Cam Maclean on the aesthetic transformations of feelings & patience
From the artist who has already lent contributions to pop cult act Vesuvio Solo, Cam Maclean graced the DIY underground with the solo statement of audio endearments and intelligent ethereal designs with the album Wait for Love (courtesy of Atelier Ciseaux). Like the feeling of revisiting an esoteric album pop entry from the 1970s, Maclean is able to emulate something that feels assembled from an alternate vintage timeline where crooner-based arrangements are executed affectionate and elaborately evocative anachronisms (and instrumental analogues).
Cam lets the audience follow down a rabbit hole of synthesized old school adherences to the oddball obscurities that echo forgotten eras. Serenity is fashioned in ways that run the gamut from the psych sensibilities of "Sunshine", the serenity that takes over on the meditative "New Jerusalem" and the spirit floating title track. The production moves in concert with the Cam's exhibitions of pure unbridled passion as witnessed on "Light Cast", the illuminating sidewalks and streets of feeling on "Desire", the mind drifting drive of "Jacob Always" that coasts like a peaceful sequence of psychic sun-kissed epiphanies. The worlds of everything both real and imagined arrive on the smooth and sophisticated serenity of "Where I Go" that enraptures all faculties of the senses before you arrive at one of the big anthems of the album titled, "Sleepwalking", that will ingrain itself deep into your consciousness (created with the carefully composed smarts that exudes the sound of a beautiful summer season all wrapped up into an electric song). By the time the tape has run it's course of sides A and B; Cam completes a clever cycle of sharp compositions ,where you are nearly convinced that Wait for Love is something you feel as if you have known and enjoyed for most of your life already.
Cam Maclean provided a round of candid thoughts about the the debut solo album Wait For Love and more:
Notes on the good, the bad, the wonderful and new from the forefront of the Montreal scene fabrics.
I can't say that I'm at the forefront of the Montreal scene these days. It seems a bit more subdued than it used to be, but maybe that is more me changing (i.e. getting older) rather than the scene. One band that I really like and have been listening to lately, though, is Men I Trust. And I've at least seen the way the scene here has changed in many ways for the better—especially in terms of elevating female artists.
Descriptions, anecdotes, thoughts and notes on the pathway to creating your debut solo outing with Wait for Love.
The first song on the record, "Sunshine", was actually written in 2012. It's the oldest song on the record. It was first written in a much more straightforward major progression, but then completely rearranged in 2016 when my producer Adam and I started trying to revive it in a different form. Other songs started off completely different than they appear on the record, as well. Both Light Cast and Wait For Love, for instance, were originally written as slow acoustic ballads. I've always loved trying out different arrangements of songs until finding something that sits right in the context of a record. It's fun to take, say, a slow country tune I've written and then turn it into an up-tempo pop song. I never sit down and consciously try to write a song in a particular style. The more conscious effort to mould it always comes later, in the editing, arranging, and production.
The influence of how your work with Vesuvio Solo has informed aspects of your solo work.
The greatest joy in playing music for me is in the sense of community that comes from making music with other people. Vesuvio Solo is a songwriting partnership and I've always found it more exciting to work in partnerships when making music than trying to make songs completely on my own. Wait For Love was really born out of a creative partnership as well. It could not have happened in the same way had I not worked with producer Adam Wilcox. We worked in a very open-ended way, over a two year period or so. Aside from just going through many different arrangements of songs, we also spent a lot of time, after recording them, stripping away and adding things and then just mixing, mixing, mixing. The last song on the record, "Sleepwalking", was written and recorded basically on the spot with Adam. Other songs, like "Jacob Always", went through a couple dozen versions before we got them right. Sometimes you've got to stumble around blindly in the dark for ages before finding something that works.
Further notes on the discovery and learning process involved with the making of Wait For Love and thoughts on the how and why you gravitate toward these structures/post-structures of time-warping musical compositions that feel as if they were from a whole other era (either future or past).
This gravitation towards a certain aesthetic is almost always in the production, rather than the writing. I guess I just love the process of transforming songs in production and it was in the production that Adam and I discussed different records we like from various decades (whether they be those of newer artists like Weyes Blood, or an older artist like Todd Rundgren). When I actually sit down to write the songs initially it's usually on acoustic guitar or piano—and in that context I'm never trying to channel my musical influences or anything, at least consciously. When I sit down to write it's usually the product of some feeling that I'm sitting with, often restlessly, and that I just need to do something with.
Meditations on new projects and unfinished works in progress.
I've already been recording a lot of new music. There will hopefully be another record within the next year!
Current or classic icons, artists, provocateurs and activists that have your attention now.
I’m very inspired by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez winning her primary in New York! That news item felt like such a relief—as if things might eventually be okay, even though we’re living through what feels like this particularly bleak chapter for humanity.
Things are not just bad in the United States though and I think sometimes as Canadians we get a bit distracted by what is happening south of the border. I am very concerned that the government of Justin Trudeau has just bought a decaying pipeline from Kinder Morgan with taxpayer dollars, effectively guaranteeing the continued exploitation of the Alberta tar-sands. And I am further concerned that they have done this in spite of sustained protests from First Nations groups. Last week a dozen activists including Will George from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation (who has been at the forefront of this fight), dangled themselves off a bridge for 35 hours in Vancouver to impede oil tanker traffic. This group of protesters has since been charged and will join hundreds of others being criminalized for trying to steer Canada onto a more environmentally sustainable path. The activists fighting on the West Coast of Canada against this pipeline have my full attention and support. Unfortunately the media here does not give them much air-time.
Summer and fall hopes and dreams.
Speaking of climate change—there is currently an international headline-making heatwave in Montreal, and so I am definitely looking forward to late summer and fall already. I'm sure that feeling will pass once the heatwave does, but nonetheless I'm looking forward to the shows I have coming up this summer and to planning a lot more tour dates into the fall!
Cam Maclean's new album Wait For Love is available now via Atelier Ciseaux.