Natural Sympathies

Natural Sympathies is the solo project of Regina musician Amber Goodwyn, formerly of the Montreal bands Cobra & Vulture and Nightwood. Trading her former guitar music for low-fi, pared-down electro pop ditties, Natural Sympathies is an eclectic mix of playful vocal harmonies, imaginative lyrics, insolent drum machine beats, organ and synth.

After leaving Montreal for Regina in 2012, Goodwyn took time to settle in, start a family and root herself into her new city. Itching to return to music but fearful of waking the toddler, she slipped on some headphones and started writing and recording home demos in her basement in early 2016, which resulted in Natural Sympathies’ debut EP, Strange Heavens (released May 2017 on Prairie Shag Records).

Strange Heavens is a three song EP infused with an outer space theme. Fictionalizing her move from Montreal to Regina as one landing in on an unfamiliar planet, Strange Heavens features beats by Jeremy MacCuish (Nancy Pants, Parlovr) and Ryan Hill a.k.a. Guidewire, and was mixed by Guidewire and David Krajic and mastered by engineer Harris Newman of Grey Market Mastering. A collection of remixes of the Moon Landing single was released simultaneaosuly on Pop Quiz Records, featuring contributions by Ursa (members of The Garrys) and 豆芽 (members of respectfulchild) and Pulsewidth. Three music videos were released throughout the spring to accompany each of the EPs’ songs.

In a recent profile on Saskatchewan’s portrait blog series Kindred Cities, Goodwyn had this to say about Natural Sympathies: “This is the first time I’ve really worked on music since I left Montreal and the first time since I became a mother. Because I also work part-time, my available time for creative work is limited. So Natural Sympathies has become something of a feminist experiment: I can work as quietly or as loudly as I like to, whenever I can. I don’t have to coordinate with band members, which would be nearly impossible, and I don’t have to worry about carrying heavy gear around. It’s a mobile, flexible project that challenges me to be confident enough to go on stage solo and to own all my song writing choices. I also want to see more women on stages in Regina and it’s important for me to be the change I want to see in the world and all that.”

Goodwyn conceives of Natural Sympathies as her most true musical self, one that feels uncompromised by self-doubt or consideration for trends. This project was intended to build her confidence to write and perform on her own as well as to be the band she herself would have loved as a young woman. With musical influences ranging from Kate Bush and Laurie Anderson and landing somewhere between Jenny Hval, Zomes and Cyndi Lauper, Natural Sympathies has emerged as a strange and hilarious songbird.

Since debuting her live act in September 2016, Natural Sympathies has played alongside artists including Ursa, The Garrys, Foonyap, Little Scream, Louise Burns, Once and Future Band, The Florals, Pulsewidth, Ghost Twin, Firestarter, respectfulchild and has performed at festivals like Sled Island (Calgary), Swamp Fest (Regina) and Femme Wave (Calgary).

Regina Folk Festival 2018. Be there.