Grimes’ Visions Gets Classical Interpretation for New Concert Series
Composers reworked each song on the album for the upcoming “Many Visions” shows
The songs from Grimes’ 2012 album Visions will receive classical music interpretations by 13 composers during a concert series called “Many Visions: Plumes Deconstructs the Music of Grimes.” The event was conceived by Plumes, a Montreal-based ensemble. Shows will take place across Canada this month. See the itinerary below. There are also plans to record the performances for streaming.
“We wanted to see how we could bridge the gap between popular and classical music—we have a suspicion it’s smaller than people think,” Luke Nickel (co-director of Winnipeg’s Cluster New Music and Integrated Arts Festival) said to MusicWorks. “We want to think about interpretation and rearrangement, not only in terms of musical material but also in terms of the spirit of an artist. That led us to Grimes, whose DIY attitude seems to resonate across genres.”
“The theme of the festival is dismantling, taking something apart and reconstructing it,” Plumes’ Geof Holbrook told MusicWorks. In an interview with NOW Magazine, composer Monica Pearce said, “It’s going to be quite different from the album, which I think will be really exciting.”
“Many Visions: Plumes Deconstructs the Music of Grimes”:
03-10 Montreal, Quebec - Rocket Science Room 03-11 Toronto, Ontario - The Music Gallery 03-12 Hamilton, Ontario - The Casbah 03-13 Windsor, Ontario - University of Windsor 03-15 Guelph, Ontario - University of Guelph 03-16 Kitchener, Ontario - Wilfrid Laurier University 03-17 Winnipeg, Manitoba - Cluster Festival 03-18 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan - Village Guitar & Amp Co 03-21 Vancouver, British Columbia - Music on Main
Poppin’ Off: An Interview With the “Bubbleologist” Behind Grimes’ “Venus Fly” Video
text: by Ryan Dombal
interview with Teena Lemieux
“Oh my gosh, you can see all my bubbles!”
Teena Lemieux is watching Grimes and Janelle Monáe’s “Venus Fly” video for the first time. She is very psyched. Because, along with some cyberpunk regalia and flame-tinged swords, it’s Lemieux’s bubbles that make this epic video really, you know, pop. Her bubbles are not normal bubbles—in the clip released via Tidal last week, Lemieux’s creations fill with smoke, burst into flames, and envelope Grimes’ entire body. And Lemieux is not a normal bubble lover—she is a self-proclaimed “bubbleologist” who has studied her unique craft for nearly a decade.
Known professionally as Miss T the Bubble Queen, the Ontario-based artist has brought her trademark Bubbleology Show to Canadian TV, festivals, schools, children’s cancer camps, along with plenty of birthdays and weddings. So when Grimes’ team reached out to her a few months ago, she was ready.
Pitchfork: What did you think when you got the offer to do this Grimes video?
Teena Lemieux: I was honored to demonstrate my art with someone else who appreciated it. Bubbles are special—they’re like smiles. I’m the only one in Canada who does this. There’s no book out there, it’s all practice. I heard Grimes loves bubbles and she saw all these scientific marvels that I do with them—I could do everything she wanted. She was excited to have a bubbleologist in her video.
Were you nervous on set?
Not really, but everything relied on the bubbles working—every scene had bubbles in it. Bubbles only last a second, so I had to get this one massive bubble—or millions of floating things—in the right position at the right time.
There’s one scene where Grimes sets fire to a bubble in her hand. It looks dangerous.
[laughs] It’s not dangerous at all, you don’t even feel it. It only ignites the gas for a second.
How do you make a bubble like that one?
It’s top secret! It’s based on my own scientific studies!
How did you teach Grimes to work with your bubbles?
If you wet your hand you can hold a bubble. That’s it. If your hand is dry, you’ll pop the bubble. Everyone knows that.
Are your bubbles more durable than normal bubbles?
Mine are totally different—do you want to be a bubbleologist?
I am curious about it. When I saw your name listed under that title in the credits, I was like, What the hell is a bubbleologist?!
It sounds scientific! What are you?
I’m a writer.
So you’re a writerologist!
How do you think the bubbles factor into the video conceptually?
Bubbles represent moments, or other worlds, or ideas or thoughts floating around, so you gotta go get ’em, otherwise they’ll float away or pop. So those bubbles were all Grimes’ moments.
Would you want to do more Grimes videos?
Of course, I could see bubbles in all of her videos! And I’d like to be onstage during a Grimes concert. Do you think the people who love her music would like to see the bubbles?
I quickly learned that you don’t have to be incarcerated by suffering, and that, in spite of the dysfunctional nature of your family, you are an individual in full possession of your life. I came to realize that I wasn’t possessed by her, or incarcerated by her mental illness. We blame our parents for a lot of shit, for better and for worse, but it’s symbiotic. Parenthood is a profound sacrifice.
I still describe myself as a Christian, and my love of God and my relationship with God is fundamental, but its manifestations in my life and the practices of it are constantly changing. I find incredible freedom in my faith. Yes, the kingdom of Christianity and the Church has been one of the most destructive forces in history, and there are levels of bastardization of religious beliefs. But the unique thing about Christianity is that it is so amorphous and not reductive to culture or place or anything. It’s extremely malleable.
With this record, I needed to extract myself out of this environment of make-believe. It’s something that was necessary for me to do in the wake of my mother’s death—to pursue a sense of peace and serenity in spite of suffering. It’s not really trying to say anything new, or prove anything, or innovate. It feels artless, which is a good thing. This is not my art project; this is my life.