Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Show Preview - Interview - The Wilderness of Manitoba - 7/19/11 - Mr Smalls - Concert Preview - Pittsburgh

The Wilderness of Manitoba will be playing this evening at Mr Smalls opening for Rasputina. They are a quintet hailing from Toronto touring behind their first LP When You Left the Fire released this past year. Below is an interview with the band along with some videos from their albums.

You just came out with your first LP this past year. How long did it take to create? What was the recording process?

The album was about 6 months to a year in the making. Some of the songs, like 'Hermit', were written much earlier and some were written in the process of the recording. We recorded the bed tracks for the album in a church in our hometown of Toronto and then spent the next few months doing overdubs and perfecting the mixes.

You all hail from Toronto . How is the music scene there? How involved are you within the scene? We hear of bands such as Feist, Broken Social Scene, etc. but you are a different genre from them. Do you all ever cross paths?

Toronto is a great place for music. The city has so many different music scenes, but there tends to be a lot of crossover as we usually have friends in common with other musicians. We really love to support our friends playing music in the city - whether it's by going to their shows or by throwing house shows for them in our backyard barn when we are not touring.

Did you all grow up in the Toronto area? Your music has a very nostalgic feel to it where I feel a metropolitan area wouldn’t play a big role in the sound.

Though we've all lived in the city for a number of years, we kind of grew up all over the place from Vancouver , BC to Belgrade , Serbia . We all love to be outside of the city.So, that definitely inspires us.

I understand one of the members mothers wrote a song for the LP. Is she a musician herself? Has she written other songs you are considering?

Will's mom wrote a song called 'Evening' on the EP that we released in Canada in 2009 called 'Hymns of Love & Spirits'. It was written around 1967 and she gave him a record when he turned 25 with her original recording of the song. She wrote other songs as well that we've considered recording but haven't, as of yet.

How did your band come about? Did you all know each other from school?

Will and Scott were in a band together from about 2006-7 on - they met through the musician listings on Craigslist. In 2008, they started throwing house shows in the aforementioned backyard barn and creating basement recordings that didn't fit in with the rockier sound of their band. They performed twice as The Wilderness of Manitoba as a duo. Melissa had been attending the house shows and they recruited her to sing harmonies. Around the same time, they met Stefan at an annual event called Rock Lottery, where 25 local musicians form 5 bands by picking names from a hat. The new bands create 20mins of music over the course of one day and play them all that night. Will had already been playing around with a midi cello sound in his basement recordings so Stefan seemed a natural fit. Then, Sean joined in a few months later when we met him playing in the house band at a local comedy club.

How do you go about creating your music? Do you all contribute to the lyrics and music?

It can happen differently, depending on who is bringing the song to the table. Some people prefer to write a whole song, with all of the parts figured out, and then bring a rough demo to the rest of the group. Others will write a the bones of a song, a banjo or cello line, part of a vocal line etc, and then bring others in on it to flesh it out. We've all written lyrics or music at some point in time.

What would you like to accomplish with this project? Are there any goals you have?

Well, for a Canadian band with a new release in the US , we hope that we can reach more ears and continue to play our hearts out all over the place! Also, obviously we are writing, even now and hope to come out with another album in the not too distant future.

What made you want to dedicate your life to music? Was there a show or album?

We all have our different reasons. We love the music we're playing and love performing - that's really what is driving us right now as a group.

Anything you would like to say to Pittsburgh ?

We've heard really good things about Mr. Small's Theater and look forward to checking out the city too since it's our first time there! Any recommendations, please post on our facebook page!!!

The show is tonight at Mr. Smalls with music beginning at 8p.

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