Wading Through the Noise

Holy Fuck’s Brian Borcherdt Gets Dusty with New Project

There’s a certain restless quality to Brian Borcherdt’s work ethic.

From co-founding Halifax label Dependent Music to his constant work in his band Holy Fuck and several other musical projects, the prospect of starting another touring band may seem overly ambitious. But for Borcherdt, it’s business as usual.

He’ll be bringing his fuzz-laden two-piece Dusted to POP Montreal this year, a festival where Holy Fuck got their start. A middle ground between his hometown in Nova Scotia and his base of operations in Toronto, Montreal has seen Borcherdt’s solo work more often than most.

Now teamed up with drummer/producer Leon Taheny, his formerly acoustic songs take up a truly “dusty” quality, vocals pushed through a little Marshall amplifier. Minimal percussion and murky guitar make this a project light years away from the electronic intensity of Holy Fuck.

“I like the idea of a recording experiment, that’s how a lot of things can begin. But I don’t think I’d ever be satisfied with something I’m doing only being a recording experiment,” said Borcherdt.“I’m a social person, I like to tour and be on stage, I’m the type of person that when I watch my friend’s band I get excited because I can’t wait to share the stage with them.”

The band’s debut LP Total Dust was released in July, but with the two members having multiple projects on the go, the tracks had been shelved for over a year.

“When I’m working on music I’m building all this imagery in mind, I’m living and breathing it,” said Borcherdt. “But by the time [Total Dust] came out, I was already thinking about something else.”

“I have to re-conjure the way I was absorbed in something.”

“There have been very few tours when I pack the station wagon, kiss my wife goodbye and go out on the road for three months like a travelling salesman bringing my little suitcase of cassette tapes to the world. And one of the reasons I haven’t done that is because I’d find it pretty boring.” —Holy Fuck & Dusted Multi-Instrumentalist Brian Borcherdt

But it was probably for the best, because when the tracks on Total Dust were finished, Borcherdt felt he didn’t have a home for them. Waiting a year allowed for all the logistical components to come together.

“We put the band together, found time in our lives to actually release it, rehearsed, got a label, manager, booking agent, took the time necessary to build everything you need,” said Borcherdt. “Because you can release a record that you really believe in and you can put it out there, but if nobody listens to it, what’s the point?”

The record is made for close listening in good headphones, steeped in a “cinematic drama” that Borcherdt feels is best left on the album. Live, their sound is translated into something a little bigger, and a little more fun.

Taheny lays down bass synth with one hand while drumming with his other limbs, filling out the space left by the guitar and vocals.

It’s a take on Borcherdt’s solo work that he’s much more comfortable playing live.

“There have been a handful of times where I’ve gotten up and played in front of people as a solo artist, but there has been very few tours when I pack the station wagon, kiss my wife goodbye and go out on the road for three months like a travelling salesman bringing my little suitcase of cassette tapes to the world,” said Borcherdt.

“And one of the reasons I haven’t really done that is because I’d probably find that pretty boring.”

And while for most of his career his work has been categorized under Holy Fuck or everything else, Borcherdt doesn’t feel either can sum him up musically. If anything captures that today, it’s LIDS, a noisy, guitar-driven band that he started with The Constantines’ Doug MacGregor and Alex Edkins from METZ.

“I don’t think any one [of my projects] is getting to the core of what I’m about, in the meantime they’re just creative outlets, not getting the whole picture,” said Borcherdt. “But I feel like I’m getting there, it’s taken a long, long time.” ­­

Dusted / Sept. 20 / CFC (6388 St. Hubert St.) / Doors at 9:00 p.m., Dusted at 1:00 a.m.