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CMW 2013, Interviews, Music

CMW Preview: An Interview With The Wilderness of Manitoba’s Will Whitwham

By: Curtis Sindrey –

With their recent album Island of Echoes, The Wilderness of Manitoba perfected their catchy folk melodies, along with rich harmonies. They are currently touring in support of that album including a stop in Toronto at The Revival on March 22nd for Canadian Music Week, and they are already thinking of ideas for a follow-up album.

“We’re always writing,” says multi-instrumentalist and singer Will Whitwham. “We’ll probably start recording a new album in the fall because we have a lot of touring to do over the summer.”

Whitham promises even more new music, this time with his solo project Lake Forest, who released their debut album Silver Skies in February 2011. The sombre, melancholic and introspective songs that lined the album are a cosmically different sound from the often fun, poppy songs of The Wilderness of Manitoba.

“I’m been completing the second album over this winter,” Whitwham says. “I hope to get that out in the fall, probably in September.”

Success is a revolving door for Whitwham. “Sometimes I feel that I’ve have reached success and other times I’m always reaching for the next thing and I think that’s the way that it’s always going to be,” explains Whitwham. He doesn’t allow his music to linger, instead he quickly off to his next project beams to the next project seamlessly. “I am always only briefly satisfied with the music and then dissatisfied with it,” he says. “I usually already have it behind me and that’s what makes it exciting because you never get tired of it that way.”

With the collapse of their American label last year, Whitwham and company strengthened the DIY work ethic that they’ve practiced throughout their career. “We’ve always had a DIY approach like recording things ourselves and throwing our own shows,” he says. “There has to be that DIY savviness in this day and age and even when we had the American label behind us we were still doing all of our own recordings and stuff.”

The Wilderness of Manitoba has been in a state of constant flux over the past few years with several line-up changes including the loss of vocalist Melissa Dalton and bassist Scott Bouwmeester. These changes allowed them to further refine their sound and with the addition of new bassist Wes McClintock and Amanda Balsys, they strive to make their new music bigger, louder and stronger.

“We now have an ability to strengthen our dynamics,” explains Whitwham. “We can get really loud now and also really quiet so it’s nice to have both of those polar opposites happen during a set or also throughout a record.”

In addition to The Wilderness of Manitoba’s set on March 22nd, Whitwham will also be performing an “80’s-inspired, synth and guitar-based project” called Let’s Build Machines. “It’s a thing that I’ve been doing for the past few years,” explains Whitwham. “I haven’t released an album of that stuff yet.”

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