Chris McLaughin is a producer, sound engineer and multi-instrumentalist, who can boast over a decade of production work with a wide-ranging array of artists from Kanye West, Bon Iver, The Strokes‘ Fabrizio Moretti, machinegum, and a recent Neon Indian remix.
McLaughin steps out into the limelight as an artist with his solo recording project Cigar Cigarette. McLaughlin’s Cigar Cigarette forthcoming debut Cigar Cigar Cigar Cigarette is an industrial-leaning soundscape guided by anxious, apocalyptic mystique — and McLaughlin’s wide-spanning ear and expansive vision.
Cigar Cigar Cigar Cigarette‘s latest single “Guilty Pleasures” is a woozy and feverish haze of buzzing and oscillating electronics, skittering boom bap, industrial clang and clatter, glistening synths and shoegazey guitars paired with McLaughlin’s achingly plaintive and processed vocals and an enormous hook. While recalling a slick synthesis of Uncanny Valley era Midnight Juggernauts and POND, “Guilty Pleasures” as McLaughlin explains “is a song that takes place in an early period of the Internet, and is built using sounds and memories from each of the last four decades. It’s about two people meeting on a road in the woods and exchanging briefcases which contain their own internal organs.
“I thought it would be funny to begin a song with the beat from the 80’s hit ‘Come On Eileen‘, making hi hats from voices and chords from vocoder. Ultimately, it ascends into a wash of shoe-gaze guitars and heavy modular synths as the characters in the song take turns swallowing their own lungs.
“As an engineer I love the process of recording sounds; but as a producer and musician I’m more interested in resampling those sounds and creating a collage with them, rather than just letting the performances sit,” McLaughin adds. “I blended the vocoder and natural vocals for the same reason: I want the song to evoke the same cold unease of the uncanny valley, to feel like something a slightly imperfect copy of a human would make.”
Directed by frequently collaborator, MOTHERMARY‘s Elyse Winn and shot by Michael Pessah is a surreal and disorientating visual that follows McLaughin as he drives a badass car through time and space as he sings along with the song. “We wanted to use the ‘poor man’s process’ technique of projecting a video behind a stationary vehicle to make it appear like it’s moving. Using these sorts of ‘movie magic’ practical effects from another time period can create a much more surreal and disorienting world,” says McLaughlin.