When it was official that Carpark Records and I were going to go ahead with PHASES, I had tons of demo tracks to chose from for the first single. But I opted for a brand new composition instead and wrote NEW DESIGN in a few days last November. I knew each PHASES single would have a different sound but I willingly didn't assign any style restrictions for "Phase 1". As my first original Montag song to be released in years, a bit of freedom only seemed fair!
NEW DESIGN started with a bass line and a simple beat assembled in my computer. No real instruments or anything, all "canned" sounds. Everything was built from that foundation... This kind of starting point might seem unsurprising to some but in my case, it was not "the usual way". Montag tracks are very often written from looped samples (synths chords most of the time). For the lyrics, I liked the idea of using the word "new" because the whole experience of writing the song felt that way: new - new project, new context, new everything. Because the song was not destined for an album I felt really different about it. The song had to stand on its own. And it was all written really spontaneously, with this newly felt enthusiasm that Dominic Vanchesteing had somehow injected in me. I was excited about writing Montag music for the first time in a long while. The result is a very "Montag sounding" track with an extra dose of sugar: it has the fastest bpm ever: 151! It has to mean something...
The B-side of the single is called NOVA HEART. The story behind the song and the making of it is a sweet one. Dominic had offered to help me with my new material and we had a conversation about the singers that we liked, or people that we would love to work with. At some point we were going through our favourite local singers. The name Liane Balaban came up. We were surprised that we both knew her because she is a lot better known for her acting work than for her great singing voice (she once had a band We are Molecules). I only she sang on a Bran Van 3000 song called "More Shopping" along with Momus. As soon as the idea came up, we looked at each other and we knew we had to meet her somehow, and invite her to collaborate.
Dominic immediately contacted her, and we ended up going to Toronto a month later... for a day only, just to meet with her. Liane travels a lot with her work and we were lucky that she was at the Toronto Film Festival for a few days. We met at a café and the chemistry was insanely good right away. We talked about collaborating, recording a song, etc. And it was Liane who suggested to start with a cover. She sent us a link to a Youtube video of this band called The Spoons. I had never heard of them - an 80s Canadian band from Toronto. We all loved the song and a month later, we were recording Liane at Dominic's studio in Montreal. It was clear that our version was going to be somewhat sadder than the original. Liane's voice is soft and it gave the song a nostalgic and fragile mood. We had such a great time recording the song. I realized how much more fun it can be to make music surrounded with friends.
|graphic design and Phases artwork by Curiousflux|