Nap Eyes' Seamus Dalton Is a Canadian Cannabis Hero

The drummer discusses the pitfalls of making music stoned, the troubling double standards of cannabis legalization, and that time Newfoundland experienced a weed shortage
Nap Eyes' Seamus Dalton Is a Canadian Cannabis Hero
Photo: Alex Blouin and Jodi Heartz

Halifax's Nap Eyes make exceptionally witty, good-natured, chilled out jangle-rock — as heard on this year's wonderfully nerdy album Snapshot of a Beginner — so is it really all that surprising that drummer Seamus Dalton is a cannabis aficionado?

We caught up with Dalton about his personal history with cannabis — from finding inspiration in his dad's habits to resorting to desperate measures during a weed shortage in Newfoundland. In addition to sharing his funny personal anecdotes, Dalton also has some insightful steps that still need to be taken in decriminalization.

What do you smoke and how do you consume it?

I never really cared what I was smoking. I went to school in Newfoundland for a few years, and at the beginning of one semester, there was a major bust on the island, so no one could find any weed. After about a month of being bone dry, we finally tracked some down that was rumoured to be laced with plexiglass. I finished smoking a joint and what was left was a pillar of ash attached to the filter. Rock solid.

I smoked joints pretty much exclusively for about eight years, but two summers ago, I discovered the magic of a blunt. It's hard to find blunt papers in Canada (especially flavoured ones), so I stocked up when we would tour in the U.S. and then it was — Danny Brown voice — blunt after blunt. Now it's all edibles for me.

What do you like to do when you smoke?

Making and listening to music. Making, producing or mixing music stoned, you run the risk of doing a bunch of stuff that sounds good at the time but the next day you're like, "Why did I stereo-spread every single track?" If the music was made stoned, listening to it stoned lets you enter their dimension. Like listening to DJ Screw if you yourself were chopped and screwed.

What do you think about the recent changes in cannabis culture?

It's frustrating. To see the government profit off cannabis while people sit in prison for weed charges is infuriating. Black and Indigenous people are overrepresented in these cases, so when you see an all white-run hippy-dippy weed shop called something like Gangalicious, it should make you pause and realize that something isn't right yet.

I wish we would follow the same logic with weed legalization and decriminalize, at the very least, minor possession of all drugs. Then use your brain again and legalize sex work. This shouldn't be that difficult to understand.

Where in your city is great for cannabis?

My bedroom. Smoking in nature is where it's at but that's difficult in bigger cities. I'm itching to get back to the lakes and beaches of Nova Scotia.

Are there hidden (or not-so-hidden) cannabis references in your music?

[Nap Eyes singer] Nigel [Chapman] sings "used to get lifted with weed" in "I'm Bad," which I like because "lifted" sounds cool. Some teens are getting "lifted" in "Mark Zuckerberg" by smoking out of an apple.

Who are your Canadian cannabis heroes?

My dad. He smoked for decades and then just stopped one day. I think the idea of quitting, or slowing down, is something we should all keep in mind when using any substance — it's a different story if you're using for medicinal purposes. Many of us are forming habits that won't be easy to break and won't always fit so easily into our lives.

Canadian Cannabis Heroes is a feature that explores the ways your favourite Canadian artists experience cannabis and how it impacts their art. Canadian Cannabis Heroes is presented by DaVinci.