Ottawa’s newest band on the block—Oswald Park, the solo project of Jordy Bell (The Creeps/Crusades)—has been teasing us with new tracks over the past month off of his upcoming debut album. With two great songs already out in the world, Ottawa Showbox is very excited to premiere a third track from A Prescription Year for you today. “December Snow” is the closer on the much anticipated seven-song debut release and has much more of a slow indie rock feel to it than the previously released songs. We caught up with Jordy (at a safe social distance) ahead of the release to discuss stepping out from behind the drum kit to go solo, the story behind the song and when we can expect the album. Check out the interview and then give the song a few spins below.
Having primarily been a drummer in bands before this project, what inspired you to step out from behind the kit and release a full solo album as Oswald Park?
This project is something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve been playing guitar since long before I was in any bands, way back in high school. When Crusades called it quits two years ago, I found myself with more spare time, and started picking up my guitar a little more frequently. I would always record little demos on my phone, or just on my laptop, and after a while I realized I had a handful of ideas that were starting to take shape.
Can you describe the experience of doing everything yourself from start to finish on A Prescription Year?
It was definitely a learning experience. At times frustrating and infuriating, and other times rewarding and fun. I’m used to being a part of a band, a collaborative approach, so being the sole person involved really made it difficult at first. I think I spent a lot of time second-guessing, almost scrapping, and generally worrying about every detail.
I was very fortunate to have had some close friends help me in the process, which kept me on track and motivated. My long time friend, and talented bandmate in The Creeps, Skottie, as well as my good pal, and pop songwriting guru Rob Seaton (Statues) acted as sounding boards during the process. They gave me input, feedback, pushed me to try some new ideas vocally, and straight up told me when things weren’t working which really helped me refine the songs. The more I worked on it, the more comfortable I started getting and I was able to start trusting my instincts a little more.
Today you’re sharing the closing track “December Snow” with our readers. The song differs slightly from the rest of the album, with a little more of a slow indie rock feel. Can you tell me a little about the background of the song?
This song might actually have been one of the early demo ideas I had, but something about the mood and the laid back style of it really struck me. I love 90’s indie rock, and specifically 90’s Canadian indie rock, so the feel of this song made me nostalgic for that. I had completed the entire song—guitars, bass, drums etc., but almost bailed on it several times because I just couldn’t get lyrics finished. I scrapped and re-wrote them half a dozen times. It may have been the first song I chose, but it was the last one on the record to be completed.
This song is definitely the most personal one on the record, and it’s an exploration of the way I feel during bouts of depression and anxiety. The intense highs and lows, the despair and hopefulness—it sort of bounces back and forth between those ideas, much like my brain tends to. These are obviously very universal ideas, given these increasingly uncertain times. I did however, want to end the record on a bit of a hopeful note, the message that ultimately ‘we’re all each other have in this life’, so don’t take it for granted.
This is the third song you have premiered and teased us with, do we get the full album next or shall you continue to string us along? What should we expect for the next step?
Since it’s only a seven-song EP, if I previewed anymore tracks I’d run out of record to release (haha)! So this is the final preview song. The full album is out on all streaming platforms, including Bandcamp on May 1st, (Bandcamp also happens to be waiving their cut of the fees on this date). My friend Andrea, will be releasing a CD version of the album on his Italy-based I Buy Records label, which will also be distributed in North America by Mom’s Basement Records.