Montreal’s Klaus – the art-rock trio of François Lafontaine (Karkwa, Galaxie), Joe Grass (Patrick Watson), and drummer Samuel Joly -haveshared the video for Fever, the latest single lifted from their self-titled debut album. This madcap montage synchronized to the pulsating beats of the oddball party track echo the song’s themes of dealing with the disorientation and turmoil of beauty was conceptualized by Mathieu Dupuis. With a healthy dose of black comedy in its eyeball-blurring barrage of images, the video walks a fine line between sci-fi, psychedelia, and fever dream. Watch the video via YouTube below.
During one hazy night out drinking at a bar, Klaus’ François Lafontaine, Joe Grass, and Samuel Joly decided to form a new project. What usually fades into a faint, unfulfilled fantasy instead became a catalyst. Two weeks later, the trio regrouped at Grass’s studio and began recording under a commonly discussed but often unrealized formula: no rules and no pre-established directions. Instead, they dug up fragments of unfinished ideas, the ones left behind because they couldn’t find the right collaborators to indulge in their time-traveling, globe-spanning experimentation. Drawing on influences ranging from Afrobeat guitars to Can’s krautrock propulsion to the art-rock of Brian Eno and David Bowie’s ‘Berlin Trilogy’, they approached their music with the mindset of improv comedians or easy-going chefs.
“No matter what one of us brought to the table we said ‘yes, that’s weird, but let’s go there!'” laughs singer, guitarist, and lyricist Grass. “When someone fed the group an idea, we worked with it and tried to make something complimentary. Later on we had to refine things and make them more cohesive, but in the beginning we were just throwing things into the soup and counterbalancing them with different spices until we had a gumbo.”
With Grass on guitar, Joly on drums, and all three members singing in English, they shaped their lush electronic sound with Lafontaine’s extensive collection of analog synths including the Prophet 5 and 6, Oberheim OB-8, ARP 2600, and Memorymoog. After two years of studio sessions, Klaus emerged with 10 songs drifting from the soft-focus beauty of Neon to the skittering funk of Blue Telephone and the bubbling robo-pop of their latest single Fever. The album lifts off into its most otherworldly plane on the eight-minute epic, Le rêve, with a Phil Collins-esque intro careening into breakneck prog and a pulsing electronic finale from the school of Cluster or Harmonia.
Throughout their debut album, Klaus showcase an interlocking collection of surrealist musical puzzles painted by three artists with a vibrant sonic pallette. Lyrically, its themes include the resilience and adaptivity of the human race, identifying and shedding the qualities that could lead to our destruction, and inevitably seeking connections to celebrate our time together in the face of darkness. In the end, the trio aimed to marry words to their music, forging more connections on a raw emotional level than either could do on their own, while inviting everyone to come join the party.
3. Blue Telephone
4. Can’t Turn Back
5. The Aluminoid
6. Bad Religion
7. Le rêve
8. Dirty Water
9. Pit Bull
10. Nature Design
Klaus have also announced a series of Québec tour dates extending into early 2019, sharing stages with fellow supergroup Karkwatson on December 16th at Montreal’s MTelus, and their Simone Records labelmate Hubert Lenoir on December 21st at Québec City’s Impérial Bell. The band’s full list of live performances can be found below.
Klaus Live Performances
December 16th – MTelus – Montréal *
December 20th – Noël dans le Parc – Montréal
December 21st – Impérial Bell – Québec ^
December 22nd – Rainbow Submarine – Rivière-Du-Loup
February 23rd – Le Zaricot – St-Hyacinthe
March 22rd – Trou du diable – Shawinigan
April 5th – La Petite Boite Noire -Sherbrooke* With Karkwatson
^ With Hubert Lenoir