Recloose: From Detroit to Wellington
Since the release of the So This Is The Dining Room EP back in ‘98, Recloose aka Matt Chicoine has established himself as important new voice, representative of a younger generation of electronic musicians to hail from Detroit. Apart from getting ready to play some dates in Australia, Chicoine is also on the verge of releasing a new album entitled Hiatus On The Horizon on Peacefrog.
I was just listening back to your first EP, So This Is The Dining Room and was struck by just how fresh it still sounds. How do you feel about that record now?
“Ha ha ha ha, I could just leave it at that. It’s raw and funny to listen to now. I find it helpful to listen back to what I’ve done in the past. It is where I’ve come from and tells me if I’ve improved or maybe even lost something along the way.”
You’re based in New Zealand these days. Has this represented a big shift for you?
“I’ve been here for three and a half years now and yes it was and still is, a big challenge. It has also been a great experience that outweighs any yearnings for home. When it comes to music, I have been lucky enough to hook up with a plethora of great musicians and vocalists and you will hear many of them on the new album.”
Is it difficult living so far away from the place that has influenced your work so much?
“Totally and I do feel pretty out of touch with what is going on back home. Most Detroit records don’t make it down here. Ironically I find out what’s happening by hitting the record stores in Japan or Europe. I’ve been lucky enough to see friends who pass through Wellington for gigs and always shake them down for the skinny back home. Musically, I think it is impossible to loose what I learned back home. It is still a part of me and what I produce. Hopefully what you will hear on the new album, which will be fairly unique. You could say it is Detroit meets Wellington, so go figure!”
Is there much of an electronic music scene Wellington and have you connected with it?
“Wellington is much more band-oriented, which in some ways is refreshing. I’ve had lots of fun sitting in with friends’ bands playing saxophone and I think this has influenced the new directions on the album.”
It’s been a while since your last album, is the recording process a slow one for you? Or has the move to New Zealand slowed the process down?
“That is a ‘yes’ to both questions. Getting re-settled took a long time, in addition to which my partner and I had a baby boy a year and a half ago. I was also sidetracked with lots of side projects, which in a way is good because I have a stockpile of music ready to be released after this LP. Recording this album also took a very long time, as there is probably four times more live material on this album than the last.”
Does this suggest a desire to present your music in the context of a live band or do you prefer to DJ?
“I like DJing and have been getting re-interested in it as of late. I am talking with people here about ways to translate these LP tracks into a smoking live band experience. Up to this point my live sets haven’t felt all that exciting to me as the computer is still mostly in control. I hope to change that and let the band drive the song and make the computer (or synths or whatever) work in the background.”
Hiatus On The Horizon is an interesting title for your new album. Is there a story behind it?
“It’s meant to play off people’s illusions of what it’d be like for a kid from Detroit to move to a ‘far away South Pacific paradise’ like New Zealand. It’s supposed to be ironic. It should especially be funny to see what people down here think of it! Hope they get it.”
Do you find it difficult making a living as a musician?
“Yes! It has always been fun but once you add a family into the equation things change drastically. It’s very difficult to make enough money and hard to chase the money jobs yet still manage to maintain your artistic integrity. Music is great but sometimes I do wish I had a nine to five and know what’s going to come in week to week. Although that would get old quickly.”
So what can we expect from your set when you get down to Melbourne?
“Expect to have lots of fun. I’m going to play all over the board not to mention lots of new tracks off the album. C’mon y’all lets get fon-kay.”
Catch Recloose on Friday April 15 at Honkytonks in Melbourne and Saturday April 16 at The Basement in Sydney (BUY TICKETS). Hiatus On The Horizon out soon through Peacefrog/Creative Vibes.