By Julie Cormier-Doiron

Indie City Madness is a weekly music program focused on local music that airs on CKCU 93.1 FM. Hosted by Rick Vaughan, Elly Laberge, and Julie Cormier-Doiron, the show also features weekly events happening in Ottawa-Gatineau. Catch it live Mondays from 5 – 6 p.m.

It’s hard to define Prayer Wheels. While the group describes itself as a “choir-rock” band, this is meant to be ironic and tongue-in-cheek, seeing as there are so many genres nowadays, and yet one’s music can be so hard to define.

“To be honest, our music is more of the pop rock variety, but the aspect that’s slightly different is the heavy usage of ‘gang vocals,’ or the choir as we call it,” says Pierce McKennirey, guitarist and vocalist of Prayer Wheels.

Although the band came to life in 2014, its lineup has been quite fluid since then and it still changes from time to time. In its regular rotation however, Prayer Wheels features McKennirey as well as Leigh Newton (drums), Andrew Grosvenor (guitar/vocals), Jake Ting (guitar/vocals), Mallory Gilles (vocals), Ellen McKennirey (vocals), Kate Schroder (vocals) and Mark Milloy (bass/vocals). Now that’s a lot of vocalists!

McKennirey, Grosvenor and Schroder also play in Those Gulls, another local project.

“I think we all agree that playing music is a very fun activity, so this was simply another avenue for attempting music of a different genre than what we had all been used to,” explains McKennirey.

The band’s upcoming EP will feature five tracks and is set to be released by the end of 2017. It will share some of the same themes as Spring, which was released in June 2016.

“Lots of questions about self-doubt, about the world and our unique places within it. Musically, it runs in the same vein as Spring, in that the tracks are short, and move along at a pretty quick pace.”

Prayer Wheels has been in the studio since October 2016, working out of The Nest, which is run by Peter Zachar, one half of Ringbill Records. Along with Andrew Grosvenor (guitarist and vocalist of Prayer Wheels), Zachar has been organizing Doldrums under this moniker since taking over the event in 2015.

This year’s Doldrums festival will take place March 24 and 25 at Club SAW. 2017 marks the festival’s sixth year showcasing live music and giving a platform for local musicians.

“When we took over, we recognized that the Ottawa music scene is not lacking for exciting new artists and shows, so the mandate of the festival has shifted to be a celebration of spring,” explains Zachar.

Prayer Wheels is happy to be part of this year’s Doldrums lineup.

“As a performer, I’m just excited to be on stage with my friends playing music,” says McKennirey. “The real highlight, though, will be seeing all of the other great acts and hopefully making some new friends along the way.”

Don’t miss Prayer Wheels live in studio on Indie City Madness later this month and be sure to catch their show on March 23 at Club SAW as part of Doldrums.