When The Boiler Strikes

from by Chris Hayward

  • Streaming + Download

    Includes high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more. Paying supporters also get unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app.
    Purchasable with gift card

      name your price


  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    A six-song EP in an attractive and budget-conscious cardboard sleeve, with artwork by Judith Pudden. The tracks on the CD differ slightly from the downloadable tracks; I've stitched some field recordings in between the songs.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Abandoned Mine via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 5 days

      $4 CAD or more 



I wrote this song with Felix Langhammer during the coldest winter Berlin had seen for decades.

The "boiler choir" that plays throughout the song is an actual recording of the sound of my radiator. One morning after the cold weather hit, and the boiler in my building was fired up, I woke up to the sound of the pipes singing.

(The HVAC-minded among you will know that it's air trapped in the pipes; a well-tuned system should be pretty noiseless)


The kilns are cold, where these bricks were fired,
The plaster’s still breathing, but it’s getting tired,
We’re lonely as fuck, but we try to pass it off as pride.

And our eyelids are frozen shut with ice,
Like the windows here, all galvanized,
We wait in them anyway, hoping to get recognized.

When the boiler strikes, the whole building rings
The steam climbs up and the pipes all sing
We’re tuned somehow to that frequency,
So we hum in our sleep piously,

When the boiler strikes

We fill our pockets with pacifiers,
And wrap our heads in a shroud of wires,
So we don’t stray far off the leash of our sketchy desires.

And our irony is sincere,
We’re showing you our boiling hearts with it, dear,
You just gotta lean close enough to hear.

When the boiler strikes, the whole building rings
The steam climbs up and the pipes all sing
All at once, it’s a thousand songs,
And they’ll sing all night ‘til their throats are raw.

And the frozen street leans in to hear
That boiling choir of engineers.
Anonymous, all of them, but that’s all right,
The whole block is a church tonight,

When the boiler strikes

When the boiler strikes, the whole building rings,
And I scratch with my pencil until it stings
And for a minute or two, it’s all perfectly clear,
But we’ll wake up and forget we heard anything, dear.


from Abandoned Mine, released December 5, 2012
Thank you Mike Daly and the Church of St. Ignatius, Maynooth, Ontario.

Miriam Hookings: Piano
Howard Baer: upright bass
The radio is excerpted from Barry Vogel's "Radio Curious" program, featuring William Patrick, originally broadcast on October 18th, 2008.

Recorded by Chris Hayward.
Mixed by Chris Cobain at Potbelly Productions.
Mastered by Fedge.




Chris Hayward Maynooth, Ontario

I'm a carpenter in Maynooth, Ontario, who also sings and writes songs.

I write about loss and regret kind of a lot, but I keep it playful and sometimes even danceable. It's a mix of wholesome granola-punk, earnest singer-songwriterly ballads, heart-on-sleeve synthpop, and intimate rootsy strum-alongs.

Try it. It's good for you.
... more

contact / help

Contact Chris Hayward

Streaming and
Download help

Chris Hayward recommends:

If you like Chris Hayward, you may also like: