Published Apr 28, 2016After recording their 2014 debut Kalaboogie among the picturesque woods, hills and beaches of Calabogie, ON, just north of the Ottawa River Valley, Toronto dark psych electro trio DOOMSQUAD took to the barren regions of New Mexico to craft their follow-up LP, marking a significant change of pace for their upcoming Total Time.
"We needed to find an environment that had a really expansive horizon line," singer and multi-instrumentalist Jaclyn Blumas tells Exclaim! "We thought that would help our ideas go further in the song. Every tone relates to something of our imagination that we're pulling from the land."
After renting a remote "little shack" nestled in the mountains, the sibling trio of Trevor, Allie and Jaclyn Blumas spent a full month writing Total Time, drawing inspiration from the tranquility and isolation of their surroundings.
"Part of Total Time was experiencing writing music at different times," Jaclyn explains, "and exploring our own circadian rhythms, how to go with the flow and how to go against it. We got rid of all the clocks and we didn't have any cellphone reception, so we wrote in the middle of the night, we wrote in the morning and we wrote in the afternoon — there was no real schedule."
After completing the nine sonically dense and moody tracks that make up Total Time, DOOMSQUAD brought Holy Fuck keyboardist Graham Walsh to New Mexico to record the album. Returning to a studio in Toronto, the trio brought in a number of guests, including Fucked Up guitarist Mike Haliechuk, experimental electronic artist HUREN and singer-songwriter Mary Margaret O'Hara. The latter gives an unbridled vocal performance to their song "The Very Large Array," fulfilling a goal Jaclyn says started back in the late 2000s when she and her siblings played folk music.
"She's been a legend to us for a really long time. We made a little cassette and Mary was a customer at a restaurant where Trevor used to work and he gave it to her. She was throwing this annual Irish Day fest and she asked us to come up and sing with her. One day we asked her if she would be interested in performing on a record and she said yeah."
What the trio wrote for O'Hara to perform on was a resulting 10-minute instrumental.
"When we sent it to her, we asked her, 'Do you kinda want to know what the song's about?' and she was like 'Nope!' We asked her if she had listened to it yet and she was like, 'Nope, I'm just going to do it.' We didn't want to chop or splice any of her takes, so what we took from Mary is just one take."
Total Time is due out Friday (April 29) via Hand Drawn Dracula. You can see the band's upcoming tour dates, including shows in Montreal and Toronto, over here.