I did a double take when I first heard the vivid and evocative voice of Chloe Jones—vocalist, songwriter, and keyboardist of the duo This Sound Will Save You, (the other half of TSWSY is the talented producer and multi-instrumentalist Matt Fudge). The following morning I awoke with “I Try” and “Us” alternately sliding around in my head, and I’ve been a fan ever since.
Their 2012 EP, A Place to Start, and 2013’s full length debut album, Let the Night Lead You, showcased enthralling lyrics paired with a voice that calls to mind Kate Bush, and sexy stirring beats that makes you want to dance, and dream. Both illustrated that TSWSY’s dark shimmery electro-pop was worlds away from mainstream bubble gum territory.
Now, as they work on a forthcoming release, Chloe and Matt discuss how a routine collaboration turned into a dream duo, and how their sound is evolving back to where it all began. Chaka V.
TWM: Where did you grow up? When did you come to Canada?
CJ: I grew up and went to school in South London, and came to Canada about 6 years ago.
TWM: Who were or are some of your most important musical influences?
CJ: Different times, people and places have played a big part in my musical tastes. I am not tied to any musical genre in particular and take influences from any artist, music or song I like.
TWM: When did you realize that music was what you wanted to pursue?
CJ: When I was little I wanted to be a dancer, which is kind of where it began. I went from dancing to music to singing and playing the piano. From a young age I knew music was all I wanted to do.
TWM: When did you begin songwriting? And which aspect of music, singing, songwriting or performing, is the most exciting part and most intimidating experience?
CJ: I used to like making up tunes at the piano but didn’t start songwriting until I was a teenager. I got Cubase and started writing and producing songs in my bedroom. The most exciting thing for me is when I’ve written a new song that I feel really good about. I can’t wait to perform it and share it with an audience. I’m quite a shy person when it comes to talking on stage. So, that’s always a bit of a challenge. The excitement outweighs any fear I may have though.
TWM: You sound extraordinarily, and beautifully, like the glorious Kate Bush? Has Kate Bush played as big of an influence on your sound as it appears?
CJ: Thank you. That’s a great compliment! This is something I have heard quite a lot, but I can honestly say that Kate Bush has had no influence on me. I do remember hearing “Wuthering Heights” when I was younger though and thinking that was a great song. It’s hard for me personally to work out what it is other people hear when they listen to my voice. If they like our music and hear Kate Bush in my voice, that`s good enough for me.
TWM: Do you come from a musical family?
MF: Not really. As a kid, I actually spent more time with my Dad working on computers and playing video games than anything else. I did always have some kind of musical toy or invention around, but I would say my family is responsible more for fostering my interest in technology than music.
TWM: You are a multi-instrumentalist. What instruments do you play?
MF: I’ve been playing guitar, bass and keyboards since I was a teenager. Over the past few years I’ve also begun programming synths, samplers and designing my own digital instruments. When it comes to playing music, my focus is about saying something unique and creative more than following the technical rules. In that sense, I feel many non-traditional sounds can also be considered instruments and try not to think of myself as a player of any specific one.
TWM: When did you start producing?
MF: I’ve been interested in music production for longer than I can remember, but the process of becoming a producer has been a natural one. When I first started playing music, I found myself working with friends to help them arrange and develop sounds for their own songs. Later, I began working alongside producers as an assistant and session musician in recording studios and realized this role was a natural fit for me. This was right around the time I met Chloe and I decided to focus solely on producing ever since.
TWM: Who were some of your most important musical influences?
MF: Growing up a close friend of mine had an older sister who introduced me to a lot of alternative music. Bands like The Cure, Smashing Pumpkins, David Bowie and Placebo all had a huge impact on me alongside more experimental music by Björk, Einstürzende Neubauten and Brian Eno. Growing up in a small town, I found listening to music was an escape to a place that made sense to me.
TWM: So now, let’s get into how the band TSWSY came to be. How did British Chloe meet Canadian Matthew?
Matt: About a year after moving to Canada, Chloe recorded a solo EP at the studio I was working in. After the record, we continued to work together and she ended up joining another band I was playing in at the time.
Chloe: I was so used to going into studios and having someone be completely detached from the music [that] I was recording. However, working with Matt was different. It became so much more than just recording some tracks, [it became] a real collaboration. We shared the same love of unusual sounds and did a lot of experimenting on that record together. We worked so well together and had so much fun recording the EP that, after it was done, we knew we had to continue to work together.
TWM: The band name, This Sound Will Save You, is a bold name. What inspired the name? And have there been musicians or albums that musically saved you both?
Chloe: When we first begun working together, we were really intense. Matt left the studio he was working in and we both quit our other band to focus on working together.
Matt: One night, we were jamming and, as a joke, I wrote ‘This Sound Will Save You’ on a piece of tape and stuck it on my bass guitar. The name just stuck. We were always talking about the power music has to affect people. When we were coming up with a name, we wanted something really bold to match how we were feeling at the time and something that would get people’s attention.
Chloe: It was kind of just a joke that stuck. To be honest, we were both worried about the name because it is so intense and there could be a lot of pressure to save people. But, honestly, it’s a little tongue in cheek as well. My biggest worry was us sounding arrogant, but I’ve got used to it now.
Matt: I would definitely say music has saved me. Growing up, whenever things were hard, playing and listening to music was such a release and a way of expressing what things I was feeling and didn’t understand.
Chloe: I’ve always felt there are so many emotions that can only be expressed through music. I related to artists who I felt were speaking to me and that’s what we hope to be for other people.
TWM: How has TSWSY’s sound evolved, morphed, or become truer to the original inspiration that inspired you both to begin the band, since A Good Place to Start and Let the Night Lead You?
Chloe: When we first started jamming together, Matt got out his 909 drum machine and bass guitar, and I played two synth keyboards and sang. We always go back to that first jam because, at the time, we were so excited about the sound we were making and we feel like that’s the essence of our sound.
Matt: Let The Night Lead You was written and recorded over a period of two years, and there was a lot of developing and learning done over that time. There are things on that record we’re happy with and other things probably we would have done differently in retrospect. The great thing now, after those two records, is that we feel we have a deeper understanding of what we’re going for and what we like and don’t like. We feel now that this is the truest it’s ever been to how we started.
TWM: How do you work with Chloe to marry her lyrics and voice with your vision as a producer?
Matt: The process we have for creating the music is collaborative. Chloe starts by bringing me the song made up of lyrics and melody. We then go through the song a few times, discuss the vision and path we want to take it in. I then do the music and production. After this, we get back together and finish the song until we both get the sound we want.
TWM: You both have also co-written music for new artists Red Horse Revelation and the singer Maiko Watson, how was that experience? Are you writing with the artist specifically in mind or just letting the songs come to you? And who are some of your dream artists to write for?
Chloe: It’s been interesting writing for other artists. In a way, it’s easier because it’s not as personal as writing my own music and I feel more detached from the songs.
Matt: I definitely think about the artist and want to understand the style they’re going for as we’re working on the music. I feel as though our style probably still comes through. A dream artist to write for would be anyone with a unique and cool expression–whether that’s the biggest artist at the moment or someone we’ve never heard of, [it] doesn’t make a big difference.
TWM: Why are you making the move from Halifax to Toronto?
Chloe: At this point in our career, we feel we have to move to a bigger city. We’ve spent a lot of time developing in Halifax and want to be in a bigger centre to work out of now.
Matt: It’s a personal move as much as anything else and, at this point for both of us, we feel our future is somewhere else. Toronto is the biggest city in Canada and we feel it’s a good next step.
TWM: When can we expect your new album?
Chloe: We’ve already got an album worth of new songs, but we’re waiting to release something and make sure it’s just right.
Matt: Our plan is to release some singles or an EP first before releasing a whole album. Even though we haven’t put anything out over the last year, we’re always making new music.
TWM: Nosy final question: Are you a couple?
Matt: Ha ha. No, we’re just really good friends. Our relationship is already intense enough just working on the music together. We have a lot of respect for couples who can do this successfully, but couldn’t imagine doing it ourselves.