Who: Twenty-two-year-old Detroit electronic songsmith Randolph Chabot, who constructs rapturous pop out of rushing rainbows of synths. His otherworldly space-pop is cobbled out of whatever instruments and noises cross his path, from a barking dog to a running bathtub to the night of fireworks crackling on “Toxic Crusaders.” “Of course everyone’s hanging out, and I’m nerding out with headphones and a field recorder on the Fourth of July,” Chabot says.
Sounds Like: A hyper-positive mix of dream-pop woosh, nu-electronic beats and enormous hooks. His second album for ultra-sleek electronic label Ghostly, Moondagger, is his biggest yet, coated with the fleshed out feeling of the live band he’s been playing with for the last 11 months.
• He originally wanted to call the project Destro, after the G.I. Joe villain, but added an ‘A’ out of lawsuit fears. “I’m very conscious of the law because of my upbringing,” says Chabot, the child of two pastors and a protective older brother of three. “I used to run with this graffiti crew in Minneapolis, but I was so paranoid all the time. They’d be hanging out off a highway overpass. I’d be a total mom, ‘You guys gotta get down from there! Someone’s gonna fall!’ “
• The triumphant, sunny melodies all over Moondagger are influenced by Chabot’s first musical love: the church. Singing in choirs in the Detroit suburbs until he was 19 showed him music’s power to connect with people. “I sang a solo when I was 16 or 17 years old,” says Chabot. “My grandma came out to see me sing and I remember her crying.” His choir teacher in Romeo must have been doing something right because she also used to teach Kid Rock back in the day. “I loved my choir to death. It was almost like a senior’s choir. Me, my brother and my friend Joel were the only people under 40 who sang in it. There was this guy who used to be a Vegas singer who does the best Jerry Lewis impression I’ve ever seen. We would go all the time just to see this guy do Jerry Lewis.”
• Chabot’s got his first paying gig at seven years old, singing soprano in the Detroit production of Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. “We got paid what seems like a fortune at the time,” says Chabot. “$1,000 for two years of work. For a nine year old, you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, I can buy so much Big League Chew with this.’ ” The production, held in a Detroit Masonic Temple, was led by none other than Christian icon Donny Osmond. “I was really into the cartoon Dennis the Menace and was really into pranks,” says Chabot. “So I poured a bucket of ice water on Donny Osmond’s head. He was a good sport.”
Get It Now: Moondagger isn’t out until June, but photographer/videographer James P. Morse made a “day in the life” video about Chabot (watch it above), and older tunes are available on Deastro’s MySpace.