Photo Credit: Randi Hutchison
Great musicians that care about what they are presenting to their fans have a tendency to find great supporting acts when they tour. It’s not surprising that Bahamas let freshmen Wake Owl open for him when he rolled through town at the end of March. The three members grabbed the sold out crowds attention performing their five song set. I am horrible at remembering opening bands name. I am horrible with names in the general so I try to make a note of buying something from the merch table to remember the groups name and to support the band as well. I ended up picking up Wake Owl’s EP, Wild Country. The band was fresh out of copies, but before the show they burnt a couple hundred extras and put them in Ziplock bags. Basically whenever I brought the CD out I felt as though I was bringing a bag of weed out to the party.
The newly formed group, based out of Vancouver, is the creative brainchild of Colyn Cameron. Over the summer of 2011 he took the time to compose Wild Country. Lyrically and musically the song run together like a beautiful autumn evening, you can feel the change in the air and see the leaves changing colour in the 20 minutes that song run. Colyn writes lyrics as though he has lived an entire lifetime. In the opening track he sings “If I wanna leave I will, stand on my feet I do/ Only take these words, you never believe are true/ I’m never gonna chase something, it’s a total waste running/ After what they take in hundreds, look at what they praise, nothing.” When Colyn was studying agricultural farming in England he stated on his blog “I WANT TO BE A POET!” I spoke with him last month while he was celebrating his birthday in San Francisco, and asked him about the writing process. “When I was 15 I really started playing music. I was living in England playing with a lot different kinds of musicians, but never taking anything too seriously. In grade 12, I stopped playing music and was only writing. It helped me gain confidence in writing something that was meaningful. I was focusing on poetry, and eventually the two mediums met back together. It allowed to write lyrics that meant something, but also allowed me to sing them in a melodic way.”
The words and music came naturally for Colyn in the summer he decided he wanted to make something he could look back on and be proud of. “Wake Owl began in the summer; I was writing some tunes. I had been in some different bands before and I was just getting over that… getting over different break ups. I was trying to find my own voice, and wanted to do a piece of art that I could be proud of. I wasn’t thinking about the long term. I wanted to make an EP that I could look back on and be proud of.” Colyn is composed and thoughtful when talking about Wake Owl. Even though phone interviews aren’t the most personal way to talk with someone, you can still tell that this project is very dear to his heart and he cares a lot for the people that chose to join him on this journey.
The goal is simple: tour your ass off, and get to as many people as you can. Basically all this band needs is for people to show up at the venue, and they will be hooked. Their stage presence is captivating and endearing. The songs are romantic and thought provoking. Violinist Adien, brings the woeful element to the songs that Colyn was looking for when creating Wild Country. “These five songs are something that I can share with people. I needed a name; I didn’t want to go with my own name because I was never attracted to the singer/songwriter box that you get stuck in. I like the bands like Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes, where even though it’s a songwriter that’s really fronting the project, there is this mysteriousness about it. I kind of resonate with doing that, just having a name to stand behind. Then Wake Owl came. A month later people (in Vancouver) really wanted to see the songs live.” Local Vancouver magazine Dischord stated, “Wake Owl is the type of music that makes you crumble at the knees.” Considering that Dischord a known for harsh review, this is a huge compliment to Wake Owl, especially because it’s a local magazine supporting what you are doing.
I read an article that the Edmonton Journal published last week about Wake Owl being a buzzband. Buzzbands to me are bands that hit the scene too quickly and lose steam. Wake Owl is far from a buzzband. If they continue to go the way they are heading there is no doubt that Wake Owl will be headlining shows, and have staying power in the music scene all over. Colyn Cameron will get the chance to look back in 20 years from now and be proud that he created something that was pure and he was truly passionate about.
Wake Owl will be opening for Zeus on May 23rd at Broken City.