We would like to welcome you to Madame Reaper’s Gentlemen’s Club. There is much to see and discover, like the first single, “Chloroform.” She is set to release her nine-track debut record soon, and here today is a sampling of what to expect, a nice midtempo, comfortingly melodic track carried by Madame Reaper’s sweet, celestial-like vocals. The song also features a lovely, more classic pop-sounding arrangement, written and recorded by her recently formed band known as The Gentlemen’s Club, an impressive collection of Chicago area musicians who only started to play with each other last year.
Madame Reaper, aka Kira Leadholm, has assembled an A1 lineup of multi-talented players capable of going in any musical direction she decides to pull them. With that kind of versatility, you can experiment with your sound, as Madame Reaper has done with “Chloroform.”
Explaining the distressing experience which motivated the writing of this song, Leadholm comments:
“I wrote ‘Chloroform’ the day after attending Pitchfork 2021, where I fainted in the middle of Cat Power’s set. That same day, I got into an argument with someone really important to me. They expressed concern about me after I fainted and said they were sorry it had happened. But really, all I wanted was for them to apologize for what we had argued over.
“‘Chloroform’ is about the pain I experienced that day, not due to any embarrassment from fainting, but from feeling that this person had completely missed the mark. It’s a song about needing nothing more than to hear the words ‘I’m sorry,’ but realizing you’ll never get them.”
She concludes by saying:
“Process-wise, I recorded the demo for this track in my studio apartment with an SM58 and my DAW. Later on, Kevvy wrote the electric guitar part and we tracked that at home as well. Sonically, I wanted ‘Chloroform’ to evoke the experience of losing consciousness. I drenched my vocals and the instruments in reverb so that everything seems to be swimming in and out of the arrangement, much like the way visuals appear muddled when one faints.”
Leadholm is a classically trained vocalist, but she also loves ’80s synth-pop, ’70s glam rock and more modern pop music. You’ll be able to hear those influences throughout the band’s self-titled debut when it is released, a record that emphasizes the use of synths but without all the sequencing, as well as the use of both electronic and acoustic soundscapes. Leadholm grew up singing in several acts while also participating in local theatre productions, so it wasn’t until 2021 that she decided to form her project. This will be an incredibly diverse record for a first offering, a sophistication you would probably not expect until a little further in an artist’s career. With all of the musical possibilities apparent in her only work, it is exciting to see what may come next from this gifted young artist.