Dec 06, 2022
By Caleb Campbell
Sunnsetter is the solo moniker of Canadian multi-instrumentalist, composer, and recording engineer Andrew McLeod. Befitting his talents as a polymath musical creative, Sunnsetter has taken a variety of forms over the years, with a prolific array of projects that vary between ambient music, singer/songwriter fare, and various shades of shoegaze, post rock, and slowcore. This year, McLeod has been collaborating behind the scenes with fellow Ontario-based outfits Zoon and OMBIIGIZI, in addition to releasing his latest record, All watched over by machines of loving grace.
Now, McLeod has signed with Paper Bag Records with a new record to come next year. Today, he’s sharing the first taste of that project with his new track, “Float In Circles,” premiering with Under the Radar.
“Float In Circles” is a fittingly buoyant and dreamy diversion for McLeod, tinged with plush layered synth melodies, shoegaze guitars, and expansive production. The track is an especially strong showcase for McLeod’s talents as a producer and composer, showing off his penchant for cinematic soundscapes. Equally though, McLeod also finds space for entrancing pop melodies on “Float In Circles,” burying gems of saccharine melody beneath the thick layers of effects and emotive songcraft.
Check out the song bellow, out everywhere tomorrow via Paper Bag Records. You can also read our introductory Q&A with McLeod below.
What made you choose “Float In Circles” as this new project’s first single? What elements of this track act as an introduction to the rest of the material and what is its significance?
It’s the song that to me sonically and thematically represents much of the last few years of my life, trying to find my voice in songs that feel more focused than things I’ve made in the past, but also dealing with the overwhelming feelings of grief and guilt I had placed on myself over the loss of a close friend. None of the songs I was writing at the time really made any sense until I wrote this track and realized this record and everything that’s happened in my life since their passing needed to be in tribute to them. I had to recognize for myself that I can find a way to live beyond that, Find ways to hold myself accountable to myself, and change what I could for the better of myself and the people I love. This is what they would have encouraged me to do.
Where does your writing process begin, and where do you typically derive inspiration from?
My writing process is a never ending thing, there is really no beginning or ending to it. I have a studio at home and have always focused on building my whole life around the ability to create and get my ideas out when they strike rather than planning ahead to create them in a commercial studio for example. I write so much material that it can often become overwhelming trying to decide what to do with it. Slowly over time I have started to better understand the process of production and editing my work to see projects all the way through from conception to completion, rather than just creating endless amounts of music and dumping it on the internet like I used to.
My intention going forward is to hope that can be seen through my presented work.
How would you say this new single relates to your previous releases, and what about it is different?
I released an album in 2020 called “The love you withhold is the pain you carry”
And I believe that album is the best reflection of where I am heading as an artist now.
The album was a turning point in my overall demeanor and outlook on life. I was pretty early in my journey of sobriety and that album was a reflection of much of the struggle i was facing at the time, dealing with those changes, learning to not live in such a negative space and be able to express myself openly to others in a way that didn’t feel so self defeating. basically trying to re-learn how to socialize and be comfortable in the world without substances controlling me.
I released that album, but immediately I began taking unused ideas from that album and writing new songs with the intention of creating something that felt much more focused and uplifting to me personally, attempting to recount that journey in a way where I can finally start to express the positive impacts of living a healthier lifestyle and really dealing with some of my more intense mental health struggles.
I’ve always experimented with sound, but found myself really engaged with music that felt more cathartic experimenting more than ever before with reverb swells and effected vocals and other production techniques to create a mood and atmosphere that represented what I actually wanted to share.
In addition to writing this record, you’re also in the process of constructing a studio at the moment – where did that idea come from, and how has the process been so far?
The studio is something I’ve always dreamed of, I’ve always had home studio setups wherever ive lived over the years but nothing that felt like an intentional space designed for that purpose. I learned alot from my dad about basic carpentry etc and once we had our house and a space to call our own it just seemed like the best thing i could do for myself. I want to make a space that is warm and inviting to other artists and friends who want to record or write or mix, especially friends that want to be able to get out of the city for a while 🙂