We interview Brett Wildeman about the Mainland Ho! tour
By Angela Espinoza, Arts Editor
Next Monday, March 11, the Mainland Ho! tour will be docking in New Westminster for an afternoon of music and fun. The tour is a team up of BC musicians, West My Friend and Brett Wildeman, who have stops across the province from March 9 to 13. In preparation for the tour, Wildeman contacted The Other Press and was kind enough to give a one-on-one before the New West show at Renaissance Books (on Sixth Street).
“I’ve been playing music for a long time… I played in a Celtic youth group called the Coast Ring Settlers growing up, and that introduced me to the whole group dynamic of music,” said Wildeman. “Then I put my guitar down for about four years when I was attending UVIC.” Despite Wildeman’s shift towards focusing on his studies, he would eventually realize his true calling was music. “For about a decade, I’ve been writing songs; I had all these lyrics but no melodies to accompany them. That’s kind of why I got back into it, and that led me to singing.”
Last March, Wildeman released his first EP via Bandcamp, called Portraits. The EP has a total of five songs on it, all made with the help of friends and fellow musicians. Wildeman also revealed that later this year, he will be releasing his first full-length album.
“In December, I recorded an album I’m going to release in August called Mother Earth. I wrote half that album while I was on a bike trip… last spring, and then I wrote the other half while living on the Sunshine Coast.
“It’s going to be a nine song disc, and was recorded… with a friend, James Law—he engineered and played on Portraits. A lot of the same crew on Portraits worked on Mother Earth, and we did it in four days at Straight Sound Studio, which is a beautiful little studio in Roberts Creek. All the songs are written about either family, which is the “mother” aspect of the title, or the planet and different environmental aspects, which is the “earth” part. It’s a lot more melodic than Portraits. Mother Earth’s a very diverse sounding album too. There are blues elements, some reggae elements… but I would definitely say the foundation of it is a roots/folk sound.”
When it came time to talk about the Mainland Ho! tour, Wildeman was very adamant in stating much of the tour planning came from West My Friend’s side of things.
“I’ve met Jeff [Poynter, accordion and vocals for West My Friend] a couple times over the years—[we] both went to the same university—through the music community…. One of his band members is a teacher and had a week off from school, and I was able to take some time off work at the same time… so we went for it. Jeff is also the mastermind behind the Mainland Ho! title.”
As things were wrapping up between Wildeman and I, he decided to go into more detail about the upcoming concert: “The New West show is going to be the most intimate of all the shows,” said Wildeman. “Jeff [Poynter] contacted Renaissance Books, and they’ve been having open mics there on a regular basis, but this is the first music show they’ve ever had… so we’re really excited about it. It’s going to be really stripped; there’s no sound system. It’s just going to be an acoustic show. [Renaissance Books] is a really interesting venue, since it’s a bookstore and café.
“[You] can expect some heartfelt singing, and I’ve got a couple sing-a-long songs I’ve been working on. It’s exciting to play smaller venues like that because… it’s a really nice intimate setting where you can really connect with the people there.”