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Sleepcircle Sharpen Their Minds With New Video Single “The Knife Awaits” 

The Vancouver-based heavy rockers choose power over their mental wellbeing.

by Johnny Papan

Sleepcircle’s atmospheric blend of metal, progressive rock, and grunge is as headbang-inducing as it is sonically dynamic. Their downtuned rhythms and harmonized guitar leads are layered with a spacey ambiance. The Vancouver-based quintet has developed a sound fitting for both mosh pits and magic mushrooms, but we’d caution you from doing both at the same time. Their newest single “The Knife Awaits,” just dropped and it showcases an evolution in the band’s songwriting and musicianship. 


“The Knife Awaits” is an introspection of vocalist Jake Touzel who circumvents submission to his own mind’s sometimes unforgiving nature. Touzel invokes himself and others to take control of your mind before your mind takes control of you. It’s a call to action to take note of your own thought patterns, negative self-beliefs and other personal obstacles and strategize a way to overcome them, if you can. 

We caught up with Touzel about the new single and how he navigates his own mental health. 

Your new song “The Knife Awaits” is a song about the battles we have with our own mental health. Can you go into more detail about what exactly the “Knife” represents? Is it mental health itself? Or your attempt to take power over it? Or its power over you? Or something else? Please describe.

The knife is an analogy for the inherent power that I believe we all possess over our mental health, but it also symbolizes the duality of mental wellbeing. It can serve as a useful tool, for things like cooking a meal, or destructive things like causing harm, but it’s up to you to maintain it. You can keep it clean and sharp, or let it dull and rust, but it’s entirely up to you. I think it’s especially important to remember that things don’t just happen to us, and that we have the ability to shape and mold ourselves to meet our individual challenges in life. The mind is an extremely complex and powerful thing, which belongs to and is controlled by you, should you accept the challenge and take up your blade. 

What exactly is “the knife” waiting for? 

“The knife” lies in waiting, ready to be taken up when we decide that things are going to go our way. Think of it like manifesting, which sounds like esoteric bullshit, but I truly believe that with the right mindset anything can be achieved. In this context, the knife represents the power of the mind and our thoughts. The knife is waiting to be taken up and used, meaning that the power to control one’s thoughts and mental wellbeing is waiting to be claimed and utilized. It’s a reminder that we as individuals have the power to shape our mental health and well-being, but also that it requires a deliberate effort to take control of our thoughts. The knife is waiting for each of us to take the necessary steps towards better mental health. 

In a way, our mental health can be our best friend or our worst enemy. Or sometimes both. I like the knife analogy because oftentimes it’s your own mind that stabs us in the back. One minute you can feel on top of the world, the next it may make you feel inadequate or create stories or ideologies in your head that may not be true but send you spiralling anyway. What do you think causes these kinds of thought patterns? 

A multitude of things can cause these negative thought patterns, but none more so than trauma, past life experiences, or even cognitive biases. We make them worse with things like self deprecation and perfectionism, which as an artist, can be hard to avoid. It’s important to be willing to compromise in your thinking, as there are always perspectives you have not considered. 

In the song you claim you want to “be set free”? Set free from what?

The desire to be set free should not be taken literally (ie: death) but more so in a figurative sense, free from struggle and pain. The power to heal lies within all of us, and it starts by embracing the metaphor of the knife and taking control.  By taking up our blade and using it wisely, we can experience growth, peace and happiness. It’s something that will always be with us whether we like it or not, and it’s essential that we take the proper steps to keep it sharp and ready for use. I intend this to be a symbol of hope, and I hope that it’s received in kind. 

How do you manage your own mental health? Do you have any routines or outlets to keep yourself at bay?

I suffer from GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) but with the support of my doctor I was prescribed Lexapro and have been able to find a better balance in my life. While medication may not be the right solution for everyone, it’s important to stay open-minded about different treatment options and to be willing to try different approaches. It’s also important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and what works for one person may not work for another. That’s why it’s so important to work closely with a mental health professional to find what works best for you. 

Do you have any advice for anyone battling their own mental health right now?

It’s crucial to avoid getting caught up in self-diagnosis or relying solely on information from social media, this can lead to misdiagnosis or ineffective treatment. Ultimately, the key is to seek help and be proactive in managing your mental health, as it’s the first step towards a happier, healthier life.

Any final thoughts? 

Thanks so much for having us, and make sure to check us out March 31 with Deathchant, Kadabra and Momy Fortuna at the Wise Hall (Vancouver) on March 31.