Ethereal vocals and a multitude of carefully layered synths make it impossible not to dance to the catchy new single from Toronto-based pop outfit Techno Westerns who dazzle with a tale of losing oneself on “Mystery Man” – check it out on YouTube here:
The electric single “Mystery Man” can be found on the new Techno Westerns EP “Midnight,” a collection of music meticulously crafted by New Zealand native and Techno Westerns frontman Wyatt Hautonga.
“’Mystery Man’ at face value is supposed to be a Halloween song, but once you push that aside, it’s more the tale of someone losing their sense of self.”
The song stems from Hautonga’s own experience of questioning what behaviour was a defense mechanism to keep others out, and which behaviour was a genuine reflection of personality.
Listen on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/track/1w5WKdhfFu3g0rDpP4LamU?si=49873ef272e5426b&nd=1
“I think as someone not from Canada originally and having tried to both adapt to and adopt the many norms of North America while keeping hold of my own NZ culture. I’ve started feeling like an imposter in my own skin, where it seems like you’re lying to yourself no matter how honest you think you’re being,” says Hautonga.
Techno Westerns’ sense of artistic honesty extends all the way to the recording process for “Mystery Man.” The song’s vocals, along with the mixing was done by Hautonga in his car while sitting in a Cineplex parking lot. As Hautonga explains, “the band came along after I was done with everything, and from there they started learning their parts and getting the song ready for live.”
“Mystery Man” also represents the juxtaposition of losing yourself in a world where everyone encourages authenticity but is seemingly going through the same crisis of self. A sentiment Hautonga brilliantly captures in his lyrics.
“Where’s your humour, guy?
You used to laugh and smile at all these silly quеstions
Are you telling lies?
You fool thеm all the time but now you’re also guessing”
All tracks on the EP “Midnight” were written by Hautonga, except for “Dutch Angle,” which was written by Sean Rattan and Hautonga. All tracks performed solely by Hautonga except for “Cold Shoulder,” which features Sean Rattan and Joshua Napal on bass and guitar respectively, and “Dutch Angle,” which features Sean Rattan on synthesizer.
“Am I Empty Enough” was recorded and written in December of 2021, with “Cold Shoulder,” “Mystery Man,” “Dutch Angle” and “All My Friends” recorded and written between April of 2022 and December of 2022. All tracks were mixed and mastered by Hautonga remotely at home.
In 2015, New Zealand born Hautonga was busy finding band members instead of taking his studies in audio engineering seriously. During this time, he wrote and recorded the songs that would make up “In Transition” (2018), a collection of immediate, unflinching demos which would lay the foundation for what would become an unmistakable, inimitable Techno Westerns sound.
By 2018, Hautonga had moved to Toronto and joined forces with local musicians while recording the Kia Ora EP (2019) and Memento Mori (2020). These recordings explored 1980s pop grandeur and examined themes such as isolation, desperation, and tales of late-night debauchery. Techno Westerns explored these themes further with an added level of maturity on “Lover Boy” (2021), a frizzy and flippant pop opus that saw Hautonga come into his own both creatively and musically.
Coming off a busy summer filled with sold out shows, a NXNE appearance and a headlining slot at Horseshoe Tavern, Techno Westerns are ready to dive into a busy 2023 with the new EP and two tours already planned.