This week I got to learn all about Toronto’s Wildlife. Listening to their latest album, “On The Heart”, it becomes clear that Wildlife is in touch with their emotions. The album is so well written and the songs are honest and heart-felt. Touching on a variety of subjects, Wildlife has an anthemic vibe. The songs sound huge as the first time I listened to this album I pictured a stadium of people shouting the lyrics. The sound is huge and it will be exciting to see them perform this album live. Wildlife are playing in Hamilton this week – check out our Events Page for full show details.
I caught up with Dwayne to learn more about Wildlife.
Q – I have to get this out of the way – what was it like performing on a side of a volcano? What an amazing concept for a video!
It was surreal. The view was pretty amazing. The climb to the top with all our gear was challenging due to the air pressure. Oh and it was freezing cold up there. You could see how much we were actually shivering in the video. But all in all it was a unique experience and totally worth it.
Q – Can you tell us a bit about ‘On The Heart’ and how that album came together?
Well it started off with all us bunking out in a gorgeous cottage for a week. We set up instruments and recording gear in the living room, and spent our days jamming, recording demos, and boozing. From there, we had a far-fetched idea that maybe our favorite producer Peter Katis would record our album. No idea it would actually happen, but it did. He listened to our old songs and demos and agreed to produce our album for us. We also got Gus Van Go and Werner F on board to produce the other half of the album, which was equally exciting. Half the songs were recorded with Peter, and the other half with Gus/Werner, and the final mixing was done back at Peter’s studio.
Q – I read that a lot of your music is inspired by love and heartbreak. I’m wondering, do you have any tips for our readers on how to get over a broken heart?
Listen to Ryan Adam’s “Heartbreaker” album with a box of tissue close by, and hunker down cause it might take awhile.
Q – Your songs stand out from the pack in part because of the writing. Each song captures a feeling, or a situation, really well. Can you tell us a bit about your approach to song writing? Do you write constantly? Or do you write in project-specific bursts?
Well our song writer, Dean, is constantly jotting down lyrics and jamming little ideas when inspired. Every now and then, he’ll bring a chord progression/riff/or chorus lyrics to our practice sessions, and the band will add to it. We’re very much a collaborative band, when it comes to song/instrumental structuring and ideas. We try and let everyone have equal say in suggestions, and try and explore every possible avenue for our songs. But the lyrics do all come from Dean’s magnificent and sometimes disturbed noggin.
Q – What do you have planned for the rest of 2014, musically speaking?
We’ve got a tour lined up starting in the next week throughout Canda/US, and hopefully we’ll keep on touring after this one’s done. We also have quite a few festival offers coming in for the summer, so should be a busy one. And as always, we’ll be finding time to write new tunes as we go. We’ve got this great new one in the works all about staying up all night until the sun rises, and eventually getting some luck and good fun. Should be a banger.
Q – What’s your take on the state of indie rock in Canada today, in 2014?
Good question. I could go on and on about it, but I won’t. It’s a tough industry to be a part of in Canada, and every year gets tougher. With so many bands out there, and the quick fix society we live in, it’s very easy for bands to get lost in the mix. Most people assume Canadian bands that have a lot of draw and buzz are generally successful financially. Not the case at all. We’re all still struggling to get by, but we’re having fun doing it and still consider ourselves lucky for being able to pursue this type of career. And Canadian artists are supportive of each other knowing that we’re all in this together. So it makes it worthwhile.
Q – What are you listening to these days? Can you recommend a track or an artist?
I’ve been really getting into the new James Vincent McMorrow album “Post Tropical”. Such a gorgeous album that takes you on a scenic journey. There’s also a band from Denmark, The Kissaway Trail, that put out a great album called “Breach” that’s been on constant repeat for me. And I gotta say I’ve been rocking the new Beyonce album as well too when I need some good pop in my life.
As far as recommending tracks, I’d rather recommend albums. Going back to the last question, I feel that’s one thing lacking in the Canadian indie scene is an appreciation for records as a whole. It’s so easy to fall in love with a song, but often times, you’re missing out on the artists true expression, by not putting the time aside to listen to the body of work surrounding that one song, which captured a moment in time in the artist’s life. I truly believe a great album delivers a stronger message than a song.
Q – Let’s play a word association game. When I say HAMILTON – you think_______________?
Yellow and Black…sorry I’m a sports fan. That came out institutionally.