Holy Fuck side-project Dusted detail the Origins of new song “All I Am”: Stream

Brian Borcherdt looks to the music of Low, Wintersleep, and of course, Holy Fuck, for inspiration

Dusted, photo by Anna Edwards Borcherdt
Dusted, photo by Anna Edwards Borcherdt

Origins is a recurring new music feature that gives musicians the chance to reveal the inspiration to led to their latest work. 

As a founding member of Canada’s Holy Fuck, Brian Borcherdt has been doling out harsh and industrial electronic music since 2004. When writing music on his own, however, his solo material takes him down a much different path. Cue Dusted, his more straightforward indie rock project. Borcherdt first introduced the moniker to the world with his 2012 debut album, Total Dust. He’s now prepping the follow-up, Blackout Summer, for a April 6th release via Polyvinyl.

In anticipation, the latest single, “All I Am”, is being premiered today on Consequence of Sound. The offering is a moody and haunting listen as Borcherdt works with quiet space and atmosphere, subtle elements he never fully gets to play around with while as part of Holy Fuck. On “All I Am”, he’s also accompanied by his wife, Anna Edwards-Borcherdt, whose harmonious vocals further amplify the song’s tone.

“All I am, draining sand/ Radio static, the second hand,” goes the song. “I waited in the parking lot/ I kept the engine on/ I got caught up in someone else’s train of thought.”

Hear it below.

For this edition of Origins, Borcherdt tells CoS how Holy Fuck and other bands like Low and Wintersleep helped “All I Am” come to life.

Holy Fuck — “Tom Tom”: 

I wrote both “All I Am” and “Tom Tom” around the same time. Both shared in a similar process- an experiment taking melodic songs I’d written on guitar and performing them on my cobbled together Holy Fuck electronics. Up until this point all Holy Fuck songs were built exclusively around beats and Casio presets. I wanted to see what happened if I took a ‘song’ and funneled it through that filter. I recorded both as demos on my four track. They were drony and noisy, allowing the mixer to feedback upon itself using the eq to tune the drone to the key of the song. I kept the version of “Tom Tom” for Holy Fuck, using the four track demo as the basis for the full band performance. “All I Am” got a new treatment- there are still aspects of that original demo… but the noise became tamed to allow the song to shine through.

EKO RHYTHMAKER — Analog Drumbox 1972: 

Both songs use the EKO Rhythmaker, an Italian drum machine from 1972. When “All I Am” was first performed I was bringing it onstage and creating all the effects live- that’s exactly the version Anna and I recorded. However the EKO started drifting in tempo. Turning on other lights in the house caused it to slow down; the brighter the lights the slower the beat went. So after a few awkward moments on stage we gave it up and now only use live drums.

The Fly — David Cronenberg:

I was living in a building at the time I demo’ed the song that had formerly been a coffin factory. In keeping with Toronto development trends it is now slated to be torn down and converted into condos. If for no other reason it should be saved simply for being the set of Jeff Goldblum’s lab/ apartment in The Fly. Apparently at one point a member of Kids in the Hall lived literally across the hall. It was a cool place with great Toronto history. I wrote most of the lyrics while walking my dog around the neighborhood. They have nothing to do with a half human/ half fly.

Low — “Over the Ocean”: 

When Anna and I started working on music together we realized an opportunity to include more harmonies. “All I Am” is not the best example but we did learn that her singing lower while I took the higher note is often the better and less obvious way. This is what I loved about the harmonies on this particular Low record. In “All I Am” Anna mostly doubled my vocal in the higher range just to make punctuated moments. But elsewhere on Dusted songs you can hear us doing the Mimi/Alan high/low combo.

Wintersleep — “Amerika”: 

After the release of Total Dust, Loel Campbell from Wintersleep started playing drums with Dusted. I’ve known the guys in Wintersleep since they were teenagers. I met Loel when he was 15. We all bonded over music and being from remote towns in Nova Scotia that bond transcended age and geography. Loel joined Wintersleep in spite of them growing up in towns five hours apart. It only made since that when I needed a drummer Loel, who now lives in Montreal, would take the bus five hours to meet us in Toronto (and vice versa).