Sometimes you have to lose yourself in order to find a better way. It’s not a conscious decision, it can’t be forced – it’s just the way of the wanderer…the hobo.
Joel Boychuk knows this more than most, having travelled halfway around the world in search of musical inspiration only to return home and find it waiting on his doorstep…
Growing up in Sarnia about an hour’s drive from Detroit, Joel first connected with electronic music through Kraftwerk who in turn stimulated his interest in the rich techno landscape just a stone’s throw away. Jeff Mills and Juan Atkins were particularly influential but it was Plastikman’s Sheet One that really sealed the deal, inspiring him to start building his own loops and samples. He was soon hooking up for laptop jam sessions with Adam Young after high school and the pair gradually evolved into Tractile.
Regular trips to Untitled at Detroit’s Shelter club followed and it was there that he tentatively handed Clark Warner the first Tractile demo. Richie Hawtin soon got wind of their potential and suddenly the prospect of a Minus release was on the table. For an 18-year-old kid this was mind-blowing and a deal was eventually struck at the Detroit Electronic Music Festival in 2005. Tractile’s “Silent Movie EP” on Minus was a memorable affair of action packed tunes that hurtled forward, effortlessly shifting from rough angular beats to flowing, floor-friendly grooves at the flick of a switch. After relocating to Berlin, spending a whirlwind 13 months touring Europe, soaking up the city’s electric atmosphere and collecting invaluable experience, Joel felt the constant traveling around, from show to show seemed to be disrupting the collaborative process. Soon after, Joel decided to follow his instincts and return home to pursue his own musical vision and develop his own identity.
That identity or alter ego is Hobo and it came about in a Yurt (a Mongolian tent) somewhere deep in The Pinery – a National Park close to his home in Sarnia, Canada where he spent a week last winter writing his new EP “From A to B”. It was a bold move, embarking on a solo career and faced with the challenge of writing alone for the first time. He ventured into the wilderness not knowing what he would find. With his laptop perched on a plastic picnic table and living purely off maple syrup and water, he shook off the shackles of modern life and wandered alone through the woods, losing himself in both a spiritual and physical sense in order to harness the moment when subjective thought is overwhelmed by objectivity, and then somehow translate it into music.
It’s a deeply personal, exploratory approach to the creative process built on the belief that the more you put yourself into the music, the greater the chance the listener will get something meaningful out of it. The result is a collection of individual, almost stand-alone tracks defined by perception and experience. Joel freely admits that there’s more emotion in this new body of work, a more vivid sense of life brought about by his close proximity to nature while recording. It’s a process he intends to recreate in the future at equally inspiring locations around the world as and when the hobo in his heart yearns for more adventure.