Feb 29 2012 – We love exploring new bands and when we run into some new music we like we make it a mission to get a hold of the artist(s) and ask them for an interview to get to know them or their band better. Our first Emerging Artist Spotlight focused on Toronto based hip-hop act BoudahBless and Radical Joe. Today however we go back to rock and roll and get a chance to speak to Wise, Young & King.
Our first experience with this band was on September 1 2011. It was a late summer night when we went to see Saga play a home town gig at The Sound Academy (review here). Opening that night was a band who blew me away. Here is what I wrote about that band in my original review of the Saga show:
“… before I describe my Saga experience, allow me to first give a worthy mention to the opening band. Wise, Young & King from Ottawa were playing one of their first gigs in Toronto – and to their largest audience to date confirmed by their lead singer. The band’s website describes their style as “ferocious riff driven rock n’ roll debauchery with a retro vibe and infectious sound.” Totally spot on. These guys had a tough challenge ahead of them when they got on stage – to enchant an audience that was here strictly for Saga. Not only did they step up to the challenge, they blew the crowd away. By the end of their set I declared myself a fan. Vocalist Alan Charlton’s voice reminded me of Ian Astbury, in fact I felt like they had an evolved sound of The Cult during their mighty heavy guitar years. It is great to see good rock still alive and well and passing down through the generations. I predict a great future for this band and will be sure to see them when they are back in Toronto.”
I contacted the guys recently and was delighted that they were willing to give us an interview.
1.Hey guys, thanks for taking the time out to talk to us. Let’s start off with the obligatory introductions. Who’s in the band and what instrument do you rock?
WY&K:Thank you for having us. The band is comprised of the following line up: Alan Charlton – Vocals, Myles Bell – Guitars, Alex Scott – Drums, Colin Wolfson – Bass.
Wise, Young & King
2.We were introduced to you when you opened for Saga in September 2011 in Toronto. Were you fans of Saga before the gig?
WY&K:Opening for Saga was a great experience for us and was our biggest stage to date. We had all hear of Saga, but none of us were familiar with their stuff. So we must admit that we had to go online to check them out. We thought they put on a good show; those guys have been doing it for so long, they are pros. For us that night was very memorable – we were mostly excited to play in front of classic rock fans and we also got to meet a bunch of new people and share our music with the crowd that seemed to really like our sound.
3.Not sure if you read the recent interview with Dave Grohl on Billboard, but the interview title was “Why Rock Will Never Die & Why 2011 Was His Best Year Ever”. So tell us your thoughts – Why do you believe rock will never die?
WY&K:Rock and roll is an attitude, not just a genre. It’s about forging your own path. There will always be hormonally unbalanced teenagers, uptight parents and blaringly loud electric guitars. In recent years kids have resorted to dance music or rap music as there source of rebellion (because their parents listen to ‘rock and roll’). However, if we continue to look into the future, the parents will be fans of dance and the kids will rebel on rock again. It is a cycle. See the 1980’s and the resulting grunge-rock explosion of the early 90’s. So rock and roll is almost due to take over once again. Plus Neil Young said so.
4.Why will 2012 be your best year ever?
WY&K:2012 will be our best year yet because we are always growing, both as people and as a band. If 2012 isn’t as good as 2011, well then we’ve messed up. We are going to play as many shows as we can, continue to record and try to build our fan base as much as we possibly can. We’ve just finished recording 5 tracks that will eventually make up our second full album to be released later this year. About 90% of the songs on our next release have been recorded as of right now. In terms of tour/gig dates; we are in the process of booking our shows and hope to have a better idea in the next month or so. Our next show in Toronto is March 30 at Rancho Relaxo, while our next Ottawa date is March 3rd at Ritual. Barring any unforeseen tragedies 2012 should logically be our best year ever. (Oh ya, and the world is ending so we have to make it count.)
Myles and Alan from Wise, Young & King
5.Imagine you were the guitarist/drummer/bassist/vocalist in another band. Would that band be: Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath or Nickelback and why?
WY&K:Let me just say, for all of us, certainly not Nickleback. This is a question that every member of the band is going to have a wildly different answer, but it won’t be Nickleback.
Myles: “That’s a really tough question. I want to be a part of all of them. I’ve always admired The Band and The Beatles. For one, their amazing song writing and two, the shared nature of the music. Paul sings this and John wrote that. Levon does the lead and Danko’s got those haunting harmonies. I’ve always liked the comradery of bands like those. I would play whatever instrument they would let me play.”
Alan: “I’ve always liked the really powerful sounding bands of the past such as: Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and The Allman Brothers. However, I like a lot of different bands, so I’d sing for any number of them. As for new bands; Rival Sons are really good and I saw the Sheepdogs play recently and they kicked ass.”
6.What is the future of the music industry? With the concept of the album and physical CD’s facing extinction, how will we be consuming music in 10 years? Are the economics feasible for emerging artists?
WY&K:I wish we knew the future of music. If we did we’d be controlling the means of production. With music so easily accessible these days it is difficult to get your band noticed on music alone. Sure it’s available for millions of people to hear but with such a saturation of music, how do you stand out? That’s where a slick image and a clever marketing strategy come in. We’ve never really seen this as something we’d like to do. We’re not marketing gurus nor do we aspire to be. We are musicians first and foremost; we want to be making music.
Over the next 10 years there will likely be a new system in place and hopefully it will provide a better avenue for bands trying to make a career out of it. Online has overtaken the CD and it’s not going to change, but at least vinyl sales are on the rise. Free downloading is going to happen regardless if you want it to or not, so bands are making all of their money on touring and selling merchandise at shows. So I’m not sure if it’s even feasible right now for smaller bands out there, but maybe we’ll find a way to fix things down the line.
7.Why “Wise, Young and King”?
WY&K:Why it’s a mystery! Alright, well not quite, but it’s always kept us motivated and confident. To us the name is what we hope to be. Oh and no it’s not our last names.
Wise, Young & King
8.Where can people get your music/CD, is it being sold anywhere?
WY&K: Oh we’re selling stuff. You want some? Our first full length album (entitled Wise, Young & King) can be found on iTunes, cdbaby and in Ottawa at CD Warehouse. On our website we have embedded our MySpace player which is usually previewing some of our newer material which is as of yet unavailable for sale. But you can listen for free.
9.At the end of 2011 we did our picks for top 10 albums of 2011. What albums did we miss on our list, or how would your top 10 list differ from ours?
WY&K:The Black Keys ‘El Camino’ is probably our favourite off of your list from 2011 – that and the Foo Fighters album. It’s hard to say since we probably spend more time discovering ‘new’ albums from the past than we do keeping up with new releases. Rival Sons ‘Pressure and Time’ is one that we’d recommend.
10.Thanks for that recommendation; we will certainly check Rival Sons out. Any closing remarks for our readers?
WY&K: Thanks for reading and if you like our music, we hope you spread the word. WY&K.
So there you have it, a bunch of great guys making great music. We strongly recommend buying their album, or even better go see them live! They are playing Toronto’s Rancho Relaxo on Friday March 30th and Ottawa on March 3rd at Ritual Nightclub and April 13th at The Rainbow! The band’s website is here and as you would expect they are on Twitter and Facebook. I really hope these guys make it – they are very talented, they get good music, and let’s be honest – rock needs new champions to fill in those stadiums and keep the hammer of the gods alive. In the meantime check out the YouTube video I took of them opening up for Saga.