How Cadence Weapon Is Coping with Isolation: Club Quarantine, an Autobiographical Book and Putting on Clothes

"I hope this experience leads to a cultural shift where people who are working right now...are paid more and are honoured and respected"
How Cadence Weapon Is Coping with Isolation: Club Quarantine, an Autobiographical Book and Putting on Clothes
After a busy winter, Canadian rap mainstay Cadence Weapon is ready to take a breather. Having completed a recording trip, a musical installation and a theatrical production already in 2020 (plus a collaborative single with Factor Chandelier), he's not putting pressure on himself to be productive — so with that in mind, a lockdown fits in fairly well with his current lifestyle. We spoke with MC about what he's been listening to while locked down, his developing culinary talents, and his positive outlook on the social response.

What's your self-isolation setup?

I'm staying with my girlfriend Sara at her apartment in the Eglinton West area of Toronto. It's me, her and her cat, Paddington Bear. She's a reporter so she's been able to conduct interviews and work on articles from home. We've basically turned the kitchen table into a cubicle situation. Just did a giant grocery buy that should last us a couple weeks but we'll typically leave the house to re-up on fresh produce at small neighbourhood grocers once a week. I've been cooking like a maniac, I think we will have made every recipe in Alison Roman's Nothing Fancy by the time quarantine is over.

Are you working on any music while on lockdown?

Right before this all blew up, I had just done a recording trip to L.A. in January and collaborated with a group of First Nations musicians for an installation at Fort Edmonton Park in Alberta. I was in Montreal for all of February acting in Sean Nicholas Savage's play Please Thrill Me and at the beginning of last month, I was a guest mentor at the Banff Centre for the singer-songwriter residency. So I started this year out working on several large projects. Now I'm taking some time to decompress and not putting too much pressure on myself to write music. That said I've been working on a book about my career and my thoughts on music in general. It's been a really illuminating experience to look back on my past with all this uncertainty about the future happening. I hope to finish it over the coming months.

What are you watching and listening to?

I've been watching this show Devs, it's really trippy. I've also been liking Lil Dicky's TV show called Dave. Just rewatched season two of Killing Eve in preparation for the new season. We watched all of Love Is Blind and now we're rotting our brains out watching The Circle. We also really enjoyed The Valhalla Murders, this Icelandic detective show on Netflix. I finally got a hold of ESPN's Basketball: A Love Story so I'm looking forward to ripping through all 20 hours now that live basketball is a thing of the past.

I've been really enjoying seeing my friend Casey MQ's success with the Club Quarantine streaming party series. I watched a Facebook livestream by Real Lies that completely blew me away. I had a great time during Physical Therapy and Jubilee's DJ sets that were livestreamed from their homes by the New York club Nowadays. I've been loving all the one-on-one challenges that R&B songwriters and producers have been doing on Instagram Live. The one with Sean Garrett versus The-Dream was hilarious. They've become must-see viewing for me.

I've been listening to Four Tet's Sixteen Oceans, the Born at Midnite EP, Dean Blunt's Roaches 2012-2019, Christina Schneider's Violence Etcetera, Hiroshi Yoshimura's GREEN, Jay Electronica's A Written Testimony and all the club tracks I bought on Bandcamp when they waived their cut of sales for 24 hours. My quarantine anthem is "I Want to Be Free" by Karen Dixon.

How do you feel about the response to coronavirus?

I feel like the Canadian government's daily approach to informing the public has been very useful. At least from my vantage point, it seems like people in Canada are listening and taking the social distancing guidelines seriously. I've been amazed by how quickly people and institutions have adapted to our new reality. One grocery store in our neighbourhood makes you put on hand sanitizer and gloves as soon as you walk in. It makes me feel like they care about getting this right. I hope this experience leads to a cultural shift where people who are working right now, like grocery store clerks, truck drivers and cleaners, are paid more and are honoured and respected for the clearly essential role they have in our society, instead of being looked down upon like they have been in the past.

Have you picked up any new hobbies or routines in isolation?

When I'm not on tour, I typically work from home for extended periods, so this lifestyle is not that much different to what I'm used to. One of the major keys is to make sure that you put on clothes everyday. It just puts you in a more professional mindstate and it helps you sleep at night if you don't wear pyjamas all day. I've been getting up earlier and trying to match my girlfriend's work schedule and write when she's working, so it's been helpful to have a routine like that to stick to. Friday nights have typically been our big Zoom sessions, we usually each have Zooms going at the same time in different rooms. I'm so thankful that technology is where it's at today. I'm really into running so being able to go outside and knock the cobwebs loose has pretty much saved my life.

Find out what other Canadian musicians have been up to under self-quarantine with our Isolation Nation questionnaire.