“Autumn’s Mutt” is the moniker behind the work of Michael Chung, a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter with a very personal approach to his blend of synthpop. His debut EP “Snowflakes” (2012) bridges the gaps between shoegaze textures, electro-pop and alt-folk melodies, not unlike artists such as Slow, Thurston Moore, MGMT and Youth Lagoon. The sound acquires a very textural and organic quality as elements blend in a way reminiscent of a cross between Phil Spector and Brian Eno’s legendary production styles – it isn’t as important to focus on single elements within the mix as much as to seize the entire landscape from afar. “Autumn’s Mutt” leads his listeners into a dream-like, lush and symphonic sonic environment – find out more and let his music tell you the rest of the story.
Entertwine: Could you tell us a bit about your background? What led you to pursue a career in music in the first place? What is the significance of your moniker?
Music has always been a common thread in my life – I’ve gone through a bunch of phases in my life, crazy and interesting enough to be put into song and lyric. As a kid, I grew up taking piano lessons, and later, I taught myself how to sing and play guitar. I started to write and play my own songs in college – so “Autumn’s Mutt” blossomed from a rather fun experiment to a more meaningful “life” experiment. The moniker just sort of sounded cool.
What does a day in the life of Michael Chung look and sound like? What is it like living in Quebec?
I don’t have a confident answer – things are kind of up in the air for me. Since I’ve finished writing and recording my debut album last June, everything became quite technical and mundane. After graduating university, I’ve been working part-time – saving for things that matter. In some ways, I’m rebuilding my life – mostly from past damage from lies and stuff. I live just south of Montreal – and being in Montreal is wickedly fun. Lots of music and huge events and wild partying. But I haven’t ventured out of this area to really give a solid opinion of Quebec as a whole.
Tell us about the seven tracks that make up your debut album “We Are Constellations”; what experiences and events inspired the writing and recording of these particular compositions? Could you tell us about each of the featured songs? What gear and equipment was used to create this record?
From the outset, my hope for these songs is so they will relate to as many people as possible. There’s a hidden layer, as they’re absolutely reflective of who I am, what I’ve done, what I strive for, and what I believe in. My faith in God, denouncement of social stratification, wild penchant to have fun, and struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder are a few key examples. “Platitude Magnitude” is a satire on corporate culture and vapid conversations; “Schoolboy Prime” is an epitome of desire and idealism; and “Beasts” is a fun yarn on Chinese New Year lore. To create this record, I used a laptop/DAW, an outboard sound mixer, a MIDI keyboard, a condenser mic, and an electric and acoustic guitar.
I really had a wide range of inspiration for “We Are Constellations”. Though it’s primarily a psych pop and synthpop album, it also borrows from other genres, I guess, like pop-punk, indie rock, shoegaze and folk. It’s definitely more ambitious and expansive than my “Snowflakes” EP. Everything about writing and recording “We Are Constellations” was different – in fact, it had benefitted from a structured approach of sorts.
What does 2015 hold in store for Autumn’s Mutt? Do you have any upcoming performances?
I’m still in the middle of rebuilding a ton of things around me. Creatively-speaking, I hope to finish a music video that some friends started shooting with me last autumn. I’m playing my debut album launch show, too, at the end of February, at a Montreal coffeehouse. In the meantime, you should check out “We Are Constellations” on SoundCloud or Bandcamp!