Story by Jessica Melnychuk
Photo by Mark Webber
“This coffee is weak as shit.”
Sunglaciers’ lead singer, songwriter and guitarist, Evan Resnik, forces down a sip of his French press coffee, chastising fellow band member Pat Seager for not letting it steep long enough.
“Aren’t you a barista?” he scolds, jokingly.
“Yeah,” Seager says, “but we don’t make French press there!”
As the Montréal/Ottawa outdoor hockey game plays silently in the background, Resnik puts on a record and delves into his start in music while waiting for one more band member to arrive.
Six years ago, Resnik headed off to Europe for a solo adventure, bringing his guitar with him. He spent time in France, Spain and Italy, and began playing music almost every day. When he returned to Canada, he eventually began uploading music online under the name Sunglaciers. At the time, it was a solo bedroom project.
“I don’t think anybody listened [to it],” Resnik says.
Still, he started playing live around Calgary, fighting to be heard above the noise of the crowds.
“I would play the occasional open mic, restaurant gig, or special event, but I started to get really sick of playing in rooms where people were just talking over me,” he says. “I wanted to fix that, so I knew I had to find some people to help me with that.”
“I got really bored of making folk-sounding music,” he continues. “I wanted to make a lot more noise.”
Resnik recruited some new band members to help fill out his sound. Sunglaciers’ current lineup consists of Resnik, bassist Seager, and drummer Mathieu Blanchard.
A former music teacher, Seager previously played in a post-punk band, while Blanchard balances being in various bands while working his day job as a family doctor.
The trio have been playing together for about a year, as often as they can.
Sunglaciers debuted a new psychedelic sound last spring with the release of their four-song EP, Moving in Darkness, a record pulsing with frantic melodic intensity. Since then, they’ve played alongside acts like Halifax’s Mauno, Calgary’s Preoccupations, and Australia’s Hockey Dad.
“That crowd was ridiculous,” Seager remembers. “People were moshing and I noticed people crowd surfing during Hockey Dad. People were just ready to go.”
As the lead songwriter, Resnik says he’s constantly gathering influence. “I unfortunately didn’t listen to a lot of old music growing up,” he says. “I’m coming into this group relatively sheltered, so I’m getting education from these guys about a lot of older shit.”
Resnik cites Atlanta’s Deerhunter as a major influence, but also says being in Calgary has impacted the band’s sound.
“I don’t know if there’s a distinct Calgary sound per se,” he explains, “but there’s definitely some stylistic overlap with us and other bands. When you’re in a music city – or any city – and you’re A) making music, and B) a music fan, there’s bound to be a crossover of taste and influence.”
As the trio gets more comfortable with each other, Blanchard and Seager are beginning to have a strong influence on the songwriting process.
“Ever since Matt came on, he’s been cutting all my ideas in half,” Resnik admits.
“The songs are more succinct now,” adds Blanchard. “They’re shorter, more to the point. And more dynamic, probably.”
As the band prepares to release their second EP this March, once again produced by multi-talented musician and producer Chris Dadge in his home recording studio, they feel they’ve hit an intersection.
“It’s sort of like the ushering in of a new era,” Resnik says. “All the songs are written by me, but you can really hear these guys’ influence in the recordings.”
“Most of it was done on reel-to-reel tape,” Seager says. “[Chris] was adding weird instruments and demonic cello.”
With the new EP out this spring and a full-length album to debut hopefully later in the year, the band is excited to get out on the road and introduce themselves to crowds outside their home city.
“We’re still 100 per cent unknown outside of Calgary, so it’s going to take a tour – or five – before we get any kind of reliable draw elsewhere,” Resnik says. “But we can’t wait.”
While their sound continues to evolve, audiences can continue to expect a mix of melody and frantic intensity from the band.
“We’re kind of nice and intense, as people and as a band,” Resnik laughs.
“Like…” He looks at his bandmates and deadpans, “I think you’re so fucking handsome.”
“That’s what Sunglaciers is like: someone aggressively complimenting you,” Blanchard agrees.