BY MARK WEBER
Heading to Red Deer this month are Canadian rockers The Wild! recently released a video for their track Ready To Roll from their superbly-crafted new CD Wild at Heart. They’ll be in town on Feb. 24th at Bo’s.
“When we made our first video, it was over the top and really turned a lot of heads,” says frontman Dylan Villain. Rounding out the band are The Kid on guitars/backing vocals, Boozus on bass and vocals and drummer Reese Lightning.
“So we knew when we were making this one, we had to really step it up.”
The video was filmed in the Okanagan near the band’s home town of Kelowna by longtime video director Stuey Kubrick.
“From lighting guitars on fire, jumping off cliffs, guns, random explosions, excessive pyro, playing our instruments on top of a moving RV while ripping down a desert highway and then actually blowing up that RV with explosives – I’d say we did alright.” As for Wild At Heart – the guys couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.
“It’s been a real long time coming with this one – a lot went into this record,” said Villain. “Another aspect of being so excited about it is with the success we saw with the first record, basically we grew a lot, and we became a bigger band and it was only natural that we would write and do a record that reflected that growth. It’s something that has been in us for a long time.”
The record took about a year to write.
“In terms of recording it actually took six months to complete which is a lot longer than it would normally take us and other bands as well. There were a few things that kind of slowed down that process but it was crazy because in going through them, it really shed some light as to what I especially was capable of as a musician and as a vocalist – if we hadn’t experienced all that, we wouldn’t have the final product that we do today,” he said.
As to the video for Ready to Roll – well, it’s going to be tough to top.
“What happens with our videos first of all is that we feel we own them as a rock band – I don’t know any other rock band that does videos like ours,” said Villain. “We’re quite proud of that – they are over the top, they are larger than life, they are gratuitous and that essentially is a complete amplified version of exactly who we are. So it’s only natural that our videos would reflect that.
“Once we finish them we kind of have this moment of – how are we going to top that? With Ready to Roll, we had a tall order. We just get in these mind sets together where we really just egg each other on and it becomes this thing of well, why wouldn’t we do it?
“So after that one, I don’t know what we are going to do for the next one.”
Produced by Mike Fraser (AC/DC, Metallica, Airbourne, Aerosmith) at Armoury Studios in Vancouver, Wild At Heart will serve as the follow-up to their debut EP GxDxWxB which was released in 2015.
“Aside from his resume, there is just so much more to Mike,” explained Villain. “He worked on the first record with us, too. We’ve been quite close for some time now. He’s got this way about him – he knows where I’m trying to take the music even prior to even getting into the studio.
“I don’t really have to stress to explain what I’m feeling. He’s such a stickler for getting it right, too. We also did not pull any punches in making this record because we knew that the songs were worth it.”
As for the recording process, Villain said it can be a bit daunting as he is something of a perfectionist. “We believe in music with conviction,” he said, adding the band’s music is a mixture of what, “The blues feels like, rock’n’roll sounds like, and punk-rock smells like.
“I’m also an overachiever for where I set the bar and I’m never really satisfied – so it’s a blessing and it’s a curse without question,” he said with a laugh. “There is always something I can find that I don’t like. I have always dissected the music that has shaped me my entire life – I’ve been listening to that music for years and years. So I know the things about it that move me – that’s the bar. That’s the bar for me.”
As to the injection of punk and blues into the rock mix, Villain said it just comes naturally.
“I come by it honestly because I love both genres so much and I love rock and roll so much – it’s who I am – I love both of them equally and the thing about both genres that really ties them together is that raw honesty.
“The original blues players – they meant it. It was music they were writing from the heart and it just came from such an honest place. And the same thing could be said about punk rock – it wasn’t made to be a fad or to turn a profit – it was made because it was just naturally coming out of these people.
“I feel that it’s something – especially today – that separates us from the pack.”
For Villain, pursuing music has been really the only path to take.
“Ever since I can remember, it just takes over me. There’s been no question this was what I was going to do with my life. I’ve known that since I was so, so young. I remember being about four or five – I had a ukulele and I would imitate Elvis Presley! That’s where it all really started.
“I just haven’t known any other way – my plan A was not having a plan B.”