AMBY caught up with Vancouver’s Brett Wildeman, a raw-coastal-folk musician who tells us about growing up in a small town, his adventures biking across California and his encounter with a salamander. Have a read below to get the scoop and find out about Brett’s upcoming album Mother Earth. Thanks again Brett Wildeman for giving us your answers!
AMBY: Tell us about yourself.
Brett Wildeman: My name is Brett Wildeman, I live on the sunshine coast, I’m a folk musician, that’s what I call myself- singer, songwriter, guitar player, harmonica player, occasional ukulele player. I’m in my mid 20’s, grew up playing Celtic music, grew up in a small town called Robert’s Creek which is also where I’m living now. I’ve kind of been floating around the last handful of years. Just recently ended up back here so its pretty good to be back.
AMBY: For all those prospective listeners out there, how would you describe your sound?
Brett Wildeman: I call my sound raw folk, or raw coastal folk is kind of how I describe it. In a couple festival applications this summer, I described it as being the angst of Neil Young combined with the melodicness of Damien Rice. I don’t know, I’ve just been compared to both, so that seemed like halfway in the middle. Some people say my music reminds them of Tallest Man on Earth, who I’m a big fan of so that’s always a big compliment. Yeah, that’s what I sound like I think.
AMBY: How, if at all, has being in BC influenced your music?
Brett Wildeman: I grew up in a small town so I think that in my lyrics natural setting and natural environment really influence what I write about and how I approach things. I grew up in a pretty progressive family so kind of my subject matter is probably west coast based quite often, but I’m not scared to venture into different subject matter that maybe aren’t so geographically restricted. I studied geography and political science at University so I think those local and natural elements definitely funnel into my music, whether conscience or unconscious it definitely happens. Yeah, just having time to explore the outdoors and not worrying about issue that go along with living in the big city. I definitely had a pretty upbringing, spend lots of time outside in the mud exploring forests and building forest.
AMBY: If you could invite three people to dinner who would you choose?
Brett Wildeman: I would say Neil Young because that would be pretty epic, even though it might be kind of awkward. I just read Anthony Kiedis’ autobiography and his crazy life so lets just throw him in there, Anthony Kiedis from the Red Hot Chilly Peppers. I’d say like, Albert Einstein, because that would be just really random. We wouldn’t even be able to communicate I don’t think. It would be a very different dialogue and mode of speaking because that was a different time, but lets say Albert Einstein would be my third. He’s kind of a random card but we’ll throw him in there.
AMBY: What’s your personal favourite track you’re produced thus far?
Brett Wildeman: That is a tough one. I’m going to have to go with a track off my yet to be released album Mother Earth called Life’s Storm. It sounds so full yet there’s no base in it or any low stringed instruments. Just some piano, guitar and drums, but it really seems to work, and electric guitar.
AMBY: Who were the last three artists/bands you listened to?
Brett Wildeman: I was listening to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers earlier in my car today. I was just listening to Ben Harper for some easy listening mellow music before I go to bed, and then earlier actually I was listening to Atmosphere from Minnesota who I love. I had a conversation about him and my love for his music when I was out for breakfast in Vancouver with some friends, he came on the speakers at the restaurant so that is artist number three: Atmosphere.
AMBY: What are you most proud of?
Brett Wildeman: This is a very broad question. Musically I’m very proud of this new album that’s going to come out/ I don’t know if I’m most proud of that. Something that I’m very proud of is last year I rod down the California Coast on my bike by myself, camping along the way. It was 1200 km of cycling. It took me like 2-3 weeks and I did it by myself so that was definitely a proud moment in terms of just doing something on your own and not giving up and giving it 110%. That’s probably in the last year, something I’m really proud of. Don’t know if it’s the most proud moment or event but it’s up there.
AMBY: If you could tour with anyone, who would it be?
Brett Wildeman: Right now I’d have to say either Ben Howard or Tallest Man on Earth. That’s what I’m going to go with I think. I’m in love with Ben Howard’s new album, came out in the last year or two years. And Tallest Man on Earth just has this mystic around him. I saw him at Sasquatch a couple years ago and it was amazing that one man could hold a stage so well, but he did, just with a guitar and his voice. He did an amazing job so that’s something to kind of strive for.
AMBY: What can we expect in the near future from Brett Wildeman?
Brett Wildeman: I’m going to be touring BC and Alberta in August and I’m doing a cycling trip of Vancouver Island in the fall. These are both in support of Mother Earth which is coming out in July, date still yet to be finalized. I’ve got a couple video projects on the go. I’m in the early stage of pre production with a Videographer and I have some new merchandise, CD stuff, that’s coming in the near future, tour and I just launce a monthly muffin Blog on my website about muffins I’ve been making, so keep an eye out on my Tumbler blog for that.
AMBY: Tell AMBY something you’ve never told anyone before.
Brett Wildeman: That’s a tough one. I guess one thing, I don’t know if this is very exciting but when I was on my bike trip on the Coast I was in Northern California, it was pouring rain and I vividly remember seeing this little salamander trying to cross this busy highway. It wasn’t busy at the time but it was a pretty major route, and I felt bad for the little guy because he was trying to cross this two lane road and being a salamander you can’t move very fast. So I actually turned around after passing him because I felt bad for him and then parked my bike on the side of the road, my pedal bike, and picked him up and put him on the other side of the road where he was headed and put him in the grass so he didn’t have to worry about getting run over. That almost inspired me to make the salamander as the logo on my album, but it’s not a salamander, it’s another animal sort of creature. So I guess that’s two things I never told anyone; 1) that I saved a salamander in Northern California while riding my bike down the California Coast because I love salamanders, I grew up playing with them and findings them on the coast, and 2) Is that the salamander almost inspired me to put him as the logo on my album. But he’s not the logo, it’s another animal or creature. But I can’t tell you the secret about the animal that is on the album cover, but it is some sort of creature.
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