Boats Interview

Boats is a Winnipeg-based rock band. They will be appearing at SXSW 2013. Guitarist Mat Kiaschefsky ecently wrote in to discuss his songwriting process, love of dodgeball and what got him passionate about music. For more info on Boats, check out

What first got you interested in music?
Back when I was 10 or so my family tried out the Columbia House 1 cent CD program, and I was allowed to choose one free CD.  I laboured over the decision for hours… another Weird Al CD?  Those Barenaked Ladies were pretty cool, I think?  In the end the pressure was to much and I didn’t get anything because I didn’t like music yet.  That doesn’t answer your question though. 

I think a big release for me was the Matador “Everything Is Nice” 3 CD set in 1999.  That’s where I first heard some of my favorite bands, Modest Mouse, Mogwai, Cat Power, Yo La Tengo, Sleater Kinney.  It was the first time I kind of veered from the radio and it really changed what I listened to.

Did you come from a musical family? Were your parents musical?
My dad used to play “Flip Flop and Fly” on guitar.  That might have been the only song he knows.  But he did have a lot of Dire Straits records.

How did Boats first come together?
I have been making music on my own since 2001.  I did sporadic shows as “Boat” up until 2007 when I lost my job and decided to finally record an album.  That’s when Ashley joined on, or probably before that, and we changed the name to Boats.  The band we had then was mostly made up of Dads with families who couldn’t tour so we brought in Louis and some others.  They members have shuffled around since then and now we have the Ellis bros, Rory and Ian.You make really hyperactive rock.

How does your creative process work when writing songs?
I don’t know.  I think it’s different every time.  I don’t think I know how to write songs.

What was the first song you wrote together?
We have never written a song together.  I do all the writing.  It’s not that I don’t trust them, it’s just how music works for me.  I have a very singular process.  I would be completely useless in a live band writing situation as it takes me forever to come up with parts that I can get behind.  My songwriting process is very slow.

How do you feel your sound has grown since you first started out?
I have always wanted to make music that more resembles kind of a K Records aesthetic, such as the Unicorns, kind of haphazard and thrown together, but I think 10 years of listening to the Smashing Pumpkins in the 90’s has screwed that up.  I’ve been finding that more bombastic and epic sounds are creeping back in.  In a few years we will probably be a metal shred band.

What are you most looking forward to about SXSW?
It will be our fourth time.  A lot of people gripe about how SXSW is just kind of a big circle jerk with all the wheeling and dealing that goes on, but I’m terrible at that stuff so I just ignore it.  Once you do that, it’s like Disneyland.  Your favorite band is playing every night, all your our of town friends in other bands are there, and Austin is an awesome town to be in.  Not to mention that it occurs on the tail end of a long Winnipeg winter, so just being in the sun is worth the price of admission.

Do you have a favorite description you’ve heard of your music?
We usually tell the moms and the border patrol guards that we play “obnoxious pop music.”  That’s good for that audience.  We were once described as “Arcade Fire minus the drama,” which while I’m usually turned off by band comparisons, I have many times tried to rip off their songwriting style so I felt kind of honoured by that; maybe a little called out.

What are your hobbies outside of music?
I am an avid Dodgeball player and captain of the Majestic Triumph International Dodgeball Club and Recording Concern:  Winnipeg Division.  I am currently either assembling or talking about assembling a Manitoba provincial team to take to the world championships in Las Vegas for the summer of 2013.  This damn band is holding me back.

What do you feel is the most important piece of advice you’ve gottenabout having a career in music?
Don’t try to have one.

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