WiL, a singer-songwriter from Calgary who has relocated to Qualicum Beach, has done things a little bit differently for El Paseo, his fifth studio album.
“For one, the entire record was funded by fans through FANPUSH,” WiL said. Fans contributed close to $11,000 for the project.
He then spent close to nine months recording the album in Qualicum.
“I got to do it locally with a friend of mine and it was really cool to be able to do it so close to home,” Wil said, “because I’ve always ended up somewhere away from home…it’s pretty great to be able to do the entire record in my backyard.”
Finding someone locally that WiL felt a connection with was key to the process and he found the perfect match in studio engineer, multi-instrumentalist and owner of Poplar Sound Studio, Jayme Langen.
“It’s all about the individual that you work with and how the studio’s ultimately set up because there’s so many variations of different types of studios. Everybody for the most part considers their studio to be a studio, but a studio can be a laptop or can be a professional recording studio with a half million dollars’ worth of gear.”
Some of the tracks for El Paseo came from an ad campaign WiL had done for Travel Alberta, while others were demos he had come up with in his own studio.
“A lot of the demos come from commercial work and a lot of them just stem from being demos ready for a record.”
Having completed demos going into the process made for a different recording experience.
“We basically did it one song at a time instead of tracking an entire album every day.”
When WiL first started his recording career 15 years ago, he came in far less prepared.
“I’ve always had some form of a demo but never so involved and so complete… my very first album I don’t think I had anything other than an idea on a dictaphone.”
Since then, WiL’s learned that being prepared makes for a smoother ride.
“I think it helps a producer or an engineer when you can give them an entire idea of what you’re after versus walking in there saying ‘I have an idea for a song but I have no idea what I want it to sound like’.”
Make Make remains true to WiL’s roots rocker sound—for now. That idea of what he wants his records to sound like has changed continuously over the years.
“They’re always different, they always end up sounding different, they’re written differently.
I think the only common thing is that I end up singing, but even I’ve changed how I sound as a singer.”
WiL sees his ever morphing music style as a way to always keep growing and learning in an industry that likes to keep people in their place.
“I think the next record will sound different…I wouldn’t necessarily look forward to creating the same thing over and over again. I might do an entire dubstep record someday.”
Changing it up is a way for WiL to keep the recording process fresh, something he needs as someone who’s always wanted to perform, but not necessarily record.
“I’ve never really wanted to intentionally go and sit in studios all day and record stuff. I’m a big fan of performing live.”
He’s been at it since the late 1990s.
“I think I got the bug then and I just did it because I’ve enjoyed it and I never had any aspirations of being a recording artist or touring or having record…I just wanted to perform.”
Port Albernians will get to see WiL’s passion for performing at Char’s Landing on Friday, Nov. 21 from 8-10 p.m during his video release party for his single Make Make off his album El Paseo. Advanced tickets are $17 at Gayle’s Fashions and Rollin Art Centre or $20 at the door. No Club Char passes accepted.