Calgary band finds new fans as they continue to find themselves
By Bigoa Machar, Publishing Editor
Using classified ads in newspapers or online is a pretty nerve-wracking experience when looking for something to buy or sell. For Jesse Kohn, he found something way better than a cheap couch or a dirty apartment. He found Trevor McLeod, drumming extraordinaire and the first piece of his dream band.
“When I had the idea of starting a band, I went out on Kijiji to look for drummers. I found Trevor and when we got to jamming, everything was clicking really well,” says Kohn.
After the two hit it off so well, they went looking for the strawberry to their chocolate and vanilla to make the perfect neapolitan. Enter their current bass player, who goes by his stage name, Rex Darr.
“We didn’t have a band name yet, but everything was going well. We wanted to keep it rolling so we starting auditioning bass players and it wasn’t going so well until Rex joined.”
Darr, who was working on another music opportunity at the time, says the stuff that Kohn and McLeod were doing was right up his alley and decided to take the plunge.
“I was playing in a different band at the time and it wasn’t really going anywhere and everyone wanted to do their own things,” says Darr. “Then one of my buddies approached me and said ‘Hey, I know a band that plays music you like that’s looking for a bass player.’”
“We had him over for an audition and it was awesome,” says Kohn. “We knew almost right then and there that Rex would be our bass player.”
And thus, a band was born. But, like every good band, they needed to find something that makes them unique and special. A name and logo are usually a good place to start, as Kohn says the process of finding both was quick and easy.
“I was sitting around with my girlfriend when I proposed the name 7’s Wild and she thought it was a cool name,” says Kohn. “I ran it by Trevor and he said it was good. She drew the logo up for me and we used it.”
From rehearsals to recordings, McLeod says the band gives him an opportunity to do what he loves with two of his best pals.
“When I punch out at the end of the day, I’m happy as shit when I get to sit behind my drum kit and meet up with the boys,” says McLeod. “Now I’m living.”
Despite music being a passion for the three of them, Kohn says it is still something they take very seriously and at times it can get very stressful.
“There’s ups and downs to it too. Sometimes, one of us may not be feeling like practicing, but overall this is really what we live for.”
McLeod adds that despite how hard it is to stay motivated sometimes, he says he can count on his friends to pick him back up.
“There’s nights where we can put in 10 hours jamming out and others where someone will say ‘Oh, I don’t feeling like jamming tonight,’ but the rest of us are there to motivate them and remember why we’re here, then it’s all worth it,” says McLeod. “There’s a reason as to why we don’t want to hire another member of the band because we like our tight little group here.”
This motivation and keep on keepin’ on has led the band to new horizons, most notably the recording of their first album, Renegade, which came out this year. McLeod says his time away from the studio has made him miss it very much, while Kohn says it a tough, yet rewarding process.
“If you’re a musician, then going to the studio is your thing and you want to go lay down what you have. But it can be frustrating at times,” says Kohn. “One of the things I had to get used to was playing to a metronome, which I haven’t done in years. I felt confident, but nervous at the same time because you want to do your best.”
Kohn goes on to say that the technical sides of recording is also a challenge for any musician, but is just another obstacle you have to climb over to reach success.
“Our sound engineer, Ian Dillon, pushes us so hard, especially me on vocals,” says Kohn. “The first day was pretty much a write off because I couldn’t get it right and after sleeping it off and trying again the next day after considering what he said then I nailed it.”
The album, which is a seven song project, combines a hard rock sound with elements of traditional metal and punk. Darr says the band has combined their collective music knowledge into their current product.
“When I first started playing in 7’s Wild, I was playing in a Jazz band as well at the time, so I would incorporate little runs and other sounds into our music,” says Darr. “Sometimes it would fit and sometimes it wouldn’t, but every song we play has a little bit of everything in it. It’s not straight rock, there’s punk, metal and a little bit of blues as well mixed in.”
Another aspect of having an album is actually selling it, something the band says they’ve recognized the hardships that come with it and taken it on.
“The music industry on the label side of things is going through a reformation as far as distributing music. It’s so easy to get tracks online,” says Darr. “Not only is there streaming, but your album could be online ready to be pirated the day after you release it.”
Darr goes on to say that while they may not make too much money at first, the album serves as more than just a monetizing tool.
“Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing because people will hear your music and get drawn to you. Any promotion is good promotion,” says Darr. “If that brings more people to the shows, then by all means.”
As it stands right now, Wild 7’s remains a strong, independent band that don’t need no label. Kohn says this is where the band wants to be, as rushing into something could be potentially harmful.
“A lot of new bands get suckered into bad deals with shady labels without realizing the consequences. You just have to be patient and really recognize how the times are moving.”
As the band continues to learn and expand their fanbase, McLeod says he hopes to keep the fun and happy-go-lucky attitude of the band a priority.
“I’ve been in a lot of bands, but this is really my true roots. For me as a drummer, I’ve finally found a band that I really click with.”
Rather than following the footsteps of other bands, Kohn says he wants him and the members of Wild 7’s to carve their own journey to musical success.
“If people compare us to bigger bands, I take it as a compliment because those bands do well, so they think we’re doing well,” says Kohn. “We don’t want to be the next Panterra or AC/DC, we just want to be the first 7’s Wild.”
7’s Wild will be playing live at Distortion on Sept. 16 and at Nite Owl on Sept. 22. Be sure to check out the Renegade, now available for purchase through their Bandcamp page and follow them on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with all of their future shows and album releases.