Impersonator is the critically-acclaimed Matador label debut by Devon Welsh and Mathew Otto. As Majical Cloudz, the Canadian duo have created an intimate record of minimal electronic songs that foreground Welsh’s deep vocal tones and emotive lyrics.

Majical Cloudz was first solely created by Welsh in 2010, initially as a “side project”.

“I wasn’t performing live,” reflects Walsh from his apartment in Montreal. “It was just recording … I was using it as a way to experiment with songwriting and different sounds.”

The musician details the early years of Majical Cloudz in a calm and unassuming way. He describes working with different collaborators before eventually settling on an idea of what the project could be when Mathew Otto joined the picture.

In 2012 the duo started playing songs from Impersonator live. A label deal rapidly followed, as did praise from the international music press.

Welsh isn’t resting on his laurels, having already started work on new music. He’s not fussed by the attention from the music press though, affirming that the demos he and Otto have recorded are “just for the sake of it, just for satisfaction”.

“The fans are relating that music to their own memories and their own relationships and that’s amazing.”

“I just do it naturally,” says Welsh. “For the next record I want to write a lot more songs than we need and then we’ll just choose what we want to put on our record from there.”

It’s easy to see why Welsh would continue to work on new music so soon after Impersonator, the songwriting on the record acting as a catharsis for the Canadian.

“It’s not as if I consciously go into songwriting with those intentions,” says Welsh, before conceding it’s “definitely true” that he uses writing as a form of release.

Regardless of his intent, the messages that Welsh conveys throughout Impersonator are personal and relatable. In fact, a live Majical Cloudz show has been known to cause audience members to cry.

While the nature of the duo’s music might be affecting to others, Welsh doesn’t believe he’s lost any ownership over his songs.

“It doesn’t feel that way. I think it’s really awesome. It’s always consistently surprising in a really good way that people can connect with the music in a personal way,” he remarks.

“I don’t think it makes me lose ownership, but I still know what those songs mean to me and they’ll always mean something to me.”

Welsh articulates how he sees the relationship that some Majical Cloudz fans have begun to have with his music.

“They’re having their own experiences. They’re relating that music to their own memories and their own relationships.

“That’s amazing because the music that I’ve related to and enjoyed the most in my life is music that I have a relationship with and I’ve invested my emotions into the music and I’ve heard my own relationships and my own memories in the lyrics.

“They become about your relationships just as much as the songwriter’s,” he explains. “It’s a crazy thing to think that someone could have that kind of relationship with my music.”

However, when asked if that sentiment could extend to The National’s Boxer album, a record which he had tweeted about prior to the interview, Welsh describes a different musical experience.

“During a couple of songs I was just crying cause it was so crazy to remember things I had completely forgotten about.”

“I remember really connecting with the album and then I didn’t really listen to it at all until just recently,” he acknowledges.

“I can’t remember why I listened to it, but it was one of those things where you put it on and you have a rush of memories that you haven’t even thought about in years. They just come flying back at you and it was a cool experience.

“That’s what I love about music,” states Welsh. “Just putting something on that you haven’t heard in a long time and feeling all these things. Like remembering things, even down to smells or sounds.

“During a couple of songs I was just crying cause it was so crazy to remember things I had completely forgotten about.”

With such a relationship to music, it’s unsurprising that Impersonator has an affecting presence.

That said, the musician isn’t quite sure if his degree in Religious Studies has impacted on his music.

“Studying something like that definitely pushes you to focus on people’s inner lives. Like psychological needs and spiritual needs, and so maybe that influenced the way that I perceived the world.

“But I don’t think it affected the music that much. I think that there’s no conscious influence. Maybe it had some effect, but I wouldn’t know what that would be,” he says.

Given the impact Majical Cloudz have already had on North American audiences, it’s only a matter of time before listeners across the world hook into the sentimentality of Impersonator.

While there are no plans for Otto and Welsh to tour Australia anytime soon, the musician nonetheless expresses an interest in playing Down Under.  “If not this year, than in 2014,” says Welsh.

We can only hope that local audiences will be given the chance to connect with Majical Cloudz in the way that Canadian audiences have.

Impersonator is out now through Matador. Check out our review of the record here.

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