Interview : Dylan Villain of The Wild! Talks To Our Music Maven On Why They ‘Still Believe in Rock n Roll’

Interview by Tracey Moyle – Music Maven

There is a tsunami building in our oceans of music and it’s sweeping up everything rock n roll in its path, and bands are surfing this wave like they were born to ride it.  Canadian Rockers The Wild! are a part of  this long awaited tidal wave of quality Rock, helping refuel the hearts and souls of young and old with their new album ‘Still Believe In Rock and Roll’ bringing us high energy rock infused with their own Wild style.  

The Wild! have captured the essence of what has been lacking in a digitally enhanced music world and bottled it up into a killer album with their long awaited third studio album.  

Tracey Moyle our rock-loving Music Maven had a chat to lead vocalist Dylan Villain about the new album, relentless touring, their connection with music and the their love of Australian Rock.

Dylan, thanks for chatting to Good Call Live.  I hope you guys are going ok with all of these crazy things happening in the world right now?

“Yeah, It’s a hell of a time to release a record I’ll tell you that.”  

On the contrary it may be a good time to release a new record, because what else do people have to do but sit on social media and listen to music.  I know that’s what I’ve been doing.

“Yeah you’re not wrong (laughs).  The thing that’s difficult for a rock band is that what a whole heap of bands rely on now, is being able to tour and its not even a financial thing, it’s the momentum and the opportunity and the release that we are able to get out of that.  Having lost the momentum with all the touring we’ve had to cancel because of this, it’s definitely frustrating, but like you say there is something really positive about giving everybody something to sort of escape these sorts of thoughts at this time and  if anybody is getting anything positive out of this record, which I know I’ve got countless messages from fans thanking us for giving them something positive to look forward to, that feels really cool.   And you know what, I really think it’s important to remove yourself from your own bullshit and look at it from a birds eye view and think, you know we’re all in this together and were all going through it together and it’s that sort of mentality that’s going to get us out of this quicker.”

I absolutely agree.   I can see this album getting great airplay here.  Your music has a sound that really resonates with Australian Rock music fans.

“That would be fantastic, we would love it.  You know, being Canadian, I think there’s a lot of similarities between Canadian’s and Aussies because we seem to get on quite well.  With us and the guys from Rose Tattoo and the guys from Airborne, we’re friends with a lot of really great Aussie rock bands and we hope to be able to come to Australia and tour one of these days, hopefully when all this blows over.”

You guys are hard workers. You were talking about not being able to tour but when you are touring you’re pushing your music hard yourselves and on the road constantly.

“Yeah, you know I think that comes from growing up playing in punk bands, all of us. We all just had that DIY mentality where, whether there’s a label behind it or not, there’s nobody who’s going to get what you’re doing better than yourself, right?  You can’t just rely on things to happen for you. That’s never been something that I’ve been able to accept or believe, you know, that it’s all just going to come to me, so I’ve just always adapted the mentality that we’re just going to go for it, we’re going to do it, we’re going to believe in it, really champion it and I think if you really have something good enough that you’re proud of enough, then you should be the one championing it.  You should be the one telling people about it, because they want to hear it from ‘you’ about it, they want ‘you’ to believe in it.  I think it just comes from all the years growing up playing in punk bands where nobody would listen to us or give a shit about us but we did.  We knew that we had something special so we really ran with it and we still do it because that’s all we know how to do.”

It’s interesting you say that, because I’ve been listening to the album a lot over the last week, and I know you guys have that really blues infused classic rock sound but there were some songs, that when I was listening to them, I was thinking, ‘Wow, that’s almost a punk sound.’,  in a Rise Against kind of way.

“Yeah that’s cool you know, it’s definitely part of our sound and has been from the start. I think that with this record the attitude just poked through.  The opening song on the record is called Bad News and it was one of the ones that I wrote and initially upon writing it, I was like, ‘ok this is what the sound of this whole record is going to be based around’, this feeling and this sort of energy and attitude and I think we kind of came into it really naturally because it’s always been there in our sound and we just wanted to bring it to the surface on this record. There’s a thing about rock and roll, its not just one thing, it’s more or less based around an attitude and a feeling and it can be the blues, it can be punk rock, it can be metal but it’s all music, an attitude, a feeling and that’s what we’re doing here, it’s music based around those principals.” 

It’s a great album.  It seems to have more of an energy injection than your first two Albums ‘GxDxWxB’  and ‘Wild at Heart’, still rock obviously but there was a little more bluesy classic rock showing up in those albums.   Was this intentional or was it just a naturally flowing process?

“I think it’s both actually, and I think the part about it that was calculated was knowing how often we spend on the road and knowing we’re going to be playing these songs live.  The last record, we toured it for three years before this record came out and it’s a good indication of the success that record brought us and it got us all over the world and again we’re really thankful for that.  But knowing that, if you’re going to put out a record, it better be more than just ‘cool in the studio’, it’s got to be energetic and fun as hell live because it’s 70% of how you spend your time doing your job, you know, you’ve got to enjoy it.  I don’t want to be playing songs I don’t enjoy or aren’t fun, I want to be up there enjoying it every night and believe me we do. I think a lot of it came from that thought, ‘if we are going to be doing this we’d better be enjoying it.’   You know, you take that mentality into the writing and it’s going to come out in the energy of it.”

Talking about touring, you’ve toured with some amazing artists Godsmack, Rise Against, Korn, even our own Wolfmother and Rose Tattoo. It must be a great experience touring with those bands?

“Yeah, we’ve been lucky over the years to play with a lot of cool bands. We’ve had  a lot of bands be really good to us. Bands like Rose Tattoo, especially for a band like us they were such an inspiration, being one of the leading blueprints of this music with attitude.  They’ve been doing it since the beginning and I’ve been fortunate enough to sit with Angry (Anderson) and to sit with the guys in the band and talk about what it was like in the early days.   Just really get inside their heads, especially Angry, I just love to wind him up and let him start talking about all the things that I just loved so much about his band and rock and roll back in the 70’s in Australia and all that, I’m quite fortunate for that.  The inspiration that they laid the blueprint down for us in the beginning, coupled with the inspiration that we feel for them now, still touring hard, still making great music and still being great performers and players, it’s an unprecedented thing because it’s like your idols become your friends and then you get to go on the road with them and then you get to watch them every night, there’s nothing quite like it.”

That would be an amazing feeling.  I love that you talk about rock music in Australia in the 70’s because that was music I grew up on and what I can feel now is Rock is taking it’s power back in a world of so much digital music.  This is something long awaited and much needed.  Your new album is an anthem just in it’s name ‘Still Believe in Rock n Roll.’   I think it’s a statement millions can absolutely relate to.

“I appreciate that.  Really what it is, it’s a two part thing because it’s a statement saying, for those people just like you said, there is a time where people seem to have forgotten about this genre of music, this traditional sound of real human beings playing real instruments and records that sound like that.  In one sense it’s a shock to those people who may have forgotten about it but on the other hand it’s also very much a statement for people like us, like yourself, like myself and like my band and like so many other bands that we know and love, that are still out here flying the flag and still believing in this music that we never wavered from.    That’s what people don’t realise, people like us, we’re not writing songs, living this on the weekend or writing songs that are the flavour of the week, to chase a passing trend, this is who we are, this music, we live this lifestyle because it’s who we are and we can’t change that.”

I completely understand what you are talking about.  Good Call Live works deeply within our local music scene and we see our local musicians doing the same thing so we are always trying to push new music and live shows.  Knowing a lot of our local rock bands, it’s something that’s in your soul, you can’t fake it.

“Yep, exactly right. And you know what, I think people involved in the scene are smart. Despite how everyday regular people they are, people can tell if you mean it.  People are smarter than that, fans are smarter than that, they can tell the minute you are faking it and they know the minute that you’re about it, so having that conviction and walking the walk like you talk the talk is something that was incredibly important to our band from the beginning.  We just feel like if you’re faking it or you’re just phoning it in, people are just going to spot that a mile away.”

We don’t have time to go through all the tracks on the album but a couple I’d love to talk about, ones I particularly love, firstly Nothing Good Comes Easy, I guess this could be a statement song for how hard you guys have worked to get where you are.

“You know what, I think also what I love about that song is that the saying, the catch phrase of it; it’s such a blue collar an every day band sort of statement. People say ‘It is what it is’ or ‘Nothing good comes easy’ it’s just one of those off- the-cuff sort of things that people have reiterated in their lives at different times because its relevant to them in the time they’re going through.  We’ve always been those kind of guys, we were raised that way.  Very much blue collar families, no stranger to having our nose to the grindstone, being determined in what we do.  We pride ourselves on that, you know despite having the kind of lives that we live, whatever success we’ve achieved in music it’s never changed us, because we are still very much hard working down to earth kind of guys .  It’s just what I really love about it because I feel our fans are those sorts of people as well and it’s just something that we can all just connect to on the same level.”

I also really love King of this town.  This song has a lot of heart.

“Yeah, that was a fun one.  It’s definitely got those early Aussie rock vibes to it, in my opinion.  I really love that about that song.  It’s a cool song about rivalry on the street and its just a good anthem on being the top of your class, the top of your crew, the ‘cock of the walk’ as they say.  I just really love that bravado in rock and roll and it’s just a good anthem for the hooligan. (laughs)”

The last track Gasoline, I love how you’ve taken the album out with a song that has so much emotion in it.  It’s the perfect way to complete the listeners’ journey.   I can imagine people belting that out at the top of their lungs.

“I’ve got a lot of compliments on that song and it’s the most honest song I’ve ever written, I don’t dabble in fiction, I like to write about things that I’ve been through and it’s very much therapeutic for me. I just want to write songs that I can get a lot of things off my chest.  The reaction and the response to that song has been overwhelming.   I wrote that song, and I write my music, for people who have been through some of the things I have been through and are still here to talk about them and also the people who aren’t, who didn’t make it and whether or not, some people who haven’t been able to directly relate to the things that I’ve done, of the way that I’ve lived, there’s a message of acceptance and hope in that song and that’s something that I feel everyone can relate to because no matter what you’re going through, tomorrow is a brand new day, it’s going to get there.”

Outside of Canada you’ve toured the US and some Europe dates as well, what are your thoughts on bringing your tour to Australia and New Zealand, two of the biggest rock loving nations in the world.

“We would absolutely love to make it happen you know. We are finally at the point in our career where it makes sense for us to make that trip.  Prior to this I didn’t think there would be enough interest or the right dots to connect to make a time. Having said that once this whole thing blows over we would absolutely love to come.  It’s just a matter of the when and the where but as a call all Aussie Rock bands, if there’s any good Aussie Rock bands, good Aussie punk rock bands that are reading this get in touch with us we’d love to come do some dates.  We’re a hard working rock band from Canada, we play good rock and roll we just want to play with this band so we’d love to make it happen.” 

We need music that heals our souls especially right now.  And The Wild! are doing their part in keeping Rock n Roll not just alive, but thriving.

They are flying the flag high, keeping pure, raw energy Rock alive. There are so many influences you can hear in their music, but in it’s simplest form, imagine that Buckcherry and AC/DC found themselves in a hot and steamy embrace, their offspring would be wild –  it would be The Wild!

You can listen to ‘Still Believe In Rock and Roll’ on Spotify  and download on  Apple Music now.

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