Image by Wes Mack
We asked Wes Mack ALL about his new album, Soul.
Q: What inspired the album title “Soul”?
A: The album title is taken from the song on the album, called SOUL. Ultimately, I wanted that to be the title because the story told in it mirrors the journey, I feel like I went through in creating this album… it was very challenging but also enlightening in a number of ways. I went through a massive number of personal and professional changes over the last 4 years while recording these songs, many good ones, but many difficult ones too. I totally changed the way I look at making music, and it made me take a long look at a lot of my life and try to decide what things in it I love and what things I want to leave behind. Writing SOUL (which was is the only song I’ve ever released where I am the only writer) I got into a flood of memories… all the things that make you who you are, for better or worse, and ultimately all the things that fill your soul – the things you want to hold on to and be grateful for. Once I had written that song I felt it encapsulated a lot of the journey of this album, so it became the title track.
Q: For fans who haven’t heard the album, what can they expect from the record?
A: This is a very eclectic record. It was written and recorded over 4 years, and in that time I changed and grew a lot. Those changes are evident in the songs and I didn’t want to try and hide that in any way. Life is a journey and so was this record and I think you can hear a lot of that in the music. I tried to create a record that is more passion than polish. One that embraces the classic elements of country that I love and combines them with captivating and dreamy sounds. I hope my fans, new and old, feel a rush when they dig into these songs… those moments when you feel a song in your soul…. That’s what I live for.
Q: What’s your favourite tune off the album, and why?
A: SOUL is my personal favorite song on the record. As I said above, the story in it really encapsulates the way I feel in this album. But also, the creation of that song was a ton of fun. I wrote it one morning during breakfast. I often write a stream of consciousness… not songs, just anything at all with no filter. I find it’s a really great tool to get ideas moving and to find out how you actually feel about a lot of things. As I started doing that, I realized I was writing lyrics and so I let it continue. I feel like the song was just there waiting for me. I didn’t really think about it, I just wrote one line after another, never editing anything. In about 10 minutes the song was done.
I co-produced the whole album with my good friend Jordan Orbek. This song was our favorite to work on as from the start I said I didn’t want to even think about making it a “hit”. I just wanted to do things on it that felt interesting. He and I actually play every instrument on the song and I got to sing a few insane vocal stacks with like 9 parts that felt very Beach Boys. He used a bunch of unconventional instruments and it makes the track quite unique. It felt like making music the way we did when we were kids. Just for the fun of it. That’s how I like to make music and I think going about it that way allows you to find things you otherwise would miss.
Q: What song do you think fans will gravitate to most?
A: That I cannot say…. There are things I love about all of these songs but the thing I’ve learned over the years is that once you put a piece of music out there in the world it’s not yours anymore. When I did the Shania tour, I recall very clearly one night at my meet and greet a fan told me what my song Before You Drive Me Crazy had meant to them and how important it was in their life. And in the moment I was thinking “huh…that’s not at all what I meant when I wrote that”… but later that night I thought more about it and realized “Wait… they are right…. I am wrong”. It’s not about what I intended as the writer. It belongs to everyone and they own the meaning for themselves. I think about how many songs I listened to growing up and even now…. It’s not like I know what the writer meant; I just know how it makes me feel. I’ve really grown to love that. Takes the pressure off when you are writing to be perfectly clear. Everyone will find their own way and pick their own favorite songs and I am happy for them in the process.