“It’s funny, just recently in the last few shows we’ve done in Toronto, there are people that are seeing us for the first time and that’s the song they’re familiar with,” says Paul Murphy. “They *are* surprised by the rest of the songs---they don’t really expect our band to sound like our band. It’s neat to surprise people.”
On the line from Montreal on a two-week break between tours---“I’m at my girl’s,” he reports---Murphy is deconstructing “Weighty Ghost,” the breakout single from Welcome to the Night Sky. A rolling, almost gentle track, underscored by a droning organ and jangly acoustic guitar, it had modest beginnings wedged in between the original material and early Wintersleep songs that comprised the singer’s occasional solo shows. (He has introduced it as “an Irish pub drinking song.”)
Under the full-band treatment, the song became an instant crowd favourite, inciting clap-alongs and shouts of the chorus’ hooky refrain: “Oh have you seen my ghost?/Seen my ghost?/Seen my ghost?”
But when Wintersleep entered The Sonic Temple last summer, its members---Murphy, drummer Loel Campbell, bassist Jud Haynes and guitarist Tim D’Eon---along with its Scottish producer, Tony Doogan, decided to approach it differently.
“It was kind of more rocked out,” says Campbell, also from Montreal. “We demoed it once before and we knew it wasn’t gonna work like that. It sounded horribly cheesy. It’s one thing to be watching a band in a live atmosphere where you can get away with it, but when you’re committing something to the catalogue of records this band is going to produce, it wasn’t going to jive.”
First runner up: Doag Day, Night Group
Second runner up: Jenn Grant, Orchestra for the Moon