When it comes to interesting, creative, and generally great music, Canada tends to not disappoint. From names such as Death From Above 1979RushTegan and SaraCryptopsyHeart, to many, many others…there’s always been something memorable about the arts that come from the Canadian regions. This week, we’re putting the spotlight on yet another one of those memorable names, as we take a close look into the world of 9Million. If you dig alternative music with plenty of atmospheric and dreamy elements thrown in, you’ve come to the best possible place!

First launched around the spring and summer of 2021, 9Million quickly made a mark on the scene from the release of their mixtape, Between Us. Featuring tracks like “Shiver”, “So Familiar”, and “Never Knew”, it is easy to get lost in all the melodies, catchy vibes, and ethereal layers each song envelopes the listener into. The band is fronted by none other than Toronto music genius and The Concrete Smile runner, Matt Tomasi, but has seen live performances over the past couple years featuring a full band as well. While Matt seems to be the main brain behind all songwriting and production of the project, the band works seamlessly together to truly breathe the same life to the project on a live stage as heard in the recordings.

Take for instance “Shiver” – a track that builds from an upbeat chord pattern played over acoustic guitar with a muddy, muffled, fuzz-distorted guitar underneath providing a gritty layer to the mix, and quickly bursts into a grungy hit of grainy guitars, pumping drums and bass, and a blissful tenor range of vocal work that reminisce the greats of the ’90s, while still feeling fresh enough to fit the new age. The track is a shoegazey work of art, with rocky guitar leads and plenty of ear-grabbing moments embellishing the whole front end of the song. Towards the end where it descends into a slower, grooved-out passage of heavy guitar rhythms and angelic vocal chants supplied by none other than Ethel Cain, the atmosphere of the track is almost cinematic in its dynamic. This being one of the first of a handful of songs I’d heard when discovering Matt had begun announcing 9Million, not to mention just being a fan of virtually anything Tomasi has a hand in, it didn’t take long for me to quickly start playing them back quite consistently.

Coming from a scene known for a thriving DIY community, plenty of great punk, hardcore, indie, and alternative groups, amongst other things, 9Million seem to have no slack in appeal within their hometown. But, especially as of recent, they’ve begun to branch out more into the United States, especially with their upcoming tour set up alongside Glitterer beginning in July 2023. They have released a few more singles since Between Us, teasing yet another upcoming release as well, but the amount of ground 9Million has covered in only a couple years’ time is just as remarkable as their music. Given the sort of work ethic I’ve seen exhibited from Matt even as far back as his days doing guitar and production with Nicole Dollanganger, as well as live duties, it’s no wonder the band has sort of hit the ground running and taken off seemingly with ease. Of course, this may also be because I’m certainly not the only person to recognize Tomasi’s name as one with solid work behind it, as it’s easy to recognize the kind of spirit and passion someone like him provides with anything he touches musically or creatively. Whether or not one may find themselves a fan of his work, it is hard to deny the level of consistency he offers to it.

“Never Knew” was my true starting point for the band. Serving as an introductory place, if you will, I remember hearing the clip posted as a teaser for its released on Matt’s Instagram (which is pretty much the band’s Instagram, or at least where any and all updates are generally found), and playing that one snippet back over and over. I was like ‘man, I need to have this song in a playlist somewhere…‘ Sure enough, I found the track digitally, bought it, and played it every morning on my way to work just before deciding I clearly needed to hear more of 9Million‘s work.

I’d been following Matt for quite some time, probably since about 2015 or 2016, as I’d discovered him around the same time as Nicole Dollanganger, which was sort of a given considering their work together. But as much as I’d heard and seen Matt involved in, and as strong as all of it has been, I do believe 9Million is, by far, my favorite of his projects. Something about this track, “Never Knew”, in particular has just had this haunting, yet comforting appeal that kept me coming back. I remember listening to it on a rainy morning, after just pouring a fresh cup of coffee. The melancholic piano, smooth acoustic guitar, groovy bass line, and chill drum beat just puts you in this sort of trance that feels both therapeutic and somehow nostalgic – on one hand, I’m reminded of the early days of Incubus, and on the other, I’m getting the sort of mellow, somber, emotional depth heard in material the likes of Alex G.

Either way, time stops (in the best way possible) every time I play this track back…

I’d mentioned early that 9Million have new music on the way. GUSH is set for a June 23rd release, and so far, tracks such as “Sun Spots” are proving promise to have no shortage in the kind of quality the band graced us with on Between Us. Rocky, catchy, and full of good noises, the song is a shiny first look at what to expect from the band’s upcoming release. Featured via a music video directed by Aidan Barnes, it plays out like a VHS reel of home video footage, where a bunch of close friends appear to be having the absolute time of their lives, if maybe freezing their asses off due to the snowy weather.

Even with how cheery the video appears and the song sounds, the lyrics paint a darker tone, one that seems to depict a realization of how bitter the passage of time may be. However, at the same time, the narrator also seems to have this comforting epiphany of sorts, perhaps even a coming to terms with the notion that even if the youthful spark of life fades, there’s still a glimmer of comfort to be found with accepting one’s place:

Dreams of the past weren’t born to last.
Prior to memory.
Born to drown.
Feeling warm and sound.

Of course, lyrics are always open to some level of interpretation or another. So, while I may be able to connect some dots here and there, what was intended with the overall meaning could always be something completely different. But either way, the way Matt Tomasi writes and expresses his thoughts through all I’ve heard of 9Million‘s material so far reflects a sense of observation, introspection, and plenty of relatable subjects that just help the music feel all the more human, if you will. One of the biggest factors that sticks out to me about what they do is purely the organic essence of it – nothing feels forced or like it’s trying to be anything other than what it is, honest and down to earth music.

Delve into the esoteric soundscapes of 9Million and, if you are so inclined, catch them on tour this summer with Glitterer! Keep up with the band via Matt’s Instagram account. You can purchase and stream their music, as well as see live performance videos, via the band’s YouTube or Bandcamp! Don’t miss out…Tomasi and company have quite the future to make with their music.

9Million is…

Matthew Tomasi – guitar, vocals
Ace – guitar, background vocals
Loochman – guitar, background vocals
Jamie Fastlane – bass
Lia Lepre – keys, synth
Danielle Clark – background vocals
Brandon Santi – drums



Easygoing weirdo with a love for life, music, art, culture, outdoors, meeting new people, seeing new places, and trying new things. Oh yeah, and I guess I never shut up about the things I love, too. That’s a quality!

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