Zoo Owl
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Zoo Owl

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF | AFTRA

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | SELF | AFTRA
Established on Jan, 2014
Solo EDM Experimental




"Long Winter"

Each Long Winter is packed with attractions. The most recent instalment featured comedy from Spencer Butt, mouth-watering yaki-onigiri (or grilled rice balls filled with smoked turkey or veggies) from Abokichi, indie video gaming in the form of The Wizards of Trinity BellwoodsThe Wizards of Trinity Bellwoods, a discussion panel featuring Sloan’s Chris Murphy and impressive dinosaur-themed electronic performance art from Zoo Owl.

“It’s kind of like a choose-your-own-adventure,” concluded oft-featured artist Melissa Fisher.

And few of the fledgling artists featured seem to anticipate the call.

“I was very shocked when Mike reached out,” said Nicole Dollanganger,a Grimes-endorsed songwriter of blackly bleak bedroom folk. “I’d only played a couple shows, so the idea was really intimidating.”

Beyond a sizable, reliably packed room, Long Winter offers artists a chance to branch out beyond their dedicated fan base. - Nick Patch

"Now Magazine (Album of the Week)"

Ex-OPOPO singer Bryan Sutherland's trippy new electronic solo act has quickly achieved the same buzz status once held by his old band, thanks in large part to theatrical live performances that combine lighting tricks, weirdo props and costume pieces into an immersive, surreal experience.

But this full-length debut shows that Sutherland's dark, introspective jams stand on their own. More subdued and experimental than OPOPO's full-on electro party rock, Sutherland's thoughtful left-field compositions draw from a grab bag of stylistic influences including IDM, dancehall, house and hip-hop. The result is catchy musical collages that often eschew conventional verse/chorus structure - but get stuck in your head all the same. Opener Twin Mirror is anchored by a simple, hooky riff and a propulsive groove that dares you not to bob along. On Nemesis and Breakout, Sutherland's stadium-sized vocal acrobatics are front and centre, while Ritual Revival takes a more delicate tack, sounding like a long-lost Amnesiac-era Radiohead b-side. - Now Magazine (Jordan Bimm)

"Top 5 bands to watch in 2014"

Zoo Owl is a new-ish project from Bryan Sutherland. This is solid electronic pop that should get your pals dancing at the kitchen party pre-drink while squinting at you and saying "what IS this?" Fans of Doldrums - or people who feel like they should like Doldrums at least - should sample this. Chances are you'll like the taste. Catch him at Wavelength 14, and I've heard tell of a cassette wrapped in white leather. - Aubrey Jax

"Zoo Owl identifie's a Nemesis in new video"

Bryan Sutherland, better known as Zoo Owl, has gained fame throughout the Toronto nightlife scene with his experimental performances and iconic goggles. It's been six months since he released his first single "Twin Mirror" and he's back with a video and an album release date. "Nemesis" will be on Hollow, which will be released on July 8th, and the video features a ton of crabs. Like, an uncomfortable amount of crabs. Seriously, if you're even marginally afraid of crabs or crustaceans don't watch this video. There's a lot of them.

Zoo Owl will be playing Fucked Up's Construction series at the Smilin' Buddha in Toronto on Friday May 16. - Noisey


Alden Penner was referring to the impromptu sound check he and his band performed onstage to kick off their set. But the sentiment doubled as a summation of Wavelength's 14-year M.O. of exposing exciting new artists and exploring interesting new sounds with an equally excited and receptive audience.

Penner, a former member of the Unicorns, fit right in, showcasing material from his just released solo debut, Exegesis. The album's shine was a bit overshadowed by the announcement that his former band would be reuniting this year, but Penner seemed unbothered by the gossip mill, even tossing in a track from his Clues project. His gentle songs of heartbreak and, apparently, lamb kebabs found a steady groove that balanced the playfulness of the Unicorns with the sonic experimentation of Clues.

Zoo Owl was a different beast altogether. The solo electronic solo project from OPOPO's Bryan Sutherland, Zoo Owl took a more confrontational approach, standing in stark contrast to Penner's bashful stage presence. The music ran the gamut of maximalist dance, from wobbling dubstep bass bursts to late '90s electronica a la the Crystal Method. But it was Sutherland himself who will most be remembered, staring down the crowd as he donned a variety of LED lighting apparatuses, including a pair of goggles that made him resemble Watchmen's Nite Owl.

Montreal's TOPS kept the stylistic divergences going, offering up an indie rock take on '80s R&B. Their sound eschews the washed out keyboard and drum loops used by too many nostalgia-mining acts in favour of one led by guitarist David Carriere's impressive lead lines. Singer Jane Perry did tinkle a set of plastic ivories, but mostly stuck to her airy, Elizabeth Frazer-esque coo. Sound problems resulted in a shaky start, with Perry in particular sounding off key, but by the mid-way point TOPS were on top (ahem) of their game.

Toronto's Phèdre closed out the night delivering their own brand of electronic grooves dipped in gold lamé. Wearing matching white hoodies and pants, April Aliermo and Daniel Lee were flanked by a friend on a drum machine, one behind a barrage of electronic gear and an interpretive dancer. Running through tracks from last year's Golden Age, at times the duo seemed more interested in the party on stage than delivering note for note renditions of their tunes. But their energy, which spilled into the crowd (as did Aliermo), was infectious, culminating in the sublime "In Decay." All in all, it was a stellar start to Wavelength's annual four-day birthday bash. - Exclaim

"Ride The Tempo"

I’ve seen Bryan Sutherland before as Saturns and OPOPO but this was my first exposure to his latest venture Zoo Owl and it might be my favourite one of his projects live. As a one man show he confidently pranced about the stage with hilarious props such as LED goggles, lasers pointed at the audience and a glowing grill that he shined to beats of his music. It was hilariously entertaining and the music itself was exuberant. - Tiana Feng

"Wavelength 14 (Day 1) – Phèdre, Zoo Owl, Alden Penner + More"

It was a setup that should have required advanced night vision to observe it properly.

The instruments on the stage were familiar enough—a sampling machine, effect pedals, and a floor tom all sat at the front of stage—but a black sheet was strewn across a drum kit in the background to make it less conspicuous, and the only light in the room came from a floor-placed desk lamp.

It was apparent to anyone in the audience unfamiliar with Bryan Sutherland’s psychedelic electronic act Zoo Owl that they were in for something special at WL14. But they couldn’t have seen this coming.

Sutherland kicked things off slow: an atmospheric buildup from the sampler; some skin beating on the tom.

But then things took a left turn. Sutherland started worshipping a tall glass of water, making motions requesting people to gaze upon it in its clear liquid form. Then the glass itself lit up. Sutherland drank, and what happened onstage descended into surrealist propaganda. Sutherland dipped below his sampler and reemerged with a light in his mouth, his head turning like a sentinel, casting light on parts of the audience as if searching for a transgressor to scold. In time, he descended again, and returned this time with goggles that had LEDs for lenses.

To the crowd, Sutherland addressed the eyewear as possessing the power to do “the opposite of what your eyes do,” instead facilitating “inner vision.”

He pulled out a laser field projector, and from there, Zoo Owl had reign over the crowd with a control so total there was at once a dedicated crew dancing along to his echoing trance spell while others were content to let the laser beams shoot into their faces and engage the alpha waves in their brains.

No one was sure what Zoo Owl’s motivation was in all this, but we can presume it worked. - Tom Beedham


HOLLOW (2014)



Zoo Owl is the solo project of Toronto­-based sci­-fi naturalist Bryan Sutherland (OPOPO, Saturns), a conceptual electronic psychedelic pop musician known for his entrancing & captivating live performances. He’s recognized by his iconic goggles, which in his words “cast their own kind of spotlight from within". in 2016, he has worked on installations and performances with  festivals like Luminato, SummerWorks, and Camp Wavelength on Toronto island.

Zoo Owl’s experimental live sets are not easily forgotten, take for example his set at the ROM for the opening launch of "​Friday Night Live 2015",​which incorporated his full arsenal of audio visual theatrics. The Chinatown buffet rave he threw for the release of his debut album Hollow (Bad Panda Records, 2014) was met with critical acclaim, receiving praise from N​ow Magazine who named it "Album of the Week". After the release, Sutherland spent three months traveling around British Columbia with a backpack full of field recording equipment, capturing the sights and sounds of the ancient woods and misty coasts. He returned to Toronto with a renewed agenda to bring the woods to the urban landscape, through the power of digital sounds.

"Amplifying the weirdness"- Toronto Star

"This is solid electronic pop" - Blog TO

"An immersive surreal experience"- Now Magazine

"The crowd was captivated by Zoo Owls psychedelic and prop filled performance"- Indie 88.1

"Zoo Owl was a different beast altogether" - Exclaim!

"Music to hunt to" - Grayowl Point

Band Members