Local band’s Cannonballs run is just beginning

Boats! ringleader Mat Klachefsky and his band prepare for their next voyage with a brand new vessel

If this Boat’s a-rockin, it’s probably someone’s birthday: Boats have much to look forward to this year with a new record and another North American tour this Spring.

Mat Klachefsky is the Charlie Chaplin of Winnipeg’s indie scene: he writes all of the parts for songs by his band Boats! and has bandmates play them as he would.

Although self-conscious of how he might come off, he is unapologetic of the method with which he runs his band.

“It’s hard for me to talk about my arrangement with my bandmates without sounding like an asshole. I’ve never been part of a communal art thing, but my band’s really cool. They’re all really talented musicians involved in other projects. In essence, this is a solo project, but ‘Mat Klachefsky’ sounds stupid so we’re called Boats!,” said Klachefsky over a cup of coffee.

Although Boats! has gone through many lineup changes, Klachefsky says they have a good thing going on right now.

“I’ve got a good crew and most of them aren’t tied down to anything solid and can go on tour for at least short periods. I hope they can stick around.”

The band’s second album, Cannonballs, Cannonballs, was just sent to press last week and is slated to be released this spring on Klachefsky’s new label, Majestic Triumph. He said they’re doing it right this time, with professionals behind the scenes and a four-month publicity bonanza.

Band member Ryan McVeigh recorded the disc, with Shawn Dealey and Cam Loeppky of Prarie Recording Co. behind the mixing boards.

“It sounds like a professional recording. We did not rush it. The songs are more epic, more bigger. They’re right under the top, not over the top. All the songs are pretty different, which is the way I like it,” Klachefsky said.

When it comes to composition, Klachefsky says he’s slow. In the last three years he’s written 13 songs, 12 of which are on Cannonballs, Cannonballs. But that’s not as slow as he makes it seem, considering he writes all the parts for his quintet.

Either way, lyrical composition and musical composition are distinct processes for this bandleader.

“It’s mostly two separate things, lyrics and music, and then I combine them. I’ll have a bunch of music bits and lyric bits and then I’ll stick them together.”

The product of this sticking-together process is a unique, upbeat sound that’ll get you dancing.

When he sings these tunes, the gruff, deep-voiced Klachefsky admits some people are taken aback by his high singing voice.

“The first question people ask when they hear the recording is, ‘Is that sound coming out of your body?’ The answer is yes. I have a weird voice.”

Published in Volume 64, Number 16 of The Uniter (January 21, 2010)

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