It’s called New Wild Everywhere, but the fifth album from the Toronto folk-rockers Great Lake Swimmers is the first one they’ve made at a proper studio (rather than a church or an abandoned grain silo). “Wild,” then, is a relative term – what’s orderly to some is novel and unusual to another.
The video of the title track, directed by Adam Makarenko and making its exclusive Canadian debut at globeandmail.com, is set on Toronto Island, as “the sun sinks over the Big Smoke.” The city, wild in its own way, begins to get reclaimed by a wilderness that is commonplace on its bucolic island offshoot.
Singer-songwriter Tony Dekker speaks about a gentle but out-reaching song, concerning “a fire in the static” and “a hunger for the spark.”
Dekker: “The starting point for the song is that you can feel the energy in the air, for example, before a big thunderstorm. You can feel that the world is on the cusp of something.
“I wrote it as a 24-verse poem. I had put it down for a while, but I went to look at it again, to give it a draft. The words “new wild everywhere” were on it – they leapt off the page. So I started to edit the poem, to see if there was a song there As I started reworking it, those words seemed like a springboard for the song. Ultimately it was a springboard for the album as well.
“When we were demoing the song, we spent a lot of time with the percussion and the rhythm – the drum beat was really important. As with a lot of the songs on the album, we tried a lot of different tempos. We looked at them from a lot of different angles.
“We’ve started to play it live, but I think we’re going to have to play it another 100 times before we find that sweet pocket.”
Great Lake Swimmers play Winnipeg’s West End Cultural Centre, May 4; Edmonton’s McDougall United Church, May 6; Calgary’s Central United Church, May 7; Lethbridge, Alta.’s Southminster United Church, May 8; Nelson, B.C.’s Royal on Baker, May 9; Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom, May 11; Victoria’s Alix Goolden Hall, May 12; Toronto’s Music Hall, June 2.