Wake Owl Interview – Vancouver Folk Music Festival Preview

The 35th annual Vancouver Folk Music Festival, which will be held on July 13th, 14th and 15th, has an extraordinary lineup that includes everything from classic Folk Fest acts like Shari Ulrich and Veda Hille to American indie-folk sensations The Cave Singers. However, Folk Fest is not just about bringing in the big guns.  It also provides an amazing platform for showcasing local talent to the world.

I had the chance to chat with Colyn Cameron from Wake Owl about his new EP entitled Wild Country, his personal writing process, and what we are to expect from them at this years Folk Fest.

Vancouver Weekly: Tell me a bit about a song on the album that you feel strongly about?

Colyn Cameron: I would talk about ‘Gold’. It’s really a song about a close family member of mine who’s battled with addiction for a long time. In a way, I was trying to capture the essence of facing ‘who you are’ and ‘where you are going’. Trying to turn that into hope and look towards the future.  I feel like the song has [two] elements in it. Parts of the song really pick up and others are melancholic.  I guess that’s how I see life…there is so much hope and [I guess it is important] to reach for that light.

Vancouver Weekly: What is the writing process like for you?

Colyn Cameron: The best material comes when you are least expecting it. Everything you put into trying to write helps that moment of unexpected flow.  I don’t think that the hours you put regardless of what you are writing are not worth something.  Everything lends itself to that moment when the right kind of song and melody comes.

The more I write, the more I realize how much it can’t be forced.  I do try to write everyday.  I have quite a discipline right now.  Especially with the opportunities I’ve been getting with the music, I feel that it is my job to make even more of an effort to write as much as possible.  The more it becomes your focus and your career the more you feel like your career is writing.

Vancouver Weekly: Do you have a set time you like to write?

Colyn Cameron: No, I don’t have a set time.  Often I try to do other stuff and I find myself called to play music in the morning.

I would say it comes best at night, but the other day I sat down and started writing a song at 9 am. I started writing a song and then I realized it was 4pm and I had written a full song.  I hadn’t even eaten yet…

Vancouver Weekly: Do you write based on fiction or do you try to capture what goes on around you in your stories?

Colyn Cameron: I’m definitely trying to embody a broader writing style.  My natural tendency thus far has been to really write based on what I’m experiencing.

Vancouver Weekly: What are we going to expect from Wake Owl at the Vancouver Folk Fest?

Colyn Cameron: I’ve been to the folk fest pretty much every year over the last five years. It has always been my dream to play it. It is a serious honour.

I’ve seen sets that are shared between bands and others that are just one solid set. I kind of hope to play a half hour solid set but I’m not sure what we will get.  If we do get the opportunity to play a normal set, I think [festival goers] will have the opportunity to see a very local folk inspired project with 5 really passionate musicians.

I know we are joining a really elite line up this year. I was shocked to see the lineup.

The Cave Singers, Hey Rosetta!, Dan Mangan, The Head and the Heart.

I’ve seen already the Head and the Heart twice this year in Vancouver so I was literally like wow! I hope we aren’t playing at the same time as them.

Vancouver Weekly: What is the act you most want to check out at Vancouver Folk Fest?

Colyn Cameron: I’ve seen The Head and the Heart twice, I’ve seen Dan Mangan so I really want to see The Cave singers. On all our tours we’ve done this spring, we’ve listen to all the Cave Singers records. It’s the best driving music!

Vancouver Weekly: What is the summer looking like for Wake Owl?

Colyn Cameron: We are heading out to tour with Zeus for five shows.  Then…we’re going out to Edmonton, Regina, Calgary, Kelowna, Victoria, and Vancouver.

We are also going to be opening for Timbre Timbre and Feist on the Friday night, outdoors in the plaza there at Sled Island.  That will be another highlight for us.  We are also going to New York and L.A. to play some show cases.

For more information about this years Vancouver Folk Music Festival check out : http://thefestival.bc.ca/ 

Ricardo Khayatte

Ricardo Khayatte