Last March, local indie pop weirdos Boats released a video of themselves recording their new album. Perhaps the most compelling footage shows lead singer/guitarist Mat Klachefsky decked out in gloves, safety goggles and a helmet, smashing a guitar with a hammer in order to get the desired sound for that particular part of the album.
“The way we would do it live is I would just turn my (distortion) pedal on and punch the back of my guitar,” Klachefsky explains. “Which is all well and good, but how can we do that a little more? We don’t need to be nice on the record - we only need to do it once, so I hit (the guitar) with a hammer.”
A friend gave Klachefsky the guitar, an imitation Gibson Les Paul.
“One day he knocked on my door, he handed me the guitar and then he walked away. So, I don’t know if it’s my guitar now, but he knows that I smashed it,” Klachefsky explains.
“I don’t know how he feels about it. But if you’re going to drop it at my door - if you’re going to make it my orphan baby - I’m allowed to hit it in the head.”
You can hear the result on A Fairway Full of Miners, an album the band - which is rounded out by Ashley Roch (keyboards and trumpet), Rory Ellis (guitar), Louis Levesque-Cote (bass) and Luke Bergen (drums) - will release with a show at the West End Cultural Centre this coming Saturday, Feb. 2.
Known for Klachefsky’s high singing voice, the band has drawn comparisons to Modest Mouse and Wolf Parade with its sloppy brand of indie pop. A Fairway Full of Miners is the follow-up to 2010’s critically acclaimed Cannonballs, Cannonballs, and the band’s third release overall.
Klachefsky says he had no particular vision for the new album.
“I feel like if you have a vision going into an album, it kind of dilutes the songwriting, you know? Because then things aren’t coming naturally. So, we just wrote a bunch of songs and recorded them.”
Recorded last spring and summer by Ryan McVeigh at Prairie Recording Studios and UMFM, the album features 11 songs. The band’s bio notes that “if Cannonballs, Cannonballs was all about giddy exuberance, A Fairway Full of Miners is about growing up and finding yourself bored.”
“I couldn’t really decide whether to write more complex songs or more simpler songs, so I think I did both,” Klachefsky tells The Uniter. “So there’s a lot of songs that are six minutes long and don’t have a chorus, that just kind of meander through, and then there’s a bunch of three-minute pop songs.”
Klachefsky is looking forward to the album release show, if only because of the opening act. “The Random Band Spectacular” will feature three random bands, each made up of four different local musicians. Each band will play three cover songs it has only had a week to learn.
Musicians involved include Mike Petkau Falk (Les Jupes), Alannah Walker (Cannon Bros.), Ricardo Lopez-Aguilar (Oldfolks Home) and Rusty Matyas (Imaginary Cities).
“It’s pretty much the best people in Winnipeg,” Klachefsky says.
Is he at liberty to divulge which songs the bands will cover?
“I am not,” he says. “But let me tell ya - I can tell you this: Maybe someone will play a Hall & Oates song. I’m not gonna say which one. Maybe there’ll be, I don’t know, some Taylor Swift? The Clash? Weezer?
“I’m not confirming or denying any of this.”
Published in Volume 67, Number 18 of The Uniter (January 30, 2013)