Community and growth in Winnipeg punk band’s newest album

by | May 15, 2023 | Arts & Life

Winnipeg-based punk band Tunic has released their third album, Wrong Dream, and will be playing in Edmonton on May 26 as part of their North American tour. Singer and guitarist David Schellenberg said the album demonstrates some growth and maturity in their songwriting and production. 

Wrong Dream is maybe our least abrasive record. All the other records are quite blown out and everything’s very fast and all the songs are very quick … and [Wrong Dream] has some more subtle and quieter moments and some more tension building,” Schellenberg explained.

The album debuted on April 28th of 2023. It all started with Schellenberg stepping out of his comfort zone and writing on bass guitar and keyboard. 

“I didn’t want to fall into some old habits of playing the guitar, so I wanted to write on the instrument I was less comfortable with, which was the keyboard.” 

The desire for a different process also came from Schellenberg’s own “personal crossroads.” He was working a day job and felt disconnected from his artist roots. “Can I still call myself an artist if I work 40 hours a week?” Schellenberg questions in the band’s bio page. “I didn’t wear a suit, but I felt like a suit.” 

This disparity is captured in some of the unique songs on the albums–songs that are also Schellenberg’s favourites. 

“The last song, Empty Husk, I was very scared about putting it out, about recording it, about writing it, because it’s a very different song … it’s almost seven minutes long and not as aggressive and intense as the other material.” 

Indirect also differs from the band’s usual sound, but Schellenberg is a fan. “It just sounds really cool, and it surprises me every time we hear that we made something that sounds like that.” 

The album’s cover art is also a bit different than typical. It features a hand-drawn image of a dog’s face in a child’s hands. The art was done by Sam Neil, the band’s original drummer. Schellenberg wanted “something bold” for this cover, and told Neil that he wasn’t afraid to use colour anymore. 

The album art features a hand-drawn image using coloured pencils and crayons. Photo supplied

“Sam actually drew [the cover] with crayons and pencil crayons … at first, to be honest, I hated it and I was like, ‘Oh, this looks so bad.’ And then I showed it to other people, and they were like, ‘No, this is really sick.’ And I’ve grown to love it.” 

The cover fits with the unique music video and stage performance for the single, Whispering. “The Whispering video is very bright and very primary colouring. And then on stage, I look nice, just to juxtapose the whole idea of what punk music is.” 

The band plays at the Aviary in Edmonton on May 26th, a venue they’ve played before. Schellenberg is a big supporter of supporting the local music scene–he grew up in the community and described going to shows as “the biggest stress release of all time.” 

“The thing that pushed me to continue to play music is the community that I met going to shows. I was also once that timid 18 year old at shows and was welcomed with open arms, so I just think it’s important for people to support their local scenes and their local venues,” Schellenberg shared. 

“That’s where art happens, at the beginning … and not a lot of people go support the little stuff first.” 

Schellenberg’s final piece of advice for students getting into the music scene? Wear ear plugs. “Protect your hearing. That’s all I can think of. Always wear ear plugs. I should have started earlier, I’ve lost a few decibels over the years.”

Tunic will be finishing up their May North American tour with Edmonton on the 26th and Calgary on the 27th. Until then, stream Wrong Dream on Spotify or Apple Music. The album and other merch is available for purchase on Bandcamp.

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