Gnarwhal, a local band of four, released their first album on Friday, named by the band itself.

The band had a hard time describing their genre. Benji Straker, guitarist and vocalist, said that they were a mishmash of each band member’s influences. In a previous interview, they listed Queens of the Stone Age as one of their influences. Based on that and the sound of their music, the band appears to be a rock band.

Listen to Gnarwhal’s single ‘Ember Sky’ here:

Ember Sky Ash by Gnarwhal

Mark Kilbride, the lead vocalist, said he looks forward to hearing from fans about what the song lyrics mean to them.

“I don’t really want to say what it means to me,” he said. “I want to talk to people around town and hear some feedback about what it might mean to somebody else from their perspective.”

Straker said that Kilbride takes the music seriously which expresses itself when he sings.

“When it comes to Mark’s performance especially, the songs mean a lot to him,” he said. “There’s emotion to it.”

“Sometimes it’s hard to express yourself just talking,” added Kilbride. “I’m able to do that through our songs. “It’s just a way for me to get the emotions out.”

One of the difficulties in creating their music in the North is finding the space to play, they said.

“There aren’t full service studios here,” said Straker. “You have to schedule around when spaces, producers, and (sound) engineers are available.”

He explained that it sometimes takes up to three months to get some of the services they need to create their music. Despite the difficulty, it was their passion for music that drove them forward.

Drummer Layne Rybchinski said that he is motivated to make music because he has fun when he plays.

“I just want to enjoy it and get better,” he said.

Straker expressed a similar motivation.

“We just started writing songs,” he said. “We got support from the NWT Arts Council, they gave us money to record it, so we thought, ‘why not?’”

Jeremy Straker, bassist and vocalist, said that they started playing together because of the pandemic.

Their new album can be found on popular streaming platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music.

Gnarwhal is planning to have an album release show but have not yet announced it.

The band wanted to thank David Dawe for engineering, mixing, and mastering their new album, Steve Richardson for helping them during their music sessions, and the NWT Arts Council for funding their album.

Jonathan Gardiner

After a tough break looking for employment in Alberta, I moved to Yellowknife in 2017 and became a multimedia journalist in 2022. I enjoy the networking side of my job, and I also aspire to write my...

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