INTERVIEW: WILDGRAVES

Wildgraves is a synth pop band from Toronto, Ontario,  composed of band members Victoria Egan, Vocals, and Mitchell South, Instrumentals. On July 8th the synth pop duo showcased their new album, Near Drowning, at their EP Launch Concert at Wenona Craft Beer Lodge in Toronto. Their recent show was a first for the Toronto duo. They were able to create the perfect intimate atmosphere for their friends and fans to showcase their first EP.

 Opening act, Alpha Flight, a one man band by Myles Lann, also showcasing his first performance and material under the name. The performance was a great sneak peek into his material, taking us through a series of live ambient synth filled sounds, and escalating to some dance worthy beats. The beginning tracks were reminiscent to sci-fi movie soundscapes and transformed the casual venue into a trippy movie set.

Photograph by Alexander Lam

The stars of the evening, Wildgraves took us through their EP, starting with “Near Drowning (Intro)”, continuing with other songs like “Cold Blood”,  a treat with great vocals, upbeat tempo, and dramatic yet catchy synths and harmonies in the background. Throughout the performance you could see jack of all trades, Mitchell South going back and forth between computer and guitar, and still putting on a show for the audience with some strong guitar riffs, while Victoria dazzled us with her amazing voice. Wildgraves breezed through their album with climactic songs like “Blue”, and the dark, “Ghost of You”, a sad tale filled with beautiful eerie beats and vocals. Even though the evening was all about the new EP, the band still  showcased their earlier singles “Tug of War” and “Collector”.

I met up with Wildgraves, Vocalist, Victoria Egan, during sound check before the show for a quick chat about the band and their new EP, Near Drowning.

*Edited for Clarity

On the Band

So tell me a little bit about the band and how it all started.

Victoria Egan: We have been dating for six years almost seven now so we’ve always been a duo in life in general and we’re both creative people. He’s (Mitchell South) worked on music, I’ve worked on art and I’ve always been a singer too. We figured one day, why haven’t we ever combined the two? So that is what we’ve done and we decided to put this together very quickly. I mostly focused on art for a long time because I was in school for art, and then Mitchell was at school at OIART, and he learned a lot about sound and recording artists. He asked to record me and that’s how it happened. I joined him on his tracks at school. People in his class really liked our song, and said “this is really cool, do you guys have more stuff?”.

That’s great, and how did you guys come up with the name?

Victoria Egan: Wildgraves we just came up with it, there’s not much of a meaning behind it. I always made art that had a lot of wild things in it, a lot of animals, nature and we just thought it had a ring to it, and we noticed no one had taken it so it’s great.

How did you decide the type of band you were going to be or what you guys wanted to play? How did you define your sound?

Victoria Egan: We kind of both feel the same about music. We both have the same taste and like a lot of the same bands which is part of what brought us together really. We both felt that the best way to make a song was kind of to just make a song and not think about it. So our music started becoming something, we didn’t really know what it would become. He would be messing around with different instruments until we found something we liked.

And if you had to kind of give the band a genre what would it fall under?

Victoria Egan: Synth pop. It’s pop, it’s catchy, it’s more electronic, but it’s also alt-rock/alt-pop since we like that kind of music.

 How long ago did Wildgraves officially become a band?

Victoria Egan: Not more than a year, under a year.

So you guys have an EP coming up, is this your first EP or have you released others before?

Victoria Egan: We never had anything else out, we just had two singles. We had “Tug of War” and “Collector” and now this is the first thing we are doing that is official. We did videos for both the singles, and we did another one kind of experimenting. I found some old clips and put them all together, I was kind of just experimenting since I do graphic design too. In “Tug of War” we just did the filming ourselves. We put like a sheet behind, we were by the window. We wanted to try things out with one of the shots, we were just experimenting.

 So it seems that all of this is very much a complete Wildgraves project, from the design of the album cover to the video, etc.

Victoria Egan: Yeah we’re just exploring. It’s just us two, and we’re doing everything. And it’s a lot of fun for us because we’re both really creative and for a while, before we did this we were both doing service jobs trying to find our way as creative people. It’s hard, since you’re like I don’t know how I’m going to make money. I love making stuff why can’t I just make money doing that? Right? So yeah we kind of just had to work for a really long time. We both got really bummed out, around a year ago so that’s when this happened. We both quit our jobs and put everything into this. We’ve been working on this show for months.

Yeah I saw a few of your videos, definitely creative and it’s great that it’s all done by you guys! So moving on to the show, have you done shows before this or is this the first one?

Victoria Egan: No this is our first show and we’re hoping to do way more.

Thats amazing! I’m so glad to be here for it. And the venue is great, it’s also a great venue to start out, it has a good vibe.

Victoria Egan: Yes and it’s very us. It’s underground, chill, there’s craft beers, you can get your beer and food, and you can just chill out and listen to us. We always like the small underground venues anyways when we see bands so we didn’t want to do something really big or small, but it’s great everyones trying to get in and we’re sold out.

It’s great and the fact that people are asking to come and trying to get tickets makes it even more important for you guys to do more shows!

Victoria Egan: Yes it definitely brings more buzz.

 

On the EP

You guys are releasing a new EP correct?

Victoria Egan: Yes, On the 11th. We’re probably going to do a livestream of the album on Facebook and then after that we’re just going to work on more music and more shows.  We’re probably going to go to Montreal as well.

Yes that’s a great idea! There’s so many great venues in Montreal.  So can tell me a little more about the EP?

Victoria Egan: There are five tracks in the EP. The first one is a poem, telling everyone what the album is about. In life when you go through struggles sometimes you need to transform with those struggles rather than fight them so rather than really trying to have things go your way, that’s what both of us felt, you have to just work your way with the tides. So that’s what the image is on the front. It was a ram at first, so he started as a land animal (this is all in the poem) and as the floods started coming he had to decide if he was going to transform and swim, even though other people might think I’m drowning or I’m crazy, I’m actually just going to swim into it and just let it take me and see what happened. And he became half fish.

After talking with the band, and seeing them perform you can tell that this passion project, from the album art design, the engineering of the songs, to the show and the new EP, is a complete Wildgraves production, the result of what I’m guessing was a ton of work from the duo. The night was definitely a combination of firsts for all involved, while we all enjoyed new up and coming acts, and their debut tracks. Remember us when you’re famous ya’ll.

Listen:

Learn More:

Website: http://www.wildgraves.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wildgravesmusic/

Bandcamp: https://wildgraves.bandcamp.com/releases

Wildgraves EP, “Near Drowning”, is available on iTunes, Spotify and Bandcamp. 

Alpha Flight Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/alphaflight01

Upcoming Show:

*Featured image by Alexander Lam

Tess B. Paiewonsky

Tess is a music loving and concert dwelling Dominican/self-proclaimed Montrealer. A lover of travel, she’s lived in the cities of Santo Domingo, Copenhagen, and the love of her life: Montreal. Tess enjoys writing concert reviews, singing loudly to her neighbors, and finding the best taco spot in town. You can find Tess checking out new bands around the city and playing her ukulele at a nearby park.

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