Damian Abraham helps "wedge" music back into Much
For years fans have been questioning MuchMusic's content, scratching their heads wondering where "music" fit into the station's more reality TV-based offerings. But with last month's announcement that Much would be bringing back music-based shows, the Wedge and RapCity, it appeared that someone was listening to the feedback and, contrary to popular belief, it wasn't all due to the CRTC ruling against more lifestyle programming.
According to Damian Abraham, lead singer of Toronto's Fucked Up and new host of the Wedge, he was approached at last year's Polaris Music Prize to come and try his hand as a VJ. "I know everyone points to that CRTC ruling and says that was when it was decided that more music was the way to go. But I know that when I was first approached... the whole greater focus on music had been in the works for a while as far as I know."
I originally "met" Damian on Twitter (@leftfordamian + @traviscaine), following him because of both his band and passion for music in general. When I decided to approach him for an interview to discuss his new role, a Tweet was the natural way to go, and we took a more electronic root to discuss how he felt after the Wedge's debut.
"I thought it went really well. I mean I have a long way to go as far as being a host, but I think the show did what I hoped it would do in the first episode. I had a kind of mental checklist that I went into the episode with, and I got most of them checked off: have a cool Canadian artist on as a guest (Diamond Rings), play a great unsigned band (Fist City), play great bands that wouldn't normally be on Much (The Sadies), etc."
If you missed the first two episodes of the Wedge, which airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m., it does have a feeling of nostalgia to it with a certain modernized twist. Damian's personality shines through it all, which is a welcoming breath of fresh air for a station that I find difficult to watch at the best of times.
Abraham had similar concerns going in to the show as well.
"I was really worried that I was going to have to throw to videos that I don't like and pretend I like them. In truth, I was thinking about not doing the show over it," he admitted before explaining his arrangement with the show's producers. "I sat down and talked to everyone and was basically told I could say whatever I wanted about the music we play, which I think is a great compromise because, as I have said, I hardly have what could be called populist tastes so this way we can still play stuff that other people like and I don't have to mug to the camera about how great the video is if I don't like it."
An outspoken individual to begin with, Damian's honesty is refreshing for a VJ and could help shed some light on some of the more popular music being played, while helping some lesser-known artists get some well-deserved exposure. But he's also realistic about where he sees future programming going.
"I hope that there will be more shows like the Wedge and RapCity. I would love to see a metal show start but I know what pays the majority of the bills and it wouldn't be Celtic Frost and Slayer videos. I hope that it's balanced like it feels like it is now."
Either way you cut it, bringing back music programming is certainly a step in the right direction for Much. Tune in to the station now and you'll notice it does have a bit of a refreshed look and feel, with all new VJs who seem to be finding their footing in a celebrity obsessed market while trying to bring some meaning back to what they're broadcasting.
Abraham is just one of those VJs helping to bring some credibility back to MuchMusic, allowing them to reconnect with their roots while losing their grip on reality TV.
"I would love this Wedge to fill that same role (of introducing new music to people) but I'd never be presumptuous enough to think that it will be. I just want to make a fun show and hopefully people like it and watch. I mean, I'd watch but then again I do watch a lot of crap. But this is way better than that shit."
Photo by chromewaves.
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