Devon Floyd: writes and performs music as his method of reflection and communication on political issues in Canada and around the world. Floyd is in conversation with Chelsea Jones
Chelsea Jones: Why do you choose music as your medium of political expression?
Devon Floyd: I’ve always been musical and I feel like it’s a good way to get messages across to people. They might not listen if you’re standing there talking, but if you’re playing a song people might stop and listen to what you have to say. I’ve played piano since I was 6, I’ve been in swing choir and played tuba, but I play guitar now. If I could do music as a career, I would. That would definitely be my number one preference. And I think that the independent music scene has a lot to say about political ideas–a lot more than pop culture ever will.
CJ: Where do you get your politics and in what other ways do you express it?
DF: I was raised socialist; my grandpa was a strong NDP member my whole life and my parents are as well. I was raised in a conservative Christian church, but definitely have some socialist ideals. I’m part of the Council of Canadians and the Regina Peace Action Coalition.
CJ: Do you have any stories about people being upset or surprised with your music?
DF: People don’t agree with me all the time, but I think that’s fine; everybody has a right to believe what they want to believe. But, I hope that I am portraying something that’s real. I’ve had some fights with my girlfriend’s parents about political ideologies and where we stand on current issues.
CJ: Why did you switch your major from education to political science?
DF: I love politics, that’s what I want to do with my life. I don’t really know what I want to do with my political science degree, but I want to get my masters and get involved in politics somehow.
CJ: You sent me a song that you wrote called “The Tale of The Battered Few.” Can you tell me about it?
DF: I just wrote it because I was upset with the war in Iraq and the Bush administration for claiming that it was a message from God. I think George Bush uses religion for his own political advantage.
CJ: Besides George Bush, are there any other political figures or events that motivate you to express yourself through music?
DF: Well, George Bush is definitely an inspiration to us all … (laughs) … but Tommy Douglas is definitely my idea of a perfect politician. He had things worked out well, and he is my inspiration. Also my grandpa, just because I have had lots of conversation with him about politics, caring for other people and equality for all people. I guess Grant Divine would be another inspiration of mine, I guess he’s another negative inspiration if you will.
I think that our society is quite uninformed about what is going on in our world, our politics and within our government. I think that would be what I’m trying to portray in my music: for people to question authority–and question the answer–and inform themselves and not just believe everything they see on CNN.
Being informed is one of the basic foundations of democracy and without that we really don’t have democracy … we have neo-feudalism, I would say. The idea that the mass population is controlled by a few people who are on top, like large multi-national corporations that don’t pay taxes. It goes along with the idea of serfs and lords. The serfs didn’t think that there was anyway of getting out; they just had to suck it up and accept the way things were. This is sort of how we feel in our capitalist society; we think that this is just the way it is. Like, Wal-Mart is the cheapest place so we’ll go there because we don’t get paid well enough to go anywhere else.
CJ: If you had a theme song for yourself, what song would it be?
DF: Secret of the Easy Yoke, by Pedro the Lion.
CJ: Is there anything else you would like to say to people reading this?
DF: Do not be afraid of questioning authority. Get informed and believe that through cooperation and working together we can change a little part of our world.
Devon Floyd was born and raised in rural Saskatchewan and is now in his second year of political science studies at the University of Regina.
Chelsea Jones is a student at the U of R, and a freelance writer working towards a career in journalism.
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