Artist Profile: Wilderness of Manitoba (part 2)

And here is part two of my recent interview with Wilderness of Manitoba. If you'd like to read part one please click this link. You can see WoM with Olenka and the Autumn Lovers, and Slow down Molasses this Thursday at the Garrison (1197 Dundas West)

What were some of the musical influences that you guys were vibing on when you made this?

Melissa- For me it goes back to Helplessly Hoping. CSNY for sure.

Scott- I think it's folk. I think Will and I set up to start up a folk act. Everyone hears the word folk and thinks of something completely different. I like Crosby Stills and Nash.

M- Joni, and Simon and Garfunkel, Peter Paul and Mary.

S- But not Dylan.

Stefan- Where as I love Dylan.

M- I include Dylan in folk.

S- so do I but I don't consider him first.

St- I had never listened to CSNY before this band. But I love Bob Dylan. So that version of Evening was influenced by Dylan's phrasing. and the next month was the three of them fighting me over the phrasing! It was a constant struggle of them ironing out the phrasing and making it more lovely.

Right, because you really don't do four part harmony with Dylan phrasing!

St- Ha, yeah it wouldn't work!

So there was a lot of back and forth with that?

St- There was a lot! Cause I was not... They would just naturally start doing it so I was like NO! it's not gonna happen! And I just kept singing it my way. and in the end I was like "alright fine."

S- Its actually a really wordy song, and it got to the point where we were all messing words up, because we were worried to much about the phrasing.

St- I remember writing down, the first time we recorded it around a mic, things like "Hold note", "Short", so everybody knows how to do it. We even, the video we have, we changed the phrasing for that loud verse, from the video we have in the Distillery.

M- And when we were recording the actual recording for the EP you guys forgot to tell me that you changed one thing.

S- It's nice when songs live, though. I don't like when they're stagnant, and the same way all the time. I don't think I've sang the same way twice.

St- but it's not carelessly done. All the harmony stuff... you have to analyze every phrase.

So you find you started out with these strict ideas about the harmonies and where they should be, and maybe you organically became comfortable with that, so that you can move around?

St- Yeah, exactly! you can move around. I know what works now. But it's all very thought out.

S- There are definite parameters.

So were the early rehearsals long rehearsals, did you have to really focus on the vocal harmonies?

St- No, it was still just like we sing, and every time we do it, it gets a little better. You notice more. It was never.... Other than that time with Evening, when we'd just written it.

S- Yeah, that was a bad example of how a song cam together.

How do they normally come together? Is there a process?

S- Yeah a songwriter brings in a song, has a melody in mind, figure out who is going to sing it, what voices are going to be on it, where they're going to be...

St- but generally, we just start singing and say, I don't think that worked, or that worked.

s- it's not like we're pigeon holed, but with Melissa and Stefan you have the highest voice and the lowest voice generally. Will is usually singing one of the main melodies in all of our songs. And i just jump in around it if there is a need for it. We have a few songs that are just 2 or 3 part harmonies.

Everybody knows when to back off?

S- Yeah, just because you can sing, doesn't mean you should.

St- That's true. especially when I'm playing cello, I can't sing at the same time.

So you guys have a pretty diplomatic approach to singing and songwriting.

M- yeah.

Everyone brings there own thing to the table, so not just one person writing.. at the beginning it was the two of you writing, but now does everybody bring songs in?

S- It's definitely become collaborative. I think it's still a song-writer project, there are 4 songwriters in the band. I think generally there is always one person with the idea that brings it in, that spearheads it, and follows that fish all the way through the river.

St- Other than the banjo ones. I just started learning the banjo in December. I was having so much fun I wrote like 5 songs. and most of them where just like banjo riffs, and everybody took a riff or two each, and wrote something to them

S- It was basically an auction [laughs] He sat on the couch and played them and Will would be like "I'll take that one!"

Are you guys writing a lot now? A lot of new stuff?

st- Oh yeah

s- and I think it's funny, we've been playing most of... more than half of our set since May has been off the record... not on the record. Yet to be finished. It's been so easy. But not in a cocky way, but literally that one day Stefan brought those 4 riffs in we got 3 songs out of it in a weekend. Just because 3 different people went off and heard 3 different things.

st- we almost have a full length written. some stuff took longer. We still have stuff on my computer, Scott's got stuff on his computer.

You recorded the EP in the basement of this place, is that the plan for the album, or are you going some where else for it?

S- I think we're going to try to do as much as we can here. But we all love exploring places. Going to a big room and getting some full band stuff would make this record a lot different than that

M- and the drums.

yeah, you'd want a more controlled space for that.

St- yeah, you don't want the drum reverb going through a little cramped basement.

Still to be decided

st- We've definietly had conversations "I think we should do it this way or that way" We listen to the Fleet Foxes and think, oh I love how huge this sounds! and then you listen to Bon Iver and think, oh this is so intimate and amazing! Both work, but it's hard.

S- I think that that's part of it. The song tells you what needs to be done. We have a couple songs that I think are out of this house. And a few will probably be written before then. Which will tell us where they want to be recorded.

What have you guys got for shows coming up? The show with Olenka and the Autumn Lovers

M- and Slow Down Molasses.

St- At the Garrison

Where is the Garrison, I haven't been yet.

St- Sean the Booker from Sneaky Dee's opened this venue at Dundas and Ossington. Wavelength is switching there.

S- I've seen the name everywhere. some wicked shows coming up there.

St- it's weird to be playing a show where I don't even know the capacity of.

S- I hear it's big.

St- I heard 400

M- I'm excited about Olenka.

St- are you playing with them?

I'll probably con my way into a song or two!

M- I remember seeing her when it was just Alex, in London at the Alex P. Keaton. So then when I saw the Autumn Lovers I thought Oh my god this is Amazing!! She was great on her own too.

Is there anymore Delaware House stuff coming up?

St- no

S- I think we're going to retire... the house. We've had some problems with neighborhood and bylaw officers. It got bigger than we expected. Caught us off guard.

St- we did our CD release and had 100 people.

S- Daredevil Christopher Wright listed in the NOW magazine

St- With A Google map link to the show!! with our address!

M- really?! I didn't know that!

St- that was when we were in the deepest stuff.

M- It was amazing.

was that one of your favorite show?

St. in terms of bands, that we were blown away by, for sure.

M- Englishmen from Louisville.

St- we had them sleeping upstairs, and Bad Flirts sleeping down here.

S- the Evening Hymns, Snowblink show at the beginning of the summer was amazing. Weather Station, man it was a great night.

St. I had a broken nose. I showed up having been in the hospital for hours.

S- happy as a clam. Not upset or frustrated at all.

Cool, well thanks guys for doing this.

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