Katie Munshaw chats to Clash...

Last week Clash was sent an urgent message.

Due to the spread of coronavirus Oh Wonder's tour had been pulled, leaving support group Dizzy trapped in London.

Borders were closing, with the Canadian group - whose debut album 'Baby Teeth' scooped a Juno Award - left in limbo.

Sprung from this trap, the band eventually made the lengthy flight home to Canada, where they counted their blessings.

Clash writer Narzra Ahmed got on the phone for singer Katie Munshaw to find out more...

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How are you?

Not bad, thanks!

And where are you at the moment?

I'm at home. I'm in Canada.

Can I start by asking what your single ‘Sunflower’ is about?

Okay, so we wrote ‘Sunflower’ in the summertime at a cottage. The chorus came first and the lyrics were sort of like phonetic fillers at first and the “sunflower, are really even there?” sort of thing. And then I sort of realised that those words meant a lot to me and in relation to, you know, my own mental health and, and sort of checking in with myself mentally and making sure I was okay.

How long have you been a band?

We’ve been a band for about five years.

What did music mean to you growing up?

It meant a lot to me. I grew up in a family that was pretty big into sports, but I always sort of gravitated a lot to theatre and music. In grade six, I joined the songwriting club at school. And I always just really enjoyed writing my thoughts down and then I started learning piano and guitar around them too.

But yeah, it was always a sort of like a second, a second sort of thing to sports until I was in grade 12 that I had to decide if I wanted to go to college or not. Then I met Charlie in High School, our drummer and he convinced me to take a year out and give the band thing a try and here we are.

How did growing up in Oshawa influence your music?

For ‘Baby Teeth’  our first record, it influenced a lot of our songs about boredom and heartbreak, When you're in high school growing up in suburban Oshawa which is where we're from.

I guess there's just like a lot of themes of like longing for somewhere else in our music and I think that probably stems from growing up where we did.

What was it like winning the Juno Award for Best Alternative Album for ‘Baby Teeth’?

Very exciting. So unexpected. Yeah, my mom was...I think it made our moms very proud. I think every parent is a little bit hesitant when their kids are pursuing any, any of the art so any sort of validation from the industry is really helpful in helping them feel a bit more comfortable with us doing it.

What was it like touring with Oh Wonder?

It was wonderful. I’m so sad it got cut short. They're so kind and so professional and just absolutely smashed it every night. Yeah, it's definitely like a band that I've always looked up to, even before we recorded ‘Baby Teeth’ so going on the road with them was so special to us and having them just like live up to all our expectations as people. 

So how has the Coronovirus pandemic affected your live shows? What’s been the impact for you? 

Pretty big now. We had to cut our tour with Oh Wonder short which was devastating. Financially, it's been a bit of a mess. We were stuck in London for a while. Borders were closing, so we had to book emergency flights which aren't cheap because airlines skyrocket their prices at times like this, which is infuriating.

We're putting out new music and hoping to get on tour and it doesn't look like there's any tours that will be happening for the next little while. So that's a really big blow to our band because that's a big way that we make our income is touring. So yeah, [it’s] definitely had a big impact.

Have you spoken to other musicians about how coronavirus has affected them?

Yeah. A couple of our friends are releasing music right now and a band from Toronto that I know, her name's Ellis. And, you know, she's been working towards another debut album for the past couple years and you know, you put so much money into it and she's just about to put it out and then this happens and one of the big ways to launch an album is to tour and show it to people and get in front of people and so that's, that's pretty devastating.

And yeah, I mean, I think everybody's sort of in the same boat right now. And I think it doesn't even just affect obviously, it affects all industries. In music, it’s not even just the band, there’s sound people, there's tour managers, there's lighting directors, the venues who are losing money.

It really spirals out to a lot of people, in this industry in particular.

On a happier note, are you looking forward to your Lafayette show in November?

Oh absolutely. It’s definitely the biggest headline show we’ve played in London so I'm a bit nervous and I hope people show up. I hope people decide to put their money in towards the ticket to that show. I hope it goes well. It looks like a beautiful venue. I’ve never been.

And what's next for you?

We’re putting out new music this year. We’ve been working on something for the past year [laughs], self-producing, doing a lot of recording in Montreal and then a lot of recording in my basement in my mum’s house. So yeah, I'm just really excited to share.

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Stay in touch with Dizzy HERE.

Words: Narzra Ahmed

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