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Interview With The Wilderness

Interview With The Wilderness

Hailed as the next big band you haven’t heard yet, Kingston indie rock sextet The Wilderness have just released their first full length album “Until Tomorrow” and boy oh boy is it one hell of a first! The 13 track release features some true gems, and the diversity of sounds throughout make it a great listen start to end. Alongside the new album the band released a new music video for it’s second single “If I Have To Die”, which showcases the ingenious ways this band is pushing through this pandemic to bring their fans high quality content amidst all of it. We had the opportunity to ask The Wilderness’ lead vocalist and guitarist Jonas Lewis-Anthony a few questions about the new album, the video, drive in concerts, what they’ve been up to and more, keep scrolling to check it out!

You just released your first full length album “Until Tomorrow” how has the reaction been so far?

 

It’s been amazing.  It’s a really great feeling to finally have it out, and the reaction has just amplified that feeling.  

 

Your band consists of a Brit, a Frenchman, two Americans, and two Canadians. How does having an international view affect your music?

 

It lends a diversity to our perspective and approach.  Without it I don’t think we would be particularly interesting because it adds a certain “je ne sais quoi” to our music that I personally don’t see in a lot of other bands.

 

Alongside the album, you released a music video for the second single ‘If I Have To Die’. The video is super cool and the lyrics are ingenious. First off I want to ask about what the song means to you? 

 

It means a lot. It comes from a hopeless feeling that you get when you look at the news and you realize that the world around you is so incredibly fucked up that it becomes difficult to find reasons to be optimistic.  Combatting those feelings is a defiant love for someone that reminds you that little things like waking up next to that person are more than enough reason to carry on.

 

You worked with Chris Mills of Number Four Films (Modest Mouse, Interpol, Metric) to create the music video, what was the thought behind the visuals for this, and how was the experience of filming it?

 

The video was filmed at the height of the pandemic induced lockdown here, so with the objective of filming a music video the primary problem was how to film a music video when we can’t legally be in the same room together. So we contacted Chris, and he was able to animate a room based on Jonas’ bedroom, one of our favorite bars, and our workspace.  Once we had a setting, we filmed ourselves individually and he placed us in that room so it’s like we were jamming together.  Filming music videos is always a bit weird, but this felt extra weird. Being alone in front of a green screen and performing to just a camera feels like you’re a teenager rocking out to your bedroom mirror, but way more public.  We gave Chris as much creative freedom as he needed so we really had no idea how it would turn out and how the footage would be used. Needless to say, as awkward as it was to film, we’re stoked with the final result!

 

If I Have To Die was written pre-covid, but seems just as relevant as ever during these times. Did the pandemic affect the release of the album? How has it affected you as a band overall?

 

It definitely affected us as a band overall. We had to cancel shows and tours, and it really took the wind out of our sails as we had just come out of the studio.  We had to rethink how we would promote this album, and how we would stay relevant to our fans. If you keep your eyes on us you’ll see some of the content that we’ve created as a result of that.

 

You’ve played over 400 live shows across North America. Can you share one of your favourite memories or stories from those shows?

 

There’s so so many, and so many that are not fit to print.  But one great memory was arriving in Wichita, Kansas, and having not particularly great expectations and two nights booked at two different bars. The first one was a little Irish style dive bar, whose patrons were so appreciative and into us it was mind blowing. They showered us with praise and drinks, and the owner let us hook up to the power so we could sleep in our van in the parking lot.  The next show was at a different bar, and so many of the same patrons showed up to watch us again! One of them even hooked us up with free dinner at a nearby restaurant.  To this day I still have nothing but fond feelings for the people of Wichita.

 

This summer you played 4 shows within 24 hours, how did that go?

 

It was a rush to say the least. Our only show in 2020 was in January and the rest of our time, pre-pandemic was spent rehearsing, demoing and recording. To go seven months without playing a show to all of a sudden playing four in 24 hours was a whirlwind. We spent a good amount of time rehearsing as soon as phase two allowed us to do so, so we felt very ready to play and we couldn’t wait to get at it. We’ve always been a live band – it’s our bread and butter. The day itself was a mixture of exhausting, stressful, emotional and fantastic. It felt so good to play again, people came out and even braved a torrential downpouring during one of our sets. Planning a show at the best of times is stressful, let alone during a pandemic. But we pulled it off, played damn well and kept everyone safe at all four shows which makes us very proud. 

 

Drive in shows are an innovative new way to keep live music going during this pandemic, how did it feel to play one?

 

I’d be lying if I didn’t mention how exhausting it was. We finished the shows the night prior and spent 3 hours tearing down the stage. By the time everything was packed up it was 1am and we were in bed by 2am. Load-in the next morning at the drive-in was at 8:30am which was about an hour’s drive from where we were so needless to say there wasn’t much sleep. The shows themselves were great. It was a little strange to play to a sea of cars instead of people and to hear the honking of horns instead of applause. However, again, I can’t stress how good it felt to play to an audience again, albeit an audience who listened to us through their car radios. We would do it again in a heartbeat!

 

You guys have a Patreon page set up, which is a great way for fans to support artists directly and something more and more bands are doing. What can you tell us about your Patron?

 

We use our Patreon to generate some income for us and an even better way to provide exclusive content for the fans who support us through it. I could tell you more, but it would be better if you signed up to our Patreon to see for yourselves!
Follow The Wilderness’ Patreon here https://www.patreon.com/thewilderness

 

Can you tell us about The Bathhouse?

 

The Bathouse is an incredibly special place. Everywhere you look there is rock and roll history hanging on it’s walls. I don’t think it would have been possible to record the album we did anywhere else. Having Rob Baker of The Tragically Hip and their in house engineer Nyles Spencer (who is a genius) work on the record was a dream come true. I love that studio. It feels like home!

 

What can fans expect next from The Wilderness?

 

We were forced to shift our focus away from touring due to COVID-19 and towards high quality online content. Keep your eyes peeled for some of the videos we’re putting out over the coming months. That and world domination, of course!

 

Do you have any words of hope for our readers during these crazy times?

 

I’m a huge Lord of the Rings nerd and found a lot of comfort in these words especially right now!

 

“How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.” –  JRR Tolkein 
To find more music by The Wilderness visit https://thewildernessband.com/
Interview by: Jesse Read
Photo by: Céline Klein

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About The Author

Jesse Read

Jesse Read is a videographer, writer and editor for Dropout Entertainment. As a musician as well as a videographer, Jesse has travelled the country numerous times, playing alongside and listening to the stories of hundreds of artists. A few of those are documented on this site. For video's, interviews & features follow the contact us tab!

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