Interview – Wes Mack

Wes Mack has released a new single “Don’t Change” and Canadian Beats got a chance to catch up with him.

2020 was a very difficult year. On a positive note, though, Wes Mack seems to have found his way through it and starting 2021 with new success and we are thrilled to see this happen for him. Mack is now giving his fans something to smile about with the March 5 release of his new single “Don’t Change.”

On a side note, Wes Mack just celebrated another trip around the sun so belated happy birthday from all of us at Canadian Beats!

With live music not coming to us any time soon, people have a need to hear new music right about now and we at Canadian Beats would like to congratulate you on the release of your single “Don’t’ Change.”

I got the chance to chat with Mack, via email, about his single, this time in his life and more. Check out my questions and his answers. You will enjoy what you read.

Hi Wes. It’s great to be doing this interview with you. It’s been a few years since last saw you. To start with, let’s chat about your new single “Don’t Change” … “the track is the easy, picture-perfect story it tells and it transports the listener right into a perfect love story.”

Most artists have some sort of ritual prior to writing or recording a song. Be it having a cup of coffee or other beverage in hand, putting all your thoughts to pen and paper (or your computer), that sort of thing. What is your thing?

I don’t think I have a single repeated process song to song. I think one of the things I love about making music is the way that a song comes together tends to be a little different every time for me. I hear something and record it. Then it leads to something else. I just keep chasing down ideas until I feel it’s done or like I cannot do anymore.

“Don’t Change” is a song that you wrote. I gave it a listen and really like it. Can you tell us how this tune came about, where your inspiration came from and what it means to you?

It’s inspired by Love. The kind that stays the same and is an anchor in life when everything else changes. That is the core of “Don’t Change.”

Beyond that, I don’t like to over explain my lyrics and I have a specific reason for why. Years ago, when I began my run on the Shania Twain tour, I did a Meet and Greet every night. Early in the tour a fan came up to me and told me that my song (“Before You Drive Me Crazy”) meant a great deal to them and that it had got them through some challenging times. They told me what they felt the song was about. I was happy to hear that it had been there for them. But in the back of my mind, I was thinking, … “huh… that’s not what I wrote that about” …

Later that night I was in my hotel room and still thinking about that conversation and I realized something: They were right. It does not matter what I intended in writing it. I realized in that moment that my perspective had changed. I now view songs and art as something that I work on and control up until the moment I release it. At that point, it is not mine anymore. It belongs to the listener and it is up to them to determine what it means to them. And, I like that fact.

You co-produced (at a distance) with your long-time friend Jordan Orbek (Chris Buck, Kira Isabella, George Canyon). Usually, when recording in a studio, an artist will feed off the energy and good vibes from those around them, make the necessary changes that come along with that, but you weren’t able to do that with this single. How was it for you to record your part from your own home studio in remote wilderness of interior BC?

It was a very different experience, but honestly, I enjoyed it. True, it did lack that immediate vibe of comradery and bouncing ideas off each other. But it did give me a lot of space to experiment and try things that I doubt I would have in the studio.

For example, the vocal stacks. I sang all of the BG vocal parts, some of which are quite elaborate. The high falsetto pieces are very much a product of me sitting there with a coffee, staring out at the deer running around outside my window, and just letting ideas come to me slowly. It was a lot of fun to play around with. Aaaaaand I got to rip a guitar solo on my old electric blue Flying-V Dean guitar that I played all through high school … that was a blast for me.

With this new way of recording, how did personally feel when all was said and done? What did you discover about yourself during this new creative process?

It felt very rewarding to get to really chase down my ideas in a solo setting. It gave me a lot more confidence in my ability as a producer and made me realize that I can be more experimental and weirder on a track than I had perhaps allowed myself to be in the past.

A lot of this mentality was already in motion as we worked on my last album, Soul, so this just felt like me running with the confidence I started to find on that album.

Let’s chat a bit about your music career…

For me, music is magic so I want to stick to that part of your phenomenal career (that includes winning the inaugural CCMA Discovery Program, your debut album Edge of the Storm that had four Top 20 radio singles and landed you a international tour with Shania Twain, crossing many mediums that have yielded you 11 million streams, 13 CCMA nominations, 15 directing projects and more than 20 film and television roles).

With so much talent, just in your little finger alone, what drew you to the music industry? How and when did all begin for you?

Thank you so much! I had played instruments growing up, as my dad is a musician and he always had a guitar over his shoulder so it was a big part of my childhood. He taught me to play guitar when I was 11. But when I was 13, I started a band with two guys on my hockey team. That was the big start point for me. That first band practice changed my life.

I went from being an awkward kid with few friends and a lot of insecurity to suddenly not worrying about what I was going to do on a Friday night … not invited to a party? No problem. We had band practice instead. Every Friday night from the second we got home from school till late in the basement. It felt like paradise. Like, I was finally home. My identity came into existence. There was no looking back from that point … I’ve always wanted to make music since then, and I always have.

All the accolades and milestones have been wonderful beyond anything I could imagine. But those early band practices will always be on another level in my heart.

How would you best describe your music?

Ethereal, electric, nostalgic, whimsical, and inspiring. On my good days, at least.

What is your favourite and least favourite part about being a singer-songwriter and why?

My favourite part is that lighting striking feeling when a song suddenly skips out of the ether of the universe and into my head. Those first few seconds are like electricity hitting my soul and I love it.

My least favourite part is the business end of the music business. I do it because it allows me to do the things I love. But, it does bother me at times watching huge parts of the industry that I do not think exists for the betterment of music, artists or fans. The areas where greed has run rampant. Such is anything in life in that you take the good with the bad. I’m grateful in my life to have so much good.

What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music and has the pandemic affected what you are doing with your music?

I guess everything influences me. As an artist, you are a conduit for raw creativity to take some physical form. As that process occurs it is passing through the lens of your entire life – some things more importantly than others. I’d imagine that whatever is burning hot in my mind on a given day might be the thing I write on, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes, it’s some old TV commercial jingle coming back to haunt me  … hahaha.

The pandemic has caused a notable shift in my outlook. I’ve spent most of my life imagining what my creative work would be like when I am in “the prime of my life,” always looking to the future. Covid made me stop and recalibrate. It made me realize that the prime of my life, for better or worse, is now. I’m trying to make music and art that is in line with that. To leave nothing on the table and to make the pieces I want to leave behind now, not later.

With the 2020 Covid lockdown, you set up a studio in your home, far away from civilization, and began working on your forthcoming third album that includes “Don’t Change.” Can you tell us anything about this album – title, release date, the background stories that are bringing some of your songs to life?

To be honest I’m not sure. I’ve never had so little of a plan going into an album. It feels both liberating and a bit scary. There’s a David Bowie interview I like where he says that you need to create at that spot in the water where your feet are just barely touching the ground … then go a little further … and that’s where the magic happens.

I suspect this album will sound very different from anything I’ve done before and I’m excited about that. My only objective is to follow creativity to its least logical ends and judge nothing. I’ll be done it when I run out of road and have to release it. Until then I will just keep making stuff.

Let’s move on and get a bit personal…

What important lessons or takeaways (if any) did you come out of 2020 with?

I read something this year that has stuck with me. It said that guilt is arrogant because it assumes we know what is right. And that resonates with me. So much of my own anxiety and insecurity comes from me questioning if I’m in the right place or doing the right thing and second-guessing myself. It is guilt-induced anxiety that I might be wrong. This philosophy is that the feeling of guilt only can exist if we think we know what the right path is or was, and that we didn’t take it or do it properly. But if I’ve come to know anything in this life it is that I know nothing at all (thanks to Plato for that one).

I think if I can let myself off the hook and stop chasing what I “should” be doing and spend more time just doing … I’ll be in good shape.

2020 also taught me that I LOOOOOVE hanging out with ducks at the duck pond. That is not an analogy. Just a truth. Quack Quack!

What are your Top Three goals for 2021?

1)    To find ease in life
2)    To hug my friends and family again (when it’s safe)
3)    To keep making creative work that I love

What artists have the most influence over you?

John Mayer, Eric Church, Noah Kahan, Our Lady Peace, The Doors, The Beatles, The Beach Boys and Hank Williams Sr.

If you could choose just one artist to collaborate with, one who you haven’t worked with, who would that be?

John Mayer. That guy is a legendary writer, singer and player. Can’t say enough good things about him … really hoping he starts doing his IG Live shows again

With all the many social media platforms that exist today telling the world your life story, is there anything about each of you that would be of interest to your fans; something that they couldn’t find on your own social network or even Google?

Wow…. That’s a good question.

Since I don’t think I can really reduce my whole existence down to one fun fact … how about I just go with a weird fact that is definitely not on the Internet …

When I was about five, I planted a coleus from a single seed. I still have it growing in my house and have made many cuttings from it. I quite love it.

And last but not least, if you can have one thing that your fans could remember about you, what would it be?

I’m figuring this life out one day at a time, just like you. Social media is smoke and mirrors and more often than not I’m likely sitting in my sweats trying to figure out what’s next. I hope you are all doing well out there amidst a strange year. Much love.

We, at Canadianbeats.ca, thank you Wes so much for taking the time for this interview and helping your fans get to know you a little more. We wish you much success with your all the great stuff that’s coming your way. I personally am very excited to see what the future holds for you!

Download or stream “Don’t Change” here.

Connect with Wes Mack:
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