Members: Matt Fanale, Eric Oehler
Hometown: Madison WI
Mixed and Mastered: Submersible Studios
This is an exciting review to do. It was actually released in Jan 2019 and somehow it slipped through the cracks of my reviews so I will rectify that today. Matt Fanale is fairly well known in the scene through his Industrial project Caustic. Eric Oehler of Null Device. I’m always really impressed when artists have the ability to work at a high level in multiple genres. This dancier , sample infused, Front 242 style aspect really captures something I love about all of Matt’s productions. 1) It is extremely well done 2) It doesn’t take itself overly seriously 3) It makes me want to shake my large hairy form all over a dance floor.
EDM isn’t always my cup of cocoa, so what does Klack do so well? Blending, keeping a driving vamp dance beat and flowing the proper elements in and out to hold your attention. Doing that is a tightrope walk on a razor wire. This record consistently finds that sweet spot. they use samples taken from Star wars to an advertisement from a 1984 Renault automobile. Then they are seamlessly integrated with thought provoking growled out vocals and intricate beat changes. I think a lot of dance music is about causing the listener to become lost in the texture of the beat. Klack achieves this but takes it one step further to keep your mind revolving while you shake that ass. I also really enjoy the variety of tone and speed they use on this EP. Each song has the feel of being made by a different artist so it never feels like repetition.
This album is also an homage. It isn’t just the cover art or concept. The feel of these songs have a wonderful Kraftwork ,retro computer, grainy screens flickering in a ground control station feel. I think that creates this wonderful underground revolutionary feel which i found entrancing.
Lets talk favorite tracks. The EP has 6 and they are all good. However here were my stand outs.
Flowers for Ravers – Incredible opening intro of a young lady talking about the culture of drugs and dance culture. A dark and slithering keyboard line. The layers build and the vocals have this dusky chant building to the chorus “Flowers for Ravers put them in their hair” I grew up in the 90’s rave scene in Detroit and this track is such a nostalgic memory trigger.
Le Car – First track is a burner out the gate. I love the use of the sample and concept of the relationship between humanity and machines. Rapier flick synth swipes and this wonderful trance style beat. Klack the Planet.
Lost Without You – This song really grabbed me for it’s contrast. It’s beautiful with an almost Information Society quality. Really highlighted the singers and shows the talent risen from the mud of electronics and striding to the front naked and unafraid. The melody is a hook that sinks in you deep. This was stuck in my head for days.
Overall this is a wonderfully done EP with a diverse feel, powerful concepts, and seamless transitions. I felt like it really hits on all the things I love most about dance music and inspired memories in my mind like a smell. Treat yourself to this record.
As an added bonus I got to do an interview with Matt about Klack and Eric and his process.
Ken: So you do several projects I love Caustic/Klack/daddybear. I’ve always thought it was cool that you have so many voices you want to express in different musical styles. So tell me how you started the project of Klack in particular and why it was a voice and style you needed to express?
Matt: Klack was really more of a fluke than anything. My better half in Klack is Eric Oehler of (Null Device). We’d collaborated on things before, but he did a ND remix for the Gothsicles in an old school 242 style and asked me if I wanted to try out a track in that style. I was totally down and he tossed me 3 or 4 short track ideas, I chose one, came up with some samples and some other sounds to add to it, and Synthesizer came out. Eric mainly handles the music and production side and I handle samples, lyrics, and “other sounds” for it. It’s the quickest workflow for us, as we get to be “lazy” and only do stuff that’s easier (for lack of a better word) for us.
We honestly did it for our own amusement and knew some of our friends would get a kick out of it, but people really took to it so we started building on some of the other demos and the Do You Klack? EP was the result of that.
Our influences and “voice” were apparent from the get go, as we had the same references– Microchip League, early 242 and Depeche Mode, A Split Second, etc. Eric is ridiculously good at identifying sounds and how to build them, so we went from there and it’s been surprisingly successful.
Ken: : I find when a scene (especially in a smaller city) starts to really take on life it often has someone in a band who is working to drive that. I really see Madison as a place where you are helping something special happen. Tell me about why that city is special for this scene and what advice would you give to people who want to grow the scene in their cities?
Matt: Thanks. I appreciate that. We had a lot more vibrant scene in the early to mid 2000s when I was booking shows and bands like Stromkern were big, but we’ve definitely been building up again. The club we used to hang out at closed a few years back but a new one, Crucible, opened on New Years Eve, and that’s been a really exciting place for us to all come together again. I like thinking I’m a helpful part of it, but I’m just one person trying to convince people to come out and support this stuff. If it wasn’t for Stromkern and some of the other bands I wouldn’t have even thought my music could get heard elsewhere, so I hope I can inspire new artists the way Stromkern influenced me to make music
What is the next step for Klack? What are you working on and will any French automobiles be advertised by you in the future?
Matt: We’re working on new music presently and will be debuting a new track at Cold Waves in September. Then we’re opening for Boy Harsher in Madison on October 10th and playing Los Angeles at the Substance Festival (coincidentally with them as a co-headliner) in early November.
As for new stuff we hold our cards close on that, so you’ll know it when we announce it. No more french car promotion though. We’re loyal to the Renault LeCar through and through. Screw Peugeot.
Ken: Q: The alarm rings, missiles are locked on your studio. You have 5 minutes to escape, enough time to get out with one armload of gear. What are you saving?
Matt: I’ll just grab my laptop and Novation Kontrol and Launchpad. I keep it simple, as I’ve always been more DAW-centric and not a hardware guy. I don’t have that kind of money to blow.
Ken: You have such quirky and outside the stream song concepts. Tell me about your song writing process, where do you find the ideas you write about and how do you turn that into music?
Matt: I work a few ways when it comes to Klack, since Eric is responsible for the music. Sometimes lyrics just jump into my head, a la DMF off our first EP. I had the title (which was the name of a goth/industrial night on campus when Eric and I were at UW Madison) but the lyrics popped when I actually locked down on the demo. Other times, like for With Precision off Le Car, I had a bunch of lyrics but was waiting for the right music. It all depends. I’m working off a few other demo ideas right now and lyrics for both came to me when listening to the tracks.
My pools of inspiration for lyrics are different for Klack than Caustic or any of my other projects. I have very specific lyrical references for Klack, but for Caustic it’s what can fit for the song– I don’t have restraints for Caustic. I can’t think of a track where I debated “is this a Caustic lyric or a Klack lyric?” They’re very purposefully different, as the projects have different voices. I like writing for as many voices as possible, whether that be for Erica in Beauty Queen Autopsy or Eric for Klack. It’s fun pushing my creativity that way.
Ken: If you could do a music video for any of your Klack songs. You had an unlimited budget. What song would you pick and what would that video look like?
Matt: Oh hell, I’d just hire Anton Corbijn to do a video for Discipline, one of our new tracks. He’s done videos for 242 and Depeche Mode, so he’s hitting our major touchstones. We might as well stop pretending to be those bands and just use their guy straight off.
Ken: Give me one piece of Klack “Industrial Gossip” which my reader don’t know about?
Matt: Eric has a pouch like a kangaroo and he hides beef jerky in it.