Ontario blues-folk project Timber Timbre decided to get a little less dark with Hot Dreams, its fifth full-length record and follow up to 2011’s JUNO nominated Creep on Creepin’ On.
“I really do see this record as being more accessible and friendly. I realize it’s still quite dark, but not quite as menacing,” frontman and founder Taylor Kirk says.
“I think I was just happier this time around, I was just feeling better and I consider I felt more confident as a songwriter, producer and arranger.”
The record was partially inspired by the time Kirk spent in Laurel Canyon, a neighbourhood located in Los Angeles, California.
“I actually fell in love and followed a woman who was renting a place down there. It was kind of like a vacation snowbird thing, which I had never really done before. I was mostly just resting while looking at the songs and assembling ideas. Not a lot was written there in terms of musical ideas, but a lot of the words came from my reflection of that place and that landscape.”
There’s a definite cinematic influence, though Kirk admits that’s popped up on previous Timber Timbre releases as well.
“I think in the past it was more incidental while with this time I think it was deliberately conceptual, highlighting a certain era of film and Hollywood. This was the first time I really wanted a particular track to sound like a Jack Nitzsche score from One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I was making some really obvious references,” he says.
“Being in Laurel Canyon ignited that influence for sure, I was close to West Hollywood and we’d go down to Sunset where there would be a different opening every night. It kind of made me lament the films I loved when a very different kind of cinema was coming from there.”
When it came time to actually record Timber Timbre worked at the Banff Centre in the Rockies and the National Music Centre in Calgary with engineer Graham Lessard (The Faunt) before taking it to Montreal for mixing with Mark Lawson (Arcade Fire).
This release also sees more collaboration than in the past, with multi-instrumentalist Simon Trottier becoming an actual co-collaborator alongside Kirk, who is the initial sole member.
“Songwriting has always been solitary for me, I usually have a pretty focused idea of what I want to accomplish with a recording going in, but Simon is such a creative person and had all those ideas kicking around so a lot of them naturally made it onto the record.”
Beat the Drum Slowly was the initial working title, but in the end Timber Timbre chose Hot Dreams to sum up the record as a whole.
“It seems more elusive, plus it came from a time of being really enamoured with someone and just thinking a lot about fantasy, sex, desire, America and the American Dream, which are all themes on the record.”