The Wandering Off shares their single, “Hey There” (Interview)

The Wandering Off

The Wandering Off Captures Attention With “Hey There”

Calgary, Alberta duo The Wandering Off are set to capture your attention on January 27 with “Hey There,” the first single off their 12-track self-titled debut album, out March31, 2023.

It’s an upbeat blast of catchy, grungy, 90s-inspired rock with crunchy guitars, melodic hooks, and memorable vocal melodies that wears the subtle influence of bands like Garbage and Letters to Cleo on its sleeve. “Hey There” celebrates the beauty of imperfection, the art of not worrying about the mistakes you’ve made, because after all, as Emily Corner sings, you “Can’t please ’em all, cuz when you jump you fall.”

Their sound is at once familiar and nostalgic as well as fresh and new. Like finding a brand-new sweater styled along classic lines, The Wandering Off combines comfort and excitement in one neat, chiming package, with catchy vocal melodies to boot.

Emily is joined in The Wandering Off by her husband of almost ten years, Kyle Corner. Both veterans of the music industry, they got engaged in Las Vegas while they were working on the production side of things during Sarah McLachlan’s Lilith Fair revival tour.

The 12 original songs on the album came together at the new home studio Emily and Kyle installed during the pandemic. While holding down full-time jobs, the couple built the tracks in chunks after work when their young children were asleep or with babysitters.

“The bonus of this,” Kyle says, “is that we couldn’t get things too perfect. We hope we captured a lot of raw emotion on the record.”

Some of Emily’s lyrics take on the challenges she faced during the pandemic. Forced to fight COVID twice close together, she experienced chronic pain, cognitive issues, and fatigue that forced her to stop working for a while.

“I had burnt myself out so bad,” says Emily. “And our dog Simon died. It was such a surge of emotion that needed somewhere to go. My writing exploded, and it felt like the catalyst for most of the record.”

Kyle had his own mental health struggles, brought about by a series of concussions that forced the former member of a screamo band (don’t ask!) to put his guitar aside for a long time. With Emily’s help, he was able to once again pick up his axe and find his creativity.

“The first song on our record, Knick of Time is all about that,” he says. “I went through a particularly bad period with my mental health and Em was there through it all, fixing my brain.”

With Kyle back on guitar, the pair found their sound by stripping things back to the basics while looking to favourites such as Gin Blossoms, Metric, Third Eye Blind, and Weezer for inspiration.

When the songs were ready, the pair enlisted the help of sound wizard and mixing engineer Warne Livesey (Matt Good, Midnight Oil, 54-40, Sinéad O’Connor, Holly McNarland). Livesey polished the record to completion, bringing in Blake Manning to lay down drums at Toronto’s Noble Street Studios.

But it’s not too polished. The entire album maintains the raw feel Emily and Kyle hit upon as they were sequestered in the studio. They chose to keep a lot of those demo vocals, and, just as she sings about in “Hey There,” they kept a level of imperfection.

Watch the video for “Hey There” below and learn more about The Wandering Off via their socials.

Care to introduce yourself?

Hey There! We’re The Wandering Off. Sometimes we call ourselves T.W.O. (also cuz there are 2 of us).

Tell us about the process of writing “Hey There.”

We have a unique writing process because of our busy lives. As much as we’d like to just spend hours alone in the studio together writing, it can’t always work like that for us. I’ll take the kids, Kyle will go downstairs to our studio, get in the zone and start writing and recording guitar riffs to a drum beat until the song structure is complete. Then the demo instrumental goes onto our phones, Em will come up with the lyrics and melody. “I get my best writing done when I’m driving, especially with vocal melodies. That flow state!” Kyle works on the mix, then we lay down scratch vocals (usually late into the evening) and sit with everything for a few days, go back, and make revisions.

“With “Hey There,” I remember hearing that opening guitar riff and texting Kyle that he came up with a really cool ’90s sitcom intro. It inspired this kind of chill, don’t care attitude.” Says Em. “Hey There ended up being a song I wrote to myself. Just reminding myself that perfectionism of one’s self isn’t healthy. Somewhere inside of me is the confidence to be carefree and shed expectations of conformity. It’s my inner bitch who can let things go. She’s in there somewhere! This song summons her.”

What’s it like being a musician in Calgary?

I don’t think it matters where you are in the world…the fact that we are able to write music, in general, is something we don’t take for granted. But Calgary is a hub of ultra music talent. We are so fortunate to be among talents like Russell Broom, Spencer Cheyne, and The Hello Darlin’s who call Calgary home. Calgary is booming with musical talent, so what’s it like? It’s inspiring and intimidating all at the same time. We look forward to playing shows in Calgary and other places and making our hometown proud.

Who was the first Canadian artist to blow you away?

The easy answer for both of us. Our Lady Peace. There is something about Raine’s vocals… so unique, and the delivery and conviction in what he’s singing about just hits you in the gut. They write music with this sense of theatre to it, dramatic, emotive, big rock that will transport you somewhere. Naveed was such an amazing record. Kyle recalls thinking they had to be some big US band. Nope Can-Con and damn good Canadian-made music. We both grew up with Clumsy, which is like an era of Canadian music to itself. Kyle’s first concert without an adult was the Clumsy tour on January 22nd, 1998, Everclear opened, and it was this enormous arena show. Later on in our lives, we were able to sell their Merch in Calgary together then Kyle did a few Production Assistant shows for them, so full circle!

You’ve been making music for a while now. What’s one piece of advice you can offer to those starting out?

It can be tough to break through the noise as a new artist today. You have to be not only a musician but a marketer and promoter too. Advice-wise, the best thing we can say is don’t get wrapped up in all the online stuff early on. Focus more on your craft, your writing, and your songs. Shut out the noise and tune into the space where the songs come to you. Be authentic with what you want to say, don’t follow what sounds are trending. By the time you write, record and release the song(s), that sound may be on the way out anyway! Find the right audio team. We tried out a few mixers before we settled on someone that aligned with us, the incredible Warne Livesey. Quality-sounding material will get you farther. Networking with real humans is important. Send personal emails, pick up the phone. Most of all – HAVE FUN! Do it for fun first, when whatever happens, it happens, and you can let go of the outcome. You’ve already won if you’re doing something that gives you joy without fear.

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