By Naddine Madell-Morgan
Timber Timbre’s music is sexy, swampy, and makes one want to take off their clothes and sweat a little. The lyrics drip and ache with longing and cinematic restraint, in no small part due to frontman Taylor Kirk starting on the path of filmmaking over a decade ago.
“I had the idea that I might like to make music for films and I was serious about making recording,” Kirk tells BeatRoute.
“By the time I finished (school) I had made a few art films, and realized I was making the films so that I could make the music for the films.”
So, Kirk started Timber Timbre.
“I never even had any idea that I would even share it with anybody, that I would even play it for my friends or anyone I knew. I didn’t have any particular ambition.”
Six albums, two JUNO nominations, and two Polaris Music Prize shortlists later, things are a lot different.
It “seems that each time I go to start over to make something, the whole process is sort of infected with the idea that it is going to be presented or consumed or that it has a life that I ought to be concerned about beyond the basic idea of making it,” explains Kirk.
Timber Timbre’s last three albums were recorded in myriad of magical places, like the renamed Grand Lodge No. 24, the studio formerly owned by Arcade Fire.
Other locations have included the National Music Centre in Calgary and the Banff Centre for Performing Arts, which was a “real dream.” Perhaps trying to top their previous locations, the recording sessions for their upcoming sixth full-length Sincerely, Future Pollution, took them to La Frette chateau, a studio outside Paris.
“The guy who owns (and runs) the place is living in Montreal part time and has a relationship with the music scene here,” explains Kirk of who the album came to be.
“Leslie Feist had been there, [José] González, Patrick Watson… so I’d heard about it forever. Then we had a show in Paris and we came to visit the studio, to have a look around and they were so hospitable and the studio itself just had a weird vibe.”
Doubt, at one time or another can seep into artistic endeavours, no matter the success one achieves.
“The kind of doubt that I had with this recording I have never had before”.
The writing and recording came during a time where Timber Timbre was restructuring as an act and an entity. All their infrastructure “had to also be reassembled.” The spooky vibe of La Frette, the political landscape, and the lingering doubt Kirk felt seeped into the recordings themselves.
“For the most part people found it weird,” Kirk states. “Suspicious or something.”
“In the past, we’ve always put out the songs that we’ve liked or felt were the most interesting. This time, because we started working with this European label called City Slang, and the project has more traction and interest in Europe, they had a stronger opinion and they felt that [the album’s lead single, the morose and lo-fi] “Sewer Blues” was a better bridge sonically between the back catalog and what the new record sounds like.”
Accordingly, Sincerely, Future Pollution is pure heartache, and despite the restructuring, just as freaky and provocative as anything you’ve heard from Timber Timbre. Anchored by Kirk’s provocative baritone, it’s bluesy and bleak with swirling arrangements and melancholic guitars. Be sure to pick up a copy when it’s revealed to the world on April 7th.
Timber Timbre performs May 2 at the Starlite Room (Edmonton), May 3 at the Commonwealth Bar & Stage (Calgary), and May 5 at The Vogue Theatre (Vancouver). Sincerely, Future Pollution will be released on Friday, April 7, and can be ordered from Arts & Crafts at https://arts-crafts.ca/releases/AC130.html.Commonwealth, Starlite Room, The Vogue, Timber Timbre