What happens when an Englishman, a Frenchman, two Americans and two Canadians take over an open mic? “The Wilderness” – borrowing influences from Bruce Springsteen, Mumford and Sons and Paul Simon to create their own lively brand of rock’n’roll.
Their new single “Virginia Sapphire” is an indiepop track combining guitars, saxophone, and keys with powerful vocals led by an intricate groove of percussion.
Stream the new single and read our interview below!
Can you talk to us about the inspiration behind your latest single, “Virginia Sapphire”?
I grew up in a small town in the southeast of the UK and at the age of 19 I moved with my parents to Alexandria, Virginia, a suburb of Washington DC. It was a huge culture shock to me, having never been to the US before. I was so excited at the prospect of moving to America, imagining that within a few weeks, I’d be well on my way to being the next Bruce Springsteen. What I arrived to, unfortunately was the crushing reality of life in the suburbs. I tried very hard to fit in where I could, but found it very difficult to make friends. I floated around, without a job and not in school and spent hours turning down empty streets expecting to find where all the action was only to find myself in yet another empty strip mall. My time there was short lived and a rather unhappy one. Years later after my family moved away, we returned as a band and spent the night in our van by the potomac river. We sat by the river drinking gin and I lamented about my time living there. A lot of bad things happened and it felt great to finally have closure on that chapter of my life. The song is a love/hate letter to a town and time I once knew. Does that make any sense?
How has your community contributed to your success?
We really would be nothing without the community we’re so lucky to be a part of. We’re all outsiders, so to speak. Each one of us grew up in different towns and different countries. Kingston has a fairly transient population, not many people who come here for school stick around long. We’re often overshadowed by Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and the US to our south. As a result, the city really rallies behind their kin. There’s a really tight knit community of musicians, music lovers and supporters of the arts in this town to whom we’re eternally grateful. I’m constantly astounded by the level of support we get here. I honestly find it so hard to believe that anyone could or should care about us but they do. This city embraced us with open arms and we feel proud to be from Kingston.
What advice would you give other musicians?
We’ve been doing this together for almost 5 years now and we’re still learning new things every day. However if you’re just starting out my advice would be to get your asses in a shitty van and get on the goddamn road. We ate shit on the road for quite some time in the early days and still do. If you can get in a shitty van with your buds and play to an empty bar 1000 miles away from home and still want to do it again when you get back then you’re in good standing!
Describe to our audience your music-making process.
It really depends. We haven’t yet solidified a formula that works every time we use it. We’ve written songs as a whole band in rehearsals or the studio around a groove or riff or melody but more often than not, someone comes to the group with an idea. I’ve often had an idea for a song that I write at home or on my own on an acoustic guitar then bring it to the rest of the guys. Once they hear it we then start building the arrangement and refining the lyrics. It really varies on the song.
I always get nervous when we release new music. I go through stages of thinking “this is our best material yet” to “this is horrendous everyone will hate it” and back to “this song is gonna take over the world” a few times a day in the build up to the release. Ultimately, I love the feeling of being able to share a part of our lives that we’ve been working on for sometime with our fans and also in the hopes of it reaching new people!
If you could collaborate with any musician/band, who would it be? And why?