By: Alex Young
The Wild! truly live up to their name by creating their own bourbon-fuelled rock n’ roll assault that combines old school blues swagger with electrifying classic rock sound and punk rock energy. The group embraces their reputation as hard-partying fiends and allows their tougher than leather attitude to bleed into their music. Look no further than their heat-seeking singles “Road House” and “Party ‘Til Your Dead” that will fly out of your speakers like bullets from a machine gun.
The group is unleashing their latest release “GxDxWxB” and taking it across Canada to bring their furious sound to a stage near you.
Lithium talked to guitarist/singer Dylan Villain about the band’s future, their thoughts on their new EP, the current state of the music industry and modern rock n’ roll.
Alex: What kind of statement were you guys looking to make with your debut EP?
Dylan: Just that we’re here, this is what we’re doing. I think in the instance of our band, it’s really all about music. There is a real visual aesthetic to our band and we’re quite aware of it, but to say that we’re ‘schticky’ in any way would be false. We write from the heart, and everything we do is very real to us. Having said that, we really like to let our music do the talking and everything that it makes you feel is exactly what we’re trying to say. It’s all about going out there and living as hard and as free as you can. That’s the best statement I would say that our music portrays to our listeners.
Alex: What would you say is the biggest source of fuel or inspiration that helps you craft the sound that you have?
Dylan: A lot of it comes from where I grew up, in a small town, actually outside of a town, like a strip of dirt road with eight or ten houses in Northwestern Ontario in the middle of nowhere, with a lot of swamps and straight up hillbilly and hick life. That’s what shaped the sound, honestly. I grew up playing the blues and living around farms, swamps and dirt roads. It shaped who I am today, not only as a musician but as a person. I think that there’s a characteristic in small town living that people don’t have unless they’ve done it because there’s not a lot to do. You’re forced to be creative, if that’s your outlet. I think that lifestyle really brought it out in the writing because all the twangy stuff and all the southern stuff it just comes incredibly naturally to me. I don’t have to try to do it, it’s just who I am.
Alex: What do you think is sorely missing in the state of modern rock and roll and in the industry and how do you feel the Wild! fills that void?
Dylan: What do I think is missing in the state of rock n’ roll right now is ROCK music. There are a lot of rock bands, but when you look at the mainstream or the forefront, and if you look outside of that there are a lot of really good rock bands in Canada. But it’s crazy because, even looking outside of Canada on a North American scale, Lorde won a Grammy for Best Rock Album? Are you fucking kidding me? There’s nothing rock about that! Even on the Canadian front, I don’t want to name any names, but there’s definitely some bands out there that I see winning rock albums, and it’s not rock music. So I see a lot of this industry shaping what they call ‘rock’ music to be alternative bands, so I think we’re mis-categorizing it. And a little bit of grit and conviction and realness to what rock and roll sounds like is missing a little bit.
Alex: Instead of there being Top 40 pop or Top 40 rap, Top 40 country and Top 40 rock, it’s all just Top 40 now. It’s almost like this homogenous blend of everything where you get Nelly rapping over country-pop songs and I’m sorry to say, but it’s really happening to rock music in a BIG way.
Dylan: Dude, it is! That’s why I say it comes down to the music. I’m not saying we’re the savior that’s going to change everything but I feel like we wrote a great record. Ultimately, our livelihood is out on tour and we’re still selling out shows. Are we selling out arenas? No, but give us a while. Whether or not that comes or it doesn’t come, it doesn’t deter us from doing what we love because it’s working. It’s something we love and there’s something to be said about doing something you love everyday of your life. It’s just an amazing feeling.
Alex: Absolutely. It’s funny, you make an interesting point because of the advent of the Internet, it’s allowed musicians to become a lot more entrepreneurial and have a lot more control of their own music on an independent level. It’s really the industry’s loss at that point.
Dylan: Yeah, there’s ways to use this whole advantage card of the Internet and social media and all that stuff. Some bands see it as a hindrance, “Aw, there’s no money”. Well sure, but are you just going to give up? Then do us a favor and just give up because it just takes out the bullshit that sifts through the pot and keeps all the people that should be around, around. It gets rid of the people that shouldn’t be there.
Alex: At the end of the day the songs are going to speak for themselves. If your teeth are sharp and you’ve got the chops, people are going to respond to it.
Dylan: Well, yeah man, and it doesn’t go for everything – there’s certainly a lot of unsung stuff in this country that isn’t being heard. But that being said, those bands that are in that position, they aren’t quitting what they do. You’re right, I’d like to think that if you have great songs and a great work ethic, it’s an equal part in that. Then you really do have a shot. It’s all about carving your own path; you’ve got to do it your own way. I think people catch on more when you mean something and do something interesting that hasn’t been done.
Alex: What can fans expect, or for those who have never heard of you guys, what can they get at your show they can’t get anywhere else?
Dylan: I think one of the biggest things is that we love what we do. You can get that with a lot of bands, but we’re very real guys and it shows in our show. Everything we do, we’re wearing one hundred and fifty percent of all the time. It’s like we can’t wash this off, this is who we are and we love what we do, and it’s very high-energy show. It’s like controlled chaos. It’s danger with padding on it, in a way. People like to go off and blow off some steam and we encourage it. It’s good for people to have a good time in that way.