QUARANZINE: Wild Rivers Puts On Virtual Concert in the Wake of Their Quarantine EP

Wednesday, November 18th at 5pm PT, indie pop band Wild Rivers will take the online stage with their virtual concert Live From Lockdown. Filmed at Toronto’s The Mod Club, the concert will benefit two organizations focused on offering support and helping to end the stigmatization of mental illness in youth: Bring Change to Mind (US) and Jack.org (Canada).

COLLiDE caught up with Wild Rivers to discuss their upcoming virtual concert + their newest single “Pink Shades” and recent EP Songs to Break Up To (released on May 1, 2020).


What has Wild Rivers been up to over the quarantine? How has the lockdown impacted your music?

Devan: The first few months of lockdown were weird because we had to come home from the US where we were recording our next album. We were halfway through the album and then the lockdown was announced, and we had to get back to Canada as fast as we could. After that, we didn’t see each other for nearly 3 months, which was the longest we had ever gone without getting together. We released our EP ‘Songs To Break Up To’ during the lockdown, which was definitely a strange experience, because usually releases are followed by tours and that’s what really brings the music to life. We were hesitant to put it out, because we didn’t want to be promoting something at a time when everyone is being affected by global events, but we decided to go ahead with it in the hopes that it could bring people some comfort and solace, which I think it (hopefully) did.

Since restrictions loosened a bit in Toronto, we were able to get back together and start working on more music. We recorded our latest single “Pink Shades this summer, and self-produced it as a result of lockdown, which was a great first experience for us. I think generally, quarantine has forced us to push ourselves to try new things creatively because we have so much more time on our hands, and because we have to be a little more resourceful to work around the restrictions.


What inspired the EP, “Songs to Break Up To?”

Khalid: We’ve been conscious to keep it open ended to allow listeners to have their own interpretation of the songs, but it is in fact about a breakup. A year and a half ago, I got out of a long-term relationship and was naturally writing a lot about that. When we got around to choosing the songs for the record, the ones about the breakup felt the most honest and we all gravitated towards them. When we realized that, we decided to lean into the idea and explore all the emotional stages you might go through in a breakup.


Can you tell us a little bit about your new single “Pink Shades?”

Andrew: We recorded “Pink Shades” in late June, during lockdown in Toronto. Khal had written a demo version a few months before, and we all loved it. We had always wanted to attempt recording and producing a song ourselves, and due to the many Covid related logistical hurdles, it made more sense than ever to give it a try. We rented a small studio and locked ourselves in for a couple weeks while we worked on the song. It was a wonderful experience and a good distraction during a challenging time.


How do you feel the band has grown since the release of your debut self-titled album in 2016?

Khalid: We really became a band after our first album, only getting the full group together in the final stages of that record. Since then, we’ve had a few years of touring and recording to actually feel like a real band. These last few years we’ve each developed individually and collectively, as well as musicians and friends. We’ve experienced a lot together and I think it comes across in the music now.


Tell us a little bit about your virtual concert and your relationship to the mental health organizations involved?

Andrew: We missed performing so much that we decided to put on a virtual concert. We named it “Live from Lockdown,” and it will be streamed live on November 18th. We recorded the performance at the Mod Club, a staple of the Toronto live music scene, which has unfortunately shut down since our taping.

As a band, we’ve talked a lot internally about our mental health over the years. We are extremely fortunate to have each other to open up about things we are dealing with. This has become increasingly important during such uncertain times. For “Live from Lockdown,” we wanted to team up with Bring Change to Mind, and Jack.org, two amazing organizations providing resources to help people take better care of their mental health. All net ticket proceeds from the event will go to these two organizations in their battle to end the stigma around mental illness.


What’s your favorite song on “Songs to Break Up To” and why?

Devan: Ooh this is tough because they all hold a special place in my heart for different reasons. “Thinking ‘Bout Love” was my favorite song to sing on the EP, but “Small Talk” is my favorite from a production standpoint.

Andrew: “Left Off” is my favorite. Those strings make me feel things. That was our first time working with a string section, it was an amazing experience.

Khalid: Left Off and “Kinda Feels Alright”. Every line in those songs really happened and for me they’re the most personal on the record.


What are you most looking forward to in 2021?

Devan: SHOWS! (I’m manifesting)

Andrew: Traveling! I’ll never complain about long trips in the van again.

Khalid: A full length album.


What artist/band most inspires you?

Devan: Very inspired by Holly Humberstone and Phoebe Bridgers these days.

Andrew: Bahamas looks like he is having the most fun right now.

Khalid: Haim’s record was a production masterpiece, so inspired by that.


Anything else you want to talk about?

Khalid: Keep your head up everybody; keep your loved ones close; and check in with them and yourself regularly. As a band, we’re working hard to bring you more music in the next few months and have some of our favorite music yet in the works. We hope everyone stays safe and healthy so we can get out and play for you soon! In the meantime, stay tuned for some more songs in 2021!


Click HERE to purchase tickets for Wild Rivers “Live From Lockdown” and check out their most recent single “Pink Shades” below.




photo by: Stefan Kohli