Technical Kidman are part of a community of artists in Montreal (including Doldrums, Grimes, Majical Cloudz, and d’Eon) pushing the limits of electronic music. Like their peers, they live dual lives playing international music festivals and late-night loft shows of questionable legality. The last two years have seen them perform as far away as Iceland and the Czech Republic, go on tour with SUUNS, and dodge mudslides in Calgary (not to mention recently being named one of AUX’s 11 Montreal Bands to Watch in 2014). That’s a lot for a band who has released only four songs.
Thankfully, Technical Kidman have just finished recording their debut LP, an electronic about-face follow up to their blistering self-titled EP. They recorded it in spurts over the past year at a friend’s home studio and will mix it this month at Breakglass Studios with Montreal production legend/Besnard Lakes member Jace Lasek.
We spoke with the band’s lead singer, Mathieu Arsenault, about the their recording and songwriting process and what the new album will sound like.
AUX: How is the new album different from your EP?
Mathieu Arsenault (vocals): Almost every aspect of this album is different. We wrote the songs in another way completely. We used different instruments, explored different concepts.
Why the change?
Right now we use synths and samplers exclusively aside from drums and voice. We made the choice not to use guitars in order to push ourselves further. Even though we knew we wanted to explore sampling, we had no idea how we could use it to make songs, and it actually took us a full year of research before we got a song we liked. We were accumulating material and bits of ideas, and I remember being very stressed out and afraid, telling myself “I’m sure it’ll make sense at some point.” And it did, eventually. It was like relearning to be a band with instruments we barely knew.
What was the inspiration for using samplers to write music?
We wanted to use the sampler as a structural element and let the sampled material guide us in the writing process. Basically, we wanted to build the songs around the samples instead of breaking and forcing them into the songs. And since we wanted these songs to be as personal as possible, we immediately started looking for sounds that we have a strong emotional link to. We went through hundreds of VHS tapes that [synth player] Thomas B. Champagne had recorded during his childhood. To our surprise, it was the commercials that had the strongest impact. We found a very strong nostalgia in them and we felt like they had the power to summon a past era, a time we had almost forgotten. These disposable bits of sound suddenly had a lot of value to us and really gave us a direction and conceptual depth to rely on.
How did you move from samples to songs?
From there we got into all kinds of pop artifacts from the same period, like sci-fi and action movie soundtracks from the end of the ‘80s. We mostly pursued that aesthetic throughout the writing and recording process and tried to make it fit with who we are, or who we think we are, at least.
Technical Kidman plan to release their album in 2014.
[magazine month=”February” year=”2014″]