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Images from Wintersleep's Instagram.

Wintersleep returns to Ottawa: “It’s going to be a rock and roll show”

By Elyse Van Herk on February 24, 2016



Wintersleep is back. Back in Ottawa, back with a new record, a new tour, record label, and more.

The Juno award-winning band plays a show at Ritual Nightclub on March 3rd, the eve of their 6th album release.

Apt613 spoke to vocalist and guitarist Paul Murphy over the phone to get the scoop on the album, and the band’s new start.

The album is called The Great Detachment, a title that Murphy says seemed to fit with a lot of the songs, especially in today’s environment. “It seemed like it was a theme that ran though the record, a lot of the songs had that idea in various forms… Breaking free of things, or being detached in a positive or negative way”.

Adding to the theme of breaking free, the band didn’t have a label while they were writing and recording the album. They had ideas for songs, and took their time, getting back to how they created music at the beginning of their careers. “We worked on it for pretty much a year,” Murphy says. “We didn’t have a label lined up, but we had a lot of songs, so we worked on it and got it ready, and sent it to a few labels“.

They ended up landing with Dine Alone Records, a label that boasts an impressive roster of rockers and indie darlings, including Alexisonfire, Tokyo Police Club and Sylvan Esso.


The album was recorded live in Halifax’s Sonic Temple recording studio, as opposed to the way their previous albums were recorded, where each part was done separately and put together in the end.

“It was all live off the floor, we tried to make the record feel like a good show, give it that kind of energy. It has a bit of a different energy than our last record, which was done part by part,” says Murphy, “It seems to be translating well live”.

“There are songs that have been received really well in our shows, and it seems to be resonating. “Amerika” has been fun, we’ve been playing that for a little while and it’s been great to see it starting to be added to different (radio) stations”.

Wintersleep’s music has always tiptoed into different genres, despite still sounding like a cohesive body of work. The Great Detachment is no different. “Santa Fe” uses a vocoder for the verses, while the guitar parts are more 90’s, Harvey Danger-esque– achieving a futuristic and nostalgic feel all at the same time. “Territory” features Rush’s Geddy Lee on bass, and has an upbeat and lively sound, despite its minor chord progression.

The alt-rock anthem “Amerika” is a patriotic, upbeat march inspired by a Walt Whitman poem, a song that the band’s drummer Loel Campbell joked he would love Bernie Sanders to use in his campaign (so Bernie, if you’re reading this…).

“We all like different kinds of music, we all draw from that.” Murphy says, he mentions that Radiohead is one of his favourites. “Radiohead does the same sort of thing, they’re not afraid to go into different genre territory, but it’s still all Radiohead”.

Their upcoming show at Ritual will feature a preview of some of their new songs, but will also include older songs for long-time fans.

“It’s going to be a lot of songs from different… eras of our band,” says Murphy while laughing, you can tell they don’t take themselves too seriously. “We’ve been around for a while now, we’re going to try and fit in as much as possible from our older material, from Hello Hum and Welcome to the Night Sky, and also the new record. It’s going to be a rock and roll show”.

See Wintersleep at Ritual Nightclub (137 Besserer St.) on Thursday, March 3rd. Tickets are $25, and can be purchased online or at Vertigo Records. Learn more about the band on their website, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube channel.