Kristi Lane Sinclair is an artist completely unafraid to plumb the depths of darkness in search of a glimmer of light. That’s precisely what she does on her fifth release, Super Blood Wolf Moon, an awe-inspiring 12-song collection that reflects the harrowing experiences women suffer at the hands of domestic abusers.
Super Blood Wolf Moon was recorded during sessions at Jukasa Studios in Ohsweken, Ontario and Arc Studios in Hannon, Ontario, overseen by producer Terra Lightfoot, herself a Juno-nominated singer/songwriter and guitarist. Lightfoot’s sonic vision pulled everything into sharp focus and heightened the drama at the just the right moments, aided by a band that included some of Canada’s top female musicians: drummer Dani Nash, bassist Anna Ruddick, keyboardist/guitarist Robin Hatch and string players Praise Lam and Blanche Israel. The concept of having women both in front and behind the board was fully realized by the work of engineer Jill Zimmerman, with mastering engineered by Grammy winner Emily Lazar.
The album overall is a celebration of healing through female solidarity, and as a Haida/Cree artist, Sinclair’s personal healing took on extra dimensions through her writing. A prime example is the album’s first single “Break,” which features a vocal part by Kelly Fraser, the acclaimed Inuk pop star who was tragically lost too soon. She and Sinclair shared many circumstances all too real to the Indigenous community, which adds to the power of “Break,” sadly just a taste of what the two could have done together. Sinclair’s rage is only surpassed on the song “End Of The Rope,” a truly chilling moment that fully lives up to its title. We’re proud to premiere the video for “End Of The Rope” below.
Until now, Sinclair’s sound has evolved from an equal love of classical and hard music—“classical grunge” as she likes to call it—driven by an admiration for strong female voices such as Cat Power and Kim Gordon. Super Blood Wolf Moon is an album that tears off society’s veneer to expose a long suppressed collective consciousness, just as the best rock and roll songwriters have always done.
Kristi Lane Sinclair’s Super Blood Wolf Moon is available now on all platforms. She will also perform in Toronto on Saturday, Sept. 30 as part of the 3rd annual National Truth And Reconciliation Day Event in Roncevalles Village. Sinclair and her band will play a free one-hour set from 5pm – 6pm. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your new album Super Blood Wolf Moon has been a passion project for the past couple of years. How are you feeling now that it’s been out in the world for a few months?
It’s really great to see it come out, to be able to perform it and hear that it has touched people in any way. It was a hard record to execute and then Covid hit and it was kind of on hold. What’s cool is that I got to take my time with it, make videos and really get it all dressed up, but it was super strange having the cycle screech to a halt, leaving me just kinda hanging out for a couple of years. I still kept busy, but a lot of my self-validation came from my physical job. But yeah, it’s been a wild ride!
You had an entirely female band and technical crew work on the record, including producer Terra Lightfoot. What was that experience like?
I’ve had all-female bands in the past and I don’t know that I’ve ever had an all-male band. I didn’t think about too much, but it does rear its head when you are at festivals where there still is a lot of inequality. I was definitely proud to have only women in the studio. Our mastering engineer Emily Lazar collects Grammys like they’re Beeny Babies and she was an immediate yes. The energy became contagious, and I needed so much support. If I’m completely honest, I don’t remember recording a lot of the record — PTSD has a really weird cloud. I do know that I leaned hard on these ladies. Terra and all the musicians on the record are some of, if not the, heaviest hitters in Canada, but the thing we all felt was the immensity of music. It’s why we do it. The actual point is for my band to finish my sentences, to be transcendent. When you hit that in a room with six women, believe me, it is super wild. I would be lying if I said there wasn’t group crying and hundreds of chicken wings consumed.
The new single “End Of The Rope” is one of the album’s most powerful statements. How difficult was it to write it, along with the album overall?
Physically, I wrote that song with two usable fingers on each hand. As a musician, it was actually, in hindsight, really cool because if you only get two notes, you are going to make sure they are the right ones. When recording time came, I still used the two fingers. There was power in that and I think you can hear it. Not to equate or compartmentalize trauma or anyone’s experience, but it’s damn hard to be an Indigenous artist some days. Like, I’m not a role model but just to be an Indigenous woman in 2023 is political. Our existence is political. But finishing this record was important in order to share the real truths — The truth that you can do something wrong 57 times, but sometimes it’s the 58th time that works. I would love it if the Red Road [recovery program] was the answer this time but it wasn’t. “End Of The Rope” is a true account of the isolation, the desperation, confusion, the absolute animalistic power to survive, and the drink that you need to sleep when all of that has drained your will. This is the song that I wanted to hear when I was hurting, so I wrote it. This would have helped me even in the smallest way in dealing with domestic abuse and PTSD. Like, “you’re sweaty too?”
The song “Break” features a vocal part by the late Kelly Fraser. How important is it for you to keep her memory alive?
Oh man, Kelly. I feel like she’s with me always and I love hearing the reaction to “Break.” People want to share their stories about her and they are always hilarious and beautiful. When you see a star, you know it. I think that’s how I would describe her when she came into a room. She was supposed to be on this record and she was supposed to mentor with me in the studio. She actually came up to me at a ImagiNATIVE party and the first thing she said was that she was going to be on my record, so just send her the songs. I threw my head back laughing like, “Of course you are my girl.” That’s my favourite memory of her. I wanted her on “Break” so bad. She was the only thing missing. Her producer sent me one track after she made her journey. It was the right bpm and I did not have to make one edit. She again and again reminds me that the beauty of this world is limitless in the brightest lights and the darkest corners.
What are some things you have coming up that you can share?
I’m recording another album! Shhhh!