Pic by Isy Townsend

INTERVIEW: Whale & The Wolf

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Pretty good, considering the current live music landscape. These days it’s just a matter of being grateful for good health. So, in that realm, I’d say we’re all doing well. Physical health aside, I think that, like most people in the music world, it’s been a struggle at times to keep our chin up. Obviously, live shows are a no-go, and due to our regional restrictions, we’re also unable to gather to record any kind of a live stream concert. We’ve had to adapt and find ways to work on our individual growth as musicians for the last year. Lots of writing. A silver lining of sorts.
~Ryan

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Veins”?
We’ve been a band since 2013, and I think that with this song, we’ve finally encapsulated what we’ve been trying to achieve since day 1. This song is the centre of a venn diagram of where we’ve been, and where we’re going musically and sonically. “Veins” was the demo track that got our producers on the plane. Jimmy Mansfield and Paul Rogers are based out of Nashville, and our Stompin’ grounds are Edmonton, Alberta. They were excited enough to fly 3,400 Kms, site unseen, to work with complete strangers in a foreign land. Lucky for them, we don’t fuck around in the studio, and it was Summer Solstice in the northernmost city in North America. The alternative would have been showing up to -40, dead of winter, to work on a cock rock album with a bunch of C.H.U.D.S.. I think their gamble paid off. We created some really great songs, and some lifelong friendships. *cue the theme to “Full House”.

~Ryan

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

No particular event. More so, a lifelong series of events that leads a person to where they are now. What vices they must wage mental war with in order to allow some sanity to prevail. COVID has really elevated the theme of the song. What unsavoury acts do you allow into your life that help you get through the doldrums of the weekly 9-5? It’s a slippery slope. We all need a release from time-to-time. I’m not here to judge what your personal release is. Mine is drugs and alcohol. This song is, in part, about allowing the itch to be scratched in moderation. But it’s also about the potential of letting the itch takeover, diving headfirst into the void.

~Ryan

How was the recording and writing process?

This song crept out of thin air, as many of our melodies seem to. My personal school of thought on writing is that it should never be too much of a battle. I have fought with the lyrics and melodies on certain songs, and when something is forced, it just never ends up right. My best written material has always seems to be waiting for me when I wake up from a deep sleep. My brain isn’t quite ready to function, but there’s a song drifting around in the fog somewhere. It makes it’s way to the forefront of my consciousness, I flesh it out for a minute, then usually get up, record a god awful voice memo with the general melody, first verse and the main hook. Then I go back to sleep. For Veins, it came to me while I was sweeping the floor of my apartment. The monotonous work allowed my brain to go slack, and the baseline, first verse and chorus just popped up, giving birth to the genre of “Chore Rock”.

~Ryan

The initial writing process of the instruments is somewhat similar. We record all our rehearsals so that we can capture the magic that happens organically when we are relaxed and still exploring. Then the band listens and refines. No details go unchecked. We’re trying to blend the raw energy from our live performance with a meticulously crafted Hi-Fi pop recording. I think it really shows in this latest track.

~Keenan

Any plans to release any sort of video for the track?
Yes. Being an indie band, we have had to spread our resources a little thinner though, so the official music video for “Veins” was scheduled to be released 3 weeks after the single release. It’s by far the most ambitious music video we’ve ever created. All of our music videos are created in-house, by our piano player, Keenan. (Look up @Kidpixel on Insta). This has allowed the creative control to stay completely within the band. The vision is 100% ours, untainted by any outside influence.
~Ryan

This will be our band’s first video to host a narrative. Unfortunately, there’s a pretty consistent track record of indie bands delivering underwhelming performances in narrative driven music videos. Whether that’s a confidence thing or not having a large enough budget to hire actors, or proper cinematography. We wanted to symbolize the haunting nature of addiction. Pulling all the strings. Almost puppeteering us. Despite the odds, we felt that the narrative was too engaging and symbolic to pass on. We took a risk, and I think we achieved a tone and look that we can hang our hat on.

~Keenan

What role does Canada and the Canadian scene play in your music?

Any act who had made their way north of the border by means of Van and Trailer will likely tell you that Western Canada is a bitch to tour through. Summer’s fine, aside from the backlog of RV tourists clogging up mountain passes in British Columbia, but the hard fought winter months on the Prairies and through the mountains are stupid. It’s at the very least, a 3 hour drive from major market to major market. More-so than not, it 6-8 hours in the cab. It’s a vast cold landscape that can be unforgiving on a 2006 Ford Econoline. (Compare that with the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S.) I think the trials and tribulations on the road, and the mere gratitude our band has in simply making it to the next venue on time, adds a bit more ‘oomph’ to our stage presence. A little more ice in our veins.

A little more bitterness and gallows humour to our song writing. It’s tough to get noticed by the powers in the high towers that pick and choose who get to tour with the Jack Whites of the world on his next cross-country tour. But I think that steels the resolve of our band. It’s us against everyone else. No one’s going to give us anything, so we have to work that much harder on stage. The electricity is real. Come to our show when we come to your town. We’ll fuck your shit up.

~Ryan

Does the new single mean we can expect more new material – how’s that coming along?

Yes. Get ready for a deluge of Whale over the summer/fall months. It’s a fire sale. Everything must go!

~Ryan

What else is happening next in Whale and the Wolf’s world?

Being unable to gather for writing, recording, and live streaming as been a huge obstacle to overcome. We’ve had to think outside of the box for this release. We are currently putting the finishing touches on an extremely limited set of NFTs through Rarible.

Each NFT will be paired with a single off our upcoming EP ‘ENVY’ and will include an animated GIF, an instrumental version of the track, high resolution single artwork, and a copy of our ProTools session (minus the linked audio). That last one might sound a little odd, but if you have ProTools you’ll be able to open up the document and poke around seeing what kind of effects were used and take a peek at the compression, etc.

We are aware of the current environmental hurdles that the Ethereum blockchain needs to overcome, but we’re also aware of the amazing work that companies like Fantom are doing, making leaps and bounds towards creating a platform that can scale more efficiently. We’re extremely excited about the potential of this technology and the possibility of giving artists back a little ownership over their work.
~Keenan

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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