Interview With Wes Mack – New Album SOUL Drops Today! By: Tammy-ann Chapman
Wesley MacInnes (known to his fans as Wes Mack), is a Canadian Country Music Artist from Calgary, Alberta.
Since 2013, Wes Mack has had a lot of success and shows no signs of stopping as he gears up to release his latest album which drops today!
To say Wes wears many hats would be an understatement. He’s not only known for his music but also his writing, directing, and acting abilities as well. In 2013 Wes Mack debuted his first single titled “Duet” featuring Carly McKillip. It was an instant success and won over not just his fans, but it also earned him the grand prize in the International Unsigned Only Music Competition. Wes took home a CCMA Award as well for the song. Just before Wes released his second single, he signed with Big Machine Records and Universal Music (jointly).
His label signing was followed by his second Album released in 2015 titled Edge of the Storm which produced hits like “Before You Drive Me Crazy”, “Our Soundtrack” and “The Way You Let Me Down”. Mack then became the only opening act for the legendary Shania Twain on her “Rock This Country” Farewell Tour.
We had the chance to catch up with Wes to talk about his new single, new album, and more.
Q: You’ve achieved so much success so far as a singer, songwriter, and video director, what made you decide to wear so many hats in your music career?
A: A great deal of it initially came from necessity. Early in my career I had no access or money to bring on video directors, music producers, big writers etc., so I learned to do a lot of it myself. Necessity then breeds something new … and on the creative side I fell in love with making things; be that acting, directing, writing, producing … it allows me to tell stories the way I want to tell them and to work with people that I love.
Q: How do you find a balance between music and acting?
A: It can be challenging. Music and the business of music takes up a huge amount of my time. Acting requires you to drop everything when it’s time to film. So in those moments, that is what I do. But in the in-between time it is a balancing act to try and put some time into things that are currently pressing (like the day-to-day of music) and some time into things that no one is waiting for (working on the craft of acting, writing scripts, writing music). The struggle isn’t so much with music vs acting, but rather with creative work that is just in my mind versus the work that already exists commercially. It’s hard to make yourself work on something that is just a piece of imagination when it starts. But that phase is the most fun and often opens new doors. So I try to put time in there whenever I can.
Q: Your debut single “Duet” was an instant hit. What’s the story behind it and how did you end up working with Carly from One More Girl?
A: It certainly clicked and opened a lot of doors in my career but the lead-up was long. I began working with Jeff Johnson, who produced the song. We wrote it together over a year before it came out. One day Jeff brought me to a music video shoot for a band called the Small Town Pistols and also on set was Carly. We got to chatting and actually wrote another song together that is on my album called Free Fall. But it was about two months before the song came out when I reached out and asked her what she thought of Duet. She was so enthusiastically into it, and I was always a big fan of her musically. So I asked her to sing on it and the rest is history. She went on to play in my live band for years and I had the honour of directing a music video for One More Girl, for their hit “Love Like Mine”. I can’t say enough great things about her and her entire family…. great musicians…great people.
Q: Speaking of duets 2015 was a huge year for you, you not only had 2 hit singles on the Country Music Billboard Charts, but you were also on tour with Shania Twain. Did she give you any advice? What was your take away from touring with her?
A: That tour was one of the best experiences of my life. Shania welcomed me and my band with open arms and we had a ball. I had many takeaways. Being so close to her I got to see the true power of her raw talent and her ability to connect with people. I also saw the power of her team – the musicians, crew, managers etc. That really struck me. On a tour of that scale it requires hundreds of people working round the clock to make it all happen. It makes me very aware of the people I choose to surround myself with. Life is too short to not work with people you love.
Q: Let’s flash forward to today, you’re about to release your upcoming album Soul on October 25, what can fans expect from this new album and how is it different from your last?
A: This album gets a lot closer to me, I think. I co-wrote and co-produced on every track and played a lot of instruments on the record. It really got me back to all the things I love about making music. Tracks like “Never Have I Ever (ft Sons of Daughters)”, “Best Hangover (ft Maddie Storvold)” and my personal favorite, SOUL (the title track), are all about vibe and making simple music that strives to make you feel something. We threw out the idea of making “hits”. A hit is a product of so many things unrelated to music. And I think if you do nothing but chase hits the art will suffer. We tried to make interesting sounds and captivating music above all else. I’m very proud of this album.
Q: What was it like working with producer Jordan Orbek?
A: Jordan is a long-time friend of mine. He has worked on every Wes Mack song I’ve released commercially but this album was the first time he has served as producer. Jordan and I were very much on the same page and it made this album a joy to make. We tried many zany things and there were no wrong ideas. I recall a moment where I was playing a Kleenex box with drumsticks, while the box balanced on two other instruments with a microphone built into the stack and looking at Jordan and we just laughed at how ridiculous it looked. But that take is very audible in the drum track on Never Have I Ever. No wrong ideas. I learned a great deal about
producing while making this album and really got to explore with Jordan. Soul is a neat track to listen to in that the only people playing on the track are Jordan and myself. It became our favorite song and hence is the title track.
Q: Out of your entire album, which track resonates the most with you and why?
A: SOUL is my favorite on the album. It is the only track that I wrote on my own. I woke up and while making breakfast I had a line come to me and I sat down and wrote all of the lyrics in about 5 minutes. Never changing a line after I wrote it. It was just a single stream of consciousness story that came out of me and encapsulating so much about what I was feeling in life. I then picked up a guitar and played the first chords that I thought of and it was done.
I made a quick demo recording of it and showed it to Jordan and he loved it. It was the last song to be added to the album, and I knew it had to be the title track.
When we went to record the final version, I said I didn’t want to think about any typical song structure or “hits” or anything like that. I just wanted to capture a vibe and I think we did that. SOUL is about recovery and about the things in life that have allowed me to do that.
Q: Your past music videos are amazing. They really know how to pull in the audience and tell a story. Can your fans expect more videos from you this time around? A: Absolutely. I have a new video coming out for my current single, Best Hangover, on October 11. I just put the final touches on it last week. It feels like an art piece to me and I’m quite happy with the story it tells. Many more videos to come from me.
Q: Will you be touring with your new album? If so, when and where? A: I believe so. And as to those details I turn to my wonderful agents at Paquin.
Q: If you could take anyone on tour with you, who would it be and why? A: Well John Mayer. But I suspect he could be taking me on tour.
Q: Do you have any advice for musicians who are looking to break into the country music scene?
A: Write the truth. Write and make songs that mean something to you. Find people you love to work with. Be Authentic. Don’t run your career from a place or fear. Run it from a place of creativity. Don’t judge your incomplete work up against the final product of an artist you look up to. Don’t give up. I think the element of truth runs through all of those things. For me, that is a big thing. And have fun… make what you love.
Wes Mack’s album SOUL is available on all major music platforms today. Visit his website http://wesmackmusic.com/ for his upcoming tour dates.
Follow Wes Mack: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WesMackMusic/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/wesmackmusic Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wesmackmusic/
Check out the video for “Best Hangover” in the link below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFBtfzuokXc&list=PLMNUSA48OJ353WJOtf4OXjldz_q8PcFuM