenberger, drummer Steve Pennicook and keyboardist/vocalist Anna Hovland –  formed in 2007 and has one self-titled record of fuzzy Velvet Underground meets the Sundays pop.

 “I was at home listening to a program called The 180 on CBC and they were interviewing [Conservative MP for Nunavut and Minister of Health] Leona Aglukkaq. In response to concerns about not having enough public discourse, she said that Canadians should practice free speech,” Anna, 29, says.

“That’s partly how we came up with the idea for this video message project, we figured it was one of the best ways to have people freely express their ideas and direct it to the top,” her husband Jay, 37, adds.

Dust Adam Dust will launch Dear Harper at the Windsor on May 15 and the band wants attendees to record their thoughts for the PM in a video booth set up at the show.

There will also be a greeting card to sign, and if you can’t make it, the band is still welcoming anyone to submit video messages to them online.

The group plans on running the project until at least September and then the greeting card will be mailed to Ottawa as an invitation for the PM to check the videos out.

In the end the band is targeting Harper mostly because he just happens to be the Prime Minister right now.

“I think leaders of other political parties might venture to do the same thing, but unfortunately this current government does have a bad track record for being open to the media and the public, something we want to change,” Anna says. 

Despite spearheading this project, Anna insists her band isn’t necessarily looking to be labelled as “political”.

“We’re just creative people, we write music which is what we like doing,” she says. “We just write about how we’re feeling and this is how we’re feeling right now.” 

Dust Adam Dust has also released a song titled “Harper Narcisse”, which criticizes the Prime Minister for ignoring the environment and focusing on the economy, among other things.

“That song expresses some of the frustrations we feel for sure, however with this project we don’t really want to colour people’s perceptions with our own perceptions,” Jay says. “We hope other people will express issues that are important to them, all takes on it are welcome, we just ask that there’s no threats or anything like that.”

A new mix of that song is also supposed to appear on the band’s second full-length record, which is slated for release this fall.

“We’ve had all the songs for awhile, we’re just cutting it down right now and labouring over it,” Jay says. “Maybe its release will be the capper of the project in September, but we don’t know for sure.”

Published in Volume 68, Number 26 of The Uniter (May 7, 2014)

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