Doldrums: The Camp Wavelength Interview

Purveyors of: Collage pop, Sub Pop, dark electronic dance music.
File next to: Grimes, Animal Collective, East India Youth
Playing: Camp Wavelength, Friday August 28 @ Artscape Gibraltar Point. Get your ticket here!

In an interview, Jim Morrison of The Doors envisioned that music in the future would consist of a one-person setup with electronics and machines: singing, speaking, and creating. We have seen that vision — kind of — come to life with various electronic artists today, but I believe that the kind of artist Morrison envisioned was one like Doldrums: someone who creates new sounds with the use of electronics, but keeps you interested throughout the whole song rather than just “waiting for the beat to drop.” Wavelength chatted with Doldrums about his new album, The Air Conditioned Nightmare, pizza for breakfast, his video collaboration with director Lily X and much more.

How has growing up around music influenced your style? Was there anything besides music that you wanted to be doing when you “grew up?”

I ate pizza for breakfast the other day and felt that really trumped any childhood dreams of what being an adult would mean.

Why did you decide to name this album The Air Conditioned Nightmare,and how does it relate to the overall theme of this work?

I wanted the record to feel like a rock’n’roll road trip movie, like Buffalo 66 or Nowhereor something — liberating and exciting, yet terrifying at the same time. I thought that the title captured that.

You’ve started touring for this album already. What has the reception been like, and what is your favourite song to play live?

Hmmm, “My Friend Simjen” is always a fun one. There has been some awesome crowd-surfing going on the last few shows. I think people really respond to dark music with a shared positivity.

I have “Hotfoot” on repeat. What was your inspiration behind that song?

It’s a prank where you soak someone’s shoelaces in lighter fluid and set them on fire, and the resultant dance that the person does.

When writing songs, is it the lyrics or the music that comes first?

I tend to compartmentalize the lyrical and musical elements. I write them separately and wait for a kind of “a-ha!” moment when I realize I can fit something together properly.

Do you enjoy the live shows or the recording process?

Playing live is a such a blast, it’s an instantly gratifying experience, especially when things go a little off-course in an exciting way. But writing/creating is a more deeply fulfilling act, if you get it right.

The video for “Loops” is great. Was it a collaboration between you and director Lily X? How did the idea come about?

Lily is such a visionary. I used to make Doldrums videos by splicing together old films, so we thought it would be cool to stay true to that aesthetic but actually try to film it. She ended up doing it so well that a lot of people on the Internet thought that it was actually made from some 1940s German silent film footage and didn’t realize that she shot it, cast it, built the sets and everything herself!

Why did you decide to release this album with the record label Sup Pop and what is it like working on them?

They are great, and I am very honoured that they are feeling my tunes.

How has living in Montreal influenced your music? What is the music scene like compared to Toronto?

The sound each city makes as it exhales in the middle of the night is a natural reflection of its people and their stories. If you are familiar with the snores of both cities, maybe you can hear them in Doldrums.

Who are you listening to at the moment? Can you highlight some up coming artists — whether it’s music, art, etc. — that you are really into?

Check out everything on ill Canadian noise / techno / weird pop labels like 1080p from Vancouver, Toronto’s Healing Power Records and Summer Cool in Montreal.

Thank you Doldrums!

Interview by Mashal Khan

Photo credit Coey Kerr

Doldrums plays Camp Wavelength Friday, August 28 at Artscape Gibraltar Point (Toronto Island). Get your single day tickets here! Or better yet, join us for the whole weekend and get a Festival Pass!