Saskatchewan-based The Wolfe came to national attention in Canada in a big way earlier this year as finalists in the CBC Searchlight competition. The recognition was completely deserved for this trio of musicians – even though they are young, their work is mature yet energetic, and they are focused not only on being superb musicians but also on making connections with their audiences, and making a difference.
The Wolfe will appear on the Main Stage at the Gateway Festival later this month. We’re thrilled to have the chance to talk with them about their career thus far, and their plans for their Gateway appearance.
How did your experience with the Searchlight contest impact you all, both in terms of exposure and how you approach your work as musicians?
The impact Searchlight had on our lives, not only in terms of the band, but individually was huge. In a way, making it to the national top 4 finalists, validated everything for us. It pushed us to take the next step and try and make it out there on a professional level. Having just graduated, we were in that tricky time of our lives where we’re forced to make life-changing choices, and instead of taking a year off or heading to post-secondary, we decided to jump right in and start our careers in music right away following Searchlight. It’s also opened the eyes of many, to the fact that yes, we’re serious, and yes, we can do it. The exposure has led to many new fans, new mentors, and new friends. We couldn’t have asked for anything more from Searchlight.
Saskatchewan has what seems to me to be a really thriving music community – a fact that might surprise some people who think that all the music comes from big cities like Toronto or Vancouver. Have you found it easier or more difficult as musicians, coming from a fairly small city like Prince Albert?
The music scene in Saskatchewan is amazing. Some of our own personal favourite artists come from Saskatchewan, which is really cool and inspirational. There’s pros and cons to living anywhere. It wouldn’t really be an accurate answer for us to say it’s easier or harder, because we’ve never been a band in a big city. It’s easier because when something happens, for example, our success in Searchlight, you have your whole province rooting for you. It’s harder because there isn’t as many people out and about, and sometimes it’s very difficult to get people out to shows. That’s small city life, and we wouldn’t trade our experience here as a band for anything. Prince Albert has been very very supportive of us over the years, and continues to do so. Some of our most diehard fans come from Prince Albert, and it’s an honour to be inspiring them everyday to follow their passion.
“Dumb Dog,” the song you submitted for Searchlight, is (to me, anyway) a great declaration about being yourself as opposed to being the person that someone else – a friend, a lover, etc. – expects you to be. In an interview with CBC, you told the story of how you taught the song to a group of girls in a workshop who found it really inspiring and empowering. What did that experience show you about the power of music in the lives of others?
Working with youth is overall a great experience when they look up to you and what you’re doing. Following these workshops where we talked to, mentored, and played for young girls, we always feel a little better about what we’re doing. That our music, and our story, is already impacting the lives of so many. Music is the most powerful way to connect people. Even if the girls don’t want to grow up to be rockstars, they can still draw inspiration and confidence from what we’re doing. It opens their minds to the possibilities around them, and that they can do it if they work hard.
Your EP came out just over a year ago now – are you starting to write material for a new album? If so, any hints about what we might hear? (and when?)
Yes, we have new material for a new record that we’ll be recording this August. We’re hoping to have new music out this fall for sure. As far as what to expect, we’ve gotten a lot sassier and embraced the rock side of our music a little bit more than the first EP. Expect to be dancing and singing along to this new material very soon.
Any teasers about what you have planned for your performance at the Gateway Festival?
A lot of new music and songs you won’t hear anywhere else for a while. You can expect a lot of glitter, dancing and jumping. You’ll not only be a spectator, but part of the show.