MIMR Band Chat @Focus Wales 2016: Wake Island

In another exciting interview on MIMR in preperation for this year’s Focus Wales Festival, MIMR got the chance to speak to Electronic two-some Wake Island who will be making their way over the pond for a series of UK shows next month. The tour is presented by the brand new POP Montreal music festival and we can’t wait for them to come over.

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MIMR: Fantastic to welcome lebanese electro-rock duo Wake Island to MIMR. Tell us about your music and what influences help you achieve your objectives?

WI: Thank you, we’re so thrilled to be here! The two of us have been playing music together for a while now, we started playing rock music when we first moved to Montreal from Lebanon in the early/mid 2000s in various bands. Montreal had a blooming indie rock scene at the time, with lots of amazing bands doing great things (Wolf Parade, Godspeed! You Black Emperor, The Besnard Lakes, Arcade Fire etc.). This music to us was profoundly exciting because we could see it happen live at local shows, all we had experienced in terms of live music growing up in Beirut at the end of a devastating civil war, is rock music on MTV (music television). There were very few independent Lebanese bands playing live in the late 1990s, and indie music was extremely hard to find. There was (and still is) however a very interesting DJ scene in Beirut in the late 1990-2000, so when we’d go out there it was mostly to underground clubs with DJs and I think this is where we both got our first “electronic” influences from. Fast forward to 2012, we started Wake Island as a rock project that very quickly matured into an electronic rock venture because it became clear to us that our interest really lies in blending indie rock song writing with an electronic approach. 

MIMR: Your new album is out very soon and its sounding amazing, tell us about it? You must be itching to get it out there!

WI: Thanks! This album was written in the midst of the band’s transition from rock to electronic and therefore the sound of the record inevitably captures this transition. It features songs that are written and arranged using “traditional” instrumentation (guitar, drums, electric bass) and electronic instruments (synths, drums, sampling). We wrote it in isolated cabins in the woods of Quebec, we needed to get out of the city and disconnect with everything to really focus on what we wanted to do. We were basically left alone faced with a challenge to write, record and produce our record from scratch. We learned a lot about software and production during these sessions and I really believe that this catalyzed our transition into a live electronic band, which is what Wake Island has become. After the cabin sessions, we took our album back to Breakglass Studios in Montreal where we recorded additional tracks (acoustic drums and vocals) and got the album mixed by our friend Jace Lasek (The Besnard Lakes, Suuns, Wolf Parade). We are extremely excited to release this album out into the world and support it on tour, it’s going to be a wild ride! 

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MIMR: Personally looking forward to seeing you perform over in UK next month including your Focus Wales appearance, what can we expect to witness at one of your shows?

WI: We are thrilled to play at Focus Wales, it will actually be our very first show in the UK ever! What you can expect to see on stage is two busy dudes, multi-tasking, playing many instruments some electronic and some analog to create music that people can totally dance to, like they would at a club, but that is still structured and rooted in songs. People have described it as an “emotional dance party” and I guess this comes from the fact that we like contrasting cold-sounding electronic textures that makes people move with moving melodies, lyrics and harmonies.

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MIMR: Thanks for speaking to MIMR, i know your going to make plenty of new friends over in the UK, where can people can listen to your music?

WI: Thank you for having us! Our album will be available on all major online music outlets as of April 29th (Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer etc.).
In the meantime you can listen to our music on soundcloud here:

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They play the Friday night at UnDegUn venue @Focus Wales


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