Boats: One Last Hurrah Before Setting Sail


By Chris Bryson

On March 4, Winnipeg experimental pop-rock outfit Boats will be playing their last show at the Good Will. “Probably the last show,” says Mat Klachefsky, Boats’ frontman and songwriter.Boats released their first album in 2007, another in 2010, a cassette in 2012, and a third full-length in 2013. Since then, Klachefsky has taken on a new job and the pace of the band has slowed down. Klachefsky feels it’s the right time to call it quits, and has plenty of good memories to keep with him.

“We had a good run,” says Klachefsky. “Seven, eight years, the band was kind of the focal point of everything I did. And it was kind of me trying to unrealistically chase a dream job. Then about a year ago a different dream job kind of leapt into my lap. So I took that. And I think it was a good time to kind of call it because we did a lot of really great things. We met a lot of great people. We went to places that I’d never think I’d ever get to go. It was great while it lasted but I feel good about quitting it.”

Klachefsky appreciates the experiences he’s had, and after years in the music scene he’s found that the best kind of music is music that comes naturally.

“I know people can end up in bands for years and years and it’s the only thing they know how to do. So at a certain point writing songs does not come naturally and being a musician does not come naturally,” says Klachefsky. “I’m just glad we never got to that point where I had to write songs because I felt I had to. I wrote songs because I enjoyed it and because they occurred naturally.”

Boats is indie pop with some branching experimental leanings. It’s music that makes you think, and music that makes you feel. Their sound is uplifting and airy, mixing propulsion and bounce with a weird and distinct pomp. Klachefsky’s vocals lie somewhere in the realm between that of Alec Ounsworth (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah) and Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie/the Postal Service), a truly entrancing mix.

On Boats’ last album they got to tour England. When talking a bit about tour memories, Klachefsky says over the phone with a distinctive calmness, “there’s been so much. I hear a lot about other bands having big problems on tour and not getting along and just having a miserable time, not enjoying it, being away from home for too long, and being homesick. We never had any of that. We got along great. We would always be having a good time if we were playing to five people or 300 people. So it was always fun. It was expensive but it was fun. I’m just glad we got the chance to do it. It was a cool way to spend your late 20s. I recommend it. But maybe not your late 30s,” he laughs.

Talking with Klachefsky, he seems content with his decision for a last show, or what he calls, “probably the last show.” He’s says there’s new material, but there’s no certainty whether or not he’ll ever return to recording or playing music.

“We’re calling it ‘Probably the Last Show’ because I reserved the right to have reunion shows and if anything else goes to shit then I reserve the right to get back into it, but I cannot see that happening,” says Klachefsky. “It’s definitely going to be the last show for a very long time.”

A last show gives even better reason to check Boats out if you’ve never seen them before. Their raucous sound is enough to get bodies moving on the floor. When asked what he’ll be doing next, Klachefsky says (in honest jest) he’s, “going to exist as a human being.” And really, isn’t that all anyone could ask for?

He explains he feels unsure about how his life will be once Boats is not around. “It’s a weird thing to think about,” says Klachefsky. “Even though we haven’t really done anything in a year. It kind of helps define everything I did and now it just doesn’t anymore.”

Despite the changes, there seems to be levity to Klachefsky’s tone and expression, like the kind of feeling you get when you know you’ve done something you love and all the work was worth it. “We’re going to ride off into the sunset, proud of the work we’ve done,” says Klachefsky.

Be sure to check out Boats’ final show at the Good Will on March 4 with Human Music and Beefdonut.