Kalle Mattson
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Kalle Mattson

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | INDIE

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2011
Solo Folk Rock




"Video Review: Thick As Thieves"

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/good-news/history-world-fun-stop-motion-music-video-172902419.html - Yahoo! Canada

"First Watch: Kalle Mattson's Water Falls"

But Mattson's boyish vocals and soft, guitar-driven rock sooth the spin. As the visuals speed past, he sings of watching life pass you by. In an email, Mattson explained the concept of the video and hope for it's meaning: - NPR: All Songs Considered

"Album Review: Anchors"

Upon first listening to Anchors, the debut from Kalle Mattson, it's difficult to look past the thin, brittle and ennui-drenched quality of vocalist Kalle Wainio's delivery. But after a few more spins, it becomes the band's greatest asset. Mixed by eternally underrated Toronto, ON musician Howie Beck, Wainio's voice is left unsullied, free from double-tracking, harmony or voice correction, allowing songs like "Thick as Thieves" and "Shattered Minds" to spill over with anti-character and slacker charisma. As expected, Anchors is fraught with reference points and conduits, with the vocal quality of Stephen Malkmus, Thurston Moore and David Berman coming off as the most obvious examples. But songs like "Come & Gone" and "Singing Knives" manage to capture the livewire guitar tone of Wilco's Nels Cline and the vertigo pacing of Polvo and Helium. Anchors is a splendid surprise, much more inventive, focused, meaty, individualistic and industrious than you would ever imagine coming from a group of early adults (originally) from the Soo. On second thought, it makes perfect sense.
(Parliament of Trees) - Exclaim

"Ones to Watch: 2012"

Kalle Mattson
Kalle Mattson is a folk-rock band formed around the songwriting of 21-year-old Kalle Wainio, who was born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., but moved to Ottawa a couple of years ago to study classical guitar at the University of Ottawa. His bandmates moved with him to pursue their own studies in music. Their second album, Anchors, contains great songs and a dynamic scope comparable to Wilco. It would have been one of a million terrific unheard albums this year, except for the cool video their animator friend, Kevin Parry, made to go with the song Thick as Thieves. It’s a clever, quirky piece of stop-motion animation that presents the history of the world in three-and-a-half minutes. The video went viral around the same time the album was picked up by the Winnipeg-based indie label, Parliament of Trees. In a stroke of genius, the band decided to offer the album as a free download. “It was probably the best thing we’ve ever done as a band,” Mattson wrote on the band’s website. “Anchors has reached far more people than we ever thought possible.” There are already plans for a followup album in 2012. Lynn Saxberg, Ottawa Citizen - National Post

"Who to Watch: CMW"

Who: Kalle Mattson
What: The Ottawa singer’s poppy sound has caught a lot of ears, but his video “Thick As Thieves,” with its arts and crafts history of the world, caught enough eyeballs to go viral. - CBC

"Best Music From Across the MAP"

Kalle Mattson recently racked up over a million views of their Thick As Thieves video, which is impressive for any indie band. The attention generated by the video shouldn't be dismissed as hype. Kalle Mattson are impressive songwriters and musicians, and have fans across Canada eagerly awaiting their new EP (from which Water Falls comes from) at the start of May. - Guardian UK

"Distinctly Canadian"

This is Ottawa based Kalle Matson – “named after John Cale and often confused with a lettuce.” Kalle’s voice has that certain hominess to it. Having been born and raised in Toronto, it’s something I recognize as sounding distinctly Canadian. - Alan Cross

"Songs You Need to Hear:"

Check out this great cut from singer/songwriter Kalle Mattson’s new album Lives in Between, called “Miles in Between.”

Mattson says “Miles in Between” was inspired by Nick Drake’s album Bryter Later, and that he played almost all of the instruments on the song, which he recorded in his living room.

“The lyrics of the song really try to tell a story of two people being pulled apart by distance, and eventually they succumb to the realization that some things are born to live and born to die,” Mattson says. - American Songwriter

"Hear Canadian singer-songwriter Kalle Mattson's 'Darkness' -- EXCLUSIVE"

This time of year, the Canadians sure know something about darkness. So perhaps it’s fitting that Ontario singer-songwriter Kalle Mattson‘s latest song touches on just that theme.
“Darkness” is the first single from the 22-year-old Mattson’s upcoming album Someday the Moon Will Be Gold, and you can hear it exclusively here. - Entertainment Weekly

"Premiere: Kalle Mattson's 'A Love Song to the City'"

A Love Song to the City, premiering exclusively at USA TODAY, is about Kalle Mattson's hometown, "a really personal record" that touches on the singer/songwriter coming to grips with the death of his mother, Anne Gilmour, when he was 16.

The video was filmed in Sault Ste. Marie, about eight hours north of Toronto in northern Ontario, Canada. He says the song highlights how "peculiar" the town is. "I sort of joke that that song is about people who live in Sault Ste. Marie yet complain about living there and never leave," says Mattson, 22.

"I hope it's oblique enough that it can apply to anyone's hometown or anyone's experience ... (because) place has such a specific thing in all of our memories."

The cover of his new album, Someday, the Moon Will Be Gold, depicts a painting by his mother. The video for A Love Song to the City features projected photos of him and his mother as well.

"I think all young people in any isolated small town feel sort of disconnected or lonely, especially people who write music or play music," Mattson says - USA Today

"Pitchfork Review"

7.6 Review. Bildungsroman: it's a term that might stick with you a decade or two after a semester of English. A German word roughly meaning "novel of formation," the bildungsroman can be more readily understood as a subset of the coming-of-age tale: a protagonist experiences an emotional hardship, embarks on a journey, and transitions from youth into adulthood and maturity as a result of their trials. And while the term is typically applied to literary works, there are plenty of musical examples: from Bruce Springsteen's early interrogations of life and love in the swamps of Jersey to more recent efforts from the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Arcade Fire, and Miley Cyrus, the sonic bildungsroman is alive and well. A strong new entry into the genre is Ottawa singer-songwriter Kalle Mattson's Someday, the Moon Will Be Gold, a document of personal growth set against the backdrop of his mother's death five years ago.
The album is Mattson's third full-length—he debuted with 2009's Whisper Bee, and followed that up with 2011's Anchors and a 2012 EP, Lives in Between—but it feels like a debut in many respects: his sound has never been this fully realized, and he has never drawn himself in such clear, unflinching light. To his credit, Mattson is well aware of the leap the record constitutes: in an interview with the Ottawa Citizen, he noted that, “this record really feels like a first, or a debut…I worked harder on this one than any of the others and for the first time I really feel like I’m singing about something that means something to me.” As a writer and performer, he revels in the great tradition of Weird Indie Rock Men, the line of Tweedy and Mangum and Malkmus, and the recent golden age of Canadian rock music. At 23, he spent his formative years in the 00s listening to scores of great bands pouring out of Montreal and Toronto like water from broken taps, many under the umbrella of collectives like Broken Social Scene and Arcade Fire. His voice—an idiosyncratic, knotty yawp—and his penchant for bold, nakedly emotional composition are clearly derived from these two sources.
Mattson isn’t particularly concerned with wit or cheek, just gut punches: Someday, the Moon Will Be Gold is a record clearly designed with the cathartic climax in mind, and there’s no shortage of them throughout the album. Many of the finest moments are borne out of his smart deployment of orchestration, whether it’s helping to kick down a set of doors (on the dusty, rollicking opener “An American Dream”) or blooming around soaring clusters of harmonies and crashing percussion (that’s the record’s heart, the mammoth “Eyes Speak”). Mattson’s tasteful use of horns as exclamation points stands out at a time when artists across genres have turned to brass as a signifier of class, slathering it over their compositions to indicate they’re writing “serious” music. In Mattson’s hands, it’s about heart.
The richness of Someday, the Moon Will Be Gold’s sound feels earned by Mattson’s lyrics, which are dense, thoughtful, and inspired by a collection of tough experiences. To hear him tell it, he dodged meaningful interaction with his mother’s death until just last year, when his grandmother passed away. Mattson returned to his hometown of Sault Ste. Marie, having finished university in Ottawa and a brief stretch of touring, and spent three months alone working and writing this album. His mother’s spirit courses through it, and carries with it varied bursts of anger, loneliness, faith, and hope. In many ways, the album views Mattson’s loss through the prism of interaction with his hometown: he sings about the difficulties of coming from a hardscrabble northern city, where it seems like the only notable thing about the place you grew up is the magnitude of its isolation, with a weariness and conflicted mind that’s instantly familiar and affecting. It's a struggle here, to find the balance between feeling tied to where you came from and wanting something better, something more. Grief can hang in a similar balance, stuck somewhere between never giving up someone you’ve lost and picking up the pieces, moving on with your life. It’s clear from Mattson’s writing that he’s familiar with both sides of the equation. - pitchfork.com

"Kalle Mattson - Someday the Moon Will Be Gold"

At just 23, Ottawa musician Kalle Wainio has given himself every opportunity to grow into an established singer/songwriter. As many young musicians use these formative years to ham-handedly bang away at their instruments in dingy clubs and late-night practice spaces, Wainio rather found his voice in the studio, crafting three deeply personal albums and one EP in just four years.

Written largely about the death of his mother, LP number three for Wainio's five-piece band Kalle Mattson, comes off as a sometimes bombastic, always inward-looking confession. Produced by the Wooden Sky's Gavin Gardiner while working with members of Cuff the Duke, Someday the Moon Will Be Gold surprisingly sounds less perfunctorily Canadian than previous material, as songs like the yearning "Darkness" and the naked "A Love Song to the City" work off of skittering instrumentation and transcendent melody phrasings. Someday the Moon Will be Gold is, simply, a benchmark in fearless songwriting.
(Parliament of Trees) - Exclaim

"Kalle Mattson: Someday the Moon Will Be Gold"

Someday, Kalle Mattson Will Go Gold

Recently, Ottawa artist Kathleen Edwards announced that she may be (or may not be, as news reports may show) retiring from music. If that story is indeed true, that begs the question – which Ottawa artist may fill the void left by her absence? Well, Kalle Mattson makes a pretty good case for it on his third and latest LP, Someday, The Moon Will Be Gold. It’s a bit ironic, in any event, that Mattson’s latest disc actually immediately precedes my copy of Edwards’ Voyageur album in my iTunes folder. Inspired by the death of his mother, and written in his old hometown of Sault Ste. Marie, Mattson brings forth a vision of both hope and despair on his latest full-length. Coming across as both a Canadian version of Bruce Springsteen, with the added touch of horns a la a Broken Social Scene, Someday, The Moon Will Be Gold is a staggering and emotional listen. Filling Edwards’ shoes is a big task for someone so young – Mattson is 23 years old – but he does so quite admirably on his latest record. It’s hard not to be something of a cheerleader, considering that I, too, am from the place that Mattson calls home, but, thankfully, the goods on Someday, The Moon Will Be Gold are such that it’s easy to consider that this artist is someone who is easily a person to keep tabs on and watch with careful scrutiny. Indeed, I recently passed by an Ottawa record store – Compact Music on upper Bank Street here – and Mattson’s record was prominently displayed in the store’s window. People believe in Mattson’s vision, it seems.

The whole thing opens up with the very BSS-sounding “An American Dream”, not to be confused with a certain Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young song, if only it were imagined by a certain Boss. The track highlights all that is well with Mattson, adding a touch of horns that give it a certain gravitas. Follow-up track “Darkness” is much more acoustically rendered, bringing a feeling of bleakness to the song. “The Living and the Dead”, meanwhile, is another acoustic track with haunting keyboards giving a feeling of starkness to the piece. “Sound and Fury (A Dream Within a Dream)”, again, brings to mind the best works of Springsteen. However, it’s “Hurt People Hurt People” that provides the album’s most rockist moment, with keyboards that are squiggly and recall The Cars. It’s clearly the highlight amongst an album of highlights. This is followed by “Eyes Speak”, which would neatly follow on anything on Bob Mould’s Workbook album. It’s a dreamy track, pulsated with a kick drum that beats like a heartbeat.

This is all followed by what would be considered the title track of sorts, “The Moon Is Gold”. With a searing guitar line that is remotely fuzzy, the song will easily get toes a tapping, even if it references the Fourth of July, which seems remotely un-Canadian. “God’s Only Son”, meanwhile, recalls the fellow Canadian Eamon McGrath. “A Love Song to the City” is a lilting ballad of the highest order, which appears to be an ode to Ottawa – “We’ve got bus lines to nowhere / Bridges to somewhere / But no one can find it”. “Pick Me Up”, on the other hand, is another acoustically strummed piece of folk-rock, but is much more optimistic than what preceded it. And the rest of the album more or less follows from there, with plucked ballads that emote a fragile beauty that underscores the fragililty of the record as a whole.

On the whole of it, Someday, The Moon Will Be Gold is a beautiful statement that makes Mattson such an up and coming talent. While his singing comes across as something that sounds akin to Kermit the Frog meets Jens Lekman, making this album something of a weak link, the prettiness of much of the record’s surroundings gives up a lot of what might seem like a weakness and turns it into something that is affecting and great. And, hey, you can say that his voice is certainly distinctive. There’s a certain beauty to be found on this record, and it brings forth a great feeling of hope. If anything, Someday, The Moon Will Be Gold is the start of an artist who is at the cusp of obtaining a great deal of maturity in his songwriting. That Mattson is able to recall the best bits of fellow Canadian artists such as Broken Social Scene, Arcade Fire and Eamon McGrath, while sounding wholly original, is just a testament to the greatness of this album as a whole. In the end, Mattson is able to convince that, should Edwards be as frank and determined to not make another album on her own ever again, he’s certainly ready to take up the plank and deliver something consistent and engaging. Someday, The Moon Will Be Gold is an emotional and yet not draining artistic statement, and well worth hearing. - Pop Matters

"Neue Alben: Die Nerven, Sunn O))) & Ulver, Kalle Mattson"

Großes Staunen über die Vielfältigkeit: Die neuen Alben von Die Nerven, Kalle Mattson und Sunn O))) & Ulver vollziehen den Beweis, dass neue Musik durchaus möglich ist. profil unerhört präsentiert die wichtigsten CDs der Woche.

Von Philip Dulle, Sebastian Hofer und Stephan Wabl

Die Nerven: Fun (Cargo Records/This Carming Man)

Der Albumtitel darf als reiner Sarkasmus verstanden werden: auf eindringlichen 36 Minuten Spielzeit oszilliert „Fun“ zwischen Albtraumphantasien, Wut, Resignation und Euphorie – aber auch zwischen „Angst“, „Girlanden“ und „Blauen Flecken“, um einige Songtitel zu zitieren. Das offiziell zweite (inoffiziell bereits fünfte) Album des schwäbischen Noiserock-Trios Die Nerven wird von deutschen Medien bereits als eines der wichtigsten der Zehnerjahre gefeiert. Das liegt neben dem unmissverständlich rohen Duktus der zehn Songs auch darin begründet, dass Die Nerven eben nicht den aktuellen Zeitgeist zwischen Instagram-Gemütlichkeit, Work-Life-Balance und gemütlicher Bausparvertrag-Glückseligkeit bedienen. Lieber singen und schreien sie über die „Dinge in ihren Köpfen“, die keiner verstehen will (erschütternd dargeboten in dem Song „Angst“) und dabei ihrem Welt- und Menschenekel freien Lauf lassen. Natürlich kommen auch Die Nerven nicht ganz ohne Referenzen aus, orientieren sich musikalisch an Fehlfarben und Joy Division, aber auch an aktuelleren Schmerzensgenossen wie Cloud Nothings, Iceage und Metz. Dass sie, einem alten Joy-Division-Credo folgend, Musik nicht aus einer Rockstar-Laune heraus machen, sondern einfach keine andere Wahl haben, wird spätestens in dem zentralen Stück „Ich erwarte nichts mehr“ klar: Die Nerven malträtieren Gitarre, Bass und Schlagzeug mit soviel Euphorie und Herzschmerz, dass der Verstärker sprichwörtlich zu zerbersten droht. Als Hörer fühlt man sich mittendrin im Leben, zwischen Dosenbier, Tschick und grindigen Proberäumen, den Schmerz lauthals rausschreiend. (9.0/10) Ph. D.

Kalle Mattson: Someday The Moon Will Be Gold (Parliament of Trees)

Kalle Mattson hat ein großartiges Album veröffentlicht. Die Stimme des jungen Kanadiers schwankt auf „Someday, The Moon Will Be Gold“ (Stream zum Album) wunderbar zwischen zerbrechlicher Melancholie (The Living & the Dead, Amelie) und selbstbewusstem Aufbruch (Sound & Fury, Pick Me Up). Hörner-, Keybord- und Geigenklänge weben Mattsons fein gesetzte Gitarrentöne in einen feinschichtigen Nebel, der jedoch immer wieder von der Sonne durchbrochen wird. Mit seinem dritten Album emanzipiert sich der 22-jährige Indie-Singer-Songwriter endgültig von seinen Vorbildern John K. Samson oder Wilco, Vergleiche mit Bob Dylan werden obsolet und die eigene Handschrift deutlich hör- und spürbar. Der Hintergrund dieser Entwicklung ist allerdings ein trauriger: Mattson verarbeitet auf diesen zwölf Liedern den Tod seiner Mutter, der mittlerweile sechs Jahre zurückliegt. „Ich wusste lange nicht, wie ich damit umgehen soll,“ erzählt er im Interview mit profil online. Das Ergebnis ist ein beeindruckendes Dokument von Mattsons Trauerarbeit zwischen Abschied und Hoffnung, das ihm heuer einiges an Aufmerksamkeit bescheren sollte. (8.5/10) S. W. - Profil

"Kalle Mattson - Someday the Moon Will Be Gold"

‘Someday, The Moon Will Be Gold‘ ist bereits das dritte Album des Kanadiers Kalle Mattson. Wer sich im noch jungen Jahr 2014 über eine mangelnde Versorgung an klassischem Rock beschwert, wird mit der erdigen Rock-Opulenz seiner neuen Platte mehr als zufrieden gestellt werden.

‘An American Dream‘ entpuppt sich als perfekter Opener, hoffnungsvoll nach vorne preschend und an den Boss erinnernd, fühlt man sich von Kalle Mattsons durchdringenden Vocals sofort vereinnahmt. “In a lot of ways this is a record about hope. A hope that things will get better. A hope for the future. A hope for someday.”, lässt Kalle in einem Interview verlauten und schon nach den ersten Tönen und den ersten gesungenen Wörtern glaubt man ihm. Das darauf folgende ‘Darkness‘ hingegen hört sich so an, wie ich mir das Album vorgestellt habe. Düsterer Folk Rock, der perfekte Soundtrack für nächtliche Spaziergänge oder das klassische Whiskey-Zigaretten Menü am Kamin. Was für ein Glück, dass hier die Erwartungen ausnahmsweise mal schlechter waren, als die Realität es ist. Auch kommt auf ‘Darkness’ das erste Mal die Bläsersektion zum Einsatz, ein immer wiederkehrendes Motiv, dass dem Sound von ‘Someday The Moon Will Be Gold’ deutlich mehr Facetten gibt.

‘Sound & Fury’ (A Dream Within A Dream)‘ zieht das Tempo wieder an und erstmals kommt auch eine Mundharmonika zum Einsatz – hier wird der feuchte Traum eines jeden Folk-Rock Fans gelebt. Eigentlich ist das kein Wunder, denn Produzent Gavin Gardiner (The Wooden Sky) hat Kalle Mattson in genau diese Richtung konditioniert. Während der Aufnahmen wurde das Studio mit Bruce Springsteens Nebraska und Platten von Tom Petty tapeziert. Der direkte Einfluss dieser Methode sei einmal dahingestellt, aber festhalten kann man, dass noch keine Platte von Kalle Mattson so gut, so vielfältig und so rockig geklungen hat. „It’s a rock record at heart, though“, sagt Kalle und Recht hat er. Trotzdem ist ‘Someday The Moon Will Be Gold’ enorm vielfältig. ‘Hurt People Hurt People‘ ist perfekter Power-Pop, ‘Amelie‘ eine schwermütige Ballade und ‘Pick Me Up‘ regiert mit Ben Kweller-artigem Singalong Wahnsinn.

Um es für die TLDR-Generation nochmal auf den Punkt zu bringen: Die bisher beste Rock Platte dieses Jahres kommt mit ‘Someday, The Moon Will Be Gold aus Kanada’. Unbedingt anhören! - Bedroomdisco

"In memoriam: Kalle Mattson’s latest CD remembers his mother’s death"

Ottawa singer-songwriter Kalle Mattson has been on a bit of a wild ride for the past two years or so. Only 23, he has a couple of albums and EPs under his belt and he’s been tabbed as an artist to watch. Now his next album, Someday, The Moon Will Be Gold, is being unveiled this week with an Ottawa release party at Zaphod’s on Feb. 15. The new disc was written in Mattson’s old hometown of Sault Ste. Marie following the death of his grandmother. Death is a theme as Mattson is also remembering the death of his mother more than five years ago. Mattson is just back from a short European trip and is about to embark on a Canandian tour. We caught up with him for this Q&A.

Tell me a bit about yourself these days and what you have been up to?

I just got back from my very first European tour. Three and a half weeks in six countries and it was an incredible experience. I’m heading back there three more times this year, so on that front it’s all been pretty exciting. Other than that I’ve been working on this record and getting it out into the world non-stop since 2012 and planning the insane amount of touring I’m doing this year.

The new album is obviously a big deal. Can you tell me when you started to work on it?

I essentially started writing it right after I finished my last full-length album Anchors in 2011, but I really didn’t find the voice of the record or the songs until about a year and a half/two years ago. Figuring out what I wanted to say and what this record was going to be about really jump started all the writing for the songs.

Would you describe the disc as a departure for you? Or would you describe it as an evolution?

I would describe it as both. In a lot of ways I see it as an evolution, I think if you listen to my older records you can clearly track the progress I’ve made from each release. At the same time though this record really feels like a first, or a debut. I joke about this a lot, but I say that if I was a rapper all my other records would just be mixtapes and Someday, The Moon Will Be Gold would be my MAJOR LABEL DEBUT. Except you know, not on a major label, but still. I worked harder on this one than any of the others and for the first time I really feel like I’m singing about something that means something to me.

There are several what I would call orchestrated songs. Is that a signature of your work or something new?

I think it’s a new style for sure, and again, I think of it as a natural progression. My past releases were orchestrated I think but just not as in depth or as obvious. With this one I wanted to expand the instrumentation and use different textures a lot more, and that meant really arranging and orchestrating and digging deeper into the songs.

I love the use of horns in the record. Is that something that always appears on your cds. If not why this time around?

I put out an EP in 2012 called Lives In Between and that was five songs I knew weren’t going to be on Someday, The Moon Will Be Gold but I liked them enough to put them out (and I really needed to have another music video after Thick As Thieves went viral) and that was the first release to feature horns. With this record though it was the first time I was writing songs with JF (Beauchamp, the trumpet/flugelhorn player in my band and on the record) in mind and you can really hear that across the entire record.

When you write a song, what comes first? The words or the music?

Music first, always. The music/vocal melodies/arrangements basically inform what I’m going to sing about, how I’m going to do it and what I’m trying to convey in the song. If I’m writing the music first though and I stumble into a lyric then that’s almost always a good sign. I remember writing Darkness and the first line of the song came to me out the blue (“I followed you darkness into the feeling that I thought I’d know”) and I knew I had something going on there.

Is there a theme to this new CD?

The main underlying story of the record is that I wrote it about when my mom passed away when I was 16 years old. It sort of chronicles my coming to terms with it after I had put off a lot of what I was feeling for years because I really didn’t know how to deal with it. I wrote the majority of the lyrics back in my childhood home when I moved back to Sault Ste. Marie after I finished university and was working a job so I could make enough money to record this album. The two main themes are death and hope though, and I really feel like the record starts in one place and ends in another. It opens with a dream (An American Dream) and Darkness, and ends with dawn (In The Morning Light) and Pick Me Up, and the last song on the record (Amelie) really sums up the record and my dealing with her death as a whole.

You give a nod to the BlackSheep Inn on the album. Is that place important to you? Why?

Definitely. Besides being one of the best (if not the best) venues in Canada it’s a really special place to me in the context of my “career”. Paul (Symes) was really great and encouraging to me early on and that support really meant a lot (and still does). I absolute love it there and can’t wait to play it again.

Tell me about the title Someday the Moon Will Be Gold.

It comes back to the themes of the record. I think it’s a hopeful title and for me it really wraps up the album well. For a record that has some really heavy and dark moments I wanted to have the overall feeling be hopeful and I think the title reflects that. The artwork for the album is actually all of my mom’s paintings and the title really fit well with the cover and I am so happy that I could make her even more a part of this record.

You have a very distinctive singing style? Is that a conscious thing on your part? Or is that just you?

It is not a conscious thing at all. I feel like I’ve gotten a lot better as a singer in the past few years (especially on this album) but I still feel like I don’t really know what I’m doing when it comes to singing. All of my favourite singers have really unique voices that are entirely their own (Jeff Tweedy, Stephen Malkmus, Neil Young etc.) so hopefully I have element of that individuality. - Ottawa Citizen

"Kalle Mattson Avalance"

Way back in 2014, Kalle Mattson released his remarkable and intensely personal record Someday, the Moon Will Be Gold, which earned widespread critical acclaim and a spot on the Polaris Music Prize long list. Avalanche, his new six-song EP, picks up where he left off.

The Sault St. Marie-born, Ottawa-based singer mines some of the same autobiographical territory as on his previous outing, in which he dealt with the death of his mother, but this time around approaches the material from a more mature stage in the journey. He longs now for less impossible things; his missteps are learning opportunities; he's moving forward.

What's remarkable here is how much Mattson accomplishes in just six tracks. The record combines an orchestral rollercoaster ("Avalanche") and catchy pop, replete with '80s synth and drum machines ("Lost Love," "New Romantics") and more restrained arrangements ("A Long Time Ago"). Elsewhere, he waxes gorgeous and mellow ("Left Behind," "Baby Blue").

It's hard to imagine he could achieve more with extra time and twice as many songs. Whether solemn or in overdrive, Mattson's gentle voice never lacks for emotive energy, while his songwriting always implies that he knows more than he lets on. Add Kalle Mattson to the long list of great Canadian songwriters; Avalanche is a stunner. - Exclaim!

"Kalle Mattson – “A Long Time Ago” (Stereogum Premiere)"

I first heard Ottawa singer-songwriter Kalle Mattson last year, when his third Polaris Prize-nominated album Someday, The Moon Will Be Gold crossed the border down from Canada and out into the wider reaches of the world. It was an album written about him coming to terms with his mother’s death, it was an album about loss, hope and pain. If you haven’t heard it, make an effort to seek it out. As is the case with major life events like the death of a parent, Mattson had a few songs that were more like an extension of Someday than a whole new album on their own, and he’s collected them onto the Avalanche EP that comes out in late August.

In discussing the EP, Mattson used one of my favorite aphorisms: “Doing the same thing twice but expecting different results is the definition of insanity.” So, Avalanche sounds slightly less folk and slightly more pop than his break-out record. We’re premiering the lead track “A Long Time Ago” and it’s replete with slick, whispered harmonies and echoing drum machines that build and release tension in slow revolving whirrs, reminiscent of Phosphorescent’s last record, Muchacho. But first and foremost is Mattson’s paper thin, wavering voice, strong in its freedom to be weak, fearless in vulnerability. As he ponders how far away adolescence seems to an adult, all his tiny memories snap that period back into focus like an image on a projector. Mattson may have updated his sound a bit, but he filters this song through the unflinching light the past, and prism that bends to the nostalgic will of this still emerging songwriter. Listen. - Stereogum


Still working on that hot first release.



I’ve been writing songs and playing shows since I was nineteen, almost six years now. Every step of the way there has been an incremental amount of excitement and success. Playing a new city for the first time, getting a nice review on that website, printing my first record on vinyl. All of it was thrilling and all of it hopefully on some path to making a life in music. 

I wrote and recorded a record in 2013 called Someday, The Moon Will Be Gold and it was an extremely personal, significant and substantial record for me. That record chronicled my experience of coming to terms with my mom’s passing five years earlier. In the year since it came out I got to tour the world playing my songs, I got nominated for the Polaris Music Prize, I snuck into the Vatican undetected and I got my rental car impounded in Vienna. I told stories about my mom every night and I felt like I shed myself of the hardest thing I ever went through in my life.

The challenge with writing a record that is so personal and so autobiographical is how do you follow it up? How do you make something new that still means as much to you? 

When one part of your life starts to go well, the thing you are never prepared for is all the other parts usually starting to go bad. I toured a lot in 2014 and touring is a hard way to live for a lot of different reasons. It puts a strain on any sort of normalcy around you. It stops your life at home in time while you are constantly making a new home each day. I had multiple band members quit last year. I grew more and more distant from my home and my family. I neglected most of my relationships. All of my present was falling apart while I was revisiting my past every night on stage. This mini record is about that. 

The first line on Avalanche is - I was born an orphan in the morning dew. That felt like a definitive way to start a new chapter after Someday. That song and this EP is about anxiety, nostalgia, the past, the future, it’s basically about being in your early 20s and not knowing what the fuck your life is. Left Behind is about me taking stock of all the people around me and of myself. A Long Time Ago looks back on an adolescence that now seems so far away and the the last song on the EP, Baby Blue, was written as a sequel to the final song on STMWBG - Amelie. I wrote Amelie from the perspective of a boyfriend my mom had when I was young. It was the last song I wrote for that record and it capped off the writing of that album and that chapter of my life. I tell that story every night on stage. Baby Blue was written from my mom’s perspective to me. It’s my favourite song on the record.

I think the biggest shift with this EP though is the sound of it. Being ambitious as a musician, being ambitious about what you want your career to look like is always seen as a dirty thing. I’ve always thought of the music I make as pop music, now maybe it actually sounds a little bit more like pop music. The drums are bigger on this EP, less guitars, more keyboards, a chorus or two, but still me, still my lyrics. The saying of “doing the same thing twice but expecting different results is the definition of insanity” really works for making records. I never want to make the same record as the one before it, and I’m ambitious about my career. All of my favourite artists are the biggest in their genres and aspiring to that (and inevitably falling short) is not insincere or impure, it’s honest. The reality is, if you want to reach those goals your music has to sound like it could reach those goals. I’m being unabashed here about wanting those things. If it doesn’t work that’s fine, but I am being open about trying for it. Hopefully you’ll hear that.

Band Members