Devon Welsh also discusses new music Majical Cloudz has been recording
When Lorde heads out on her North American tour this September, she'll be taking along not a polished, major label next-big-thing, but a cult favorite used to playing to a few hundred spectators, or less. But Montreal's tear-jerking Majical Cloudz is up to the task, ready to explore what frontman Devon Welsh calls a musical kinship with his unlikely tour partner.
More on Lorde:
Lorde first expressed her fandom of Majical Cloudz (the duo of vocalist Welsh and synth programmer Matthew Otto) last summer, shortly after their mesmerizing sophomore album "Impersonator" dropped via Matador. After mentioning them in tweets and interviews, Lorde eventually met the band during 2014's pre-Grammy festivities.
"Claire Boucher (aka Grimes) was doing a show for this thing that Roc Nation does every year -- a pre-Grammy show in Los Angeles -- and she asked us to come and play with her," Welsh remembers. "Ella (Yelich-O'Connor, aka Lorde) was in town for the Grammys. Her and her boyfriend James came out to the show and saw us play. We met there. Two nights after that she won a couple of Grammys, so that was pretty surreal."
"(Lorde's act) is similar to my interests and aesthetic preferences -- how the stage is set up and how she performs," Welsh says. "When I was informed that they were interested in having us on the tour, I was very excited. I thought it made a lot of sense."
and @majicalcloudz will be supporting every night-- if you haven't seen this man perform you are in for an intensely emotional and raw treat
— Lorde (@lordemusic) June 3, 2014
The sparse, synth-based backbone of Majical Cloudz' music is similar to Lorde's hit songs in how it leaves plenty of space for the vocals to immerse the audience and leave a lasting impact. But Welsh isn't opposed to alternate takes on his music. Below, Billboard premieres a remix of his 2013 non-album track "Savage," reworked by electronic musician Tim Hecker:
"I thought it was cool to have a noise musician or a sound artist do something with the song," Welsh says. "I liked it because it's not done in a dance music style -- there's no element of remixing it in the way that that word has traditionally been used."
Watch Majical Cloudz perform the original version of "Savage" live:
In opening for Lorde, Majical Cloudz plans to share some new songs, as the band has recently been recording. "We're not done, but we're not beginning either," Welsh assures. "I think we're going to be finishing something up in the next few months, at the latest."
Regardless of which songs Majical Cloudz perform before Lorde takes the stage, Welsh refuses to alter his band's intense, minimal approach, honed on intimate, elbow-to-elbow crowds in tiny venues. Such an upheaval would be too much to bear as he and Otto enter the wild, new frontier of large theater shows. But like his friend Claire Boucher, Welsh isn't opposed to reaching a much larger audience, either.
Watch the music video for "Childhood's End":
"I don't think exposing your art to more people is ever a bad thing," the singer says.
"Most, if not all of the people coming to the show will have probably never heard of us. The bright side of it is if ten percent of the people who come had a good time watching us play, that's probably more people than have ever been interested before at a single show. Ten percent of ten thousand is still a thousand!"
For more of Majical Cloudz' music, check out their SoundCloud.