It’s easy to forget that Kathryn Calder is a music industry veteran. From her first band Immaculate Machine, to the New Pornographers and her solo works Kathryn has released 10 albums over the last 10 years, toured around the world, and solidified herself a career in music before she was thirty. She recorded her first solo album, Are You My Mother in her family home while she was taking care of her mother as she lost her fight with ALS. Shortly before the release of her sophomore record, Bright and Vivid her father suddenly passed away. This bittersweet whirlwind of success and tragedy is certainly reflected in her first two albums and presumably could have provided several more albums worth of material.
Yet rather than jump into writing after touring Bright and Vivid, Kathryn stopped to finally take a moment and take stock of her life. “I love being on the road,” she says, “but there’s a side of me that is definitely a homebody and I was ready to settle into a solid base free of trauma and drama.” After some unwinding and reflection she found herself coming back to the same thought, “How am I going to approach my life seeing as how it’s so short?” Part of the answer was to write songs that had a sense of authenticity. With this goal in mind she sat down with her guitar and began to tease out melodies and craft songs. A year later she had a full album recorded. She threw it away and started over.
Listening back, Kathryn found the songs felt too much like going through the motions – they sounded like work. It wasn’t until she found herself experimenting with synths that she found the spark and began to write again, except this time from a producers chair in the new Vancouver Island studio built by her husband and co-producer Colin Stewart. Each song began not with lyrics or melody, but with an atmosphere built from manipulating synths and loops.
From these soundscapes arose the ten songs of Kathryn Calder to be released on File Under: Music on April 14. A collection striving to be both vulnerable and timeless, the album ranges from the get up and move of “Take a Little Time” and “Only Armour” to the delicateness of “Song and Cm” and “Arm and Arm”. Featuring guest vocals from Dan Mangan, Jill Barber, and Hannah Georgas, Kathryn Calder demonstrates Kathryn’s limitless creative potential as she transitions from a songwriter reacting to the world to one who can capture her own moments and create one.