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CMW 2013, Interviews, Music

CMW Preview: An Interview With Mat Klachefsky of Boats

By: Curtis Sindrey

Winnipeg natives Boats’ new album A Fairway Full of Miners is an eclectic mix of both highly eccentric, yet fun pop songs, ballads and experimental numbers, but that doesn’t mean that you should ignore them during Canadian Music Week 2013.

Recorded in the spring and summer of 2012 with producer Ryan McVeigh and mixer David Carswell (Destroyer, The New Pornographers), Boats set out to break through the formula of standard three minute pop songs that they explored on their acclaimed 2010 LP Cannonballs, Cannonballs, and as a result lead singer and songwriter Mat Klachefsky created tighter compositions that sound light and fun, but also deal with serious topics like growing up, loneliness and “escaping the spectral plane of existence.”

“I wanted to be a bit more experimental with songwriting and abandon structure and meander along and see where the song goes on its own,” says Klachefsky. “There are a few songs on the album like “Great Skulls,” “Animated GIFs,” and “Getting Worst.JPG,” which are longer and more drawn out songs that took months to get right.”

In an attempt to abandon their cartoonish album covers of the past, they opted for a cover that was more “abstract.”

“I wanted it to look like when you’re playing video games and you come across a weird glitch,” says Klachefsky. “I wanted to make the artistic and musical equivalent to that.”

While Boats has always been a five-piece band, Klachefsky cites the band’s revolving door of personnel as the reason why he is the sole songwriter and why he considers Boats to be the closest to a solo project that he can get.

“These are solo records and not to minimize what my band does because they are all better musicians than I am but this is as close to a solo project that it can be,” says Klachefsky.

When not on the road, Klachefsky is in a gymnasium playing dodgeball with the Majestic Triumph International Dodgeball Club and Recording Concern in Winnipeg, where they are currently undefeated, albeit one tie. “We always win every game all season and then we choke in the finals,” says Klachefsky. The team has since become full of a tight-knit group of Winnipeg-based musicians including Les Jupes, Ryan McVeigh, and Gareth Williams. “I’m a big advocate for dodgeball being recognized as a serious sport,” he says. “It’s not considered a serious sport because you can’t televise it because you have six balls going at once which makes it impossible to televise.”

Despite many people considering dodgeball to be merely a hobby, Klachefsky strides to assemble a team for the summer championships in Las Vegas, although he recently came across some discouraging news. “The world championships have an open-door policy so any team can play, but I was hoping something like only one team could represent Manitoba could happen,” he says.

With the recent buzz for Dave Grohl’s film Sound City, musicians have argued that digital recording and ProTools are the evil doers of the music industry, but Klachefsky contests that antiquated technology like reel-to-reel tape recording is “incredibly hard and expensive” and that digital has a lot more sonic possibilities.

“You can do a lot more with digital, but there are some records out there that sound a little too digital,” says Klachefsky.“If we recorded [A Fairway Full of Miners] on tape, we would be broken up and bankrupt by now.”

You can catch Boats at the CMF Showcase at Rancho Relaxo on Saturday March, 23rd at midnight.

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