WHIMM share ‘Second Sound’ video

Photo by: Kyle Knapp
Photo by: Kyle Knapp

Toronto’s WHIMM have shared the video for their track Second Sound. The video includes appearances from members of fellow Toronto bands such as Jimmy Tony from Dilly Dally, Erik Jude and Anna Mayberry from HSY, Patrick Flegel and Scarlett Rose from Cindy Lee, and April Aliermo and Dan Lee from Hooded Fang amidst a barrage of black & white 35mm photos shot by WHIMM in Toronto, Beirut, and Amman. Watch the video clip via YouTube below – beware if you’re sensitive to flashing images and lights – this one has some.

Second Sound is the latest frenetic single lifted from WHIMM’s debut LP, ‘A Stare Ajar,’ due out via Pleasence Records on October 27th. WHIMM are also hitting the road for a series of live performances with artists such as Ice Cream and their Pleasence Records labelmates Blonde Elvis – see full tour info below.

More about WHIMM? For the past three years, Toronto’s WHIMM have brought the searing intensity of their live performances to stages across North America, honed through touring and shows with likeminded artists like Ice Age, Merchandise and Frigs. Singer/guitarist Mounir Chami, bassist Andrew Matthews, and drummer Jonathan Pappo create ominous, emotionally charged avant-rock fusing spellbinding melodies with an urgency akin to 1980s anarcho-punk.

To capture this feverish sound on their debut LP, WHIMM tapped producer Dean Tzenos, mastermind of abrasive industrial punks Odonis Odonis. The album’s 9 tracks were obsessively refined over several months both onstage and in their garage rehearsal space, yet the band purposefully limited recording sessions to two rapid-fire days with engineer Ian Gomes at Toronto’s Union Sound (Fucked Up, METZ, Greys).

While bottling the band’s frantic energy, these recordings also add new dimensions to WHIMM’s musical landscape, expanding their instrumental palette with violin, piano, and cello from members of Toronto groups HSY, Scott Hardware, and visual artist Olenka Syzmonski. The album draws on influences ranging from Southern Gothic country, as heard on cinematic opener Ember in the Wheat, to the uncompromising experimentation of late period Scott Walker.

Lyrically, the record is refracted through multiple fields of vision, gazing at a splintered world through the eyes of the displaced. Perspectives range from an immigrant office worker forced to assimilate to their environment (Ushers) to an H.P. Lovecraft-ian haunted soul struck and captured by horrific apparitions (A Stare Ajar). Chami penned these character studies while pulling from the stories of his family and his own experiences as a Palestinian living in Canada, wrestling with internal conflicts while feeling trapped between worlds.

“I think about being part of a diaspora constantly,” says Chami. “Between the home where I’ve been raised and what that demands, and what society and my friendships demand, where do I fit in? How do I stop feeling strange in these environments? I exist in both of them but I don’t really understand how.”

WHIMM’s members also exist between musical worlds – with Chami adding heavenly piano keys to Scott Hardware’s ecstatic house, Pappo playing drums for hyperactive indie-rockers Hooded Fang, andMatthews working with his own minimal techno project HOST. Rejecting genre boundaries while synthesizing various sonic strategies, the trio finds a kinship in catharsis.

“Instead of musical influences, I think about the relationships of instruments and people coming together,” says Pappo. “We talk a lot about frustration and emotional release. But even though the music sounds aggressive, there’s always an emotional tenderness or reaching out at its core. It’s not just pointless frustration; there’s a trajectory.”

WHIMM’s A Stare Ajar will be released via Pleasence Records on October 27th.
The album is now available for pre-order here.


‘A Stare Ajar’ Track list

1) Ember In The Wheat
2) A Stare Ajar
3) Town Hall
4) Undermine
5) Second Sound
6) Field of Vision
7) Fifth Column
8) Crescent
9) Ushers

WHIMM live dates

Sept. 21 – New York – Silent Barn
Nov. 9 – Guelph – Van Gogh’s Ear
Nov. 11 – Hamilton – HAVN *
Nov. 17 – Toronto – The Baby G (LP Release) +
Nov. 18 – Sudbury – Venue TBA *
Nov. 24 – Ottawa – Pressed

* With Blonde Elvis
+ With Ice Cream, Que Lastima, Invisible Out