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Kalle Mattson today at the Ottawa Bluesfest

By Ryan Saxby Hill on July 5, 2014

Kalle Mattson is having a great year and we thought it would be good to check in with him quickly before his Bluesfest performance. He plays the Clariage Homes Stage today at 2pm.

You are our hometown hopeful on the Polaris list this year. What went through your mind when they announced it? How do you think this type of program can help your career?

I knew there was a chance that the record would be nominated, but I really had no idea if it legitimately had a shot or not. So for a few days leading up to the announcement I was pretty anxious about it, but when I finally found out I was obviously super proud and happy. It was really validating for me that the record I made had been recognized and sort of legitimized, so hopefully it means more people hear it and gives it a spotlight to a whole new audience.

For the uninitiated Apartment613 reader, can you introduce us to your album? What should people expect from your record?

I’ve been writing songs for roughly 5 years so this is my 4th release in that amount of time, but in a lot of ways it really feels like my debut record. I wrote it in my childhood home in my hometown of Sault Ste. Marie and the record is essentially about me coming to terms with the death of my mom 6 years ago when I was 16. It’s a record about death but there’s a lot of hope in there, dark and light, happy sad, rock songs and folk songs. I think it’s a pretty good introduction.

You’re playing the Bluesfest this Saturday. Can you talk a bit about your take on the festival scene in Ottawa? How are our festivals doing at supporting local acts?

The festival scene in Ottawa is really really great. The amount of festivals we have all summer and the quality of the programming they bring in to a city our size is pretty incredible. The way they all treat local bands is pretty special; you’re obviously given an awesome opportunity to play something like Bluesfest but it never feels less than or that you’re secondary which is pretty important I think. Super excited for Saturday!

Any other Ottawa musical friends we should be paying attention to? Anyone you’re excited to see play over the next bit?

I just recorded some demos with Jim Bryson for a brand new record I’m working on, and he played me some of the songs off of his new record that sounded really really good, I’m excited for that one. Not anyone really Ottawa specific, excited to see a lot stuff at Bluesfest and I’m going to see Nick Cave later this summer so there’s that.



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