“You put content of music out into the abyss and that doesn’t always feel like when you put music out to a person,” says Khalid Yassein, guitarist, vocalist, keyboardist, and songwriter of Canadian folk rock trio Wild Rivers. The band spent the better part of the pandemic working on their full-length follow-up to their self-titled debut LP, which dropped in 2016. The album, Sidelines, is set to be released in February of next year, although the band released album singles “Weatherman” and “Amsterdam” this summer, prior to the start of their month-long US tour, which kicked off September 10th at the Fox Theatre in Boulder, CO and includes an October 4th stop at The Foundry. I spoke to Khalid over the phone on September 11th, the morning of their second of two sold out shows in Boulder. And while he tells me that he’s grateful for all of the positive feedback the band’s new music has gotten online, there’s nothing like getting to play it for a crowd in-person.
“It seems like, online, people are loving the new songs. Last night for our new songs, ‘Amsterdam’ and ‘Weatherman,’ people sang every word, and those were songs I released a month ago. For most of the songs, they knew every single word… It was unbelievable. It could not have gone better. Everyone in the room had an amazing time.”
Khalid tells me that he and bandmates Devan Glover [vocals] and Andrew Oliver [lead guitar, synths] enjoyed recording Sidelines, but that they did experience the same obstacles that all bands recording during the pandemic were forced to deal with: “The second record, it wasn’t without hardships… We recorded it remotely, probably with 10 different studios, and we had probably 30 revisions on every song but, overall, we had fun.” He also tells me that Wild Rivers have gained a lot of knowledge and experience since recording their debut, which is likely to show on their latest batch of songs: “I feel like every time we go into the studio, we push a bit harder. I feel like we get better every time… When we went into the studio to make our first record, we had no idea what we were doing, but now we’re confident to try different stuff.”
For their show at The Foundry, Khalid tells me that fans can expect to hear a lot of Sidelines, but also songs from their debut and the two EPs in-between: “We have a ton of songs now. There are songs I wrote 10 years ago and songs I wrote in the year.” Curious as to the band’s fans and the kinds of people coming out to Wild Rivers shows (which are selling out rapidly), Khalid tells me that their music tends to attract a variety of people, but most frequently, they’re people living similar lives to the three of themselves: “We attract a lot of different kinds of people, usually between 20 and 35. There are a lot of people like us, who recently graduated college and are just kind of faking their way through life, like us [laughs].” He also tells me that the band has recently been pondering some bigger questions, but that their ultimate goal would seem to be to bring as many of these people together as they can: “We’ve been talking about in the past year the why of why we do this. For us, our story is we are great friends who believe in something that is bigger than us… We just try to create an environment where anyone can come into a show and connect with another person and stand with a stranger.”