Published Jul 01, 2012Coming from Brian Borcherdt ― one-half of the founding duo behind Toronto noiseniks Holy Fuck ― Dusted will come as a bit of a surprise. Gone are the elastic bass lines and distorted tape loops; in their place is just Borcherdt, his guitar and miles of ambient space.
"One of the big ideas we kept returning to was the idea of intention," explains a hung-over Borcherdt as he watches his pooch Dusty make the rounds at Trinity Bellwoods dog bowl in Toronto. "Even though it's a simple song, the intention could totally change by adding too much."
This isn't Borcherdt's first excursion outside his day job though. Over the years he's dropped a handful of low-key releases and played the occasional solo gig under his own name. But he's never fully committed to any sort of solo career, instead using these occasions to unload new ideas without the expectations of the Holy Fuck name. "I feel like I don't know what I'm doing quite often," he says. "At the end of the day, I'm not sure, hypothetically speaking, if I'd even listen to a record like that."
Borcherdt say the process of writing songs has always appealed to him, but purely as a hobby. "The next step is you want to record it. You want to complete the vision." So last January, while Holy Fuck were on a much-needed break, he hooked up with producer Leon Taheny to lay down tracks he had been working on. "I was really excited about knowing that his place was just a small garage," he recalls. "I wanted to work in space that was like a think tank and work on your ideas."
Guitar and vocals were recorded first, with Borcherdt singing through an old, blown out amp, distorting his voice. "Every once in a while [Leon] would add drums and then we'd go, 'Nah' and he'd just go back to a single tambourine."
Borcherdt knew from the get go that he didn't want to put the record out under his own name, but beyond that there were no clear intentions for the material. "It had been done for a year and I just kind of sat on it. At some point I realized I wanted to make it a thing and he wanted to too, so the record came out." He had considered calling the record Dusted, but instead opted to adopt it as a band name for him and Taheny, whose involvement in the recording process had grown into full-blown collaborator. Polyvinyl approached him about releasing the record, now called Total Dust, though Borcherdt has no idea how they even found out about the project.
Despite the longwinded birth, Borcherdt is pleased with the end results. "We just made the record we wanted to make without a lot of pressure," he says. "I chose better songs, I recorded them in a way that I was excited about, aesthetically speaking. I feel like I put more into it and as a result I'm getting more out of it."