For most people, experimental Montreal multi-instrumentalist d’Eon is best known for his collaborative effort with fellow Canadian electro-dance artist Grimes on 2011’s split EP, Darkbloom. After releasing two notable mixtapes this year, his debut album LP offers those curious a proper introduction to his world. Wonderland spoke with the artist – first name Chris d’Eon – about music, religion and his part-time job as a janitor.
How would you describe your sound?
I think I would usually just say something like experimental-electronic pop, experimental R&B or anything like that. Although this album has shades of R&B I feel it would be kind of an insult to real R&B to call it that. I also feel like this LP is definitely a prog album, but with keyboards instead of guitars and drums and analogue synthesisers. But I think it’s a pop album as well. Mainstream pop albums take influence from so many genres, and so many albums like that are made up of completely different styles of songs, so I think it is kind of natural for a pop album to have a bunch of influences. I also put out a couple of free albums this year called Music For Keyboards.
Most people might make assumptions of your music from your split with Grimes, does that assumption ever bother you?
2012 has been extremely auspicious for me, and the reception to the music this year has been much more understanding of what I’m getting at musically than last year. I think when that split record came out last year, there really hadn’t been much music by me that was released to the world by then, so people who heard that split really only had the four songs I contributed to go by and to make a judgment call. A lot of people just assumed I was a neon 80s pastiche jam artist, which was irritating but totally understandable. After putting out those keyboard mixtapes and the LP, I think people who listen to the tunes understand way more where I am coming from, and seem to take it a little more seriously than “hey this guy sounds like Phil Collins” or “hey this sounds like the Doogie Houser theme” or whatever, so I am eternally grateful for that.
LP touches on themes of faith and religion a lot, why are you attracted to this subject? Are you particularly spiritual or religious?
I’m don’t practice a religion, but that kind of stuff has always really fascinated me. I think I am more interested in theology than personal spirituality. Stuff like religious laws and theological details are way more interesting to me than self-betterment, happiness or enlightenment. Gabriel is a really amazing angel to think about, because he is the bringer of holy information to the prophets and to the world, and I think that idea of a single source of truth contrasts so much with the idea of the internet, which has millions and millions of disparate sources of information all accumulating in a huge pool. I think that there are major theological implications to the information society we live in, and I don’t think that it’s something that many people really think about, simply because our society at its core now is so secular. It’s a strange time to be alive, since there are so many religious questions and quandaries that arise in the information age but since seemingly so few people in my generation are at all religious, those questions never get asked.
I saw on Twitter that you are doing janitorial work – is that what you do on the side?
Yeah, my girlfriend is the superintendent of her apartment building, so I do odd jobs for her like cleaning or painting vacant apartments and stuff like that. It’s hard to get a job in Montreal so it’s a good way to get extra cash without having to sell drugs or bootleg liquor at parties.
Words: Melody Lau