Interview: Wildlife

Wildlife @ Horseshoe Tavern, 11-05-12

When I sat down with Wildlife (4 of the 5 members), they were preparing for a packed show at the Horseshoe Tavern that involved dazzling (and maybe a little blinding) lights, smoke machines and flying sharks. While I had seen Wildlife a handful times already at this point, this was the first time I had the chance to really speak to the band. I quickly found out that they’re a hilarious bunch.

The band’s humble beginning started back in 2006. Dean Povinsky and Graham Plant had been long time friends back in Oshawa. Dean had lived in Scotland and had been doing music stuff over there and he wanted to continue making music when he moved back. Dwayne Christie was Graham’s roommate, so he was recruited. They found Derek Bosomworth through Craigslist and had a different keyboardist – Julia – before recruiting Tim a few years ago.

Wildlife put out an EP in 2008 and then in 2010 they released Strike Hard, Young Diamond. Since then, the band has been playing fun live shows that win the crowd over.

The band describes their sound as “romantic and violent.” They start describing their live show as “dizzy and exuberant,” while someone else says, “Sweat-soaked and loud.” After I comment on everyone just throwing adjectives out, someone else says, “Purple!”

Dean then answers a little more seriously. “We believe in it. We have the most fun doing it. Our goal is basically to translate that believability to the people that are watching, so we don’t want there to be any barrier between us and the people that are watching. We’re sort of just all in it together.”

Graham continues, “We really mean it and we love doing it. We love of the performance aspect. People say we look like we’re having fun.”

Dean then says, “We’re not lying.”

And if you’ve ever seen Wildlife live, you must have noticed the matching attire on stage. Everyone dresses all in black and they all have a teal armband on their left arms. When I ask how this came about, Dean responds, “We’re just… sick of plaid.”

Derek then says, “We wanted some unifying thing. It’s a bit ritualistic putting it together and putting on our outfits on before the show, like bonding. It’s something we do before we go on stage, so we’re all one in the same entity.”

Graham then jokes around, “We dress each other, so if I get Tim’s left leg, he gets my right. And vice versa. If we choose undies…”

I ask if this is part of the romantic part of their band and they all seem to agree it is.

Tim then says, “The romance/violence combination is when I pull Graham’s underpants really hard.”

Awkwardly, Graham then adds, “Tim’s also my cousin, for real.”

We change the topic to discuss what’s coming up next for the band. Not long after the show, the band had plans to go to a cottage to write. Wildlife actually just recently got back after recording at Tarquin Studios in Connecticut, but there’s still more recording to be done. The band has announced the title of the album as Don’t Fear Your Heart Dear and is pushing for late fall as a goal.

Tim describes his feelings going into the process. “It’s fun and scary at the same time because we’re so used to this material. It’s fun to flex our muscles and kind of get out of what we’ve been doing, but it’s scary because it’s the unknown. We’re doing stuff that we’ve never done before. So far it’s been going well and we’re finding some interesting stuff.”

When I ask about a drunken story, the band starts throwing out ideas. As soon as someone said “arrested,” the story was easily chosen. Warning: it’s a long story, but I spent the whole time laughing. In order to preserve the humour, I left the story as is.

Tim: We were in Halifax, Nova Scotia playing Pop Explosion with our good buddies in Writers’ Strike. We decided to, you know, have fun. They’re old friends of ours. So we had a few drinks and then we had a few more and then we had some more after that. We were at a house party and it got pretty loud and the cops came and they ended up arresting someone and taking him away to the drunk tank. Not taking the hint, we continued to sort of hang out outside. There was a lot of people outside. A little while later another cop car came and came over and grabbed our drummer Dwayne and put cuffs on him.

Derek: He’s a dark man too, so he’s been terrified for a long time. For real, though. He was kind of petrified.

Tim: He doesn’t do well with it. He can’t be driving when we go through the border. Like he just doesn’t like it. It’s not cool. So Graham rushes to his defence, “What are you doing?! What are you doing, man?! You can’t just grab him!” He’s like, “Alright, you’re coming too” and slaps Graham in cuffs.

Graham: He called me a pussy too!

Tim: Did they?!

Graham: No, but that’d be funny. “You’re coming with us, pussy!”

[everyone laughs]

Tim: “Meanwhile, Derek has decided to record the whole thing for posterity, while the police officers did not particularly enjoy, so they slapped him in cuffs too. So that leaves Dean and I.”

Dean: “Keep in mind that I didn’t want to go to jail because I was in a cast and had a cane. And we agreed that it would probably be best to not go to jail.”

Tim: So we go back to our friend’s house to have a late night snack. There might have been a little more drinking with Dean and I. And I found this fake revolver of theirs. It’s like a recreation of a Magnum, a .357 Magnum. I had it in my belt and I’m just sheriff of the party. You know, being silly about it. So Dean and I crawl into bed. We’re about to go to sleep and one of us is just like, “Hold on a second. This aggression will not stand! We gotta bust our friends out of jail and if we can’t bust them out, we have to spend the night in jail with them. It’s solidarity, man! We gotta do this.” So I take the Magnum and click “load it” and I’m like, “Let’s do this!”

Dean: So we’re walking out the door and the person who owns the house is like, “No no no, you do not need to do this. You need to go to sleep like you said you were going to do.” We’re like, “Fine, fine, fine.” So we get back on the couch and he’s sleeping on the floor in sleeping on the floor in sleeping bags. And then the lights go out and we’re sitting there for about 8 seconds and then I’m like, “Tim, do you wanna go bust our friends out of jail?” And he’s like, “Yes!” So he’s up in a flash, lights on, grabs the gun and then out the door.

Tim: So we don’t know the city of Halifax very well. The problem became apparent very quickly when we weren’t sure exactly where we were going with this fake loaded gun.

Dean: So a tall guy with a black handbag and a Magnum in his belt and a guy with a cast a cane, hobbling…

Tim: So we’re walking around. We find a busy intersection and a cop car pulls up to the intersection and Dean limps over with his cane, flags them down and asks them very simply, “Hey, our friends are in jail and we just want to know where they are.”

Graham: No, no, no. “Where do you work?”

[everyone laughs again]

Tim: I got a card off of them, so I had their information. “Show us where this is!” He gives them the card.

Dean: “Why do you wanna go there?” And I’m like, “We just wanna know where the police station is. We can’t find it.” They’re like, “Yeah, but why do you wanna go there? Are you friends in the drunk tank?” I’m just like, “That… might be true. But where is it? You gotta tell me.”

Tim: Meanwhile, I’m sitting on the curb waiting for this to transpire with the Magnum clearly visible in my belt.

Dean: And so essentially I’m talking to the one cop and all of the sudden the fucking lights go on.

Tim: Spotlight hits me.

Dean: They get outta the car. The other guy was wondering what was going on. Then he gets out, pushes me outta the way. And I’m just like “holy shit” and they start walking towards Tim and then his arms just slowly go straight up in the air and then straight back behind his head. And I’m like looking through the cop car window to see what’s going on. And one guy puts his arms behind him and cuffs him. The other guy takes his black bag and just starts throwing all his shit on the ground, rifling though. And you’re just sitting there…

Tim: As docile as possible realizing that I didn’t want to get shot and killed for no reason in Halifax.

Dean: They’re like, “What the fuck are you guys doing? You guys are being idiots.” We realized we were being idiots, but we didn’t really key them into our actual whole plan. We just said it was our friends, which it was. So basically after giving us the rundown and telling us they could take us to jail and they could give us tickets, they take the gun and they let Tim go. And when they’re about to drive away, Tim goes up to the car again and asks what’s going to happen to the gun.

Tim: They say, “It’s going to be destroyed.”

Dean: He asked them for a number where he could call to make sure that the gun has been destroyed. And they write it down and they give it to us and they drive away. And then we just fell on the ground laughing for about 5 minutes. And we start hobbling back up the hill, realizing that we were actually just behind the police station the whole time. We were actually saved by these two police officers because our intention was to just walk right in.

Tim: Yeah. With a gun.

Dean: We’re walking up the street and about 5 minutes goes by and the police van comes by again. They pull up slowly behind us and we notice them and we turn around. All of a sudden the window comes down and they flag us over. And we’re standing outside and the gun just comes back out the window back at us.

Tim: The guys says to me, “You’re going to put this in your bag and go straight home, right?” I’m like, “Absolutely, Officer.” I take the gun, put it in the bag and boom, the car drives away. We have the gun again and we’re back on the ground laughing.

Graham: Meanwhile though, Derek, Dwayne and I are in the jail cell. Derek doesn’t have a sweater. We’re actually holding each other to warm each other up. We’re actually that cold. Almost thinking, “We’re not going to make it.” Just hearing people screaming at the top of their lungs, yelling from cell to cell. It was like straight out of a movie. And so we had to form an alliance when we were in the jail cell because there was just this one guy… We just started a gang in the cell.

Tim: So we hear all about this the next day when we go to pick them up…

Derek: You didn’t pick us up. We cabbed home.

Tim: Fuck you, guys. We tried.

Derek: We didn’t know that.

Tim: We sorta left Halifax with our tails between our legs to New Brunswick. So there’s our drunk story.

After their drunken story, the band unanimously agreed that whiskey is their shot of choice.

As our chat came to an end, Graham wanted to point out that we had been sitting with the fellas in The Canadian Shield. You can find The Canadian Shield on Facebook and Twitter. The band also recently released a 7-song EP called Songs for the Dead in Love, which you can stream/purchase on their Bandcamp.

As for Wildlife, they’re documenting their recording process, so be sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date.


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