Between winning the SiriusXM Indie Award for rock artist of the year and debuting a behind-the-scenes studio documentary, Toronto five-piece Wildlife is having a big year. Frontman Dean Povinsky talks about clichéd heart metaphors, Bruce Springsteen, and what happens between albums.
How did the environment and the sorts of smaller shows you played in Scotland, where Wildlife began, inform the band’s personality and sound?
I don’t think it changed the kind of music we played but, coming back to Toronto, I had a clearer vision of what I wanted to do and didn’t want to do. It made me realize how much I like Canada and how great the music scene is here. I appreciate it a lot now.
Yeah. Like a lot of people do at that point in their lives, I crammed a lot into one period of time. That definitely informed the spirit of Strike Hard. It deals a lot with the naivety of adventure and the kinds of decisions you make at that time in your life.
Strike Hard’s follow-up, On The Heart, is more mature and contemplative. What happened in the life of the band that caused that change?
It’s all healthy stuff, but it had to do with the starkness of certain realities—dealing with things that are not always so bright, but trying to find some light in the darkness. Even in a terrible situation, you can always find something good in there, or something to learn, even though, at some point in your life, you get sick of learning from mistakes. You want to just do things right.
So it’s an accurate snapshot of where you were?
Fairly. It’s always strange to be on camera for something that doesn’t normally involve you being on camera. The first few days were sort of weird, but then you get over it and move on. Brendan’s a great guy and he’s gone on tour with us before. He carved out personalities that may or may not be a little exaggerated, but it was interesting to watch.
Are there any ideas, motifs, or themes that have emerged since the last album that may inform the next album?
Every time we do something, we like to do it differently, put ourselves in a new environment, and change the creative aspect of it. We’ve decided that, on the next record we make, we’re going to do exactly what we want to do—well, I guess that’s what we do anyway. But we’re going to attack some of the things that we’ve wanted to try for a long time that we haven’t really gotten a chance to do yet. Making an album centred on a theme is great, but sometimes you want to be as experimental and interesting as possible. This is a point in the band where we’re sort of tearing it all down and seeing what we’re going to do next. We’re talking about adding all kinds of different things into the mix: backup singers, horn sections… A lot of people are super concerned with getting stuff on the radio. We were lucky that some songs from our last album got played on the radio, which is cool and everything. But when you talk about what happens between albums, it’s about making sure that you’re happy with the things you created. It’s great to make money as an artist, but it’s also easy to let your soul slip away.
A version of this article can be found here: Wildlife Band