Photo Credit : Rima Sater
WARRIOR DOWN OUT NOVEMBER 1 VIA YOU’VE CHANGED RECORDS
CANADIAN TOUR DATES BEGIN NOVEMBER 1
“There’s an underlying gentleness to WHOOP-Szo’s instrumental attack, and it keeps them grounded and connected with their communities as they righteously lash out against institutional inequalities, making their voices all the more powerful, literally and figuratively.” – Exclaim!
“A true psychedelic group … For WHOOP-Szo, punk, DIY and psych principles go beyond music scene bubbles and fuse with Indigenous solidarity and healing through music.” – NOW
“WHOOP-Szo has perfected their eclectic sounds, binding the paradox of indistinguishable familiarity with themes of Canadian history, language, and culture.” – VICE
Today, WHOOP-Szo share the video for “Gerry”, a song about the murder of bandleader Adam Sturgeon’s cousin by a Saskatchewan RCMP officer.
“My cousin Gerry was shot by a cop,” says Sturgeon. “Murdered. In his own home. While the circumstances surrounding his death are unclear, there has only ever been one side to the story, that of the RCMP. No external investigations took place and our family is left without answers.
It is my preference to discuss Gerry through the video. The footage is all 8mm family film recaptured and archived by Travis Welowszky and projectionist Sebastian Di Trolio. It’s interesting coming from a mixed background because these films are that of a privileged experience; family vacations, golf trips, happy go lucky parties from the 60s and 70s set to the backdrop of an emotional firestorm and intense subject matter that has only just begun to reveal itself in our cultural history. History innocently projects itself back on the modern era.
I remember getting a call from Gerry shortly before he died. He was angry about a broken system, slurring his words through the distant telephone line from his home in Saskatchewan. He had taken to calling our house, connecting with my Mom for some much needed love and comfort, my Dad to address his issues with alcohol, and to converse with me about music and art… and to question my passions for my ‘Dad’s culture’. I’d change the subject, letting him know that the guitar he had given me, my first guitar in fact, was the passion and release that he had offered me and that I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’d be late for work or some other engagement and have to let him know several times that I needed to hang up the phone. He’d get angry again and start ranting on and I’d have to remind him there were places to be. He called me a sell out and I’d tell him I loved him. I promised I’d visit on tour sometime. I’d tell him he could teach me some more chords.
I’ve driven through the town he died in, but Gerry isn’t there. Where are our protectors when we need them? Why did an officer force his way into Gerry’s home? Why was Gerry shot 4 times and why have these circumstances been justified by a system that leaves the vulnerable under fire?”
WATCH AND SHARE “GERRY” HERE
Out November 1 via You’ve Changed Records, WHOOP-Szo’s new LP Warrior Down presents a vast and barren landscape associated with the harsh truth of Canadian History, a post-colonial firestorm harbouring moments of doom and heavy introspection while remaining true to their psychedelic aesthetic.
WHOOP-Szo is a force of nature, sprung from a mixed-blooded experience of Canadian history with deep Anishinaabek roots. Thunderous and ground-breaking, harmonious and generative—a WHOOP-Szo show envelops audiences in an emotional weather-storm that dances conscientiously between anger and discipline, frustration and hope. They tell us about colonial injustice loudly and punishingly, with haunting chord changes and monolithic distortion. They explore the possibility of wisdom and empowerment, with acoustic melodies that calmly find space within crushing layers of politics and sound. On stage and off, WHOOP-Szo engage communities with a powerful synchrony that invites people to feel and to heal. They are passionate storytellers who knock loudly on the door, and will reward you tenfold for letting them in.
LISTEN AND SHARE “AMARUQ” HERE
Forthcoming album Warrior Down harnesses their power into a concise, focused 35 minutes on wax, calling out both specific instances of injustice in Canadian history — as we see in “Gerry”, or recalling Sturgeon’s grandfather’s experience at a Residential School (“Gerry”, “Cut Your Hair”) — and broader, wider-reaching ones such as the experience of having race and culture assigned to you by a government that doesn’t represent you (“6.1/6.2”).
WHOOP-Szo is just wrapping up a string of tour dates this week and will head back out on the road in November. Full tour dates can be found below.
- Nov 01 – London, ON – Rec Room
- Nov 02 – Toronto, ON – The Round House
- Nov 06 – St. Catharines, ON – The Warehouse
- Nov 07 – Guelph, ON – Ebar
- Nov 08 – Hamilton, ON – This Ain’t Hollywood
- Nov 09 – Windsor, ON – Green Bean Cafe
- Nov 21 – Peterborough, ON – Sadleir House
- Nov 22 – Ottawa, ON – Cinqhole
- Nov 23 – Montreal, QC – La Sala Rossa | M For Montreal
- Nov 26 – Moncton, NB – Caveau
- Nov 27 – Saint John, NB – Taco Pica
- Nov 28 – Halifax, NS – The Seahorse
- Nov 29 – Fredericton, NB – The Capital
- Nov 30 – Quebec City, QC – Scanner