“I’m a poet and an actor…and a good enough singer to play the part”, is what Steve Wildesmith, lead singer, creator, and writer for the self-titled band Wildesmith, says about his live-show. Driven by the desire to engage live audiences with his energetic and dramatic stage performance that is authentically fun, Steve has drawn on his wealth of experience in creating this most recent iteration of Wildesmith.
Steve’s roots are in punk-rock, a genre to which he gave his song-writing skill for many years as the lead singer for Ottawa based band, Section 8. Throughout the 80’s Section 8 regularly rocked large Ottawa clubs such as Barrymore’s and The Underground, the latter now known as the popular concert venue, Zaphod’s. Playing three sets a night of original tunes, the band gained the kind of popularity that packed houses. Still, while his punk rock soul provided an avenue for him to play the stage, connect to audiences, and learn the game of putting on a show, Wildesmith also recognized within himself the desire to create a project which would allow him to write in an alternate style, speak different words and grooves, and tap into the wider range of his creative self.
His 2009 album “bRoKN sLeEP” might therefore be considered the precursor to what he would later do live and in recordings with Wildesmith. In a review from Cross Rhythms, Paddy Hudspith deemed the album an “impressive collection of crunchy yet melodic rock, sounding at once contemporary yet classic[…]we encounter memorable hooks, coupled with an indie-punk "crunch" when required and the odd sonic surprise” (November, 2009). In an interview with Wildesmith, he called “bRoKN sLeEP” his ‘cathartic band’, for the reason that it was his first opportunity to express all of the ideas and sounds that he was not able to do with Section 8. The 14 song album would be used as fuel for Wildesmith, with some of the words, hooks and rhythms being brought to the new band to be reworked or reinvented.
Looking at chord progressions and lyrics that he’s written throughout his career as ‘parts’, like say of an automobile, Wildesmith enjoys playing with old ‘parts’ until they come together under just the right conditions, rendering each song a pastiche of working, active elements. This feat is one that has been facilitated by his collaboration with the players in Wildesmith. Backed by the talented Dan Hay (rhythm/lead guitar), Blair Hogan (Rhythm/lead guitar), Jeffrey Steel (bass guitar) and Jamie Kronick (drums), each with their own extensive histories of performance and playing, the collective brings to the stage a sound that is at once prog-rock, alt-punk, and sub-pop with psychedelic overtones.
This dynamic and vibrant group brings a true show to the stage with songs that speak equally of political themes like war (Why oh Why), greed (Eyes), oppression (That’s Right), and of course, of love (there’s a little love in all of it). The band has been active for about a year and a half, playing such venues as The Elmdale House Tavern, The Lunenburg Pub, and Zaphods. Wildesmith is currently in midst of recording their full-length album, which will include songs from their live performance as well as songs that have yet to be released to audiences. When asked what his favourite song is, Wildesmith cheekily replies “well…the one I’m writing!”…and audiences should hope that if the ones he’s written are any indication of the one he’s writing, that his favourite song be on the upcoming album!