Excited is an understatement when we heard the news that Wilderun signed with Century Media. The group’s latest effort, Veil of Imagination, which was initially independently released in 2019, was on our top albums of the year along with our 225 best metal albums of the decade. Additionally, the Boston progressive metal outfit had the opportunity to wow 3000 metal fans on this year’s 70000tons of metal as they also landed in our top ten sets from the cruise. With that being said, we are looking forward to seeing the next chapter of Wilderun, which starts with the rerelease of their album, Veil of Imagination, out July 17th via Century Media Records. We caught up with bassist Dan Müller to discuss their next chapter, what’s included on the rerelease, and more.
Veil of Imagination was one of our favorite independently-released albums of last year. Now that you guys are signed with Century Media. How did the signing happen?
Well, we were just coming off the boat at 70000 Tons of Metal earlier this year, and once our phones finally connected back with the internet, we took a look at our inbox and found emails, both from Century Media, as well as a couple other labels who were interested in signing us. Thus ensued a couple months of negotiations between different labels and just kind of getting a feel for what each label was looking for. I mean, the crucial thing for us was to make sure Veil gets re-released and has the proper promotion behind it and everything. Then also just what labels seemed the most excited about the band, and Century Media fit both of those bills. So far, they’ve been really fantastic to work with. Very great people and they just really seem to know what they’re doing.
You guys definitely have built an incredible fanbase, even before the label. I was also on the cruise and we waited to see your first set on the first or second night at five in the morning.
Oh yeah, that was the first show. I didn’t sleep that entire day. I tried to, but I was way too nervous. Then once I was backstage, I was like, “Okay, I’m just playing a show, it’s just a different kind of show.”
That definitely must have been crazy. What should fans expect from the re-release of the album?
Well, the album itself is going to be basically as is, it’s the same mix and master. The main difference is that we’ve added a bonus track, which is a cover of Iron Maiden’s Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. We got Dan Swano to mix and master that, and it sounds great, I really can’t wait for everybody to hear it.
That’s actually one of my personal favorite Maiden songs, looking forward to hearing it. Going back to the writing process, what song was the most challenging for you guys to write for Veil of Imagination?
Actually, Far from Where Dreams Unfurl. That was a song that, going into the studio, we weren’t sure we were going to keep at first, just because it was originally written as kind of a four and a half minute long more simplified song. We kept trying to make it work and I was like, “This just isn’t quite sounding like Wilderun, and it’s certainly not sounding like the rest of the material that’s been written.” So that song, we eventually extended it and lengthened the compositional structure. Even then, it was kind of like, “How is this chorus going to come across and stuff?” I mean, I always liked the song and everything, but it wasn’t until we got in the studio and we recorded the main vocals and just things started coming together with the actual production elements, that we’re like, “Okay, this song, there’s really something special happening here.” Everyone we were showing the song to at that point was saying the same thing, like, “Oh, this is a single, right?” I guess it is.
Have you guys already started to work on a follow-up to this album?
Yeah, we’ve kind of got the basic skeleton for our entire record together, and we’re just trying to figure out how we’re going to dress it up and what changes we’re going to make to it. Then maybe in the next two months or something, start to get started on the orchestrations, which is always a process of its own. But yeah, so that’s kind of how we’ve been spending most of this time. Since we can’t go out touring a bunch, we thought we might as well just really make some headway on this record. Because once things do open up on the touring front, we’re hoping to be doing a lot of that.
Yeah, hopefully one day, whenever that happens.
Yeah, sooner than later, I’m hoping.
How has quarantine life been for you?
Yeah, it hasn’t been too bad for me personally. My day job was considered essential business, so I’m still able to make my regular paycheck and everything. I at least wasn’t worried about the financial aspect. Wilderun is, as of right now, not a moneymaker for any of us as individuals. It’s just a matter of I really need to get out of the house, do things, see friends and stuff. Things are slowly starting to open back up in Massachusetts, but everything’s very cautious and everything’s very limited.
There’s been a lot of news floating around on how concerts will return and what they will look like in our “new normal.” We’ve heard about space suits to inflatable bubbles as ways to remain socially distant. What do you think the future of concerts will look like? I mean, it feels like everyday something else pops up.
Yeah, I just saw a photo today, actually, of a drive-in rock concert, and I was just like, “I can’t imagine doing something like that.” My personal feeling on it is that I don’t think we’ll see, at least concerts on any sort of more regular scale, until they can happen as they’ve always happened, which is a crowd standing next to everyone. Because I think people just don’t want to be constantly reminded of what’s going on when they go to a concert. I think going to a concert, at least for me, would only amplify that feeling. If I looked around and everyone was wearing masks and standing six feet apart or whatever, kind of take me out of it personally. But I hope that it’s not something that changes forever, certainly. I mean, maybe I’m optimistic, but I think at some point it will get back to normal.
Do you guys have any plans to do a livestream or virtual tour?
We looked into doing a livestream thing, but it’s tough, because we’re not all local to Massachusetts. Three of us live in Mass and then one’s in North Carolina and one’s in LA. So in order for us to really make it easier to do a livestream, we should all be in the same place, so we just have one camera that needs to sync everything with the audio and whatnot. But we tried looking into it, it was too complicated and maybe beyond our knowhow of how to make it happen, even if it were possible. So I think for the time being, we might potentially do more things like the Hope & Shadow re-arrangement that we did, some video content that we can release, that isn’t necessarily live, but it’s still interesting and kind of keeps a steady drip of interesting content for people.
Is there anything else that you want to say or add, or what fans should expect from you guys in the next year?
I think the main thing we have right now that I can talk about is that we’ve got an opening slot on a Soilwork tour in Europe in the fall of next year, that should be announced soon. So, that’s kind of it, right now, our only real tentative dates. We’re still working on the postponement dates for the tour we were doing with Aeternam this spring, or we were supposed to do. So hopefully sometime next year for that, but we’ve got to check with their schedules. Everything’s just a mess right now, so it’s hard to figure that out. But yeah, I mean, also a new record that we’re working on now. If I’m optimistic, maybe late next year, maybe 2022 for that. I don’t want to put my foot in my mouth, but we’re trying to not take another four years in between each record.
I just wanted to say again, Veil of Imagination was one of our best albums of 2019, and we’re very happy that you guys signed with Century Media. Your performance at 70K was one of our favorites from the cruise.
Thanks. That’s really great to hear. I mean, we were thrilled to be on that in the first place. The fact that our show was considered at all even comparable to a lot of those bands that influenced me in the first place, is quite stunning.