People call you a “folk singer” but this album is so diverse—there’s industrial, folk, electronic, country, Cree sounds—which feels like a pretty accurate representation of just how varied your career has been.
It’s just kind of the way things have always happened. Each one of my records is really, really diverse. It works better now than it would have even a few years ago because of the Internet. And that’s a similarity that the sixties has with right now. There were student movements, a lot of dissatisfaction and people weren’t sure which way to go. And there were coffee houses, which meant that young people had a place to gather as opposed to places with liquor licenses. And everybody was sharing each other’s point of views and music styles. You’d hear flamenco next to Delta blues next to some 500 year old song from England or Scotland next to contemporary songwriters, and no one worried about it. And now with the Internet, people can find each other’s music and self-publish.
You feel right at home with the Internet.
It’s a dream come true for me. I had one of the first web sites, in the eighties. I got into computers via electronic music in the sixties. I made an album called Illuminations, and folk music people all held their noses, but electronic students and art students loved it.
You’re also known for being one of the first artists to use a personal computer for your work in the eighties.
I got my Macintosh in 1984, the week before they came out—I had a connection—and all of a sudden I could do my writing, and artwork, and my music on the same little machine. I could put a floppy disk in my purse and go to Toronto and continue with my art anywhere. It became my favorite tool.