Give us your feedback

What's new at SOCAN
and in the music industry

SOCAN Interactive

Mike O'Neill

Singer-songwriter, film & TV music composer

Song – "Henry"
- Now playing...

Though it was released on Feb. 28, 2012, work on Mike O’Neill’s Wild Lines began in December 2007, when the lauded songwriter enlisted Charles Austin for guitar and Mike Clattenburg (creator of The Trailer Park Boys) for drums and began recording bed tracks. It wasn’t long until real life took over; O’Neill landed a job composing music for a cooking show, French Food at Home. While that earned him a Gemini Award, it wasn’t until several years later that he was able to return to Wild Lines.

O’Neill’s music career began with the seminal indie-rock act The Inbreds. The duo rose to prominence in the early ’90s, drawing the attention of legendary Seattle label Sub Pop as well as Atlantic Records‘ imprint Tag Recordings. The Inbreds eventually signed with Tag, toured the world, and gained fans such as Matthew Sweet, Teenage Fanclub, Evan Dando, and Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters. The band made two more records before calling it quits in 1998, and garnered two Juno Award nominations. Their bass-and-drums format helped set the band apart, but O’Neill’s songwriting made The Inbreds relevant to this day.

In 1999, O’Neill switched to guitar and made his first solo record, What Happens Now? He employed an all-star band with Don Kerr (Ron Sexsmith) on drums, Matt Murphy (Superfriendz) on guitar, and Charles Austin (Superfriendz) on bass. Michael Phillip Wojewoda provided world-class production. The record was very well received and was quickly added to commercial alternative radio stations. Consequently, O’Neill won the first annual Canadian Music Week Indie Award (2000) for Best Alternative Album.

In 2004, O’Neill returned with The Owl. The album was recorded and performed entirely by him at his home in Halifax. Released in digital format, The Owl was unanimously acclaimed and cemented his reputation as one of the country’s most respected songwriters. Then things got quiet, except for film and television scoring…

Eight years later, O’Neill has released what Southern Souls calls his “pop masterpiece.” Wild Lines has sounds that range from the explosion of the noon gun on the Halifax Citadel to the intimacy of a phone call between friends. It has hip-hop drums and doo-wop harmonies. Each song is approached differently, but they bear a familial resemblance; they make sense together.

“There’s a feeling you get when you’re recording a take and you know you got it, that you won’t need to do it again because you can’t do it better," says O’Neill. "That happened a lot for me on this album."


Wild Lines (2012)
The Owl (2004)
What Happens Now? (1999)

SOCAN Connection
Member since 1992