You can go home again

Ottawa singer-songwriter Kalle Mattson wrote his latest album in his childhood home of Sault Ste. Marie

Kalle Mattson decided to get personal on Someday, The Moon Will Be Gold. Released on Feb. 11 via Winnipeg/Edmonton label Parliament of Trees, the album sees the Ottawa-based singer-songwriter opening up about the death of his mother.

“I wanted this record to be significant, I wanted it to mean something to me and it sort of correlated into me writing about that one thing,” says Mattson, 22. “I had just finished university, which is a weird time in anyone’s life, and then I moved back home to Sault Ste. Marie and took a data entry job just so I could actually afford to make this record. 

“Living in my childhood home for the first time since my mom passed away when I was 16, it definitely inspired some of the lyrics on the record. It’s a dark record, it’s fundamentally about death, but I also wanted it to be hopeful and I didn’t want it to be dark the entire time.”

“A Love Song to the City” is a track that’s an obvious nod to Mattson’s hometown and the place where the majority of the record was written.

“I literally wrote that song in the living room of my childhood home and it sort of sums up the record I think,” Mattson says. “Sault Ste. Marie a weirdly isolated place. I think it’s about eight hours north of Toronto and it’s also sort of 30 years behind every sort of major city. It terms of infrastructure and culture it’s a bizarre place, but it’s still home for me in a lot of ways. I think it’s like any small town, no matter where it’s located I think they’re all sort of the same.”

Mattson recorded Someday, The Moon Will Be Gold with Gavin Gardiner from Juno-winning indie rockers The Wooden Sky. The album also features guest appearances from Ottawa-based folk singer Jeremy Fisher and Oshawa-based alt-country group Cuff the Duke.

“One of my first shows ever was opening for The Wooden Sky in Sault Ste. Marie and we sort of became friends after that,” Mattson said. “We hung out whenever I was in Toronto or if they were playing in Ottawa and the conversation just sort of happened. I love their records and Gavin is a really good friend, so it just made sense to go into the studio with him.”

While he has two previous albums, 2009’s Whisper Bee and 2011’s Anchors, Mattson says Someday, The Moon Will Be Gold feels more like his first record than his third.

“If this is the first record people hear by me, I’m really happy about that. I’m not embarrassed,” he says. “With every record there’s probably a real obvious growth, but this one feels like an even bigger jump to me personally. It feels like a first and it feels like my real debut. I also feel like this is the first one that anyone’s really going to hear.”

Published in Volume 68, Number 23 of The Uniter (March 12, 2014)

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