There’s something truly mysterious and captivating about the music that Timber Timbre is creating. Early recordings echoed a haunting take on folk music, which creaked with the floorboards and cabin walls it was created in. Since signing to Arts & Crafts, the band has expanded around Taylor Kirk and flawlessly moved through a trio of recordings that kept those tenets, but added swampy blues and rock elements to the mix. Their most recent release, Hot Dreams, uses an all-star cast and a decidedly Western feel to continue the narrative.
Currently finishing the European leg of the Hot Dreams tour, Taylor Kirk was kind enough to sit down and answer a few questions for BeatRoute before heading back over the Atlantic.
BeatRoute: Your albums always feel very cinematic, even more so with this latest release. Was there an underlying theme to Hot Dreams?
Taylor Kirk: Underlying would be the key word… but I sort of consider previous Timber Timbre recordings to be cinematic music about music. Hot Dreams is more like cinematic music about film music. The true themes with this project, from album to album, normally overlap quite significantly. This time there’s a lot about sex and fantasy, gender and stereotype, cowboys and Indians, revenge and devotion. Also, love.
BR: How personal, both lyrically and musically, is the songwriting process? Do you consider Timber Timbre’s music dark?
TK: It’s certainly dark, even during its most whimsical and humorous moments, but I’ll be drawn to things that lean one way or the other; something quite vapid and saccharine, or something quite dark. On one hand, the process is quite personal. On the other hand, at times, I feel like I am acting out some catharsis, like a collage artist, assembling very affectionate genre studies.
TK: It seemed clear that, from a technical standpoint, both of these places seemed to have something very special and unique to offer, as well as being very accommodating and the proficient people working there. The Banff Centre offered us the sort of focused isolation we were looking for, in addition to a state-of-the-art recording studio and an amazing engineer. The National Music Centre is basically a playground of keyed instruments and synthesizers.
BR: Chad VanGaalen animated an amazing video for “Beat the Drum Slowly.” Have you guys worked with Chad before? Are there any future projects to come?
TK: We’ve been great fans of Chad’s music and animation for years now and always fantasized about asking him to do something for one of our songs. We were pretty much over the moon when we saw the final result, having not seen more than a still image or two. No future plans with Chad, as I imagine he’s a very busy guy these days.
BR: What’s the weirdest experience you’ve had on tour or while playing live?
TK: I don’t know if this is really the weirdest, but the other day, we were playing in Berlin, and I turned and saw that our bus driver had actually got onstage with his giant camera and was climbing around taking photos; very strange. At some point I had to ask him to please leave the stage and he basically hated us for the rest of the tour.
BR: If you could revive one artist or musician from the dead and spend the day with them – who would it be?
TK: I’m kind of fascinated by Arthur Russell, not only his music but also his biography. I really appreciate how prolific he was and how diverse his legacy is. I think I’d like to hang out with him for a day.
Timber Timbre will play the Starlite Room (Edmonton) on June 12, Republik (Calgary) on June 13 and Union Hall (Winnipeg) on June 16.
By Cory Jones
Photos: Jean-Baptiste Toussaint