It’s been about two and a half years since Wes Mack released his debut full-length album, Edge Of The Storm, and now the Calgary native is back with the release of his new single, House On Fire, and he has more new music on the horizon.
We caught up with Wes in Toronto during his press run for his single release, and had the chance to sit down, relax, and talk about music, his new video, acting, superhero movies, Gary Bettman, and more. Seriously, we talked about a lot of things.
On the top of our list of thing to talk about was (of course) the single, House On Fire. Wes co-wrote the song with Donny Anderson and Murray Daigle, a new trio on a first time write, and all three of them liked what they came up with. Wes truly sounds like he feels good about this being the first new single he’s released since the 2015 album.
In fact, we ran into Donny Anderson the day before the release, and he told us that that he was excited, he felt Wes was excited, and now that it’s out, we hope they feeling all of the good things that come from that kind of excitement paying off.
We also talked to Wes about the music video for House On Fire, and he was happy to give us all kinds of the making of and behind-the-scenes info.
Another trio came together for the music video, with Mack’s girlfriend and best friend joining him as producers on the project. He also told us that this was the fifth video he’s worked on with his cinematographer, which added a familiarity and comfort. As the star and director, Mack needed to lean on his partners to let him know about things he couldn’t or didn’t recognize from his vantage point when he was on set.
We also talked about the illusions of music videos, and this one in particular. House On Fire, the beer pong, good timin’, summer party video was shot in Vancouver… in October, not the warmest of climates.
Wes told us that the girls did their best to take care of themselves, wrapping up in warm parkas between shots. And when it was time for the cast to come back to the set, Bahamas was the codeword that got the coats off, warm feelings flowing, and everyone back in the action.
The Alberta native and two time nominee for Music Video Director of the Year at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards (2014: One More Girl: Love Like Mine. 2015: Wes Mack: Before You Drive Me Crazy) also gave a lot of love to his band, many of whom came into the shoot without the same kind of experience that he had. Wes told us that they needed very little encouragement, and that they gave him everything he hoped for on camera. From the beer pong to the party, they were all in!
We also talked to Wes about more new music, and he told us that the plan looks to be another single this summer, with a third to follow in the fall to go along with the release of a brand new album.
With a fall release, Wes Mack’s new album will come three years after his last. He told us that after Edge Of The Storm came out he started the writing process for a follow-up album… he had 10 songs, which would have worked, but something didn’t feel right.
Wes told us that the first album came without a timeline, and the songs were written worked on over about three years. And in working on songs for a follow-up so soon after the release, he felt rushed, and like he wasn’t sure if he was getting the best out of himself and the process. He also realized that the timeline he had was all in his head, and that he could choose to slow things down and get it right.
He told us that about 60 songs were written for the new project, 30 or so of those tracks made it to demo, and when the album comes out later in 2018, we’ll all be able to hear the complete and finished product.
While we were with Wes, we played a round of 5 Quick Questions. Check it out!
5 Quick Questions with Wes Mack!
Q1) What was the first song you performed for an audience?
Wes) Rush (original)
Wes wrote the song when he was 11, and at 13 he and his band Shades Of Grey (before the books, which changes a lot) played the song at his year-end hockey party. He laughed and told us that he’s not sure he’s ever played a room with more critics than those young teenage boys.
Q2) What was the first album you bought?
Wes) Wes told us that he doesn’t remember which album he bought first, but he does remember that his first CDs and some old tapes he had… hit play to find out what Wes listened to back in the day.
Q3) Do you have a dream duet partner?
Wes) Jess Moskaluke
Wes told us that he’s had the chance to sing with Jess on two occasions, but would like to add a third. The three-time CCMA Female Artist of the Year joined Mack to sing Duet on the Shania tour, which was their only official performance… but Wes told us that one night in PEI, he and Jess were in the same small bar and someone submitted their names on open mic night. The Mack/Moskaluke combo made their way to the microphones, Wes double checked with Jess that he knew the chords for Cheap Wine & Cigarettes, and they sang a medley of Moskaluke’s platinum single and Mack’s Duet.
Q4) Is there a city or venue at the top of your wishlist?
Wes) The Calgary Saddledome.
It’s Mack’s hometown arena. His team, the Calgary Flames play there. And, he wasn’t on the Shania Twain date that hit the arena in 2015.
Wes is a little worried that his window is closing, with talk of a new NHL arena coming to the city. So we’re crossing our fingers that the Calgary boy gets to play his hometown barn before it comes down.
Q5) Is there an artist that you think people should be paying more attention to or listening to more?
Wes) John Mayer… but with a clarification. Wes told us that he knows that everyone knows who Mayer is, but he was happy to have heard his new music on country radio after spending years hearing those sounds in his records.
He also mentioned that it was cool to see where the different points in Mayer’s career arc, and the movement in genre silos. He likes the genre-bending that’s going on, and pointed out that a lot of classic rock bands would be country now with the instrumentation and songs they released back in the day!
Before we wrapped up our hang with Wes, we talked about hockey and his fear that Gary Bettman is pushing things in a more polished, corporate direction that takes away from blue collar fans. He gushed about the crowds at Flames games in Calgary, and how it was a passionate, rowdy crowd that loved the game in a way that makes us want to go out to the Saddledome for a Battle of Alberta matchup.
We also talked about Mack’s acting and asked if he thinks he’ll find his way back into the DC TV universe… he told us that there’s always a possibility, and that living in Vancouver (where the CW shows Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl film) does increase the chance to audition and act in the Arrowverse. However, he also told us that music comes first, and that scheduling around that is sometimes hard.
There’s a lot on the horizon for Wes Mack, and while he couldn’t give us all of the details, he did say that there are tour dates coming to give fans a chance to see him live on stage, and that he’s excited to release more new music.
He also reinterated how excited he is to have House On Fire released to the world, and hope that his fans, and country music fans across the country like it.
Stay tuned for more from Wes Mack, it’s coming!
Note: While we were going through some of our Wes Mack content from the last few years, we found this video of Wes singing Listen To Me live at Toronto’s Rock N Horse Saloon at his album release party in September 2015. Enjoy!