The veteran Southeast Michigan singer-songwriter with a new EP, “Fragile Things,” talks about his new music, books, religion and the ‘trip wires’ of relationships with writer Enrique Olmos.
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I’ve spent a lot of late nights on the phone with Chris DuPont.
We dive into heavy topics on the regular, which is easy when your career consists of distilling personal despair into songs that live on the internet forever.
We discuss heartbreak, getting older, the pursuit of art. But sometimes we just drool over dream instruments or attempt to dissect a Kendrick record.
DuPont released his new EP, “Fragile Things,” on November 10, a layered and darkly beautiful listen. In an industry that can erode even the most driven artists into a husk of resentment, DuPont has a quality of deep kindness about him that is incredibly rare.
We’ve done a number of interviews together, so this time I thought it fitting to simply allow the Ypsilanti singer-songwriter’s words to stand alone, uncensored and unedited.
Local Spins: What’s been inspiring you lately?
DuPont: I just finished reading “The Rabbit Hutch,” which is this violent, Midwest noir, Catholic mysticism nightmare. So a lot like my personality.
Local Spins: If you had to put lyrics from one of your songs on a billboard, what would you choose?
DuPont: I would be deeply uncomfortable with all of them, which I think is a good thing. But there’s a line in “Fragile Things,” that says: “There are so many hills that I could die on.” I think I’d put that on a billboard.
Local Spins: What are some prevalent themes on the new record?
DuPont: I think it’s about grappling with the bat-shit things we all do to be loved. Relationships are difficult because everyone walks into them with trip wires and with garbage and with pain. Everyone has a complicated storyline. Toward the end of the record, it’s more about the hope and the risk of letting yourself fail again, even when you’re making a mess. But the record isn’t about any of the happy endings. It’s about all of the hubris and instability.
Local Spins: Any musical experiments in the studio?
DuPont: A few. I turned one of my guitars into a rubber bridge guitar. I ran a classical guitar through distortion pedals. I just tried to have a lot more fun as a guitar player. On “Heights” there’s this big, cracking snare where we put a microphone in a hallway to track the tail end of it. I tried to be an experimenter instead of playing it safe.
DuPont: I hope the people who listen to this will see it as a companion. I hope that it gives them a place to sit with sorrow and temper tantrums. I hope that it gives space for some cynicism. I also think it makes for a really good driving record. A highway companion.
Local Spins: What’s the most recent way your art has evolved?
DuPont: I won’t go too far into it, but as I was making my last record, life was a nightmare. I was operating at emergency levels at all times. So, one thing I did a couple years ago was quit my job as a Catholic music director after a decade. I finally quit. I’m at this spot now where I get to use so much of the culture I come from, whether it’s like that weird masochism of Catholicism or just like the weird isolation of being a loner, home-school kid. I’m not stuck being a professional Catholic anymore. All that’s gone. So I feel like I’m sort of watching a weird movie. I’m watching the world around me very amused and not feeling like anyone’s watching or gives a shit. I feel like I’m stepping into a place where I can write more about ugly things.
VIDEO: Chris DuPont (with Kylee Phillips), “Fragile Things,” Dogtown Studio Session
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