by Katie Rankin
Charlottetown’s newest band Wildcat is basically a super-team of some of the city’s finest producers and musician. Formed and fronted by former Boxer the Horse bassist and newbie guitar player and singer Richard MacLeod, Wildcat’s been playing together for about a year, but only recently started playing shows and releasing material. Last spring MacLeod returned home from traveling, having written a bunch of songs and started looking for a band. Bass player Colin MacIsaac introduced him to drummer Shawn Gallant, while MacLeod’s roommate Adam Gallant (Raccoon Bandit) introduced him to guitar player Chris Robison (North Lakes). “It started out as sort of like a punk-er thing and now it’s morphing. I brought songs in that I didn’t really have plans for a full band and once you get jamming with them you kind of get what you’re going for,” says MacLeod.
MacLeod admits that writing, especially the lyrics, is still difficult. “The way it works is one or two lines will come out and then we’ll just get drunk and put me in a closet and record them,” he says. He also gives a lot of credit to his band mates, as well as producers Adam Gallant and Andrew Murray (Sister Jack, English Words) and mixer Colin Buchanan (Paper Lions) with helping shape the songs. “We each bring something different to the table. So he [Richard] writes like the main idea and then we all put our own flavour on it,” says Robison. Lyrics aren’t the only thing MacLeod’s been perfecting. “It’s weird too because you kind of gotta find your voice and that takes time. Like I’ve gone through probably three different distinct stages of singing. I’m kind of falling into one now,” he says. His band mates jokingly remind him that he blew his vocal chords trying to find it.
MacLeod says despite the growing pains he likes being the frontman. “I get to put the intensity exactly where I want it.” And even though he’s traded in bass for guitar, the songs are still bass-centric. “He writes from a bassist’s point of the view still so, all the bass are written by Colin, but the song set up, the core of it is bass. You can hear that when he puts the song together it’s made for bass. It’s like a dream to play bass for his songs,” says Robison.
Wildcat is working on its second set of a single/b-side to be released in July, with a third set in August. It’s a unique approach, one that MacLeod says benefits the songwriting process. “There’s a lot of reasons behind it. It’s feasible, schedule-wise it’s easier. We’re still developing the sound so it’s like we’re writing as we go so that’s why we’re recording the vocals the day of. I don’t think any of us thought it was gonna turn out like that, what’s in there right now.” Wildcat will release its next single and b-side Johnny’s Meds/Friendly Gestures on July 5 with Coyote and Fox and the Hound at Baba’s.