Moumblow wanted more than anything to be able to attend Big Top. The only problem is she lives in the community of Gjoa Haven, located about 150 miles above the Arctic Circle, in central Nunavut … only a 2,500 mile-flight to LA.
But the fact that she couldn’t be at LA Historic for Big Top didn’t stop Moumblow — who is a skilled painter by trade — from imaging what it would be like to be at Big Top.
“When Edward Sharpe announced that they were going to hold a show in a circus tent, my mind basically exploded with imagery,” Moumblow said. “At first I was saddened by the fact that this amazing thing was going to happen and I was clearly going to miss out. Plus I felt even more isolated. This would be the first summer in 10-plus years that I haven’t seen a festival. But then I quickly decided I won’t miss anything, because I’ll make my own ‘paper’ version, and the Paper Band Project was born!”
Moumblow was born in Hamilton, Ontario but grew up in Huntsville, Ontario. After leaving teacher’s college, and with no teaching prospects, she ended up taking a job at a grocery store chain in Gjoa Haven. “I was looking for work, adventure, and the opportunity to move forward,” she said. “About six months after moving I began to feel emotionally lighter, and my brain had more room for creative ideas.”
For the past several months, Moumblow has been spending her free time creating a “paper band” using mixed media arts. She has created ‘paper’ versions of each member of the band, as well as a stage, a Big Top tent and an audience. Slowly, her visions are coming to life.
Janglin Souls recently caught up with Moumblow via email, to discuss Edward Sharpe, the Paper Band Project and Big Top.
Q: How did you come up with the idea to create a “Paper” Edward Sharpe band?
Moumblow: The idea for the Paper Band started when the band announced the Big Top festival and asked people to share their photos from concerts they attended. I had never been to one of their shows, but I didn’t let that stop me from imagining what it would be like. I created a ‘Paper’ Edward Sharpe and posted the photo on Twitter. It was fun. Later, I couldn’t get the idea of the Big Top out of my mind, and instead of being sadden by the fact that I’ll miss it, I decided to imagine that too. I was planning on making one photo similar to what I created before, but as I worked on the pieces suddenly an entire story unfurled. Now there are storyboards and a video in the works.
Q: Can you provide a few more details on how you created the Paper Band, and how specifically you put it together?
Moumblow: I have ideas worked out in small sketches like storyboards. This helps to have an idea of how I’d like the photographs to turn out. The actual pieces that appear in the images are mixed media. The tent is made of fabric, the ‘Paper Band’ figures are watercolor paintings that are cut out and posed like paper dolls, and there will be some found objects in the background.
Balancing work and play is challenging. When something works out and gets me really excited I wish I could just stay home and play all day. I work on the pieces when I come home from work around 10:30 p.m. and when I wake up in the mornings, I’ll shoot a sequence before I have to go back to work.
Slowly it’s all coming together.
Q: Have you ever did a project like this before?
Moumblow: I have created a few smaller projects in a similar style, but nothing this interactive. This project became a lot more fun because of the interaction with an audience. Suddenly I’m feeling a lot less isolated, and I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything.
Q: How did you discover Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros?
Moumblow: All of the bands that I’m passionate about I have discovered in almost a ‘divine intervention’ sort of way. Transitions in my life have always had great soundtracks. I’ve been introduced to new music through friends, spending time at festivals and going to shows. Strangely enough, I stumbled across Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros on Youtube. It was the ‘Man On Fire’ Bloody Sunday Session video, the one where they’re all in the carriage. One video and I was hooked. I spent the rest of the night gobbling up the gigabytes searching for more. The next day I was sending messages to my friends in the south asking for their help to go album shopping. A week-and-a-half later I had albums in my hands. I have the best, most helpful friends!
Q: What about ESMZ drew you to them?
Moumblow: I was drawn to Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros because of the energy that spills out of them. There’s a feeling of commonality between the band and its audience. Suddenly you’re a part of this electric creative energy. It’s refreshing. Also, there’s a great sense of honesty in the band. These 12 people are creating music for the joy of creating music. It’s real. There’s no bull shit.
Q: What other music do you listen to?
Moumblow: I tend to listen to a lot of Canadian artists. The list is really long, a few favorites are: Hayden, Cuff the Duke, Broken Social Scene, Amelia Curran, Joel Plaskett… I could go on. I do listen to non Canadian artists as well. The Cat Empire, Drop Kick Murphys, The Civil Wars and the Beastie Boys are on my shelf too. … I feel I’m more of a supporter of the arts. I love creativity. I appreciate artists, uniqueness and all their efforts and hard work.
Q: Living in the Arctic Circle, describe how difficult it is it to follow the band and keep up with them?
Moumblow: No contest. The most difficult part of living in the Arctic is the isolation. I’m thankful for the internet, because it allows me to be ‘connected’ in certain ways. However, there are days when I feel like I’m missing everything. This past summer was the first summer in 10 years that I didn’t get to go to a festival. To make it even worse a friend of mine had an extra ticket to the Gentleman of the Road Simcoe show. I try to stay positive and remember that being in the Arctic is temporary. Making art helps. I have a few friends that listen to Edward Sharpe, but it’s more fun introducing my friends to Edward Sharpe.
Q: What were your thoughts when Edward Sharpe announced they would be holding a four-day Big Top festival in Los Angeles?
Moumblow: I feel that this event speaks volumes about the bands integrity. The 12 of them want to create honest music and share it in a sincere setting. They want to provide an experience for an audience that levels the playing field and fosters creativity, good energy, and love. They’re hosting a four-day party and invited everyone. It’s going to be beautiful.