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Track-by-Track: Cindë Runs Through Her New ‘More Awake Less Alive’ EP

Canadian singer and songwriter Cindë joins us for a track-by-track rundown of her emotionally charged new EP ‘More Awake Less Alive.’



Cindë, photo by Daniel Dorta
Cindë, photo by Daniel Dorta

Music is the ultimate outlet, and it’s served Cindë very well recently. She is about to release her new EP, More Awake Less Alive, an expedition through loss, grief, and betrayal. It gets straight to the point when it comes to its intentions, a five-song collection that dives into the aftermath of a breakup and betrayal. It’s based on real-life events close to the singer-songwriter’s heart. She supported her partner through a cancer diagnosis and the associated treatment. Despite her dedication, she eventually discovered her partner was not loyal to her. Each of the five tracks represents one stage of grief. It starts with denial and then moves to escapism, anger, despair, and acceptance. But within every negative, there is usually something positive to take away. In this case, for Cindë, it has taught her some rather crucial life lessons.

Based in Toronto, Cindë is known for her raw, straight-up, unabashed approach to songwriting. She started picking up music at 12 when she started learning guitar. After working with various artists like Belly and The Weeknd, she decided to focus on her own songwriting. She co-founded Spooky Action Records along with Selfish ThingsMichael Ticar. The label is now thriving, and Cindë has been recognized for her success, garnering the attention of other artists and major music publications. She is deeply committed to her craft and hopes her music can have a positive impact on others.

To get a thorough rundown of More Awake Less Alive, Cindë joins us for a Track-by-Track run-through of the EP.

1. “VICTIM!”

“The incident. This is not only the first song on the EP, but the first song we started writing in a cabin in the woods. It’s about the moment I opened my eyes and realized I had been betrayed and completely manipulated by someone I gave my all to. The production starts with Mike Tompa’s eerie, dark pulsing synths. This audibly creates exactly how it felt coming to terms with the truth. We opted to go for a noticeably faster tempo change and gutty guitars once the drop occurs to really emphasize the realization of ‘You’re such a victim’ and how my pulse beat faster and faster as I entered my different subsequent stages of grief.”

2. “I Just Need The Sun”

“The manic phase. This was a song inspired in a session for ‘Medusa’s Son,’ actually. We were in Tompa’s studio editing, and we felt like we were claustrophobic and in there for hours. So I just said. ‘I gotta go outside for a second. I just need the sun.’

“This fast-paced, messy song came from that feeling and turned out to be exactly about the next stage in my grief; the need to delusionally escape for a moment. Feeling claustrophobic from being in the dark for so long, I just wanted to soak in happiness, get drunk, be high, be messy and sloppy, and just FORGET.

“But at the core of it, in the verses, you hear all about my inner psychosis and the dark feelings I was running from. I was listening to Queens of the Stone Age a lot during the week we wrote this song. You can definitely hear a lot of influence, especially in Luca’s guitar work over Tompa’s chords. Very ‘Little Sister.’”

3. “Villain Origin Story”

“The rage phase. This was about the accumulation of all my anger and the rage I felt in biblical proportions (hence all the angel vs. demon references in the lyrics). The disgusting drop C riff at the chorus really encapsulated the feeling for me. When writing it, I kept in mind how it would feel to play live in front of an audience. I wanted this to hit everyone in the room right in the gut.

“We played around with the harmonies a lot on the bridge, going from major to minor quickly between phrases. It evoked this audibly dialectic feeling for us, the major acting as church music essentially – the all-powerful and divine, and the minor parts bringing out the anger in the message.”

4. “Medusa’s Son”

“The deep sad phase. After all is said and done, and I’ve screamed, panicked, raged, partied, and smoked my skull away. I am alone now, and I have to come to terms with that. It’s literally just a super emo song about smoking your face off all sad and alone in your room because you finally knocked your ‘perfect person’ off the pedestal.

“Aside from the chorus (which is one of my favourite hooks I’ve ever written), some of my favourite lyrics are ‘Shed your skin, you’re still a snake,’ referring to how many times someone can tell you they’ll change. But the bottom line is what you’ve seen is just the person they are. Or the bridge, ‘Now we watch each other winning from a distance // it’s a shame we’re both too proud to say congratulations.’ That line hit me like a rock when I first wrote it down. The bridge really embodied the yearning you feel when there’s still love and admiration from a distance, even after all this bad had transpired. I think that’s a confusing feeling that resonates with a lot of people.”

Cindë ‘More Awake Less Alive’ album artwork

Cindë ‘More Awake Less Alive’ album artwork

5. “Smiley Face Ring”

“Acceptance. This is the final song on the record where I had emotionally juiced myself to a pulp. I had started waking up and moving forward out of spite more so than my own personal will to live. As sad as that sounds, that’s what I had at that time to cling to for survival. I literally put on that ring every day as a reminder that I will not let what happened to me define me. I can still be happy and continue to live no matter what any external source tries to throw my way, and the verses really capture this feeling lyrically for me.

“The chorus reveals the truth though, ‘I’m happier, and that makes me kind of sad.’ I know leaving and being alone is the right answer, and things are better for me now… But it doesn’t mean that I’m not sad about losing what I thought I had. We recorded this using my dad’s old classical guitar that never had its strings changed. Then right at the end of the perfect take, the G-string broke (classic). We loved the way it sounded. It was so janky and raw that it was perfect.

“The end of this record actually loops seamlessly back to the start of the EP making the entire story a vicious cycle through production. The ‘Lie Lie’ that you hear at the beginning of ‘VICTIM!’ is the last word on ‘Smiley Face Ring’ ‘Alive’ but manipulated, just like I was.”

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