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Interview with THE WANDERING OFF
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
We can definitely say the pandemic had a huge impact on us starting to write music together. The space and time created allowed for new skills to be worked on, crafts honed in. We also just had so much energy during that time that needed to go somewhere creatively. There was nothing else to do! Now that it’s a part of our lives we can’t imagine NOT doing it. This question is kind of backward for us because of how much later in our lives we discovered we could write together. We both already HAVE careers first, kids, a house, etc! Music is the icing on top. We’ve done the “if we hadn’t have gotten into music” part already. Kyle has a career in entertainment production, creative director of a science center, builder of experimental marketing and attractions. Emily has had a career in administration, event planning, neurofeedback, made two kids - both of us had a food truck and a creative business for awhile. We’ve done a lot before music came into the picture.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Since live shows are back we have enjoyed a few date nights together seeing Third Eye Blind with Taking Back Sunday, Metric with Dear Rouge, Lights, The Hello Darlins’ and looking forward to seeing Blink 182 this year. Watching these bands do their thing on stage always gets the creative juices flowing. We always want to leave before the show is over to get home and write in our studio! We also are geeks with health and wellness, keeping our minds and bodies happy keeps our “flow state” and creativity at its best.
How long has your band been around?
We are fairly new! We have only been a “band” together for about 1.5 years but we’ve been together as a couple for 17!
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We currently live in Calgary, AB and I think the one big thing that influences your music is the long winters inside with nothing to do. We get this deep and long period of reflection and sometimes seasonal depression that lends itself to songwriting. We both also grew up in small towns as kids and there is this aspect of “small town, big dreams” that both of us have. Like a burning desire to make something of ourselves and a lot of good work ethic.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
We both identify as “Wanderers” – meaning, we never tend to stick to the path most travelled. We are daydreamers, creatives and we always have something on the go. We don’t like to stay in one place. The Wandering Off seemed to describe our deepest personas perfectly!
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
Emily “I had the opportunity to play in the MuchMusic studio for a show called disBAND. That was SUCH a memorable show. I grew up seeing my idols play in that studio and just to be on that floor, in that space – is something I won’t ever forget!” Kyle “My band won one of the first online battle of the bands to exist. This goes way back. But we got to open up for The Used and other amazing bands for a show called The Taste of Chaos. They stuck us in the middle of the line up and not the very first opener, which was a big shock. We played to a packed house and it felt like we hit the big time.”
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Because we’ve both worked the production side of several epic music festivals (Squamish, Pemberton in BC) we’d love to experience a summer festival from the artist side. Everyone there is a consumer of music, you are playing to a crowd that is fully open to discovering new bands. Such a welcoming environment, everyone is on vacation.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Red Hot Chili Peppers, Weezer, The Killers, Nada Surf, Cage the Elephant, Blink 182. Could you imagine??
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Don’t do it for money or success. Do it because it feeds your soul. Enjoy the process and the experience of living life as a creative. Don’t get sucked up into the online stuff too much or what people are saying about you. Focus on your skills as a songwriter first and foremost. If you have great songs, the path is FAR easier.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
We wish we knew we could do this musical thing together FAR earlier than we discovered we could! I know that sounds weird but if we would have had the confidence in our 20’s that we do in our 30’s – the world would have opened up. Therefore our advice would have been – JUST DO IT. JUST TRY IT. HAVE FUN.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
This is such a tough question because it wouldn’t be on our record if it didn’t mean a lot to us. We put a lot of heart into the songs and depending on the day - our favourite songs switch! Knick of Time is special because it represents times where we’ve pulled each other up from the brink of death. Everyone goes through hard times. Sometimes as a couple it can be at different times. The person who has the strength must save the other person and not go down with them. The line “looking down from the top of the hill we climbed” speaks to our album. We accomplished this lofty goal writing. &producing a record in our basement with full time jobs and kids and we are at the top of the hill for the time being. That song sits a-top our record, the first track as an ode to the music we were able to create. Looking down from our hill, reflecting on how far we came to be here. A special shout out to “Long Haul” the last track on the record. It’s a story-telling style of writing, but its the story of us. We’re in it for the long haul. An ode to the fact that you will be hearing more from us in the future.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Probably F off or Knick of Time! We can do a good Hole cover or two as well. Some great rhythm guitar in those songs.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
We feel very fortunate that we are able to write about the human experience. There is a lot more to draw from lyrically when you are in the thick of the rat race, kids, mortgage, people around you in day to day life. The wonder and sheer randomness of the world is what gets us going. We have a unique writing process for two people who live together. We write a lot like a band separated by city! Because of the kids we don’t get a lot of quiet time to just write together for hours. Usually Kyle will go to the studio while Emily takes the kids out and comes up with guitar hooks & riffs over a demo drum track. Just to “go by feel” and channel whatever comes out without too much thought. He will bounce a copy to Emily’s phone and she will listen to it driving, cleaning, whatever and usually come up with the vocal melody first. Some lyrics may come out and the song is written around a lyric that sounds good or just “happens”. Whatever she’s going through or the vibe of the song dictates the topic.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Mental health is a big one, a huge epidemic in this area is happening. People are more willing to talk about it but sometimes music can make you feel like you aren’t alone - someone else has gone through it too! Also just your own personal power, honing in on using your voice, telling people how you feel. We have a song called F Off that does that justice!
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Of course it happens! Emily, “I tend to overthink backing vocals and lyrics. We will do a scratch track, Kyle will get used to it and I want to change some lyrics and things and he’s like DON’T DO IT! I LOVE IT! And I’m like NO! That was just a scratch! The lyrics weren’t finished..!” There is always that fine line between “it could be better” and “don’t over-perfect production or vocal performance” because it looses it’s heart. I think all producers struggle with that. There are times we just pick our battles with each other. We think something should be a certain way but if it’s not a huge deal usually that person just gets used to hearing it that way and that’s where the story ends!
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Our full record comes out on March 31st, 2023 and we are trying to get as many ears to hear it as possible - so we thank you SO MUCH for this interview. I’m certain we will have some live shows lined up for the summer we definitely look forward to that. We are already writing new music, we can’t stop.
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
Our handle is @TheWanderingOff on every social platform and you can go to our website at www.TheWanderingOff.com.