SXSW Music Interview: Matt & Kirty of Fast Romantics (Toronto) chat new music and new live shows!

For Toronto based band Fast Romantics, 2016 is set to be a year of introductions.  We met up with songwriters Matthew Angus and Kirty at SXSW, where the excitement surrounding their forthcoming new album has followed them from Toronto and New York (where a lot of the material was worked on), to Austin.

Following their own creative direction even more than any previous release, this new album has a particular buzz around it that the band has been feeding on in studio and through the course of some exciting writing sessions.

“I wouldn’t even call it ‘finished’,” Matt says of the album’s current status. “It’s one of those records where we just keep writing songs! We used to get really uptight about when we were going to release records and make sure had an album out every two years or whatever they say you’re supposed to do. We just want to make a great record.”

“It’s really different.” Kirty adds. “I mean, it’s not insanely different, but there’s something about it. We had some of the songs [and] started recording; throughout the process of working with these amazing producers down in New York, you get that exciting and magical kind of feeling when you start to put the pieces together in making the record. There’s something about these songs and there’s something about the material we have as a whole right now that feels very exciting.”

The recording of this new Fast Romantics material had the band reunite with Gus Van Go (Whitehorse, Michael Rault) too, a process Matt and Kirty describe as being an easy and natural one to be a part of this time round.

“It felt really natural, because of the guys we worked with.” Matt says. “Sometimes you’ll work with a producer and it’s just like, they completely try to alter you and they don’t get you. They don’t get what you want to do. These guys just understood it from the beginning, inspired us so much and it just felt like we were just in our house making these songs.”

“The process was scary,” Matt points out. “We had such little time to do it! We were used to taking our time with that stuff and this time, we recorded a whole bunch of songs a month and a half ago; we knew we had this coming up and we had a tour in March, so we spent a couple of weeks getting it ready. It felt really organic this time and so I guess you could call that natural. We’re not overthinking it.”

With SXSW providing Fast Romantics with some of their first opportunities to showcase their new music live, the songwriting duo describe their recent rehearsals in terms of how this new material is translating from the record to a live atmosphere.

“The songs are very lush and they’re very full.” Kirty says. “When people are eventually able to buy the record, we want the live performance to sound like the record; it wasn’t a pushed process, but that was the process of taking these really broadly lush songs, filled with a lot of different melodies and counter-melodies and atmospheric pads, and recreating that so it was just like the way you’d hear it on the record.”

“It was almost like it didn’t take long for us this time,” Matt adds. “To learn how to play it well live. We knew the songs so well from the recording process. There was this moment in the rehearsal room, after we’d finished recording it, where we were like, ‘Oh this is what we’ve been trying to do all along!’. We’d been working on stuff and writing stuff, playing shows for a long time and it was good but there was a moment last month, where we looked at each other and was like, ‘Oh there it is’!”

This connection or growth between the band members as a result of the making of this new album is one both Matt and Kirty draw on as having been such an important element of their relationship as they look ahead to a new year of touring and continued writing.

“A band is really at ease when they’re meshing together,” Matt says. “They’re enjoying the music and that means, usually, playing it really well. I think that this record really marks the band coming together in a really interesting way. We all have different styles and we’re interested in different types of music and thank god, it all came together in a really great way!”

“I think everything is just more unified.” Kirty adds. “I think that the album was a perfect combination of us and our bandmates really bringing it all together to make something unique. It’s completely unified the band.”

Find out more about Fast Romantics here!

Photo: Jamie Grant