Back on April 19th, Canadian rock ‘n’ roll band, The Wild! made a stop at Toronto’s Lee’s Palace as part of their Canadian headlining tour. We took some time to chat with vocalist Dylan Villain where we discussed Toronto, their live show, and newest release, Wild At Heart, which dropped on February 17, 2017, via Entertainment One. Read our album review here!
Dylan, thank you for taking the time to chat. How has the tour been so far?
Dylan Villain: It’s been cold! But it’s been great. The Lazys are good friends of ours. It’s been a tour that a lot of people wanted to see since we both hooked up for a first, shorter run together about four or five years ago. Since then, people have wanted this to happen again and it did. People are loving it and the shows are great.
Now this is not your first time playing Toronto, so are you looking forward to the show tonight?
Dylan: Toronto is good. There’s so much history here, so many bands come out of this city, friends of ours in the city, currently in bands. I used to live here years ago and I haven’t played Lee’s since I was 20. It’s good to be back.
Check out The Wild’s newest music video for “Best In The West.”
Whenever you’re out here, is there anything you make sure you have to do or go to while you’re here?
Dylan: Bovine Sex Club! Bovine after the show. It’s kind of like Canada’s CBGB’s. It’s such a vibe and you get in where you fit in. We’ve always been a band where we gravitate to our sort of people. That’s our spot.
Wild At Heart has been out for a while and now you’ve had time to sit on it yourselves. How has the reception for the album been?
Dylan: It’s been great. This is our first worldwide release, as our previous releases only came out in North America. It was great to see a reception internationally. It was great to see that this record did it for us in terms of reaching out to our audience worldwide. It’s been over a year old now and we’re still touring it. I’d say 2018 from where I’m sitting, it feels like a great success.
As you mentioned, getting to hear worldwide reception, do you find differences in the crowds when playing Canada vs. the U.S.?
Dylan: There’s definitely a difference there. Europe is even crazier. One thing is everything is so much closer, even in the U.S. Canada is a grind but that’s our spot and we’re obviously very proud of where we came from. The one thing I’ll say about Europe is that they come out no matter what as if it’s part of the culture. Rock music is thriving, it’s still prevalent in the industry and scenes. If you go over there supporting and they don’t know you, it doesn’t matter. They bought their ticket and they don’t care who’s opening.
They’ll show up whether they know you or not just because that’s what they do. In London, I was watching Roundhouse play. Doors were at 7 pm and I watched 4,000 people go into that venue in 20 minutes and it’s because it’s their thing. They want to support music. Not to say we don’t have that support here, but it’s different here where you buy your ticket and you only go for the headliner, which a lot of people do here. It’s not like that there.
Wild At Heart was released on February 17, 2017.
For people seeing you for the first time, what should people expect from your live show?
Dylan: We just play rock ‘n’ roll. It’s not rocket science. We just do it a lot harder, louder and faster than a lot of other bands. I feel like right now, there’s a lot of stuff that people are calling rock music, disguising it. It’s on a rock chart, a rock playlist, it’s all over the map, dressed up as rock music and it’s just not. Not to say it’s not good, but it’s not rock music, so why are these bands being funneled into this category that so many of us are working hard to keep alive? You’re not rock bands so why are you on the rock charts? It gets frustrating at times, but we’re here to do what we know how to do and what we’re trying to keep alive. Play rock music hard, loud, fast and make you feel it. We’re called The Wild! for a reason.
As we previously mentioned, the album has been out for a bit now. Has the band done any writing at all or are there plans for new music?
Dylan: Yeah, for sure. We did this thing years ago before we signed and things started taking off. We had a full-length album of music but we only released two songs in two and a half years. We did that because we wanted to engage the audience in a different way. I feel like a lot of people get their album out and they just release it, put it on for free or whatever, where we were like “here’s two of our best songs.”
It worked in the sense that people were liking it and asking for more, but we were like, “No. If you wanna hear more music, come to the show.” We’re sort of doing that over again. We’re playing some new songs live. It’s a cool way to test them. It’s interesting because they don’t know it or how to react. But you can tell at the end or middle when you give a call to the crowd to see if they’re feeling it and if they respond, you know it’s good.
Last question… These days, it’s been commonly said that the idea of the rock star is dead, and has taken on a new form in rappers rising up, singing about the things that classic rock bands were singing about. What’s your take on that?
Dylan: I don’t really care, to be honest with you. It’s not something I concern myself with. Is it dead? I don’t know because there’s a lot of greats living. What I don’t like is rappers acting and dressing like rock stars. It is what it is, but I sure as shit don’t appreciate it when there are guys who have built something so relevant in my life, that others are almost parodying in a way. It’s a jaded opinion on it, but there are still living legends. Rock is at a time where it’s just not on top like it was but it doesn’t mean it’s gone away.
There’s nothing better than “Livin’ Free” and The Wild know it!