Four chladni drawings, seen as circles with various line pattens depicted within, align equally distant from one another on the top half of this image. The bottom half features the word HABIT written in a black serif font.


By: Tabassum Siddiqui | Art by: Michael Rancic

Habits are something that develop over time – and being human, we fall into habits both positive and negative, sometimes not even noticing until that pattern becomes ingrained.

That complexity is evoked in the disparate pieces that make up Issue #13: Habit, with essays and features that touch on how our relationship with music becomes a habit – in the practice of music-making, of fandom, but also some of the destructive tendencies that are often part of the music industry.

New Feeling was born as a space to explore music, artists and issues that aren’t well covered in the mainstream press – and as part of that, we aim for more transparency and connection with our readership and co-op members.

In this issue, you’ll read a deeply personal account of one musician’s struggle with navigating ADHD and recovery from addiction – made more difficult by the pervasive culture of substance use and burnout in the music business.

To maintain the anonymity of the subject while allowing them to tell their story honestly, writer and New Feeling co-founder Michael Rancic decided to approach the piece as an as-told-to essay, taking care to involve the musician in every step of the process.

Before landing on how to tell their story, Rancic conducted a pre-interview to determine what the piece needed to cover and gauge the subject’s comfort levels – to ensure sensitivity given the frank nature of the narrative and also in order to best support the musician themselves as they bravely came forward to share an experience that will resonate with many.

In keeping with our collective ethos, members of the New Feeling team – including me in my role as public editor as well as Sarah Chodos, who helped edit the story – were involved in the development process, including the decision to compensate the subject for their time and labour, given that they were in essence the author of the piece.

Jess Forrest – aka Toronto musician Castle If – also had to let go of aspects of the music industry that were no longer serving her. As writer Laura Stanley explains in her in-depth profile, Forrest decided to forego live performances due to stage fright – and letting go of what wasn’t working for her allowed for a whole new creativity to bloom, resulting in an entire series of instrumental electronic music.

You don’t have to be a professional musician to develop musical habits – first-time New Feeling writer Spencer Bridgman traces the history of how chants became a vital part of protest culture. In speaking with union organizers, feminist advocates, and migrant-rights workers, he shines a spotlight on raising our collective voice to bring about change.

For Calgary’s Ben Lines and Arif Ansari, preserving music from the past has become their fixation. As writer Reina Cowan discovered, the founders of online archives CanadianWasteland and the Calgary Cassette Preservation Society are making sure hardcore records and zines from the ’90s aren’t lost to age and time, highlighting punk gems from Western Canada and beyond.

We hope reading New Feeling will become a (good) habit – and inspire you to join our co-op, contribute a story, or even just delve deeper into your own musical traditions.