Colyn Cameron has been busy splitting his time between Portland and Vancouver in preparation for his band Wake Owl’s latest release The Private World of Paradise, out March 4th. BeatRoute caught up with Cameron while he was in Portland with his band rehearsing and preparing for their upcoming tour, kicking off at Granville Island’s Performance Works stage for Winterruption. The album will be out just in time to relieve some of those late-winter blues, which Cameron survives by “just making music. That makes me make it through the winter. I write music in the basement with the space heater on.”
The tour will be somewhat of an experiment, with the new music sounding less like West-Coast folk and more into the world of experimental synth, movie soundtracks and high school dances. “There’s definitely parts of it that it gets pretty groovy if you wanted to have a mellow dance party. Our goal for the live show is to create an atmosphere with the live music where people can just dance and feel comfortable with themselves.”
Wake Owl has been busy making the switch from acoustic-guitar-driven writing to a sonic variety of keys, electronics and mid-tempo retro folk pop. “We kind of traded in the guitar for more rhythm based songs,” says Cameron. “Drums and a rhythm section holding the song more and having little analogue stints or electric guitar floating over it… There’s a lot that’s different but I hope that doesn’t scare people too much.” The band isn’t too worried about their fans going anywhere though, as Cameron recalls some overly-anxious fans that showed up to SXSW last year with their hearts set on Wake Owl.
The next two months will be a big trek for the band, as they will be touring the US and Canada for this first full-length that the band has to offer. Instead of viewing the tour as a city-to-city experience, Cameron sees it as a North American cultural study, exploring the same influences of Western culture the whole way across the continent. “I’ve experienced other cultures and I definitely look forward to playing different cultures if I ever get the opportunity to.” If given that chance, he sees Wake Owl fitting in into a secret little European underground venue, or a beautiful old theatre – although with some sound adjustments, as he learned at the Opheum in 2013!
“We played at the Orpheum recently and we weren’t prepared sound-wise, there’s a lot of things to figure out in a room that big,” says Cameron with a laugh. Be assured, they will be prepared next time after all this touring under their belts.
It’s a good thing that life on the road is an adventure and experience for the band, because they have a lot of it ahead of them, but even if Cameron wasn’t a musician he entertains the thought of what he’d be doing instead. “I think I’d be travelling the world trying to figure it out, I have no idea.”
The Private World of Paradise is out March 4th, with a tour kick-off show in Vancouver on February 15th at Performance Works on Granville Island for Winterruption Festival. In Alberta and Manitoba, catch Wake Owl at the West End Cultural Centre (Winnipeg) on March 5th, at the Starlite (Edmonton) on March 7th and at Republik (Calgary) on March 8th.
By Jessica Brodeur