Every so often, artists will change their sound, leave a band or just reinvent themselves. This is what has happened with Hamilton’s Matthew de Zoete, with the release of his debut EP, Super 8, under the moniker Colour Film. Super 8 is released today on Ship Records.
The album starts with “The Money’s On The Dresser”, a great introduction to the sound of Matthew’s new project. His voice is pure and light, mirrored by the acoustic guitar played by producer Les Cooper. The percussion, played expertly by Joel Stouffer, and the keyboards by Robbie Grunwald, add bursts of texture to the song. The lyrics are a bit of a contrast to the instrumentation, talking about a relationship that’s not the best, with the couple always fighting and not being happy with each other.
The next song is “Fall”, a great love song with background vocals by Julie Fader. The more upbeat instrumentation lightens the mood, with Matthew and Julie singing about rekindled love. A major part of this song is led through each section by Mark McIntyre on bass guitar.
“Pull Out Bed” is the following track, pulling on more country roots in the guitar and drums. A harmonica adds to the folk-country sound during the instrumental sections. The song touches on the big questions in life and love, mainly what are they living for now.
The slower sound returns with “Again and Again”, with Matthew singing about the end of a relationship and wanting it back. The instrumentation is similar to the first song, but with Julie singing backup.
“Tomorrow” is the next song, being predominantly based around a piano, keyboards and percussion. It is about looking at pictures from the past and wondering about the future, how it will look in comparison. The listener can hear the fear and nostalgia in Matthew’s voice, along with the backup vocals.
The EP finishes with “The Changes”, bringing back the up beat feel of the other songs. There is a fuller, richer sound to the band, with each instrument melding well together. Matthew and Julie sing about wondering over past loves and their situation at the present moment and time.
The album is a great collection of nostalgia and love. This is what Matthew and I talked about during our phone interview this past week.
What was the inspiration behind Super Eight? Something you wanted to convey through the songs?
Well, the name comes from the album title of my last record. And I had found some old Super Eight films of my grandparents from when they were younger, around my age. I realized that I have a lot more in common with them than I originally thought.
I wanted to make songs that, to a degree, work like Super 8 films, or little home movies in their minds when they listen to them. They can close their eyes and they can take out a set of characters, plot or situation, some visual imagery in the song that they can picture in their mind. Give them something to see, and with each song, I realize that that that’s what I’ve been trying to do with music.
So then I thought, I’ll name myself after that, and it meant something to me. Then I figured with that name, with these six songs, most of the time being written and recorded with that idea in mind, thought that using the name Super 8 would tie in with that, both because of the mention of that in the song “Colour Film” from a few years ago, and I’m trying to make songs that are like home movies for people where they can relate to what I’m talking about or maybe even recognize themselves in the songs here and there.
How was working with Les Cooper?
I really liked it. He produced the last full-length record Colour Film, as well and so I guess even when we met for the first time we hit it off right away, musically and personality-wise. I wanted to keep working with him. I find that he always challenges me to do things that maybe I didn’t think I could do or maybe didn’t want to do, but he also enables me to do those things and I think he enables me to bring out the best in what I do and find new things in what I do, that are surprising in a really good way.
Did Julie Fader have any influence on some of the music?
Yeah, well she sang on four songs on the last full length and actually one song on my very first record ten years ago, and then three songs on this one. So we’ve been friends for a while. She had a lot of influence on the songs, but she wasn’t involved in the writing process or the arranging process, although we did those three songs recording and arranging them with her harmonies in mind, leaving space for them, so I guess she didn’t actively influence that but she was a passive influencer just because we knew that she would be singing on them. I think I get her to sing on a lot of my stuff because I really like what she does, and how our voices sound together. What she does sets my voice and sets the sonic atmosphere and what we are going for.
And your happy with how the songs have turned out?
I’m really happy with how they have turned out, it’s different than what I thought it would be and I like it when that happens. I write the songs and Les and I shape them a little bit in pre-productions, then we hire a bunch of musicians that we’ve worked with before and built the arrangements up live off the floor of the studio while we were recording so the sound and the feel is different than what I thought it would be mainly because I didn’t really have much of a preconceived notion of what I wanted. I had a bit of an idea that I would be making a melodic folk-pop record, I didn’t think I’d be making a thrash metal record. The details of it I never flushed out in my mind, I just wanted to let it come alive in the studio. Also let the players have some freedom to explore what they thought their part should be, and because we were all working together, everyone sat in on the arrangements together, and the players, when they weren’t engineering, or producing, did have some input on how things sounded and different tones to use. It was a surprise, a nice surprise.
Are you thinking of making a full length record under the name Colour Film?
That’s the plan, or maybe there will be a massive backlash of all these Matthew De Zoete fans crying for me to revert to my Christian name, but we’ll see how it goes. I’ve played a bunch of shows for this release under the name Colour Film and it feels right to me, it feels like it represents what I want to do with music and it’s a little easier to say into the microphone than Matthew De Zoete. Hopefully it’s a little less awkward.
So, you’re touring around Canada promoting this. Any other music plans for the next few months?
Next few months will be a lot of touring, so all over Ontario and Montreal between now and the middle of May, and then to the East Coast for a tour, and then in June going out to Vancouver, and back, driving out and playing every night. Then in the summer I will be playing around a little bit, not as intensely. My wife and I have two little girls, so I should be home for a little bit, and my wife is a full-time farmer with a full farm. The summer is her busy time, so I will be helping her out, driving the tractor and working on the farm a little bit. I find it a good way to decompress after touring and releasing a record. Spend a little bit less time at the computer, and a little bit more time out in the fresh air.