BTD Radio Interviews Indie Artist, Wilton Said
BTD Radio Interviews Indie Artist, Wilton Said
BTD Radio presents…. Wilton Said… Welcome to the studio!
Wilton Said : Thank you very much.
Great to finally talk with you. Could you tell our BTD Radio listeners a little about your music?
Wilton Said : People who have heard it tend to hear a musical theatre quality about it. Some of my earliest musical experiences were epic Orchestral Composers like Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky and Musical Soundtrack Composers like John Williams (Star Wars). This paved the way for my appreciation of rock music with EPIC musical concepts as heard in the music of Genesis, Queen, Yes, Kate Bush, Iron Maiden, and Rush. Later on I developed an appreciation for some Jazz and started incorporating elements of this style into my songs. So I guess one could call my music Theatrical Art Rock.
Where are you from?
Wilton Said : I’m from Toronto, Ontario Canada as is most of my band.
We aired your song “Endorphin Crash” on our show a few months back, wow such creative writing style! How did that song come about?
Wilton Said : This song came out of a period of writers block. On my previous release titled “The View”, I felt I had stretched myself as far as I could go. I had an eclectic collection of songs ranging from a 15 minute progressive rock epic titled “The Empty Sky” through to a simple 3 minute pop/rock tune called “Merry go Round” and everything in between. When it came time for me to start thinking of a follow-up recording, I looked at everything I had been writing for it and felt that most of it was too forced. I was trying too hard to be clever, trying too hard to be proggy, trying too hard to outdo myself and jettisoned most of it. In the end, I just picked up my acoustic guitar and started strumming around and ended up with the opening guitar line for Endorphin Crash. While it was in an odd time signature of 5/8, I decided not to mess with it. In the past I would’ve made one bar 5/8, another bar 7/8, and probably another bar of 8/16 or something pretentious like that. But I decided to leave it as the repetition had a nice groove to it. Hence, the majority of the song is in a continuous time signature. For the bridge and instrumental section I did expand on the odd time signature just to add some spice to the song. As far as melodies and chords go, I also kept it more simple than I would’ve in the past. I decided to keep the vocal melodies repetitive rather then changing them up from verse to verse. If you compare the vocal melodies of the verses of “Endorphin Crash” to “Merry go Round” (from the previous release “The View”) you can hear the difference.
Lyrically, the song is about being addicted to something (it can be anything both good or bad) and the let down or crash after you’ve had your fix.
I am noticing that “today’s artist” is all about helping others. The focus isn’t so much about the “self-artist” any more. It looks like you have been following the “today’s artist” theory with your mini festivals. Could you tell us how all this got started?
Wilton Said : Not only am I an artist, I’m also a fan, so I like to support, see live, and listen to music which I appreciate and like. And there are a number of artists in the Toronto area which I do like such as Steve Cochrane, Ken Baird, The Rebel Wheel, The Peptides, and Softclock to name a few. So it’s always great if I can get on the same bill as them. One of the ways I figured I could do this was to organize my own shows and mini festivals featuring artists from the Toronto area. I decided to call these events NUANCE as I wanted to feature artists whose music had nuances.
For anyone who is interested they should check out the NUANCE mini festival which will be taking place on Saturday October 5th in Toronto at The Hideout. For more info they can go to wiltonsaid.com/nuance
Wilton Said : Since this is MY project, I wanted to have my name somewhere in the band name. I wasn’t too fond of using my first name as it is the same as another well known 60’s musical artist, so I opted for my last name instead which is Wilton. Also, since I’m the one calling the shots, I figured “Said” would be an interesting way to indicate that.
What is the first song you have ever written and when?
Wilton Said : I think I was 13 years old and I wrote a song called “Do They Care?”. It had a repeating chord pattern of G, F, and C as the verses and chorus. I can’t remember the bridge. Lyrically it was a social commentary on politics (as much as I knew at the time), war, and hunger. However I was still learning how to play the guitar at that time, so I still consider my first real song at 15 years old when my playing had improved and I made the giant leap (sarcastic) and wrote another 3 chord song consisting of E, C and A. This time the lyrics were even deeper (more sarcasm) and with a title called “Rock Hard” it could only be about one thing. Well, not really, it was actually about wanting to date rock n roll girls. (Honestly, no kidding).
Are there any childhood influences that make you who you are today?
Wilton Said : My Mom. I know that reads like a cliche but it’s true. She was always playing the piano. I think the song I remember her playing the most was “Send in the Clowns”. She also used to sing to me at bed time and my favorite song was Dona Dona, quite a mournful song about a calf going off to the slaughter. No wonder I enjoy minor keyed and darker sounding music.
My mom also had a collection of Beatle albums which I used to bang pots and pans along to. I then later got into soundtrack music and orchestral music.
I see you are part of a fundraiser, “Band for Brothers in Arms.” Tell us about it. How did you get involved? Where can our listeners go to find out more?
Wilton Said : I check out Craigslist quite often cause I know there are listings from venues and events that need bands. One of these events ended up being “Bands for Brothers in Arms” which is an annual fundraiser to raise money for Wounded Warriors (woundedwarriors.ca). This is an organization who’s primary focus is on mental health and, particularly, the staggering impact of PTSD, perpetrated by Operational Stress Injuries. Overall, however, their mandate is to help any Veteran in need as they transition to civilian life.
I believe that by the time this interview gets posted, we will have done the show and our set which will have been on Sun Aug 25th around 5pm. But right now as I type, it’s 2:30am on that Sunday morning, so I’m hoping the show and our set is a success. For more information on the event, please visit bandsforbrothersinarms.org
Do you have a favorite TV show?
Wilton Said : I don’t watch a lot of TV. My wife and I don’t have cable, our airwave signal is digital and we haven’t bothered to get a converter yet. However we do watch DVD’s and we’re really enjoying Dexter. My other all time favourite series was the Battlestar Galactica series which originally ran from 2004 to 2009. Again I’ve been watching it on DVD and think it’s fantastic. It’s extremely busy with all the subplots, and political, spiritual, and religious subtexts.
What is your favorite pastime? What helps you chill out at the end of the day?
Wilton Said : I enjoy wine. Red wine especially. Italian Chianti to be more specific. I’m on the hunt for the best Chianti under $20. I had found my favourite called Piccini, however it’s no longer available anywhere in Ontario. So now I’m after the next best thing. What I love about Chianti is its diversity. Sometimes it’s dark and rich, other times it’s lighter and bright. It also goes great with steak and spicy pasta which are two of my favourite meals, a plus in my books.
I love the story behind your song, “Pretty.” Could you tell our BTD Radio listeners more about this?
Wilton Said : It’s based on a friend who once told me that he liked to cross-dress and one day showed me. It wasn’t my thing but I certainly told him that I still accepted him. In my opinion people should be free to do what they want as long as it’s consensual and nobody is unwillingly getting hurt.
A few years later while writing for The View CD, I had come up with what I thought was a bit of a whacky and whimsical chord progression for a song and was thinking of lyrics that would match. Singing about addictions, poverty, abuse, or the end of the world wasn’t going to cut it. I needed something… quirky. I then thought of my cross-dressing friend and remembered some of the things he had told me. The lyrics didn’t take long to come.
When it came time to think of a video, I knew it had to be a shorter pop length song which disqualified most of my material. I also wanted it to be a song which had a more streamlined structure, and more upbeat and… dare I say… fun. Again this disqualified the majority of my material. What was left was the song Pretty.
Shooting the video was quite fun. Director/Film Maker Ben Stacey (benstaceypictures.com) and his assistant helped keep things lively and light with wise cracks. At one point, they actually mentioned that I looked sexy, so how about that. Paddy Aldridge was also on hand and did the make up, wardrobe and lent us her store location “Take a Walk on the Wildside” (wildside.org). I had heard about Wildside from my “friend” and knew it would be the perfect place to shoot as it’s a store which caters to men who are lumberjacks and are OK. (They cut down trees, they wear high heels Suspenders and a bra).
Talking to Paddy and being in her store was interesting as I got a glimpse into what it might be like to be a man who cross dresses. Talk about walking a mile in someone else’s shoes, how about in woman’s heels?
“But what did your wife think?” has been a common question. She was there operating the audio play back for me to lip sync to, so she was all fine with everything.
The video can be viewed at wiltonsaid.com/videos
Who are the members of your band?
Wilton Said : Myself on Lead Vocals, Keyboards and occasional Kazoo. My good friend Chris Reid on Guitar and backing vocals. Richard Rizzo has been the drummer since 2003. As for bass players, there’s been a bit of a rotation. Frank Heisler had been with the band till about 2004 or so, then was followed by Andrew Buntain till 2006. Then Frank was back and then unfortunately had health issues in 2011 and had to leave. A good friend Deb Ray took over as permanent sub for Frank and has played a number of shows with us. However, ironically, Deb wasn’t able to do the Brothers in Arms gig so Frank stepped in to sub for the sub. Both Frank and Deb are great players and it might end up being that they play on a rotational basis depending on who is available for a particular gig.
What new projects do you have that are coming up that you can tell our listeners about?
Wilton Said : I don’t have any NEW projects per se, but I have been working on a Rock Opera which revolves around Residential Schools. For anyone that doesn’t know, these “schools” were around in the early 1900’s up until almost present time and were used to “teach” native children how to be more “civilized”. What really happened was that native children were forcibly removed from their parents and communities, dumped into state and religious run schools and forced to assimilate to the “white mans” way. This of course was at the expense of their own culture. In other countries similar schools were used for children who were from the same communities but deemed deviant. For more information I’d suggest the viewing of the two movies “Rabbit Proof Fence” and “The Magdalene Sisters”.
The writing and recording of this Rock Opera has been going on for about 7 years as there has been a few delays. One of which was my development of Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) which caused a years delay in the recording of the drum tracks while I got this condition dealt with. Once the drums were recorded I spent about two years on and off recording keyboards, guitar and having Frank Heisler come in and play bass. The last hurdle are the vocals. There are 6 character parts to sing and 3 have been recorded. Being an Indie project makes this difficult to finance on top of my own Wilton Said… band. As a result I’ve decided to put ads on Craigslist where I offer a Trade of Musical Talents. If someone sings a character part on this recording project, I’ll sing, play guitar, and/or keyboards on their recording project. At the moment there is no release date as the vocal situation is still in limbo.
We would love for you to tell our listeners where they can find your music? If you have any special shout-outs, please feel free to do them now.
Wilton Said : A chunk of my music can be found via www.wiltonsaid.com. That would be the best place to start which would then springboard you to additional sites such as Bandcamp, Facebook, Reverbnation, CD Baby and others.
What are your top 10 Desert Island Discs?
1. Kate Bush – The Dreaming
2. The Beatles – The White Album
3. Genesis – Trick of the Tail
4. Queen – Sheer Heart Attack
5. Judas Priest – Sad Wings of Destiny
6. Rush – Hemispheres
7. Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice – Jesus Christ Superstar
8. Queensryche – Rage for Order
9. A Perfect Circle – 13th Step
10. Marillion – Marbles
And this list pretty much sums up what my music is about.
Once again thanks so much for taking the time out to find out more about myself and my music.