Halifax songwriter and artist Michael Terrance’s debut album, Underneath Everything, is now available.
They’re the best songs I’ve written, and I just really wanted to give them space outside of my own head.
In this Q&A, we learn more as he gets set to perform from the album as part of the Cape Records launch party at the Marquee Ballroom alongside Postdata on December 16.
This interview has been edited.
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
I’m a songwriter and artist. My songs are primarily guitar-driven, and my earliest influences would be bands like Sonic Youth and Radiohead, as well as newer artists like Kurt Vile, Tame Impala, Hamilton Leithauser, and so many others. Also lots of local bands and musicians, but too many to name here. I’m pretty eclectic in my tastes, though, and I try not to sound like just one thing in the music I write.
How do you describe Underneath Everything?
The songs on this record were all written just before the pandemic but were recorded during the deepest parts of the pandemic. I think you can hear that on the record. The songs have a lot of energy, but there’s some darkness under the surface.
Why did you choose Underneath Everything as the album title?
The title comes from a lyric in the first song on the record, Good Money. That song is about the emptiness of the consumerist culture mindset of doing what you want regardless of how it affects others or even yourself. The title implies a crushing weight – being underneath everything – and a desire to look deeper. While the songs are not all about one thing, I think that tension exists throughout the record.
Is there a theme?
Not intentionally. But these songs were all written around the same time, so the things I was thinking about then all come through on the record – the feeling of being trapped and looking for an escape.
What was the inspiration for the album?
The songs themselves. I’ve been working on music for most of my life, but this is the first time I’ve really felt the need to put my songs out. They’re the best songs I’ve written, and I just wanted to give them space outside my head. I also worked with my brother Paul Murphy of Wintersleep and Postdata as a producer on this record, so that was its own reward.
What is your favourite song to perform off the album, and why?
I’m looking forward to performing the whole record at our record release show on December 16 at the Marquee. But probably most excited to play Good Money, the first track off the album.
What’s next for Michael?
We are releasing the record and playing the show at the Marquee on December 16. After that, I will be looking to set up an East Coast tour in the new year. We’ve also started our own label, Cape Records, so looking forward to building that up and putting out more new music.