Zoon 
Big Pharma EP

Paper Bag Records • 2022

Each of Big Pharma’s five songs features a different collaborator who lends Zoon’s unmistakable wall-of-sound style a fresh perspective.

Daniel Monkman says that the title of Zoon’s new EP, Big Pharma, refers to the pharmaceutical industry’s role in the systemic oppression and genocide of Indigenous Peoples for many years. “Big Pharma is about me trying to bring awareness about the pharmaceutical industry and their lies,” he says, “A whole generation completely changed in just a matter of five years, Families torn apart and loved ones lost to addiction and overdoses.” Big Pharma is Monkman’s way of changing the conversation, bringing friends and family together and making new connections. 

Each of its five songs features a different collaborator who lends Zoon’s unmistakable wall-of-sound style a fresh perspective. Fellow sonic landscaper and long-time collaborator Andrew “Sunnsetter” McLeod sprinkles a shimmery glow across the instrumental “Red river.” The lead single and first track, “Astum” (featuring Leanne Betasamosake Simpson), is a deliciously acoustic take on Monkman’s sound that perfectly fits his melodies and singing style. Fellow 2022 Polaris Prize Short Lister (and eventual winner) Cadence Weapon effortlessly drops into “Oil pastel/Dope sick,” suggesting that these two need to record a whole album’s worth of trippy psych-flavour hip-hop tunes. Similarly, Jasmine Trails (on the luscious closer “Oopeeum”) and Michael Peter Olsen (on the hauntingly beautiful “Rain in a new city”) find new colours in Zoon’s already vibrant palette.

For Monkman and other Indigenous artists, visibility and recognition are no longer enough. Big Pharma arrives on National Indigenous Peoples Day, a very intentional statement on Monkman’s part. Zoon is bringing his story and starting new conversations through music, offering a new generation of Indigenous people a new perspective.


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