KEVIN BLECHDOM with Goodiepal and KNIFEANDCHOP at the Comfort Zone (480 Spadina), Monday (September 2), 9 pm. $7. 416-968-2001.
Until just recently, Kevin Blechdom, aka Kristen Erickson, was living a tech-topian dream.
Her irreverently lo-fi Blechtum from Blechdom project was the toast of the West Coast glitch techno scene, and she had her glitch-guru boyfriend, Miguel "Kid606" Depedro, release her anti-cool electro creations on his Tigerbeat6 label, inspiring stylish IDM zines to work up ponderous good-taste-vs.-bad-taste think pieces and German art galleries to plan career retrospectives. Life was good.
But then, in quick succession, Blechdom left Blechtum, the romance with Depedro fizzled and Erickson left the Bay Area for her hometown of Tallahassee, Florida, where she's now living with her parents. You know something serious must've gone down.
"It wasn't just the breakup with Miguel that prompted my move, it was really a breakup with everything out there -- my band, the labels, the entire San Francisco electronic music scene. I felt like I'd become an outsider.
"As soon as the media took notice of what was going on, things started changing and people had different motives for making music -- suddenly it was all about publicity and success.
"I found that taking Miguel's advice about 'making it' wasn't helping to create a music experience that I enjoyed. The whole pursuit of popularity was ultimately unsatisfying for me. I needed a reality check, so I left."
One of the things Erickson rediscovered upon returning home was her interest in the banjo. Although the classically trained pianist started plinking around on a banjo when she was 13, lately she's been developing her five-string technique.
In fact, she's now incorporating it in her shows, and the banjo twang will be featured prominently on her forthcoming Bitches Without Britches album for the Chicks on Speed label.
Copenhagen's Goodiepal is a wise choice for tour support, since he's also been working with stringed instruments and laptops, although he favours the lute and recorder.
"My performance is laptop-based, but then I'll play banjo, too. Computers sound cold and harsh, but banjos are warm and harsh, so it works really well.
"I've also been doing some songs that are just banjo and voice. Since I heard Iris DeMent, I've become totally infatuated with her voice. I hear her sing and my jaw just drops.
"Most of the songs on the new album have me playing banjo, and when I sing it's in an old-timey folk way. I guess I could describe it as sort of a computer-country-art record, but it's probably better if you just listen to it."