Wildlife are one my favourite bands to see live and they just so happen to roll through town tomorrow! I got a chance to speak with lead vocalist Dean Povinsky about the band and their newest album …On the Heart. I also chatted with Dean live on 93.3 CFMU and played a few tunes off the album – listen here.
I always get such a good vibe from Wildlife’s music. To quote Dean in their official bio, he sums it up quite well:
We’re all in this together, so let’s get movin’, always forward, never back, don’t dwell on the past, let’s build on our mistakes, try new things and stop pretending you know everything cause you don’t and that’s annoying. – via Wildlife
Wildlife play The Casbah tomorrow, March 19th, with The Fast Romantics and local support Allotrope, Gdansk, and Forgotten Glory. Doors are at 7pm. [Facebook event]
IHH: You recorded your first album Strike Hard, Young Diamond (2010) in Hamilton with producer Michael Keire. He has worked with some of my favourite local bands, so I’m not surprised that I really enjoy that record! How did you first connect with Keire and come to work here in Hamilton? I’m always fascinated by the work of a producer – what did he bring to your sound?
Dean: Michael Keire is such a great dude. He has really come into his own as a producer and engineer. We first connected because we were looking for somewhere we could comfortably record everyone live off the floor to get the rawness of some of our songs onto the record. Space in Toronto like that seemed very out of budget for us, and friends of mine in Dark Mean had been among the first to work with Mike and Glenn at Vibewrangler, their sort of large, very open concept recording space. I think what he brought to it was a totally open mind, the ability to facilitate some of our wacky ideas, and a space that allowed everyone to feel like they belonged there. I feel like he has completely honed in on his strengths and done so much more since we did Strike Hard, without losing his total willingness to experiment. I think all of us really grew through that process.
The first time I saw you live was April 2012 at The Casbah (I even blogged about it!). I remember that being such a fun bill – with Hands & Teeth and local bands New Hands and Allosaurus. How have you found Hamilton’s music scene? Do you have any favourite acts from Hamilton?
We love Hamilton! And thanks for blogging. We obviously have a very special tie with the place, and I have a lot of really special friends there. My favourite Hammer acts would be Dark Mean, Young Rival, The Deviants, The Dirty Nil, New Hands. Steve McKay is so great, and I guess Bruce Peninsula is fairly Hamiltonian. So good.
It’s been a full year already since the release of your second album …On the Heart. I really love (or should I say, heart!) the whole concept of the album. It was one of my favourite releases of last year and it’s fantastic from start to finish. How did the heart concept begin – with that idea, or did it start with a song or two and build from there?
Well thank you very, very much. The heart thing was just emerging in a lot of the lyrics, so instead of trying to phase it out, we thought it might be a better idea to just tackle it on full force.
…On the Heart sounds bigger as a whole from your first album – right away I thought of big arena-sized sounds and it’s anthemic with its group vocals. It makes me want to belt it out along with you! Were you listening to different influences during the making of it?
I don’t think anything in particular. I think everything you’re listening to is probably some sort of influence. I remember being really passionate about Future Islands at the time. But you’re right, we wanted to record to sound as big as possible, at least in parts, and for people to be able to easily relate emotionally and sing along.
I saw you play again at The Casbah in November and I was super excited because it had been so long since I had seen your live show. It was fantastic to hear songs off of the new album live. These new songs have such great energy and that translates well with your live show. When recording, do you think about how they will translate live, or are they just two separate experiences?
I think on this record there was less of an intention on how the songs would translate live as we hadn’t really performed them in front of people yet. We wanted to make it sound as interesting as possible on record before concerning ourselves with how it would translate. What was important was that everything felt totally believable and honest, so that when we did have to play them there would be no sense of being contrived. We always want to be passionate about what we’re playing for people.
The video for the single “Lightning Tent” (directed by Marc André Debruyne) is so stunning and I get excited every time I see it air on Much Music! You shot the video in Hawaii – that must have been a dream shoot. It’s one of my favourite songs on the album – it feels so uplifting and the visuals compliment that. Here’s something I never thought I’d ask a band – what was it like performing on a volcano? Anyone have a fear of heights? Or lava?!
Hey. Thanks so much for the compliments. That’s really nice. The video was a blast to shoot, it was shot over a few days in all kinds of different locations, so just even finding those places and getting to them was half the fun. The volcanic crater is in a massive National Park, and where we were is 11, 000 feet in the air. So it’s pretty surreal driving up from the beaches and ocean, through fields of sugar cane, into forests and hills and then just driving up and up and up until its really cold and desolate and moon-like. It’s a really beautiful place. I’m kind of weird about heights. I kind of like them a little too much.
Favourite place to eat in Hamilton: Che’s!
Favourite breakfast food: Eggs
If you were an alcoholic beverage, what would you be? JAMESON
Your go-to karaoke song: “Modern Love” by Bowie
If you could speak flawlessly with any other accent, what would it be? Japanese
Favourite word: Fuck
Favourite concert/live performance you’ve seen: Bruce Springsteen
What is on your playlist right now: War on Drugs, like everyone else apparently
If you could detour to anywhere in the world right now, where would you go? Oshawa? Vietnam
Favourite mode of transportation: Bicycle
What’s one thing on your bucket list: Not dying
My thanks to Dean for taking the time to answer some questions. Looking forward to the show tomorrow night!