Good things come out of Montreal. And Mozart's Sister, aka Caila Thompson-Hannant, is no exception. After creating buzz with two EPs, her experimental solo efforts have culminated into her debut LP Being.

It's rare to hear a debut that is catchy, smart and confident, one that defines itself within a genre while simultaneously pushing its boundaries. It's also rare to find a young artist who is doing things her own damn way. Recording music in her bedroom, Thompson-Hannant overlays edgy production with poignant lyrics to create charming, relatable alt-pop.

We spoke to Thompson-Hannant about her production predisposition, kinship towards Maria Anna Mozart and DIY spirit.


After being in a couple of other bands, Shapes & Sizes as well as Miracle Fortress and Think About Life, what initially inspired you to go solo as Mozart's Sister?

Well, it was mostly that my former band broke up. I'd been working on stuff on my own, so I tried to focus attention on it and actually tried to leave my former band because I wanted to do my own stuff. But, it's hard to break up. It pretty much really came together for real when my other band broke up.

There's a 2010 French film called 'Mozart's Sister', which is around the time you started the project. Does that have any relation to the name you chose?

No, except for the fact that we were inspired by the same character [Maria Anna Mozart]. I did not know about the film, I mean I obviously 'Googled' Mozart's Sister and found it, but it wasn't an inspiration.

What about the character inspired you to name the project after her?

At the time I felt like--kind of in a childish way looking back on it--in the shadows and overlooked. That's when I felt like I was competing with the men in my life. [laughs] So yeah, it was kind of a way for me to emancipate myself and really identify with this character in history that I felt sort of a kinship towards. And try and kind of break out of the feeling of inferiority or whatever, you know? Being stuck behind something.

I wanted to ask about the title of the record. The word 'being' is such a simple word, yet it conveys a lot of meaning, often quite subjectively. Why that word?

It can be both a noun and a verb. I like it because it implies wholeness. The record is made up of me trying lots of things out, experimenting. I like the way "Being" as a title kind of says "everything".

Before Being, you released a couple of EPs. Did you approach a debut full-length differently?

Not really, not this one. I released one EP and I just kept writing, I didn't ever intend to write an LP until later. I think that the LP is really kind of me continuing to experiment in the project, deciding what I like and what I wanted to do. It was a lot of different things; it wasn't like, 'Alright I'm going to sit down and write this record about this, this palate of sounds and inspired by these people or whatever.' It was very just like, what was happening.

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How was the transition from self-recording in a bedroom to an actual recording studio for the LP?

Well, I didn't record in a recording studio, actually. I did 90% of it at home. It was the same process, in which I record all the instruments at home and all the back up; whenever I record my own samples, and use other samples and keyboards and stuff. And then I made it to the studio to do vocals. So it was pretty much the same. [laughs]

Despite your music and sometimes your live shows being kind of vocal heavy, you've said that you feel like more of a producer than a singer. Did that evolve with Mozart's Sister or have you always felt that way?

It's a matter of ideas, and I've always, like most creative people, really enjoyed the idea side of the craft. That's sort of like an umbrella under which I would put vocals and other instruments. Of course you can have vocal ideas, but I think as a producer you're sort of conceptualising a lot and trying to see a bigger picture. I really like that. I really like singing too, but I don't really see myself as just being a singer.

You've added another singer to your live show. Do you plan on expanding it further?

I do. My most recent band partner is playing keyboards and singing live, and she's also a sound engineer and very attuned to sound itself; which is very helpful and wonderful to be around. I am planning to expand as well, yes, when I have a little more money. [laughs]

This past spring you supported fellow Canadian band Trust, any future touring plans in the works?

I'm opening up for a rock band, which is going to be fun because fuck it, who cares, play with whoever you want ya know? We're just going to do Canada, I'm still looking for a US booking agent and then we'll go to Europe hopefully in January. So there are a lot of Canadian dates and festivals in town and in the province. I'm playing in New York as well, kind of on a DIY level, which is really fun. I'm going to play the Silent Barn and then in October I may do Webster Hall. But I don't know, it's mostly just small tours at the moment.

What's the best concert you've ever been to?

I really liked seeing Fever Ray. I thought it was really amazing and inspiring. That's probably my favourite so far. But then it's funny because some really small shows have been amazing too. That's one of the other things about when you tour on a more DIY capacity, you have more time because there's a less rigid schedule, so often you can catch more music. There have been a couple of instances where I've been on tour and my mind gets totally blown. So I like both big and small shows.

Mozart's Sister's debut album, Being, is released August 25th on Asthmatic Kitty You can read our review of it here.