EDITOR’S NOTE – ISSUE 6: remodel

Art by: Laura Stanley

2021 was a year of give and take. At long last, vaccines became available, but as countries like Canada both hoarded them and opposed patent waivers, new variants of COVID-19 threatened their efficacy, derailing our hopes—our confidence—that life would reach some semblance of functional normalcy. Schools and gyms reopened their doors before closing them once again. Live shows returned, and venues eagerly filled their calendars into spring, but capacity limits oscillated, forcing another wave of postponed dates and full-stop-canceled tours.

This most recent surge of cases affirms that we are not out of the woods yet. With the near two years of living in this pandemic weighing on us, and the future left so clouded and uncertain, it can feel next to impossible to want to look ahead, to make long term plans, or imagine alternatives. 

It is important that we remind ourselves that while our present reality isn’t desirable, for many folks that’s been the case for much longer than the pandemic. So when we decided to take stock of our favourite music from 2021 to close out the year with our sixth issue, it also felt necessary to look forward, to think about what we’ve learned so far and how we can bring those lessons and knowledge into the future with us. 

Kicking off this first issue of 2022, Remodel features a look back on New Feeling’s Favourite Songs of 2021 from both organizing members and freelancers who helped make the year such a success for us. Co-op member Tabassum Siddiqui makes her New Feeling debut in conversation with Cadence Weapon. Together, they reflect on the Edmonton-born rapper’s whirlwind year including his Polaris Music Prize victory and upcoming first book. In another thoughtful piece, Tom Beedham contemplates how the live music industry can rebound from so many months without revenue while addressing longstanding accessibility issues.

Last year our biggest challenge was in laying the groundwork for the organization and doing so in such a way that meant not replicating the systems of harm and exploitation that we’re organizing against. This work is ongoing and continual, but now that it’s under way, we can set our sights on new challenges.

In 2022 we want to publish more work by writers not currently affiliated with the co-op, make future issues more robust by increasing the number of pieces each contains, and increase the rates that we can offer as compensation to the writers and artists we work with. For this to happen, we need to enlist the help of more subscribers and members. 

Expect to see us engaging in more community-focused work this year, as we work to build trust with both the literary and music communities we’re a part of. We’re also excited to do some remodeling behind the scenes, adding some new faces to the organizing members of the co-op in the coming months. Onboarding these new members is critical for New Feeling’s growth as a co-op. It will also allow us to spread out labour and avoid burnout, share skills, and welcome new ideas and perspectives from folks of varied backgrounds and expertise.

Thank you for supporting New Feeling into the new year. Here’s to many more.

Leslie Ken Chu, co-founder, New Feeling