Ottawa-founded indie pop duo Scary Bear Soundtrack’s new album, Ovayok Road, is currently available for pre-order in an Indiegogo campaign to raise the funds needed to produce the album on CDs. The campaign is running until July 30th, and the album will be released August 14th.
Ovayok Road was written and recorded in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, and the songs explore the reality of living in the Arctic. Two songs from the album, “Victoria Island” and “Fault Lines”, are available as a preview here.
Apartment613 chatted with the band’s lead singer and founding member, Gloria Guns, who is an Apartment613 contributor herself. Guns moved to Cambridge Bay in 2013, after starting Scary Bear Soundtrack in Ottawa in 2010. The rest of the original band stayed in Ottawa, but when Guns met musician Christine Aye in Cambridge Bay, they started the band again up there.
“Cambridge Bay is a really small town, about maybe 1,500 people, so there wasn’t much of a music scene,” says Guns. “Everything was very do-it-yourself, and it wasn’t the easiest thing for an indie band like us, but we still managed to make it work. We ended up having a lot of house shows and organizing a lot of fundraisers that we would play at, and we even ended up releasing an album [The Longest Night] up there.”
In April this year, Guns moved back down to Ottawa, and now the band is a bit of a “long distance project,” she says. Aye isn’t always able to travel to Ottawa for shows, so Guns currently performs with a backing band, which includes some of their original band members.
Guns describes the band’s musical style as blending synth and dream pop with shoegaze music, incorporating the different genres they like into one form. Many of their songs are upbeat and dance-y, and Guns’ soft, echo-y vocals stay in your head while her words transport you to the Arctic landscapes that inspired the band.
“Lyrically, the album talks about life in Nunavut, Arctic living… Stylistically, it continues along the sort of synth-pop stuff that we were doing, the electronic dance kind of style that we had back with our last album,” Guns says.
“Ovayok Road is a road that leads from Cambridge Bay to the mountains – well, not mountains, a singular mountain, there’s only one,” Guns laughs. “We thought that was a good way to capture the feeling we were going for.”
The album features the single “Fault Lines“, which was released earlier this year for CBC’s Music Searchlight contest for Canada’s Best New Artist, where it placed in the top four from across the country. It’s an empowering track which examines violence against women and the struggle of climbing back from abuse.
“I think that song is actually, probably the one song that isn’t specific to just the North, because I think violence against women and sexual violence is a problem that exists all over the world, not just up North,” says Guns. “But it’s a major problem especially in Nunavut. There’s especially high rates of violence that happens there, so we were inspired by a lot of things, personal stories, stories that we heard from our friends, and also stories we encountered in our professional and daily lives.”
Guns says the track was also inspired by events in the news, giving the example of the sexual assault allegations made against the University of Ottawa’s hockey team, which resulted in their suspension in 2014.
“We thought it would be kind of neat to write a song about that topic, which is really serious and a really sad topic, but against a very, sort of upbeat – not necessarily light, but you know, an upbeat song, to sort of keep it hopeful,” Guns says.
The band originally planned to release Ovayok Road only as a digital download, as they did with their last album, but after more and more people started telling Guns that they would buy a CD if they were available, she decided to start the Indiegogo campaign and see what happened. The initial response was “really, really amazing,” she says.
The website offers many different purchase options for people who want to support the band: they can still buy a digital download if they would prefer, there are T-shirts available, and they can choose if they’d like perks such as a signed copy of the album with a personalized thank you note.
Everyone who contributes to the Indiegogo campaign will receive a digital download of the album two weeks before its release. The album release party will be held at Pressed (750 Gladstone Ave.) on August 14th.