Although The Wilderness of Manitoba has always centred around vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Will Whitwham, on the group’s new album, Across The Dark—out Sept. 15 on Pheromone Recordings, the structure as a collective remains intact, specifically with the inclusion of a female voice in tandem with Whitwham’s.
From the band’s formation in 2009 (in Toronto, not Manitoba) WoM has redefined itself with every new release, running the gamut from four-part harmonies and its initial chamber-folk sound, to cinematic indie pop and anthemic folk-rock.
The album, Across The Dark, is a little closer to what the present line-up of the band sounds like live, and the title reflects the notion Whitwham has that when you’ve committed to something sonically, you need to be confident enough to “cross the dark” with it. It’s also a reflection of the band’s heavy touring regimen, consisting of long stretches of dark Canadian roads.
The Wilderness Of Manitoba will hit those roads again, kicking off their latest tour on Sept. 19, which will take them from Ontario to the west coast and back through to the end of October. For more info, go here
What makes Across The Dark stand apart from your previous work?
It's closer to how the band sounds like a live touring act. We've experimented a lot in the studio over the past few albums while maintaining a core sound as a touring act, and while that sound has always remained intact, it hasn't always been easy in the studio just because there are so many options with multiple outcomes. I limited myself a little more on this record and ended up with something tighter.
What song(s) on the album best capture your current musical vision?
I’m pleased with how “Head For The Hills,”“Clovers” and “On My Mind” turned out.
How are you planning on presenting the new album live?
As a four piece band: Jenny Berkel alongside myself on guitar and vocals, TavoDiez De Bonilla on bass and Marshall Bureau on drums. The live show is an in-the-moment portrait of the band and its efforts. There is no lacking in quantity musical ideas and we’re looking forward to getting back to performing as a live entity.
What song in your catalogue means the most to you and why?
Probably the song “Manitoba” [from 2009’s Hymns Of Love & Spirits] because I wrote it for someone who was far away at the time.
What song by another artist do you wish you had written?
“Have You Forgotten” by Red House Painters.