Album premiere: Mike D’Eon solo project Fossil Cliffs

Mike D’Eon has been active in the music scene for a while with bands who played music with “post” attached to genre styles, post-punk band The Establishment and post-rock band Kuato. Now D’Eon debut’s his post-band album, which is just a confusing way to say he is releasing his debut solo album (Don’t worry, he’s still in Kuato). The self-titled EP was recorded in the basement of the Acadien Embassy, the home of humans and the label that shares the name. The EP has some grit, tackling personal topics head on, slashing through with some heavy sludge guitar.

The EP release show happens in Halifax at Gus’ Pub tomorrow (Thursday, Oct. 2). The official release date is October 7, but you can check out our Mixtape exclusive album premiere below .

Mixtape Magazine: I love when musicians in bands release solo albums that sound completely different from what they usually do. How important is it to have a solo outlet such as Fossil Cliffs?
Mike D’Eon: I think it’s very important. It’s an outlet for me to express myself in a different way than the other projects. The last band I fronted, The Establishment, was kind of expressing external emotions. It was more of a social/political post-punk kind of band. This is more of a release of internal emotions.

When did you first decide to hunker down in the Embassy basement and record the EP?
I first started working on this project in October of 2013. That being said, I recorded the whole thing and mixed it myself in the basement initially on a 16 track, then I transferred everything to the computer to mix it. But I would pretty much work on it a couple hours every two weeks because I was really busy with school and work. I always admired when people like Dave Grohl created solo projects and played all the instruments on them, including drums – like on the first Foo Fighters album. I always thought, “I could totally do that.” I grew up in a small town, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. There was nothing to do there. We would all just go to someone’s house in the country and play music in the shed or in my parents’ basement (which I am very thankful for). We usually played Nirvana and Sabbath covers and made our own songs that ripped them off. After a while I would get bored of one instrument and would learn another. So throughout those early years I learned how to play guitar, drums, and bass. My next question was, “How am I going to do this, I have never even played drums with a click before?” So I started with tracking drums and just memorized the songs in my head with no click track, and it somehow worked. I mean, it is not perfect but it is as close as I want it to be.

Acadian Embassy has a cool little collective of friends and musicians. How does it influence you creatively?
Acadian Embassy is definitely a huge influence on my creativity. I currently live in the Acadian Embassy house, all the records are stored in my attic. Most of the bands still jam in my basement. Everyone pretty much plays in everyone else’s band. It is a great community to be a part of. We all kind of pitch in and help each other out. We all hang out and listen to records and get influenced by a lot of the same records. I also recruited some members of other Acadian Embassy bands (such as Quiet Parade) to play in the live band.

With Kuato, the Acadian heritage of your band is very important and integral to the songs. How much  does that background factor into this EP? Or is the EP more personal?
My Acadian heritage is not directly involved in this project. This is more of a personal album. I was going through a lot of medical problems which were causing me a lot of stress. I was in a long distance relationship that didn’t pan out. So it is a lot of personal stuff really, which is definitely new for me in music, because I always wrote about external stuff in the past. So if the album seems a little dark lyrically that is why. This project was a great outlet for this. I am in a way better state of mind and body now and the medical problems are being managed. So the next album will probably have beaches and sunshine lyrics.

What bands have you been listening to lately? 
 Thee Oh Sees, The Band, Chad VanGaalen, Women, and Fuzz.

Photo: Supplied/Richard Lann