Melted Mirror
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Melted Mirror

Calgary, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2015

Calgary, Canada
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Electronic New Wave




"Melted Mirror keep busy with two releases in one year, with more coming."

CALGARY — Melted Mirror exploded onto the scene with their vibrant live shows and rich sound, quickly becoming a staple in Calgary’s growing community of electronic acts.

And after releasing two ambitious releases within one year — 2015’s self-titled tape and last month’s Borderzone — they have showcased drive and complex attention to detail.

At an initial glance at their live setup, you see an ocean of instruments, cables, cords, buttons, knobs, etc… But they attack their live shows with a passionate precision.

“What we do onstage isn’t something I can put into words. It’s very instinctual. I try to get in touch with my instinct. I try to access the irrational human side of my brain,” says frontman Chris Zajko with a laugh.

This blend of expression and precision sets them apart as contemplative perfectionists, striving to do better but humble with every outcome.

“I think we’d all agree that it’s still very much a work in progress. I don’t think we’ve really achieved everything we’ve wanted to. I mean, we’re happy with everything we’ve done so far,” explains Zajko. “We’re still growing as a band.”

Cian Haley’s masterful blending of synth lines, samples and textures, Jeebs Nabil’s dense post-punk guitar blasts and Zajko’s resonant yet distant vocals and uninhibited motions make them a spectacle to watch.

“It always starts really simple and we just build it from there. We are kind of a jam band in the sense that there’s no single songwriter. We all contribute to the sound together,” says Zajko.

“And we’ll refine it and refine it for hours,” adds Nabil.

Though their music is very expressive — blending danceable pop grooves with moody tones, taking direct inspiration from ‘80s new wave and post-punk, with fresh nuanced themes — Melted Mirror retain an ominous persona. Something they embrace but didn’t set out to create.

“I think we’re a mixture of very private people,” explains Haley about their introspective approach to music.

To which Zajko responds, “I think mystery and ambiguity is essential to any art form. I like art that doesn’t have a big written statement behind it and that doesn’t over-explain things. Music stands out when it’s strictly based on feel, rather than some intellectual explanation.”

Borderzone, their new ten-track release is a complex and deeply layered electronic album with a range of emotions, themes and ideas. The band says the listener’s personal interpretation is key. And in a true DIY spirit, Melted Mirror recorded everything in Nabil’s home studio.

“There’s a lot of moving parts,” says Nabil, speaking to their meticulous nature during the recording process. “We put a lot of hours into it. We can work on recording any time we choose to.”

And, as they explain, there’s no shortage of ideas when it comes to writing new tracks.

“It was very much trial and error for a few months. But we’ve got it down to a science now,” says Haley. “It’s not all precious for us. If something’s not working we have no problems throwing it out. We won’t waste time on something that doesn’t work.”

Though Borderzone is still fresh, Melted Mirror are already writing new songs with demos dropping soon as well as plans for their first music video directed by local filmmaker Guillaume Carlier.

Melted Mirror are excited to keep pushing forward to new territory, speaking to the collaborative and open music community in Calgary.

“It’s cool to have a sense of community on a personal level, but on a sonic level it’s cool to forge your own independent sound separate from where you are physically,” concludes Zajko.

Melted Mirror perform at BeatRoute’s Christmas Party at The Palomino on December 23rd. Joining them are past cover star Marlaena Moore, We Are Not Ghosts and Crystal Eyes. - Beatroute

"Calgary electro act Melted Mirror organically imbue their debut Borderzone with humanity"

It seems an odd but telling thing, that the word and theme of “organic” should hold such a central role in a conversation with Melted Mirror.

They are, it should be noted, one of the city’s rising electro acts.

Yet take that descriptor out of the equation, or even push the electronics to the side a little, and everything about the trio — their formation, songwriting process, internal communication, performance approach, success and, yes, sound — is all about the natural occurrence.

Sitting with the members of Melted Mirror in the Palomino on this frosty fall afternoon they return to it or variations of it often.

It begins with the subject of how the three initially came together just over a year-and-a-half ago: bassist-vocalist Chris Zajko, who’d previously been in more rock-oriented acts such as the Soft Option, was pondering a more synth sound and approached Cian Haley about collaborating.

The connection was instant, organic, and they already had a gig booked, when, on a whim they reached out to guitarist Jeebs Nabil, who’d also been active in the local punk rock and post-hardcore scene but was “getting tired of guitar music, guitar-based bands,” he says.

“I feel like you get to a certain point where it’s very limiting, whereas when you have electronic music you have all of these different tones and textures you can bring into it. It was refreshing for me to be a part of that.”

And the results were, they note, immediate.

“With just the two of us there was something missing,” agrees Zajko. “And then the moment Jeebs plugged in his guitar and started playing, it was pretty obvious that it was, ‘Yeah, OK, now it makes sense.’ ”

That comes from the fact that even though their artistic backgrounds are different, as well as their personal histories — Zajko grew up in Cold War-era Poland, Nabil was born in Malaysia, and Haley was born in South Africa at the tail-end of Apartheid — they found that they all spoke the same musical language.

Or, as Zajko says, they all have an “intuitive sense of the same sonic vision.”

That’s borne out in the fact that there is no one songwriter, the material growing out of a click-track or a simple drumbeat that they then jam towards the destination they’ve set their sights on.

And ultimately where is that, what is that vision? As Haley says, all involved with Melted Mirror wanted an “electronic project still imbued with humanity. I think that’s what we’ve always gone for. I feel like there’s a very urban aspect to our music as well. Not urban in the hip-hop sense, I suppose. But, I mean, even that — a lot of inspiration comes from that kind of sound.”

Zajko, agrees, explaining that his contributing sensibilities were informed by the ’80s music he heard as a kid behind the Iron Curtain, music that was “darker but infectious … atmospheric but retains that energetic danceable club feel,” with his lyrical leanings toward the “anti-totalitarian vibe without being too specific.”

All of it comes to natural fruition on Borderzone, their exceptional, self-produced, full-length debut for local indie label Wyatt Records, which they’ll release with a show Friday at the same Palomino

Guided by that dark-lensed view of the throb and pulse state of nu electro-rock, the 10-track offering recalls bygone synth acts such as diverse as, say, Landscape, Leisure Process, Joy Division, Wire and even Bauhaus while also contributing to the new wave of cold wave such as fellow local stars Preoccupation.

But, again, there is an organic heart and soul at its core that warms it up in a way that makes it that much more honest and embraceable than many like artists who are merely reconstructing the past for a fresh, present audience.

Perhaps that’s why, in such a short time and only on the strength of an EP release and some singles, they’ve built up incredible buzz in the scene with many awaiting Borderzone’s release, many excited by their contribution to the recently dropped compilation benefit for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, Taking It to Heart: Volume One.

They think their ability to bring those songs to life, though, also contributes to the success and acclaim they’ve already received. The Melted Mirror live show, which earned raves this past Sled Island, is one they think that will surprise many who hear their music and have a preconception of how that will look esthetically.

“I think there’s a tendency with the type of music that we make for live bands to be very static onstage. And I feel like one of our strengths might be that we have a fairly dynamic stage show,” Zajko says, noting they’re eager to take Borderzone on the road.

While proving themselves and spreading the word is the most immediate and obvious reason to tour, another might be to stop them from writing new material, something that has proven difficult because, as the singer says, “there is no shortage of ideas.”

And making things even more exciting members for the three-piece is that their sound is still evolving, progressing at a rapid rate, and that shared sonic vision is expanding to be something greater, and doing so organically albeit with one guiding principle.

“We’re actively trying not to paint ourselves into a corner at this point,” says Haley.

“It’s important to note that we are still developing our sound,” Zajko says.

“I think the sound that we have now is a mutual starting point between the three of us. It’s a common language. But I’m curious to see what exactly we’ll sound like in a year.”

Melted Mirror release their album Borderzone Friday with a show at the Palomino. - Calgary Herald

"Melted Mirror "Wandering Star" (By Josiah Hughes Published Aug 09, 2016)"

Following last year's fantastic cassette release, Calgary post-punkers Melted Mirror are hard at work on their debut LP for Wyatt Records. Details on the release are still forthcoming, but first we get a taste of the release with a new single.

"Wandering Star" is another instant classic from the band, offering pulsing synths, sleek new wave guitars and, of course, frontman Chris Zajko's timeless vocal delivery. This is a jam that we'll be replaying for a while.

Listen to "Wandering Star" below and keep an eye out for more from Melted Mirror this fall. - Exclaim!

"PREMIER: Listen to Melted Mirror's Self Titled Debut EP"

Calgary’s Melted Mirror is the synthetic replication of a trio of veteran blade runners. The mesmerizing presence of frontman Chris Zajko has previously led bands like Sharp Ends, The Soft Option, and The Ostrich, yet here he’s swapped out a rock ‘n’ roll backdrop for ominous electronics and effects-drenched guitars. Cian Haley (Catholic Girls, Mount Analogue) and Jeebs Nabil (Memo, Violence) deliver these retrofitted sounds with reflections of Depeche Mode, New Order, and the mirrorball menace of Johnny Jewel.

Their self-titled six-song EP will be issued as a cassette on Nov. 13 with the first release on Wyatt, a new label from Evan Van Reekum of the dearly departed Mammoth Cave Recording Co. Check out the cassette’s cover art and hit play below to dream like the androids. - Aux TV

"Melted Mirror - Self Titled EP Review"

So, today's tape is wrapping together a whole bunch of our favourite things: dark synth pop, Chris Zajko, and Evan Van Reekum. See, Chris Zajko has a new band, and they're playing a really great, dark synth pop. And Evan Van Reekum has a new label, and he's put out their tape as its first release. What a time to be alive!

We saw Melted Mirror for the first time earlier this year, and were super impressed. But this tape helps show how great they are - they play the same sort of the dark synth pop that Edmonton bands like the Faunts and the Floor were doing so well about ten years ago (wait, does that mean we're copying Edmonton's bands, but very, very slowly?). This is catchy, danceable, textured and really great to listen to. Zajko's yelping, staccato vocals are wrapped in Cian Haley's synth leads and arpeggios, along with Jeebs Nabil's chorus-y new wave geetars. The recording on this is surprisingly good - crisp, clean and the right balance between warm and cold. The new wave kid in us is really, really happy right now.

Word on the street is that the tape is sold out, but you can grab the download from the Melted Mirror bandcamp. - Calgary Cassette Preservation Society

"Melted Mirror is Moving Forward Through The Past"

CALGARY — Calgary’s Chris Zajko is perhaps best known as a local post-punk visionary, fronting the legendary Sharp Ends and, more recently, The Soft Option. While previously contributing mostly vocals, Zajko’s latest contribution is a change in direction and input from its predecessors. Collaborating closely with local mainstays Cian Haley (Catholic Girls) on lead synth and Jeebs Nabil (Memo/Violence) on guitar, the neon pink ’80s electronic project fronts Zajko once again with a upbeat dance vibe that is simultaneously menacing.

“I had more ideas that were in a different vain: more electronic based,” says Zajko. “That’s where the Melted Mirror thing came from. I was doing solo demos on my computer and I sent the demos to Cian because he was curious and wanted to get involved. [Adding Jeebs] was an intuitive decision. We both felt the sound needed something more. Jeebs jammed with us and we really loved what he came up with.”

As a young band, Melted Mirror have released four tracks online, with a six-track EP to be released in the fall. Delay-drenched guitars compliment atmospheric vintage synths, with Zajko’s vocals placing Ian Curtis in the mid-80s. The album artwork reflects the tone of the music with dark imagery overlaid with bright overtones.

“What I really want to be doing is getting people to dance, but I want to get people dancing to ominous music. When people think of dance music, they’re thinking of uplifting, happy music. What excites me is the juxtaposition of a feel good dance beat or a beat that gets your body moving, with an ominous mood.”

The lyrical content of Melted Mirror’s tracks are heavily obscured, adding to the project’s shadowy atmosphere. In line with many dance-centric bands, the lyrical content is not the focus, but an afterthought. Zajko take after the likes of popular dance artists, favouring melodies and cadence over words.

“For me, what I’m really interested in vocally are phrasing and the vocal melody. Lyrics are more like setting a tone or I’m looking for lines that are evocative of a mood, rather than a subject. I’d like to use words in a painterly sense,” he says.

Melted Mirror’s dance-inspired synths combined with dark post-punk influences set the groundwork for a project that is retro in tone, while carrying a progressive infusion of genres.

“There are some post-punk references. My musical inspiration was post-punk, but specifically for something like Melted Mirror, I was into things like the Drive soundtrack. In the last year, I was searching for sounds and I rediscovered retro, ‘80s pop. I tried to reappraise some of those sounds to use them in a different context,” he explains.

During their time in the spotlight, many compared Zajko’s Sharp Ends to Joy Division, channeling the late-70s post-punk era. Time now moves forward as Melted Mirror channels the flashy mid-80s while still maintaining the grittiness of the past.

You can catch Melted Mirror at the National Music Centre on August 7th and at Good Luck Bar on August 28th. - Beatroute

"Melted Mirror EP Review -"

2015 may be kaput, but that doesn’t mean we can’t post some stuff that flew under our radar. Case in point: Calgary darkwave three piece Melted Mirror, who released an excellent self-titled EP in November.

Opening salvo “Subway Moonlight” exudes gothic grandeur via Chris Zajko’s (formerly of The Ostrich and Sharp Ends) unmistakable baritone, stygian synths, and reverb-bathed guitars galore. When you gaze long enough into the Melted Mirror, don’t be surprised when the Melted Mirror gazes back.

Melted Mirror is available now on Bandcamp. - Silent Shout

"Best of 2015: BeatRoute Alberta editors and writers’ lists"

Top Five Calgary Acts of 2015 (Michael Grondin, Writer)

1. Melted Mirror
2. Blü Shorts
3. Aleem Khan
4. Dri Hiev
5. Dominic Pierce

2015 was a year where individuals expressed themselves in an open-minded, experimental fashion, backed up by a caring, supportive community. We had local labels that pushed music forward, like Close to Modern, giving us the soulful Shaani Cage or Dominic Pierce’s groovy dance tracks. We had the dark and experimental electronic music from brand new label Deep Sea Mining Syndicate.

There was a wide spectrum of bands that showed their different colours, like the vibrant, synth-ed out Melted Mirror, the dark and dirty post-punk from Blü Shorts, Dri Hiev or PMMA, the weird, art-school social experiment Juice Box, Aleem Khan’s fuzzy guitar ballads and many many more, playing spectacular performances, like the once in a lifetime show from Chad VanGaalen at Broken City.

Calgary also has some amazing organizations that are willing to act as launching pad for anyone willing to add to the community at large, like the outstanding work done at CJSW, with their stellar live sessions, spoken word and diverse programming. Sled Island is always willing to push the boundaries, showcasing talent, big and small, from Calgary and every corner of the world. And finally, 2015 saw Femme Wave, an important festival celebrating women in music. I can’t wait for where we’ll go next year. - Beatroute

"Mammoth Cave Co-Founder Launches Wyatt Records, Readies Bry Webb/Chad VanGaalen Split"

Called Wyatt Records, the label sees Van Reekum working with Samantha Savage Smith (the renowned solo artist and member of Lab Coast) and Adam Feuchuk.

Though they're only just unveiling the label now, they already have one sold-out release under their belts. The imprint issued Calgary outfit Melted Mirror's excellent cassette debut late last year, and it will now soon be reprinted. -


Sounding a bit like if Ian Curtis fronted Sisters of Mercy with way more synth, Melted Mirror’s New Wave/Goth sounds fit perfectly into opening for the entirely seminal Psychic TV.
I’m interested to see what these guys have to offer and see how their vibe translates to a live show.

Melted Mirror plays at Dickens Pub on Friday June 24th. - Drunk in a graveyard

"Melted Mirror EP review"

From the Summer Soul of Steph Kvellestad:

Melted Mirror’s six-track album hits you like that third cup of booze at the end of a late January house party. The lyrics are warm with soft-edges that blend into the electric snap of the instrumentals. From here, we go on a journey through synthpop, riding the head-nodding, leg-bouncing buzz of fuzzy electronic beats. Flowing seamlessly from one song to the next, Melted Mirror create a nostalgic throwback to 80s film scores that will leave you replaying the album all day (and night) long. - Weird Canada

"Calgary: 10 emerging acts to watch"

Yes, Melted Mirror's band members are obviously students of the Cure and the Killers, but doesn’t it feel good sometimes to just dance while the world burns down around you? That’s the aesthetic and sound Chris Zajko promised when Melted Mirror was just getting started in 2015, telling BeatRoute, “What I really want to be doing is getting people to dance, but I want to get people dancing to ominous music. When people think of dance music, they’re thinking of uplifting, happy music. What excites me is the juxtaposition of a feel-good dance beat or a beat that gets your body moving, with an ominous mood.”

The band continued that mission on last year’s full-length, Borderzone, and it’s a breath of fresh air for everybody who doesn’t have the energy to pretend everything’s OK, but still needs to find release on the dance floor. - CBC Music

"Vue Weekly video interview at Breakout West 2017"

Our interview with Calgary's darkwave synth-pop group Melted Mirror at this year's BreakOut West. - Vue Weekly

"Electro Exorcism"

Melted Mirror’s dark, foreboding electro takes the Edmonton scene by storm

Guided by a nebulous pulsation of electronic darkwave and post-punk, Calgary’s Melted Mirror is slowly becoming one of the city’s dominant electro acts. The group has the same sonic tone as Joy Division, but the same energy as Wire.

Many bands that play in a similar genre as Melted Mirror are usually shy, secluded groups who play the set in darkness. The shows feel isolated, bleak and sometimes dull. At a Melted Mirror show, however, you’re expected to move and witness some of the most outlandish stage theatrics you’ve ever seen. Especially from frontman Chris Zajko. He flails, twists, crawls—whatever verb you can think of.

“I’ve always been attracted to the notion of performance art as a form of exorcism,” says lead singer and synth player Zajko. “What I try to express on stage is all that which I cannot communicate in any other way. It feels compulsive, and my favourite moments during a performance are those when I’m not thinking about what I’m doing—when I feel as much of a witness to my actions as the audience.”

Melted Mirror began in early 2015 when Zajko shared some weird electronic demos he had been working with to his friend and keyboard player Cian Haley.

“I just wanted Cian’s help with translating my laptop demos into a live set with real synths and drum machines,” Zajko says. “After our first jam, it became apparent that the ideas we generated together surpassed anything I did on my own. So we decided to ditch my solo demos and start songwriting from scratch.”

The results were satisfying, but the sound needed something more. A week before the first Melted Mirror show, Zajko and Haley asked their friend Jeebs Nabil if he could contribute guitar melodies.

“Jeebs is the quickest guitar player I’ve ever heard. And by quick, I mean that he seems to be able to pluck melodies straight out of the air, almost instantly,” Zajko says.

After a year of shows and a few singles, the band released the Borderzone album in late 2016.

As with the darkwave genre, there is always something foreboding about a Melted Mirror track. It’s a combination of Zajko’s brutalist lyrics about human error, control, paranoia and the bedim, backed by melodic instrumentation.

“I think of the official, state-sponsored art of totalitarian regimes and how it is always so idealistic and innocent, while the everyday reality of living under a dictatorship is utterly grim and brutal,” Zajko says. “It’s almost as if by purging all demons from their art, these regimes invite them out into the street. So in a way, what I want to do is the opposite of that: Make grim, brutal art so that we don’t have to live it—so that evil is given a form as an aesthetic experience rather than a reality.”

Often times Zajko’s lyrics are written right before a song is recorded, leaving him to improvise.

“The words to new, unrecorded songs are still improvised when we start performing them live,” he says.

Melted Mirror is currently working towards recording a new full-length in 2018 with an undetermined release date.

“We’ve been recording with Nik Kozub of Shout Out Out Out Out and are very excited about the results so far, but there’s still a long way to go,” Zajko says. “Our first record was done entirely by ourselves on a zero dollar budget, and this one is far more ambitious and requires more resources.” - Vue Veekly


Borderzone LP (Wyatt Records)
Release Date: Oct 2016 

Self Titled EP (Wyatt Records)
Release Date: Nov 2015



A synth-pop trio from Calgary, Melted Mirror have received significant buzz across Western Canada following their debut in 2015, establishing a reputation for their exhilarating live performances. 

The band has released two self-produced records thus far: A 10-song LP titled 'Borderzone' (October 2016), and a 6-song self-titled tape (November 2015). Both were released through Calgary-based label Wyatt Records. 

In the summer of 2017 Melted Mirror began work on new recordings with Juno-nominated producer Nik Kozub (Shout Out Out Out Out, Humans, Purity Ring) at the Audio Department (Edmonton). 

Melted Mirror have performed with bands such as Psychic TV, Lust For Youth, Shout Out Out Out Out, Severed Heads and many others. 

Band Members