I grew up scared for my life. I lived in fear that at any point, the schoolyard bully would turn his sights on me and expose me for the weak, insecure cipher that I believed myself to be. Remnants of that trauma still linger to this day, which is why I felt an immediate kinship to the themes of Bully, the debut EP from Winternom.
Bully explores both physical and emotional violence through the lens of life in small-town Northern Ontario, where the project is based. The music is lush with subtleties and details that intensify its theme. Skittering beats and ominous synths epitomize the “good bad dreams” of “Turn Around”; dark and moody chord progressions underpin the haunting vocals and hazy shoegaze vibe of “Attack”. As the latter spirals down a dark hole, lyrics like “There’s no taking back everything that you said” and “You should have left me for dead” become both damnation and mantra. Like the lasting, invisible scars of emotional and psychological abuse, “Attack” is a mindfuck that tumbles through its own neuroses.
There is no other weapon as mighty and deadly as an act of violence — of any kind. At some point in our lives, we humans will inevitably go through a rigorous boot camp that teaches us how to wield it on both our external and internal enemies. Time and distance may go a long way in helping us heal from both physical and emotional wounds. With Bully, Winternom endeavours to lessen violence’s impact, put it into context, and channel its energies into creativity.