Photo Credit: Becca Lemire
Some artists make a song and then a video that takes little artistry and calls it a day. Ace of Wands is not like that. They put as much time and thought into the visual as they do the music that the two coincide like best friends who met the first day of kindergarten and have yet to part over two decades later. With their captivating “10,000 Feet” they leave you wanting more and frankly, singing the chorus for a week straight. At least that is what happened to me! Now it’s time to take you to a high artistic altitude with Ace of Wands…
Kendra: It’s clear that the environment is a huge deal to you guys. Seeds with the last album and wood with “10,000 Feet.” What inspired these inclusions?
Ace of Wands: Yes! I am happiest when I am outside and in nature, either working as a gardener in Toronto or camping/canoeing. Anna, our lead guitarist, is also an arborist so she and I share a love of trees. I wanted to distribute the music in a way that was more environmentally sustainable than the typical CD or Vinyl. It’s very hard to create anything new without also creating an environmental footprint. But in making wildflower seed cards for “Grown from Good” and the balsa wood glider planes for “10,000 Feet,” we have created merch that is interactive; creating life and a sense of play.
Kendra: 10,000 Feet is also the name of your album that’ll be out August 18th. Does the single set the overall tone for the rest of the album or can we expect some unexpected?
Ace of Wands: The lead single sets the tone for a contemplative set of 3 songs, each exploring different versions of heartbreak. “Float the Flood” explores self-hatred and anger, while ‘Hearts Disease’ explores the transition between anguish and hope.
Kendra: The video for “10,000 Feet” is as mesmerizing and tantalizing as the song itself. I got some American Horror Story: Coven and Roanoke vibes by the end. Was that show an inspiration at all?
Ace of Wands: I am a huge fan of the horror genre, though I don’t actually watch American Horror Story! I love the adrenaline of being scared, and my favourite horror movies are always the ones with tension and suspense (rather than gore). There is a theme of spiritual and physical transformation that carries through a lot of my songwriting, which is a process that can be scary to face. Using various horror movies as inspiration, we tried to depict a literal transformation from human into an animal. For this video, we made paper-mâché animal masks, fabric sculptures, fake blood and fires to depict Anna’s transformation into the Lioness. It has been a challenging but wonderful process to think of how to create tension both visually and sonically in a 3-minute song.
Kendra: This is the second in a trilogy of videos. Summer featured in the first, winter in this one. Was it a conscious decision to skip fall or that is to come?
Ace of Wands: Fall is yet to come! We are planning to film the final video in the trilogy this October. It has been so great working with a drone footage of Canadian landscapes, and I can’t wait to see what we can get with the autumn colours of the forest.
Kendra: I love the hook of “10,000 Feet” due to the melodic, almost Celtic feel. Do you pull from the Irish music culture at all?
Ace of Wands: I’m not sure! That’s been said before about my guitar playing. I am trained as a classical violinist but have also done some fiddle playing over the years as well. The melodies and song structures of fiddle music have always resonated with me, and it’s very likely that this has blended with my guitar playing. I am self-taught on guitar, so I’m sure my technique is a melting pot of all of my different musical backgrounds.
Kendra: Other than the album dropping. What other plans do you have for the remainder of the year?
Ace of Wands: We plan to release the final EP in the trilogy this fall. We’ve been selected as Musicians in Residence at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity this December! We can’t wait to spend two weeks writing songs in the mountains and collaborating with excellent musicians. Hopefully, we will play a few shows out west while we are there.