In The Garden Pt.2: The Weather Station
On The Power of Radical Softness
BY SHERENE ALMJAWER | May 4, 2022
Frontwoman Tamara Lindeman reflects on her latest album, climate activism, and the collective moment we’re in.
Tamara Lindeman - by Ella Mazur
Since forming in 2006, the members of The Weather Station — a four-piece Canadian folk band — have changed and lead singer Tamara Lindeman has evolved. In the band’s 16-year career, they’ve released six studio albums, the most recent being Ignorance (2021) and How Is It That I Should Look at the Stars (2022).
Lindeman, who wrote and produced all the songs on Ignorance, pulls inspiration from both her introspective musical style and the social atmosphere of the world at the time of its creation. While Ignorance sweeps listeners through thoughts on advocacy and climate, How Is It That I Should Look at the Stars looks through a more personal perspective, and was recorded live with Toronto-based jazz musicians. Lindeman joins smART Magazine to discuss the latest album, the Toronto music scene and venues that inspired it, and how climate activism found her.
sM | This latest album has been described as your softest yet, in a time where there’s such an incentive against softness. What’s your argument for staying mellow?
TL — I have a shirt that says, “Radical softness is a boundless form of resistance,” and I never buy shirts that say things, but I had to buy it because I needed to wear it for myself. There’s a lot of fear in the world, and fear tends to manifest as anger and rigid thinking and, right now, we’re all afraid.
People are complicated and when you’re dealing with complicated stuff, like climate change, asking people to imagine the world slightly differently is near impossible. And so, I think of all the times in my life when I felt that being gentle allowed me into spaces that maybe wouldn’t have if I was too intense. It’s hard because I can be a little malleable as a human — that’s my weakness — but I also like to think of it as a strength. It’s all of these traditionally feminine qualities that I think have a lot to say to the world.
We still prioritize strength and traditionally masculine qualities and yet, in a world that is quickly changing, where we have to manage our pain and fear more than anything, I think some conventionally feminine qualities of care and softness are what’s needed.
The Weather Station - Photo by Danielle Rubi
sM | How has your environmental advocacy developed in both your art and personal life?
TL — At the end of 2018, I went down a climate change rabbit hole and, the more I read, the bigger the impression it made on me. There’s this story I like about Exxon researching climate change in the late ‘70s, early ‘80s and concluding, “Yep, it’s going to happen.” But then they created a misinformation campaign saying the science wasn’t settled even though they settled it themselves. I never think poorly of people, but that blew my mind. My whole life elapsed in this reality of forces trying to pretend science isn’t real.
And yet, I’ve spent life feeling guilty for existing. That was what lit the spark. I already cared, but I thought, “I can’t not talk about it,” because I felt so much shock and indignation. That was what pushed me into talking about it publicly and in my music. When I look at how critical these years are, if I waited until I retired, it might be too late. I need to find the next way to advocate. What can I do in the next 10 years? The world is at a critical point, and it’s about everything. It’s human rights. It’s the climate. Everything is connected.