MUSIC PROFILE | CHOIR BOY

Writing, recording, and touring are constants for Adam Klopp, singer/guitarist for rising Salt Lake City dream pop outfit Choir Boy, but another steady presence in the indie musician’s life is On Broadway Deli, the downtown sandwich shop he’s been working at ever since landing in Utah three years ago for college. “I’ve tried to leave a handful of times, but I always end up back there,” he tells ION over Skype a few hours after wrapping a shift, adding of its practicality, “Both me and Chaz [Costello], who plays bass in Choir Boy, work there. [The owner] lets us go on tour whenever we want.” Though Klopp’s group spent several months of 2018 supporting their debut full-length Passive With Desire (originally released in 2016, but reissued last year via Dais Records), traveling alongside similarly post-punk-influenced bands like Cold Cave and Soft Kill, the part-time job back home has its perks, too, like getting to know Andy, a “quirky and generous” cinephile who emigrated from Indonesia to the U.S. to escape an arranged marriage.

“Basically, he had an arranged marriage and didn’t want to do it, [so] he came to America. He’s just obsessed with movies. He started working at the film society, and worked there for years and years— He got fired, so he bought the deli next door, even though he’d never worked at a restaurant before.”

“The way he makes sandwiches is like he’s never eaten a sandwich before,” Klopp continues of Andy’s curious business venture. “There’s an intuitive way to stacking things in a sandwich. He’ll put on a humongous piece of lettuce, like draping out for inches on each side. I think he gets it; he just doesn’t give a shit.”

Considering the cover art for Passive With Desire finds Klopp posing in fangs and cape à la Bela Lugosi, and how the title to penultimate number “Hellmouth” is a nod to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, ION asks Klopp if he’s ever geeked out over the undead with Andy, but the Broadway Deli owner is reportedly more into arthouse dramas and Saw-style torture porn than, say, The Lost Boys. Klopp adds as a consolation: “He’s also really into 80s pop music— I’ve tried to talk to him about this song in Bram Stoker’s Dracula by Annie Lennox ['Love Song for a Vampire'].”

Compared to his boss’ stacking skills, Passive With Desire proves that Klopp knows a thing or two about layering melody. Opening marvel “Two Lips” is an immersive twist of retro synths, Cure-style bass work, reverb-chilly snare hits, and Klopp’s bittersweet tenor. Later, “Blood Moon” bops like a John Hughes soundtrack anthem, while “Dark Room” plunges headfirst into an ocean of acoustic guitar and multi-part vocal harmonies. Though swoon-worthy, these various soundscapes also come packaged with Klopp’s lyrics on isolation, bad drugs trips, or, in the case of the title track, suicidal ideation.

Passive With Desire was such a bleak album in a lot of ways,” Klopp says of the band’s breakthrough release, though he adds that listeners “feel they identify with the subject matter of the song, whether it be about heartbreak in a relationship, depression, or the death of a parent.”

He continues: “I’ve read, probably in a clickbait article, that sad music helps make sad people happier. Happy music can actually make a depressed person feel even more depressed, because they can’t connect with the sentiment of the song.”

This isn’t to say that there’s no joy in Choir Boy’s music. Sonically, Passive With Desire hits massive highs, while the lyrical mood is more wistful than weeping. There could, however, be a slight tonal shift on the act’s next LP, which is still in the writing stage. One tune that has already crept into Choir Boy’s set list is “Complainer,” a “self-deprecating song making fun of my tendency to lament how bad I think my life is.”

“It’s light-hearted,” Choir Boy’s vocalist continues of the yet-to-be-recorded cut. “Maybe not everybody [does this], but sometimes you go on a little ‘poor me’ venting rampage, and I think that the song is just making fun of that tendency.”

Klopp hopes to have Choir Boy’s next album recorded and released by the end of 2019. No one would complain if it came sooner.

Tour dates w/ Snail Mail:

01/24 San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore

01/26 Portland, OR – Aladdin Theatre

01/27 Vancouver, BC – The Imperial

01/28 Seattle, WA – The Neptune Theatre

Photo: Jordan Utley 

 

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