Wailing Trees: When passion and dreams collide Image

by Biko Kennedy

With a multitude of Reggae bands surfacing throughout the musical landscape yearly, there are many that will go overlooked while others will shine effortlessly. Then you'll come across Wailing Trees; an amalgamation of a band you can't help but admire. We recently caught up with them to learn more about their humble beginnings and their dreams of the future.

JAmusic: Music lovers globally will always be looking for that new, impeccable sound that can be looked upon as leaders of the new wave of vocalists. How would the band define a musical genius that can eventually become a vocal leader?
WT: First of all, you cannot really dissociate voice from music; it’s like the body and the soul. The singer is the mouthpiece of the band, the musicians speak trough and with him, but he has to be involved in the composition and arrangement of the sound and consider himself as instrument.

JAmusic: Some of the most genius artistes have thrived when taking chances and innovating. How important/present is that on the Reggae soundscape today; from what you've seen and that might have help in composing your singles?
WT: Reggae music has always been innovative from its origin. It louds itself to change, it’s a cultural-melting pot but at heart there is always the same positive message. Each member of the band, the seven of us, brings his own ideas to the original composition and we all work together to create something new. We all have various influences from soul to jazz and punk also. I think that’s what’s great about reggae music.

JAmusic: How do you think your appearance on Rototom Sunsplash, Summerjam, Overjam, Reggae Sun Ska and other festivals have impacted your growing fan base as well as attract new ones?
WT: We did not really measure the evolution in terms of figures or statistics but our fan base has steadily been growing and we herd great feedbacks this summer. This summer was a first step for us, we just approached the international scene to see what it’s like. We’ll be ready to rock next time we tour around Europe.

JAmusic: With every single that an artist releases they intend to tell a specific story. What is the tale the band intend on the upcoming releases?
WT: We wanted to show that we could also bring our vibes in. “Selon ma nature” means: follow your nature. It was an impulse to shape our music. We did not think it would pave the way to massive European festivals. The next album will be entitled “The world go round” and it deals with the fact that although there is war and hate all around, music is a message of peace and pleasure. The energy of the earth is eternal and present, is a gift. It reminds me of what Jawad, the guitarist of the band, once told me: “Utopia is a word that was invented by people who’ve stopped dreaming”.

JAmusic: What that one factor that glues the band together?
WT: I guess, we all get along pretty well because we are all fairly young and stupid. It’s a merry circus when we go on tour. The manager, Cedric, could tell you about it!

JAmusic: How much can you see the band’s growth since the debut album Selon ma Nature.
WT: The first EP “Selon ma nature”, shows the evolution of the band from the very beginning. We started recording roughly a year after we’d decided to form the bands. The album to come will benefit from these 3 years of experience.

JAmusic: What's the biggest risk you've taken artistically; one that went over surprisingly well and one that might've gone over people's heads?
WT: There’s seven of us in the band so we have various horizons. We definitely want to experiment. For instance, we use classical arrangements in our compositions because the saxophonist, Pierre, has a classical formation and we want to integrate his input as well. We also did a groovy just song for the fun of it. But the main risk we take it’s ti play at venues where people do not necessarily expect reggae music. That’s when we got our more precious compliment: “I don’t like reggae but it was great!”.

JAmusic: Who's the artiste that keeps you on your toes? Pushes you to go harder?
WT: We are obviously tremendous admirers of Groundation for their story and their originality, Dub Inc for their energy and independence, and hundreds of artists we meet during tours or Jazz artists we discovered at the Jazz Festival in Vienne (France). But let us be honest, we cannot forget the tribute to Bob Marley.

JAmusic: When you got into the music business where did you think you'd be today or where did you see yourself fitting in at the moment?
WT: We’ve always wanted to play for a living but we could not think that the first album would give us that opportunity so soon.

JAmusic: What's the purpose on your musical journey? What's the message you're trying to give?
WT: Our music is an invitation to open oneself to new perspectives, to new horizons. I think music is a way to bridge over languages, cultures and differences. We want to spread the world and lament of Wailing Trees. It’s not a message of despair but of positive dialogue with the audience.

JAmusic: What's one song that you hold close to you because of a particular line or better yet what's the most philosophical quote you've heard in a song that you hold close to your heart?
WT: The most moving line, I can think of right now is “And you are a warrior…”; it’s by Groundation in the album “Each one Teach one”. It challenges all the preachers of hate in music, and outside the world of music, for they lack introspection. In this song, Harrison Stafford, raises questions, he does not pretend to hold the truth. They are sincere and compassionate observations rather than judgmental assertions.

JAmusic: We live in an era where the average person's attention span is limited to what they want to see or hear. What are you doing differently that will hold their attention?
WT: We want to remain close to our audiences, honest in our music and humble in our attitude. Being visible as well as audible is important but we won’t to burn the steps. As long as we enjoy practicing, experimenting and performing, Wailing Trees will grow.

JAmusic: With success comes a lot of negative feedback, how do you react or deal with negativity?
WT: I imagine we are not yet famous enough then, because we mostly hear positive criticism. The feedback we get is basically encouraging and very supportive. We need to hear people’s opinions on what we could improve, that is the best way to learn and rejuvenate.

JAmusic: What kind of future plans have you set for yourself as an artiste (to accomplish and maintain)?
WT: Wailing Trees is my life’s project at the moment. Each member of the band has dedicated too much time and effort into this project that we see the release of the new album as a beginning. There is a lot of work ahead and we already have plenty of ideas blooming but I believe we can still reach out further.

JAmusic: What insight can you give on the power of music and its ability to communicate certain messages verbally and non-verbally? And what do you think your music represent? Music is a universal language.
WT: There are these magical moments when we practice a song and when instruments replace arguments, which is the moment when music starts to give the uplifting you had been looking for. We are ready to work hard to convey our message and stir the crowds when we are on stage

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