High Arctic, the latest album from NWT band Digawolf, became available for streaming on Friday. Frontman Diga says a pandemic-related delay allowed the album’s poetic tone to develop.
Diga told Cabin Radio: “The band and I started recording a three-piece rock album and then the Covid happened, so we had to put that on hold.” Instead, he rediscovered and expanded poems he had written some time ago.
“You’re sitting there on the couch sifting through old poems – and sometimes recent poems – and you’re like, ‘Oh, I remember this one. I remember that one,’” he said with a chuckle.
“There are some poems on the album where, at the time that I wrote them, I wouldn’t have even thought about publishing them. Quarantine and isolation do strange things to you.”
Setting the poems to music became Diga’s Covid-19 side project.
“When the quarantine was lifted, I showed it to my drummer and he agreed to lay down some drums on it. Essentially, that’s how the album came about,” he said.
The band took the opportunity to experiment with recording styles they hadn’t tried before, such as looping and sampling, and mixing newer technology with live instrumentation.
“It was a lot of fun working on the album,” Diga said.
High Arctic doesn’t only involve new songs. There are comic strips drawn by Diga that serve as album artwork, and a music video for the title track is to be released on Tuesday.
Produced by Yellowknifers Jen Walden and Jeremy Emerson, the video follows the band as they take a detour on their way to rehearsal to join a game of street hockey with neighbourhood kids (including Diga’s own children).
“At the end of the music video, they’ve gotten beat pretty bad by the kids,” he laughed. “I thought it’d be fun.”
When asked what he wants people to get from listening to the new album, Diga said he wants them to “walk away feeling like they’d visited another planet.”
He added, offering an explanation: “I’m a huge Star Trek fan.”
High Arctic by Digawolf is now available on all major streaming platforms. You can listen to tracks below.