Check out the song: “When I Get Home”
Introducing Wildlife, five crazy guys from all over Ontario who have gotten together to form a indie rock/punk band with a Canadian twist. True to their name, the band has a kind of craziness to it, evidenced by them playing their first ever show in a haunted ballroom on the Isle of Pines on the St. Lawrence River. How many bands can attest to that? Wildlife’s debut record is called Strike Hard, Young Diamond, twelve indie rock inspired songs that are right up the ally of any indie rock fan. The band recently opened a few shows for Young The Giant and will continue to be touring for months to come in promotion of their debut record. In this interview with lead vocalist and guitarist Dean Povinsky, he discusses the origins of the band, the infamous show the band played in a haunted ballroom, the new record and why he would prefer the band’s early, raw material to be left unheard.
So the band is called Wildlife, certainly an interesting name for a rock n’ roll band. How did you come up with this quirky name?
Dean: I’ve had the name for ages. I left to go to university and played in a band in Scotland and that was a name I came up with but that only lasted for a few months so when I moved back here and got together with my friends we started playing and threw a bunch of different names around for a while but that one just kind of came back because I liked it. At the time when I decided to call the band that I liked the sound of it and I liked that it was sort of a commentary on the fact that everyone was calling their band animal names so I thought if we stole the ubiquitous term for all wildlife it would be sort of funny.
How did Wildlife the band itself come together? How did you all meet and decide to form a band?
Dean: Well the guitar player and I, Graham, we’ve been friends since high school, we went to different schools but we’ve been friends since we were about sixteen. We met skateboarding and like I said, I was coming back from living in the UK and he was living with our drummer at the time and he said you know “when you come back we should start playing together.” I wanted to keep playing in a band and had a bunch of songs so we started playing and then we found our bassist on Craigslist actually, he was the first guy we tried out so it kind of just fell together.
The five members are all from Ontario. Are you all from the Toronto area or are you from all over the province?
Dean: Graham, myself and our drummer Dwayne, we all grew up in Oshawa. I didn’t know Dwayne too much back then but yeah, we’re from there. Derek our bassist is from Thunder Bay originally and Tim, our keyboardist, him and Graham are cousins, he’s from Kingston so we hung out there, I went to school in Kingston so I’ve known him for a while too.
I read that your first concert was held in a haunted ballroom on the Isle of Pines on the St. Lawrence River. Tell us more about this first show and what it was all about.
Dean: That was sort of right after I had come back to Canada. Graham and I were sort of learning a bunch of these songs so we put on an impromptu show at this person’s cottage. Their cottage is a boathouse that’s on this sort of small island, it’s a large boathouse and in like the 1800s that was like a little hotel and above the boathouse was where the ballroom was. And actually last year there was an episode of that show Ghost Hunters and they did a profile on this and they actually had a guest ghost hunter and it was Meatloaf, he was like on the show and he was in the same room where we were playing these songs so that’s how that kind of happened.
How would you describe your sound to someone who hasn’t heard the band? What are some adjectives or a comparison to another band you might come up with?
Dean: I just say it’s sort of like, I don’t know, we’re pretty passionate and an urgent kind of sound, I’d say urgent and maybe we’ve been described as a “passionate” kind of band somewhere between romantic and violent.
You released your debut Strike Hard, Young Diamond last November. How do you feel about it looking back several months now?
Dean: Pretty good man. We released the full-length album in November and it sort of had been building up towards that anyways and people had heard it. I feel pretty good about it, I’m still happy with it; it’s probably the first thing that we’ve ever recorded that I can actually listen to (laughs). I’m pumped with the way it turned out; with what we set out to do with it I think it’s a pretty honest shot of what the band is all about and what we sound like. We actually just got our vinyl shipment a couple of weeks ago so we’ve got that going on now and I’m pretty excited about that too. That was always kind of the goal, we were never even going to print it on CD but that happened just because we could and it was financially so viable but we have actual LPs now and so we’ll be able to put that in people’s hands now because that’s what people actually want when they come to your shows.
You’re playing some upcoming tour dates with Young The Giant in Ontario. How did you get featured on these big shows?
Dean: We were just asked to do it by our agent and that’s sort of how it works. We were asked to go on tour with them in the U.S. a few months ago and it was too last minute for us, we couldn’t get visas in time and it wasn’t enough warning for us so now that they’re coming to Canada they asked us to open up for them for like I don’t know, I think it’s three shows. It should be fun though; it’s good venues so I’m happy with that.
Check out the song: “Stand In The Water”
You released a self-titled EP back at the end of 2008 that is probably becoming quite the collector’s item since it’s out of print now. Is there any way that fans will be able to get their hands on a copy of this?
Dean: I don’t think so. I know that we still have a few left kicking around somewhere but I don’t know that you know for us, we were never really all that pumped up about it. For me as the person who made it I’m definitely more excited for people to come to the band through our newer record. I don’t know if it’ll actually ever get reprinted, I don’t know if it’s worth it to me. That record was actually never even mastered; we just sort of put it out and had a limiter on it, enough to make it sound listenable.
So maybe it’s better left as a collector’s item?
Dean: [laughs] Yeah I think it is better left as a collector’s item. In my eyes these days I don’t care that much but the fewer people that hear it, the better. By the time we were done with that, those songs were just so old for us, we were so over it.
Is the band currently doing any writing? When can we expect to see another release from you guys in the future?
Dean: We’re definitely doing writing. We’ve got a backlog of songs that we’ve been playing around with for quite a while and I got a lot of songs that have been on the backburner. So we’ve been getting together and playing every so often trying to get new shit going which is good. We’ve got probably like I’d say fifteen new songs or song ideas that we’re working with but as far as an actual release, I don’t know when we’re actually going to get a chance to record. We won’t be recording a new album for a little while unfortunately just because this album isn’t even out, it’s not technically out in the States or the U.K., that’ll be happening soon. We’re all really itching to get back in the studio but we’ve got a big plan for the next record, we have a pretty exciting idea for what we want to do that’s going to be pretty different I think, it’s just getting other people on board to help us make it if that makes sense. We’re in a good spot to record a new album financially and in terms of material but we have to wait a little bit, tour this record again in the fall. We’re doing a cross-Canada tour with a band called Hollerado and then we’re doing a tour in the States, another small one called “Barnstormer” which is about eight shows through this website called www.daytrotter.com and it’s all in like old barns out in the country in different spots in the upper east and mid-west sort of thing.
So what’s next for Wildlife? What’s going on with the band throughout the rest of this year?
Dean: I’d say like after we’re doing this U.S. thing at the end of August and then September, October we’re touring across Canada and a few more shows in the States and then I think when we are done with that we’re going to get to work and start recording. We’re going to start the preliminary process, we’ve got some demos going on but we’re going to do a more serious kind of pre-production thing of it when it all dies down for winter for a little bit. Things are pretty busy, when we actually get back and settle back in Toronto, I wanted to do it this summer but I’m hoping to do some weirder more interesting shows around the city. I’m trying to plan something for the late fall that’s just kind of weird and wacky. You can play out your welcome in your hometown so I want to do more things that are really exciting as opposed to just playing “a” show with whoever.