What is your name and role within Black Pontiac?
My name’s Matty Mclaren and I’m the lead vocalist for Vancouver Black Pontiac.
Where are you currently based?
Currently I’m riding out the 2nd year of our ‘two week’ pandemic lockdown from Vancouver, Canada.
How did Black Pontiac form?
The band formed after myself and Mac Riddell (who plays guitar like no other) started hanging out and writing songs together. Eventually we added Mac’s brother Sam into the equation on drums, and after a revolving door of bassists we found our guy in Avery John Shoesmith. The name comes from the old Pontiac Sunfire that Mac used to drive. We used to hop in the back of that tiny thing and just mob out all over the city.
What’s been happening recently?
We’ve been putting the last finishing touches on our debut album “From Bad to Worse (and Back Again)” that we’re hoping to put out later this year or early 2022!
Your new single ‘Island Honey’ is out now, what influenced the sound and songwriting?
I think the pop elements and storytelling nature of the song definitely came from the band Peach Pit. Neil Smith (the lead singer) has a way of crafting incredibly vivid stories that elicit this tender, bittersweet emotion from the little moments in life we often take for granted. He went to my high school and was a big reason I wanted to be in a band in the first place.
How did you go about writing “Island Honey”?
Like most of our best songs, it typically starts with Mac and I getting together and hanging out. He pulled out this chord progression he’d been playing around with. It wasn’t actually meant to be on the album but we ended up finishing it during pre production and figured we might as well.
Where and when did you record/produce/master and with who?
We recorded the song a few months ago with our boy Matt Dipomponio out of Echoplant Studios in Port Coquitlam, BC. He’s been a de facto 5th member through the process of engineering, producing, and mixing our entire record. The album is currently being mastered by Brock Mcfarlane of CPS Mastering.
How did you approach the recording process?
We came to Matt with the idea, and he told us we should finish it. Once we had decided we were including the song on the track list, we tracked all the drums at once. We then switched between bass, guitar, some synths specifically for Island Honey, and eventually vocals. It really depended on how we were feeling when we went into the studio in the morning. The process was super laid back and we had a lot of fun doing it.
What did you find most challenging and rewarding during the recording process?
We went into this process with the intention of getting weird with it; essentially throwing ideas at the wall and seeing what stuck. While it was incredibly rewarding being able let our creativity shine through in the studio and trying every dumb idea we had, I’ll admit it could also be a hinderance when we needed to finish something or make a decision on how a certain part was supposed to go.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
I know Mac and Sam have been really into Frank Zappa for a while. Avery’s still bumping Meatloaf in his Honda Civic and recently I’ve been into this LA band called Momma – they put out an album last year called “Two of Us” that combines soft bedroom pop vocals with a 90s alt rock that I think is sick.
What do you like to do away from music?
Lately I’ve been reading a lot of poetry. I recently finished a book called Black Abacus by a Canadian-Nigerian poet named Ian Ketteku. He bends the English language to his will in a way I’ve never seen or felt before, covering topics like race, time, love, religion, and identity through an often painfully candid lens. It’s given me a fresh perspective on music, creatively speaking.
What’s planned for the remainder of 2021 going into 2022?
The album drop (it’s gonna be wild), more outdoor shows, more songwriting, and hopefully a tour somewhere down the line.
Favourite food and place to hangout?
Lucy’s Eastside Diner on Main Street in Vancouver! That place has seen me at my best and absolute worst.