We’re living in a time of history with the current events of the COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement. Everyone’s lives have been turned upside down. How are you and the band currently holding up with everything that is going on in our world right now?
Dan: It's a strange time for sure, but considering we've all been in some form of quarantine for the better part of this year, we're starting to develop a surreal sense of normality. The weirdest thing for us is having our biggest release as a band under our belt, and not being able to tour to support it. We do feel like Veil is being robbed of that opportunity, but I also realize that's the case for all musicians with new material right now. The silver lining, I guess, is that it's giving us the time to focus on writing our new album so I try to focus on that.
Congratulations on your re-issue of Veil of Imagination. What was the initial response to the album, prior to your signing with Century Media?
Evan: Very positive! I don’t remember there being too many negative responses. There’s always a handful of people that wish we kept that “piratey folky” thing we did on our first album, haha, but I think most people understand we’re doing something different now. Overall, it seems like people appreciated some of the updates we made to our sound, and some of the new territories we were treading, so that was reassuring.
You were an independent band before signing with Century Media. How does that experience compare to signing with a major label?
Dan: So far so good. Granted, it's early in our working relationship, but I feel like we're in good hands. The people at Century Media really seem to care about the band and are legitimately excited about the material and that's to me the biggest benefit. Everything else comes a lot easier, when there's a mutual sense of passion behind all the business decisions.
How did you get your start in the music industry?
Evan: In terms of Wilderun, I’d say we only just now began “in the industry.” Prior to signing to Century Media, everything has been completely independent. We’ve been playing shows across the country for a few years now, so I suppose that’s sorta dipped our toes in parts of the industry, but mostly it was a very indie feeling. Personally, a couple of us have been doing other work in the music industry. Wayne has been doing film and television music for years now, and I do some music and audio for mobile games.
How did Wilderun form?
Dan: We all met at Berklee College of Music in Boston. When Evan decided to form the band, he reached out to the people he knew in the metal scene there and those connections eventually led to all of us. It's a small community there, so it makes it easy to get hooked up with like-minded people.
All of the members went to Berklee and everyone in the band possesses a musical background. Do you feel like that experience has benefited your songwriting?
Evan: I think so. It’s a bit hard to say because sometimes I felt like some more of the theoretical music knowledge was stunting some of that more “free” and “spontaneous” creativity, since I was focusing more on the technical side of things. But I think I’ve mostly learned to put that stuff aside when I need to. In other regards, it can really help the technical process of communicating with each other, in musical terms. I think it expedites the actual creation of the final product, because we have some music theory-based shortcuts when explaining ideas to each other.
What is your writing process like? Do you write individually or as a collective?
Dan: It's traditionally been Evan who demos out all the material and then we write our parts based on his ideas, but this album was a bit more collaborative. We made the point of getting together and playing the material in person, well before booking studio time, so that everyone could bounce ideas off one another based off of Evan's original demos. It definitely made for a more unique approach to the record.
The album artwork for Veil of Imagination is both beautiful and thought-provoking. Could you provide us with details regarding the cover art? Who created the artwork, how was it designed, and how does it fit the album?
Evan: It was a piece originally called “Veil of Summer” by Adrian Cox. Obviously, the title of the piece influenced the title of our album. First of all, we just felt like the piece fit the music from a purely aesthetic standpoint. The juxtaposition of the serene field of flowers and the strange, dark form in the center felt related to the mood we were wanting to create with the music. It also seemed to align well with a lot of the lyrical content. Much of Veil deals with feelings of being trapped inside your head and your skin, unable to truly experience and appreciate the natural world around you, and it seemed like that strange, calcified character in the artwork might be experiencing something like that.
What are your favorite tracks off the album?
Dan: It always changes for me depending on my mood but at the moment I'd say “The Unimaginable Zero Summer.” Although, “The Tyranny of Imagination” is probably my favorite song to play live.
Who/what are some of your influences and inspiration for your sound?
Dan: It's a very mixed bag. We all bring something unique to the table because we all listen to a lot of different kinds of music. I tend to bring more of the electronic, minimalist, and black metal influences into the mix.
Who are some of your favorite artists? If you could have a dream collab with anyone, who would it be and why?
Evan: This is always such a hard question because it varies so much from week to week, year to year, etc. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of Mogwai, Aphex Twin, Cardiacs, and some random Irish folk music. I’m honestly not sure if we’re the type of band that will collab with anyone else. I feel like we may have to keep things a bit insular to achieve the results we’re looking for (and we all know each other so well that we can be full-blown maniacs and no one will run away). However, we would eventually really like to have some real chamber instruments on an album, so at that point, we’d love to collaborate with some killer chamber ensemble players.
You recently released the re-issue of your LP Veil of Imagination on July 17, 2020. Initially, there were plans for an upcoming tour to promote the album, but it’s been postponed due to the lockdown. How did this affect the band, and what are your plans to help stay on track?
Dan: While everything is shut down, we hope to release some more content for the fans whether that be playthrough videos, more "quarantine sessions," a livestream concert, or what have you. Our main focus right now is finishing writing the album so we can get into the studio next year so that's our priority.
Everyone’s been hit hard by our current circumstances, including artists, as the pandemic has slowed everything to a sudden halt. The music industry has been severely impacted by the postponement and cancellations of scheduled tours and festivals, leaving musicians stuck at home. The fate of many venues are currently at risk and may be forced to shut their doors for good. Unfortunately, it appears that there will be a long waiting period before concerts make a comeback. What are your thoughts on the long term effects this situation may have on the industry? What actions do you think should be taken to combat this issue, and help artists get back on their feet once live music is able to return?
Evan: I hate to say that we’re just as clueless as I think everyone is. I’m definitely afraid it’s going to have ripple effects for a while. I just hope 2021 can look somewhat normal, so we can make up for lost time from this year. Hopefully, once a good vaccine is available, everything can start shifting back into place. Besides that, I hope that virus testing can become easy and quick - perhaps we can develop a system where patrons to shows are checked right before entering and can get verification within 20 minutes or so. If we can get something like that established at venues around the world, maybe things can start to look more normal.
Due to the pandemic, live shows are placed on hold indefinitely, and touring is at a standstill right now. However, many artists are finding new creative ways to interact with their fans amidst all of the chaos; utilizing their social media platforms to share content, check-in with their audiences, participate in livestreams, perform songs and put on “virtual concerts,” and provide insight into their new routines in quarantine. Do you have any plans that are similar in nature, to help pass the time until shows are back up and running again?
Dan: A livestream concert would be fun to do, especially considering we're all starved for shows and performing, but it's got to be something we'd be excited about doing. Just putting up a camera, and playing songs we've played 100 times before doesn't really do it for me. I'm not sure yet what that all would mean, but it's something we are seriously considering.
What is one cause or organization that you are passionate about?
Dan: We all come from very different social and political backgrounds, but for me personally, I like to think of myself as a big advocate for conservation. Open space and public land are an important part of American culture, and we need to be respectful of the land we're so blessed to benefit from.
What is the main thing that you would really like for people to take away from your music?
Evan: I don’t think I can personally tell that to anyone. Music is so intrinsically personal, that I just hope people are getting something meaningful and emotional from it. The music I love is able to temporarily transcend me to a different, unusual emotional state, and if our music can do that to anyone else, then I think that’s all that matters. Maybe it can teach you something, or maybe it can just help you escape for a bit. As long as you feel something.
Do you have anything else that you would like to tell our readers?
Dan: I hope everyone is staying healthy and safe. Don't let the pandemic get the best of you, and go outside. Human beings are not meant to spend most of our time indoors, so take care of your mental health and breathe some fresh air.
Thank you so much for your time! It was a pleasure having the opportunity to talk to you and I’m really enjoying the album. I wish you luck and hope that we will see you on stage soon! Stay safe and take care!
Dan: Likewise! Thank you for the opportunity!
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Interview By: Bri Rodriguez
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