Cam Boucher is the lead singer of one of my favourite small-time American bands Sorority Noise, and I’m lucky enough that he is continually creating and releasing music without the constraints that come with being signed to a record label. Instead, Cam runs his own record label – Flower Girl Records – under which he has signed all 3 of his bands: Old Gray, Sorority Noise, and Small Circle. He’s a busy guy, and we all benefit hugely from his relentless motivation to make music.
His latest creation is a 14 minute continuous piece titled hell is warm. It is not split into tracks, and was made with the intention that it be consumed in one sitting. It’s the kind of music that requires the listener to sit in silence with their eyes closed as they take in every moment. It’s raw and rough – an artistic decision that Cam is no stranger to, having gone in a similar direction in previous releases such as Sorority Noise’s It Kindly Stopped For Me – a preface to the full-length You Are Not as ____ as You Think – during which Cam ponders the loss of his friends to suicide.
“It’s always been a dream to exist in tranquility”
The vulnerability of tracks such as this are part of the reason fans feel so connected to Cam and his various bands. Every word is a snippet into his personal diary, and while it must be terrifying to put yourself out there like that, I can only ever feel grateful that he does. Life isn’t always easy, and any song that suggests it is risks creating a wall between the artist and the listener as we taste the inauthenticity on our lips as we sing the lyrics back. That’s not to say that happy, positive music is a bad thing, but it has always seemed important to me that we acknowledge the pain alongside the joy. I may be alone in this, but for me, when Cam discusses his mental health issues through music, I tend to feel uplifted as opposed to sad. There is comfort to be found in the fact that you are simply not alone.
“And I want to feel sane and I want to take the pain away, is that the only answer or is there a way that I might be able to feel safe?”
There are very few moments throughout hell is warm in which you can easily pick out the lyrics as the dirty guitar sounds tend to overwhelm the vocals. This, combined with the continuity of the track, suggests that the entire 14 minutes run through a single train of thought expressed through music that acts more as an emotional outlet for Cam. These are snippets of songs – some long, some short – that seem to have been made without an audience in mind. Luckily for us, he decided to share them.
“I’m laying in somebody else’s bed trying to get rest and I’m trying to get thin again I’m trying to grow up and I’m trying to be worth it”