Featuring members who split their time between London, Ontario and Guelph, Ontario, WHOOP-Szo is an acclaimed DIY prog rock/experimental rock act centered around a core group led by Adam Sturgeon (vocals, guitar), who is a proud member of the indigenous Anishinaabe community; Kirsten Kurvink Palm (guitar, synths, vocals), Joe Thorner (bass, vocals, Casio), Andrew Lennox (12 string guitar, synth) and Eric Lourenco (drums) with a rotating cast of collaborators. Since their formation, the act has received attention for enthusiastically crossing, meshing and blurring genres, sounds and styles: their sound is a fusion of folk, metal, pop, grunge, classical, psych rock, noise and prog rock. Thematically, their work focuses upon the effects of colonialism and colonization, self-determination, language and history, identity, empowerment and so on.
Through frequent touring across North America, the band has developed a reputation for being a relentless force of nature, enveloping audiences in an emotional storm that dances conscientiously between anger, frustration, discipline and hope. Along with that, the collective is known for their passion for social work and activism — particularly when it involves Canada’s indigenous communities.
The acclaimed Canadian act’s forthcoming album Warrior Down focuses on finding identity when it has been exterminated from your life. The material looks into the past — not with hazy nostalgia but as a way to find an indigenous future. “There is no single stereotype to associate with indigenous people.” the band writes in a statement. “The image taught in history books is not the reality of modern indigenous experience. We live in cities, have to drive cars and do a lot of the same things everyone else has to do to survive.
“Indigenous people are not relegated to the past, but sometimes that past can help you look into the future. We can enjoy making art in contemporary ways and we love future tropes; Star Trek, Star Wars and 80’s miniatures are relatable to our community.”
Centered around propulsive and tribal-like drumming, shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, atmospheric synths and arena rock-like power chords, Warrior Down‘s latest single “Amaruq” is a expansive and mind-bending song that’s a seamless synthesis of prog rock, metal and post rock that captures and evokes the concerns and thoughts of the Inuit community with a conscientious and rabble-rousing spirit. “‘Amarug’ is a dedication to the Inuit village that helped birth WHOOP-Szo,” the band explains. “The song itself is named after the remote, fly-community of Salluit, Quebec‘s local high school.”
Directed by Ross Millar, the recently released and gorgeously shot video for “Amaruq” employs the use of miniatures and action figures in what looks to be Northern Quebec. Throughout the video, its protagonist, who’s set in contemporary times with electricity, technology, modern houses stumbles onto a portal that allows him to contact to the past — and ultimately with the ancients.