Winnipeg rockers Boats say they make weird music sometimes

Winnipeg’s Boats is the kind of band you want to listen to. You just don’t know it yet. But then again, neither do they.

The indie-pop outfit from Manitoba hardly bears any resemblance to their hometown. In fact, they’re about as far as it gets from roots.

“I don’t really know how to do anything,” said frontman and primary writer Mat Klachefsky from a hotel room in Austin, Texas.

The band just wrapped up a stint at the city’s South By Southwest (SXSW) Festival, which included two shows in one day.

“[Playing to new audiences] usually goes well,” Klachefsky said. “It’s rare the people know about us, so playing to anyone is good.”

The fresh take for listeners coming in with “a blank slate” is something the band tries to emulate. Their latest record, last month’s A Fairway Full of Miners, is an exercise in eclecticism, bordering shiftily on bizarre.

“What influenced them? I don’t know,” Klachefsky said of the mix of songs on Fairway.

“John Mayer,” chimed in one of the band members during the phone interview.

“It’s hard to say cause I do something different every time I write a song,” Klachefsky explained. “That’s kind of something I go for, is try to have every song be completely different every time.”

The process pays off on Fairway with a remarkably diverse and downright intriguing collection of soundbites. “Advice on Bears” is bookended by “Advice on Bioluminescent Bears.” Likewise, “Getting Worst.jpeg” and “Animated GIFS” hint at the band’s unique and anything-goes approach.

“I mean I try to avoid ‘Baby, baby, baby, I love you so much, I wanna hug you,’ songs,” Klachefsky iterated, clarifying his stance on Justin Bieber in case there was any confusion.

“I just try to make music that I’ve never heard before, which is hard to do, and sometimes it ends up sounding weird.”

Weird, wacky, whimsical. All to be had in equal parts when listening to Boats. The quintet know how to make an enjoyable and fun record.

The multi-layered, detailed sound on the album is hard to transition to live performances, according to Klachefsky.

“We’ve got so much crap on-stage, we’ve got so much crap on the record, we just try to duplicate as much as possible,” Klachefsky said.

Boats is rolling through the United States on the way to Canada, finishing off their tour here. In May they’ll head to the UK to tour in support of A Fairway Full of Miners.

Look for the quirky rockers at Pressed here in Ottawa on March 28.