Matt Holubowski wrote a song about an argument between a garden and a mower
A war between gardens and mowers. It was the ambitious double concept album that Matt Holubowski wanted to do. But faced with the disbelief of his record company, the songwriter decided to put the idea away and work on a more “conventional” album, but one that is just as worth listening to. So here he is offering us Like Flowers on a Molten Lawn, a title that came to him in a dream after a trip to the top of a volcano in Guatemala.
Your previous album, Weird Ones, was released on February 20, 2020, a few days before the pandemic. How did you experience this whole period?
“I first did virtual concerts, because I wanted to keep busy. But after a month or two, it was hard to find pleasure and be turned on by it. It was also complicated for the technique. When I realized that the majority of the shows were not going to be postponed, I had to mourn it a bit. I then decided to follow tutorials on YouTube and take online courses on software like Pro Tools. I tried to understand in a more intimate way the tools that I used, beyond the guitar and the piano. The fact that I explored the technique so much, it tinted the sound and the color of the album a lot.”
Where does the title of the album come from, Like Flowers on a Molten Lawn?
“This is an image that came to me in a dream some time ago. It started with an image of a volcano that I climbed in Guatemala. When you are at the top, you can see another volcano nearby which is active. One day I had a dream where I was on the volcano, there was a river of lava and in this river there was a lonely flower. […] This kind of image came back to me constantly, at a time when everything seemed to be impossible. It gave me a lot of hope.”
The song Gardens v. Mowers is about an argument between a garden and a mower. How did you imagine this story?
“I really like the absurd. I got to thinking about the image of a mower and a garden lawn whose purpose couldn't be more of the opposite. The existence of one endangers the existence of the other. There is no reconciliation to be had. I found the image a bit funny and dramatic.”
“At the beginning, it was even supposed to be the title of the album. I wanted to do a double album where it was going to be two different universes. On the first, the gardens had won the war. The songs would have been very acoustic and stripped down versions. On the second, the mowers had won. The songs were the same, but in more constructed, more electronic versions. When I presented this concept to Audiogram [his record label], they said that the idea was good, but that it would be difficult to sell [laughs]. I decided to leave this idea in a song.”
The Estonian National Symphony Orchestra participates in three tracks on the album. How did you come to contact them?
“It first came as a semi-joke, because we had no specific plan. We knew that there was space to fill on certain tracks. […] Pietro [Amato, the co-director] told us that his friend Owen Pallett had worked with the Estonian Symphony Orchestra and it was really affordable. We sent them the sheet music and watched them on Zoom record the songs in the studio. The process was really fascinating!”
The album includes a rare French song, La lune est mort de rire. Why did you choose French for this one?
“Why not? [laughs] That's the best answer I can give. I did not opt for French. I wrote a song which, by chance, was in French. And because it was good, I put it on the album. It has nothing to do with language. I like that, writing in French. But it really comes less naturally to me. […] It’s not like I sit down and say to myself: I’m going to do a song in French today. The day I do this, I will be able to say that I am sold and that I am doing it for the cash! It will never be. She ends up there because I find her good. I had fun designing it. But I hesitated to put it on the album precisely because I knew that everyone would ask me the question!”
What does your rest of the year look like with the shows?< /strong>
“Next week, we will announce a spring and fall tour in Quebec. We are also planning stuff in Europe and for the rest of North America. We had a lot of changes because of the pandemic. There are teams that we had that were a little decimated.”
♦ Matt Holubowski's album, Like Flowers on a Molten Lawn, is on the market. His tour dates will be announced next week on mattholubowski.com.