Fresh off the heels of SXSW and the release of his latest single “Exercise your demons,” Montreal singer-songwriter Gus Englehorn is happy to share: “A Brief History of Gus Englehorn”.
Inspired by a Leonard Cohen’s NFB documentary “Ladies and Gentlemen…Mr. Leonard Cohen,” the video directed by Estée Preda offers a glimpse into Gus’ life as a former professional snowboarder.
The new video arrives as Gus prepares to release his sophomore album Dungeon Master on 29 April via Secret City Records. It’s undoubtedly the cutest, heaviest, strangest rock’n’roll record you will hear this year. Gus and Estée are currently on tour across Canada with Plants and Animals, before heading to Europe to play in Paris, Brighton and more.
Estée – Gus’ indispensable sidekick, wife, and drummer – directed the short doc and shares her thoughts on the process: “I thought it would be fun to shoot a documentary on film after watching Ladies and Gentlemen… Mr. Leonard Cohen. The whole Canadian Film Board archive is a real treasure trove of inspiration. Originally, we were going to get a friend to narrate, but the city was in lock down so Gus had to do it himself – it turned out to be the funniest part.” As for Gus, “the part I liked the best was trying to find my voice as a narrator. I wanted the pace to be very deliberate. I was also excited to share some of my favorite snowboarding shots with the music community, demystify my boarding origins and take people through my transition into songwriting.”
Dungeon Master, Englehorn’s Secret City Records debut, is an outsider opus that sparkles with Dada spirit — a playful juxtaposition of isolation, alienation and mildish OCD. Surprising, paranoid, and studded with synths and strings, Dungeon Master is deeper than a cellar and blunter than a club — a shivering introduction to an artist who’s finally arrived. “I let my subconscious do the driving,” Gus admits, and as you listen to these 10 tunes, it’s difficult not to do the same: to sit back like a dog with a two-legged daydream; like a fisherwoman with her net; like a snowboarder with a mouth full of powder.
Despite a career as a professional snowboarder, for almost all of Gus’s life — from Big Island’s sunsets to snowy Utah pistes — he dreamed of being a songwriter. If he couldn’t be Dylan, maybe he’d be Daniel Johnston, or Frank Black and The Pixies, or maybe Darby Crash and The Germs. And when he finally emerged — first on 2020’s Death & Transfiguration and now here on the 34-year-old’s label debut — he had found a sound that was dark and delightful, fun and demented, packed with dynamics and the chug of a hysterical guitar.