Interview with The Wild! frontman Dylan Villain

Date: April 10, 2017
Interviewer: Olivier
Photos: Joelsview Photography (2nd photo); Olivier (4th photo)


Sleaze Roxx: So, congratulations on your new album! It’s always hard to follow up a really good debut album but it seems that The Wild! have had no difficulties in doing that with ‘Wild At Heart.’ Did you feel any pressure to follow up the EP?

Dylan Villain: Well, first of all, thanks man! I appreciate that. I don’t know. I wasn’t really necessarily thinking that way. You know, my mindset was more set into the theme of I wanted to take what was working from the EP and live show. Playing the songs from the EP in the live show and really bring those moments to the forefront with this record. I was sort of looking at it objectively in a way — just really paying attention to certain moments for the first record’s songs that the crowd was really latching on to. And like I said, I just wanted to amplify all of that and bring all of that in the forefront when I wrote this record. You know, I knew that obviously you don’t want to come out with a bad record [laughs]. I mean, that’s obvious or whatever. I knew that we had a great record when we had the songs together for it and we’re quite proud of it for sure.

Sleaze Roxx: In terms of the songs, when were they written because I know that your debut EP took a little while to come together. So when did you write the new songs for this record?

Dylan Villain:  Well, a lot of them had been songs that had been around for a while. We watched them develop over time and reworked them and things like that. Some of them were written just as we were in between tours of the first record and things like that. But you know, it was sort of a collective of things like that. For example, for a song like “Ready To Roll,” it was in contention for the EP actually. We knew that it was a great song and all that but it needed some more work. “Rattlesnake Shake” — We’d played that song live a few times while touring the EP. But then songs like “Another Bottle,” “White Devil” and “Kansas City Shuffle,” those were new ones that were written specifically for the record. I guess they were all written specifically for this record but I guess those ones, when they were written, they were newer or whatever.

Sleaze Roxx: You must have loved your album title ‘Wild At Heart’ because I think that’s what you were going to call your EP originally and now, you finally went with the title! What made you decide to go with the title even though you’ve thought obviously about it for a long time?

Dylan Villain: Yeah! I know. It’s been in the running or whatever for a while now. What happened was that the first record was actually going to be a full-length. And it was written. There’s other songs that no one’s heard — well, I shouldn’t say no one — that weren’t on ‘GxDxWxB’ and aren’t on ‘Wild At Heart.’ Before we hooked up with Mike [Fraser], before we hooked up with eOne

Photo by Joelsview Photography

and all that good stuff, we were releasing a full-length record. And yeah, the title was ‘Wild At Heart.’ And then when we named the EP, I just kind of… I don’t know. I just wanted the first full-length to be called ‘Wild At Heart’ so that is why we ended up not calling the EP ‘Wild At Heart.’ It seemed like a better move. In my head, it just seemed to make sense to call the first full-length record released by this band ‘Wild At Heart.’And you know, being that I have that tattoo on my neck, it just kind of all made sense.

Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs] Sure. So, what happened to Pistol Pete?

Dylan Villain: That’s definitely not something that I’m willing to discuss.

Sleaze Roxx: Really?

Dylan Villain: Really.

Sleaze Roxx: OK.  Well, what about The Kid? How did you recruit The Kid?

Dylan Villain: I’ve known him for about seven years to eight years. His original band prior to The Wild! — Thrillhouse — used to open for us a lot on the road and we brought him out and played in lots of different places. I watched him grow as a musician and become this really great writer and really great guitarist and performer. You know, it just made a lot of sense to have him. When we needed to fill the role, it seemed to really be that there was no one else that we wanted. That’s why there was no audition or anything like that for public — to put it out to the public. It was just a very seamless transition because again, he’d toured with us and we’ve known him for such a long time. It’s fantastic man! He’s a really really talented guy.

Sleaze Roxx: Cool! So did you just call him up and say, “Do you want to join The Wild!?” or was there some sort of audition? 

Dylan Villain: Nah [laughs]. I called him and pretty much made his life. You know, it was really cool because we’re his favorite band. It’s funny. You know those Facebook memory things or whatever that pop up, he got one the other day actually and it was from — I am trying to remember — it’s old, like 2013 or something like that. 2012 or whatever. He had this post where he posted one of our videos and he said, “This is my new favorite band. I hope maybe one day that I can play with them [laughs].”

Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs]

Dylan Villain: He just shared it on Facebook the other day. We had a good laugh about that. It’s pretty cool to see.

Sleaze Roxx: That’s awesome. And for your video for “Ready To Roll”,  it looked like you guys were real risk takers. How did you think up all the shenanigans that you put on the video?

Dylan Villain: Yeah, it’s always a tough one with us. Basically, what it comes down to is when we shoot a video, the hard part is, “Wow. How are we going to top that on the next one?” So basically, it’s a whole lot of me sitting there dreaming up and scheming up all these fucking ideas that I know that no other band would do — either wouldn’t have the balls to do or wouldn’t think that they could or should do it or whatever. I mean, that’s what makes us us. You know, that’s what separates us from the pack is that sort of thinking and that mentality. Not just for videos — for music, for touring, for the way we play and the things we do. If someone else is not gonna do it, then that’s what we’re going to do. You know, because that’s just who we are [laughs] and we like that sort of thing. Yeah man, now having shot that one — doing all the shit we did with that one — narrowly escaping all the trouble we almost got in with a lot of that one. It’s kind of [laughs] for the next song and the next video, “Wow. What are we going to do now?” I don’t know how we are going to top it but we’re definitely going to find a way. I tell you that!

The Wild!‘s “Ready To Roll” video:

The Wild! – Ready To Roll

“Ready To Roll” single streaming now on Spotify and Google Play – Wild At Heart album now at:iTunes: http://flyt…

Sleaze Roxx: Do you have a next single in mind?

Dylan Villain: Uhhh, there’s a few floating around. But you know, “Ready To Roll” is still fucking way back up the charts now so it debuted at #16, hung around there for a while, dropped down to twenty something for a while, and now we’re back at #11 [Editor’s note: The interview was conducted on March 13, 2017]. It’s got a whole other week to spin and we’ll see if it can crack the top 10 with it so it’s still going strong. So we’ve got some life left in it before we start kicking some new music or new single I guess. 

Sleaze Roxx: So, I finally got to see you guys live and I was really impressed by the energy of your live show. Really impressive considering that you were the opening act. Is that something that you guys choreograph before or does it just happen on stage?

Dylan Villain: Well I mean, when you call yourself The Wild!, you certainly can’t stand around, even when you’re playing. But a lot of it has to do with how the music that we write, that we play and how that makes us feel. And I think that’s it’s indicative of us to perform that way, especially when you’re an opener. I love that. That to me, I don’t want to say — there’s no disrespect for any headliners that we’re out on tour with ’cause we’re friends with all of them but we’re there to make them work. You know, that’s the beauty — it’s not like sports — but there’s a friendly competitive nature there. If your opener comes out and fucking smokes it, and you’re the headliner, you’ve got to go to work. The best part about that is that the fans get a better show. There’s nothing wrong with it. But that’s always been our philosophy and you know what, if we end up putting on a great show, and people are talking about it as they are walking away, then we did our job. That’s great. There’s nothing wrong with that.

The Wild! performing “Deuces” in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada on October 4, 2016:

The Wild!-Waterloo

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Sleaze Roxx: I know that it’s a little early in your career but have you guys thought of putting out a live album?

Dylan Villain: Uhhh, that’s interesting because it’s definitely an element that’s hard to capture. We know we’re a live band. We know that the live show is the spectacle of the band. It’s cool. We’re very very proud of that ’cause that’s what always sold us to anyone whose needed to believe — be it fans, agents; labels, whatever. But I don’t know how you capture that, especially without videos. So if anything, I’d like to do some more live videos or live footage, because the YouTube stuff that fans shoot, it’s cool but it’s also hard to capture that energy. I don’t know. It would be cool to do something. One thing kind of off topic but sort of related to thatI really want to do some sort of home video. Remember when bands used to do home videos? Those were so fucking cool.

Sleaze Roxx: Yeah, yeah.

Dylan Villain: They’d have stuff where they’re behind the scenes or in the studio, and then they’d have live videos in there of some sort. I don’t know. Maybe something like that one day, that would be cool.

Sleaze Roxx: So, what is on tap for The Wild! for 2017?

Dylan Villain: Just really supporting the record man! We have a lot coming down the pike right now. It’s pretty cool. I can’t talk about a lot of it but we’re basically trying to get to a lot of new areas to tour this record because it’s been so well received everywhere. I mean, Canada will always be our home and has always been so good to us, holds us up and supports us. But with the amount of fans that we are gaining in Europe and the press that we are getting in Europe right now, it’s insane man!It alike I said. We just really want to be on the road all the time, as much as we possibly can, to support this record, because you know, we believe in it. We believe we’ve put out a great record and we’re quite proud of it, and we want more people to hear it. So, we’re stoked to be on the road more man. That and a couple more videos probably. Yeah. It’s more and more of the same old thing that you’re used to with us.

Sleaze Roxx: Cool. So far, you’ve toured Canada and the [United] States, is that correct?

Dylan Villain: Yes. We’ve toured North America twice.

Sleaze Roxx: Any last words that you want to say?

Dylan Villain: Just thank you to you guys for especially putting us on from day one. We really appreciate that and everyone at Sleaze Roxx ’cause you guys were there from the very start. That’s very cool. Thank you! Thanks to all the fans for supporting us. We worked really hard on this record so to see it received so well by everyone, it’s an amazing feeling. Thsnk you for all the support! We’ll keep putting it out as long as they keep giving it back. Thanks again everyone.