Spotlight on Rising Stars: Sorry Snowman

By: JoAnn Snavely

It’s award season!! With big name award shows like The Grammys and The Brits having happened over the last couple of weeks, brand new musicians like Wet Leg and Omar Opallo have been sweeping award shows. I’m going to be introducing some musicians who may be sweeping award shows in the near future. This week in a brand-new, revived edition of “Spotlight on Rising Stars” I will be introducing the Herald and its readers to two new bands: The Backfires and Sorry Snowman, including first-ever audio clips from the interviews. 


Sorry Snowman is an Ottawa-based band. The four-piece band is composed of Cole (bassist), Sean (guitar), Owen (guitar), and Dax (drummer).

The band began when Sean graduated high school and moved to Ottawa for university, and Sean explained the inception of the band, “I had some songs that I had been working on that I was just gonna put out. I wasn’t really pursuing a band too much but then I met these guys just around … we kinda just started jamming and then our first show was in our basement and then people just started asking us to play and… here we are.” Sean wrote all the songs on the first album, but he never wanted it to all be his, so Cole began writing songs and Owen has one in the works. It’s since become a group effort.

The name Sorry Snowman’s origins are rooted deep within their Canadian heritage (well.. kinda). Sean explained, “I thought of it in like 2 hours, I don’t really remember where it came from, but I wanted it to be like a Canadian sounding name so I thought it was a Canadian sounding name.” 

The band’s sound feels like a perfect mix of emo, folk, indie, and a dozen other genres, honestly I can’t place my finger on it. This is easily reflected in their influences. The band finds their collaborative influences from musicians like Slaughter Beach Dog, Joyce Manor, Pup, and other iconic musicians from that genre. Individually, they mentioned musicians like Alex G and Boyscott. 

They released their debut EP It Feels Like I’ve Known You Forever in 2018; since then, they’ve released two additional projects (with Say When being released this past week). As they look forward to the future of their careers, they are dreaming of their next few years. In the future, Cole explained the dream: “I want to just be touring all the time in the future, just making music and touring, and making more music and then touring it”. Cole and Sean further explained both their hopes for the future “[We] don’t want to have a job anymore, [We’re] already tired of having a job”. 

Another huge goal of the bands is to be opening live, “It would be crazy if we got to tour with a way bigger band, but also if we ever got to tour the states, that would be really cool.” Some big musicians for them to open for would be bands like their influences like Pup, Snail Mail, and Joyce Manor. “Boyscott was supposed to play a show in Ottawa and the second we saw that we were like (messaging) ‘if you need an opener in Ottawa, we do a bit of groveling.” That groveling seems to be quite helpful. They recommend cold-calling people because the worst response you can get is “no.”

Although they dream of being openers now, they still play live shows. Some of their favorite aspects of playing live is being able to play unreleased songs and having fans know the words to those singles; the dedication it had to take for these fans to learn lyrics to songs only played live or on a Google Drive is something the band enjoys being able to witness. Another inspiring thing to witness is the exchange of being able to play and see concert attendees having a good time–for them it is really rewarding because it is what they enjoy doing at shows. 

As an aspiring band, they have a few tricks they’ve learned over the past few years. Sean explained what may just be the single-most crucial tool when getting into music, “Get into more than one thing, like get a new instrument or like another genre, you want to be a little more versatile… you want to understand music and not just the small thing you’re interested in.”

Since they’ve begun making their musical footprint, it became hard not to imagine their goals making an impact. Sean explained that goal: “I really like the joy that I feel from listening to a band over and over again and like finding all the little stories within their lyrics that tie in with each other. Like I like listening to an artist that has a lot of vague stories that I can piece together in my head which is what I try to do when I’m writing so I hope that people listen to the songs that I write and kinda get the same thing I get from other people.” Cole added on, “I really like when songs are  about really normal things so that when I’m doing something boring I can like know  it’s interesting because they wrote a song about it…normal things that you can romanticize your life about.”

This impact is still rather new, but with being a newer band, they struggle the most with the fact that pursuing music can’t be their only career.  Sean and Cole furthered this idea, “So much of our time goes towards working 40 hours a week, like if none of us worked or did school, we’d have so much free time to just do stuff… It’s a disaster trying to get us all in the same room.. If we could just have money for just being artists.”

Although the band faces those struggles, they just released their newest EP. Say When is a collection of songs they’ve been working on for a long time. There’s both a hint of excitement and relief in this release, “I’m excited to shed this off us us, we can put it out and hopefully people like it and we can look at what we’re doing next… we’re still kinda learning how to do everything” plus now, in recording this record, they have access to more tools and a game plan. Similar to the band name, the name Say When has an interesting tale behind it “we just came up with it and thought it was cool” (Sean). “Owen was adding pepper to my pasta and said ‘say when’”(Cole). The album cover also has a sentimental background to it, the photo was born when “we had a kitchen table and every time we had a house party we’d get people to draw on it with sharpie and now it looks totally like screwed up so we thought it would be cool for people to see their doodles on the album… we got out friend to paint the album name on the table and got drone shots.” The EP is 18 minutes and 29 seconds long, and it is one of the coolest musical journeys I’ve taken in a while… A journey you don’t want to miss.

Spotlight on Rising Stars Series: an Author’s Note

This is the fifth edition in the “Spotlight on Rising Stars” series. In the last article in the series, I introduced the herald to Aberdeen is Dead, Kevin Ehrenstrom and Oceanic. Next week, I will have interviews with fanclubwallet and Housing Co., until next time, listen to my interview with Sorry Snowman and check out the bands’ links and the link to my ‘Spotlight on Rising Stars’ playlist available on Spotify that is updated with each article release

Check out the live interview here!


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