Perhaps reflecting the continued growth of Canadian music on an international scale, the Polaris Music Prize has proved to be big news over the past few months.
Sadly for organisers, this has often proved to be at their detriment. Godspeed You! Black Emperor won the trophy, receiving acclaim from judges for their sublime full length 'Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!'.
The band, though, rejected the notion of placing some kind of intrinsic value on their music, blasted the competition and decided to give their winnings away. Member Efrim Menuck recently spoke to the Kreative Kontrol podcast, and revealed a little more about the awards process.
"The deal was, to anyone who puts out a new record in a year, Polaris approaches the record label and says, 'Would you like to put these records up for nomination?' Then the label can say yes or no. So Constellation said yes to this and didn't ask Godspeed what they thought about it because they were like, 'Oh, this will be a nice thing.' And so it was really late in the game when we realized, 'Oh shit, we could've just pulled out.'"
"But we were convinced that we were not going to make it onto the short list. When we did make it onto the short list, the band was convinced we weren't going to win this thing. It was really towards the end when were like, 'Oh shit, we might and I guess we need to prepare ourselves for that possibility.' It was a really strange process."
"You have to remember that Godspeed's relationship with the Canadian music industry has been terrible from the beginning. It's been antagonistic from the beginning so it wasn't unreasonable for us to be like, 'We're not going to get this thing. Why would they give us this thing?' We said it in our press release: we feel like orphans in our own country. We feel fairly invisible here."
Responding to this, the team behind the Polaris Music Prize have issued the following twitter-statement:
"Epic 9 part tweet coming up re: the recent interview by Efrim Menuck of Thee Silver Mount Zion Memorial Orchestra & GY!BE... ‘ … to anyone who puts out a new record in a year, Polaris approaches the record label and says… Would you like to put these records up for nomination?’ We don't do this. If wanted to we don't have the resources. Don't want to... When a jurist recommends a record for consideration via private discussion we ask the label for permission to upload the album... This procedure is designed to make the record freely available to all of our jury members so they can also consider the work... This does not mean a record is nominated at that time. It does confirm that it is being considered by at least one jury member... Should a label or artist decline this permission, a jurist could still vote for that title. It happens..."
"Should the record then get nominated via jury vote, we ask for permission to use the album art in various ways, which was granted... We’ve never had anyone turn down a nomination but if they chose to we’d certainly honour the artist’s wishes... We have no comment on anything else said before or recently except to say that if you haven’t heard the record, you really should..."
Clash recently spoke to Efrim Menuck - find that interview HERE.