From volcano top to Waiting Room: Wildlife prowls to Buffalo - INTERVIEW
blog by Nick Mendola • October 16, 2013 @ 3:10pm
There are precious few artists whose music fits the bill for a concert on top of a volcano. Such a show requires sweeping, magisterial anthems, like those penned by rising Toronto rockers Wildlife on their most recent offering, ”...On The Heart.”
While their Thursday show at The Waiting Room is a far cry from the Hawaiian islands, it’s a terrific opportunity to see a group making waves across North America. We caught up with Wildlife mastermind Dean Povinsky earlier this week to talk rock—both liquid-hot and guitar-driven—and how the American government shutdown almost ruined their tropical trip.
BUFFALO.COM: Your album, which is tremendous, came out in March [read a review here]. That was shortly after an monster three-band show at The Town Ballroom with the Arkells and Hollerado. How’s life been?
DEAN POVINSKY: Things are pretty good. It’s been a whirlwind, in a way, few months for the band. We didn’t do too too much over the summertime. We did some festival stuff. Our guitar player Graham was getting married so that took a little bit of precedence in August. We went to Hawaii to do this thing with Corona, the beer company, playing a show on top of a volcano.
BDC: What was that like?
DP: It was like a free trip to Hawaii. Pretty hard to pass up. We got to see and do some really cool stuff that outside of the band we might’ve never been able to do. Whenever you’re on the road, some people try to treat it like vacation for a little bit, but for us it was really cool to be in a nice place and do fun activities all together.
BDC: Tell us about the actual performance.
DP: The volcano was called Haleakala on the island of Maui. All the Hawaiian islands are made out of volcanoes essentially. They’re all active in different ways. Some are slowly spewing lava into the depths of the ocean but this volcano was a very well-known spiritual place.
It was the highest peak on Maui, like 11,000 feat in the air. It’s not a dormant volcano, it just operates in a different way. It’s constantly pushing volcanic material. It’s very slow and it’s a colder process. It’s an ever-changing kind of landscape that creates these giant craters.
BDC: You always hear sports teams talking about adjusting to thin air in Denver or other high altitude spots. Was there any sort of weird atmospheric adjustment?
DP: It didn’t affect me too much. You definitely notice it. There were other people who were definitely winded. You have to walk up the last part and we had to lug all our gear and everything.
You get out of breath but the air is so fresh and you’re on Maui. It’s really really hot but you get out on the mountain and it’s really cold. There wasn’t any snow but you could use a very warm jacket being up there.
We did a radio contest and the winners got to fly to Hawaii and stay and go on this excursion. We had some drinks and played some songs and hung out. The massive stroke of luck that we had is it was on a Monday and the next day the American government shut down and all the parks were close. The next day we would’ve not been able to do it. We would’ve wasted everyone’s time and money.
BDC: Let’s talk about your experiences in Buffalo. You’ve built your reputation up pretty well here and Thursday should be a heck of a show.
DP: Buffalo’s amazing just in terms of the people we’ve gotten to know. Donny (Kutzbach), Erik (Roesser) and everyone’s who’s been really supportive of our band. Seeing us play, getting us down and setting up a residence for us.
The first show we played in front of the bar staff and a couple people. The next show there was some more people. The next show was good. The next show was great. And the next show we played at The Town Ballroom with the Arkells.
They’ve been some of the biggest supporters of our band for the last couple years. We have mad respect for them and for Buffalo.
BDC: There are natural, possibly cliche questions that come with a Toronto band playing Buffalo during hockey season…
DP: I’m really bad at watching sports, though I like it sometimes. I don’t understand. Everyone in music now likes sports but when I was a kid, I grew up as a punk rock kid, skateboarding. Organized sports were not my thing. I played a little bit, like basketball and volleyball - which isn’t really even sports.
I got into it a little bit when the Leafs were in the playoffs. Those games were incredible to watch with my friends in the bar. If I had to pick a sport to watch, it’d be football. Go Bills. I’ve never been a diehard Leafs fan or any sports team fan. I play guitar.
Wildlife plays The Waiting Room on Thursday. The opening band is Buffalo’s indie rock mainstays Roger Bryan and The Orphans. Enjoy their tunes here. It’ll be super alt.
Tickets are $8 presale and $10 at the door. The show starts at 8 p.m.
(Header photo courtesy of Wildlife’s Instagram page—see that here).