Wake Owl wakes up in paradise

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The Private World of Paradise is the next step for Colyn Cameron, the primary member and singer/songwriter of Wake Owl. This is Wake Owl’s first album, although they released an EP, Wild Country, in January 2013. The EP mostly contained slow, folksy songs, where Cameron played his acoustic guitar.

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The Private World of Paradise is completely different. Cameron, working with producer Richard Swift, (member of The Shins and producer of Tennis, Foxygen) and multi-instrumentalist Aiden Briscall, explored a very different, more dynamic sound, creating an upbeat, retro, nostalgic feel to the album.

The 11 songs on the album each bring different, unique vibes, while still fitting together perfectly. “Candy” brings an upbeat, retro pop sound, with a hint of hip hop influences, while “Vacation” has a western, soothing feel. “Oh Baby” has a sultry vibe, while “Madness of Others” is chilling and melancholic. Singles “Candy” and “Letters” have already been released but the full album drops on March 4.

“[Working with Swift] was fantastic, he’s really fun to work with. He heard where the songs needed to go,” Cameron said. “We kind of knew we wanted to take the same record.”

The Private World of Paradise still maintains the themes of love, loss, relationships, and the mystery of life that were found in Wild Country, but takes them a step further.

“[The Private World of Paradise] is more honest and more direct, [the themes are a] little less buried…its more imaginative and more personal,” explained Cameron.

Cameron found that writing The Private World of Paradise held different challenges than writing Wild Country had.

“The EP was written almost in one summer, one or two months all of the songs. I was not writing them to put out a record, I was just writing,” he said. “There were different hurdles to get over to make that next step in terms of expectations.”

Cameron knew that he would be performing The Private World of Paradise on tour, and therefore he had to work to write songs that would stay as fresh as possible being played night after night, adding even more pressure.

“We’ve been performing bits and pieces of the album for almost seven months, trying it out live,” he added.

The name of the album came to Cameron as he was illustrating the album.

“I think it was something that came to me after lots of art I was drawing around it, it had this weird mysteriousness that had the same ring to it that a lot of the music had,” he divulged.

Cameron first began making music 10 years ago as a teenager in southern California, where he was born and raised. At first, Cameron wrote and performed hip hop and rap, before discovering the acoustic guitar. This led to a complete change in his music.

“I was trying all sorts of things, writing songs on the guitar was coming the most naturally, so I dedicated myself to that.”

Cameron said that he would like to possibly collaborate with hip hop artists in the future, and maybe writing for them, but that he does not think he will rap again.

After graduating from high school, he studied organic agriculture at Emerson College in England. He worked on different farms throughout the U.K., Germany, Chile and Canada. After returning home to Vancouver, Cameron played with a few bands and experimented with music. He then decided to record the songs he had written after his travels. This led to the creation of his first EP, Wild Country.

The EP was successful, and has led to Wake Owl being nominated for this year’s Juno Awards in the breakthrough artist of the year category. Cameron said that he was surprised when he heard the news. He explained that he had not been thinking of awards at all when writing Wild Country, and that it was an honour to be nominated.

Wake Owl kicked off their Canadian tour when they performed on Feb. 15 at the Winterruption Festival in Vancouver, and will be heading out to 13 other performances across Canada. Wake Owl will then perform across the U.S. in April and May.

Wake Owl will perform in Montreal at Le Divan Orange on March 1.

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