Boston, Massachusetts progressive metal outfit Wilderun have unleashed another strong album with Epigone. The follow-up to 2019’s Veil of Imagination arrived on January 7th via Century Media Records. We caught up with bassist Daniel Müller to discuss the record.
How has the progression been, recording an album independently to being signed with Century Media?
It’s been a steady upwards progression. Both the self-release of Veil and the re-release of that record were probably the biggest jump for us in our career. We went from being relatively unknown to seeing our name pop up in increasingly reputable places quite quickly after that record. With Epigone, there is still growth but it’s a bit more steady. I think once we’re able to get out on the road and support it more in a live setting that could reinvigorate that growth.
How has the pandemic influenced writing the new album, Epigone?
I think, in the grand scheme of things, the pandemic didn’t influence the actual writing of the album as one might think. I believe the record would have come out sounding pretty much the same under better circumstances. We have always been a largely remote band with all of us living in different parts of the country at any given time. However, we would have taken the opportunity to get together in person more had COVID not gotten in the way. The actual act of putting the record together would have been more enjoyable.
The new album has a softer approach than your prior effort, Veil of Imagination, how would you compare the two?
I’d say Epigone is for sure a moodier album. Where Veil was full of bombast and grandiosity, Epigone relies more on patience as it slowly unfolds. I think we got more comfortable in the softer elements of our sound and weren’t afraid to lean on those for a bit longer than we have in the past. But at the same time, the heavier moments on Epigone are far more intense than those on Veil. I know some people may not appreciate such heavy dynamics on a record but I can see no other way for these songs to exist. They very much mirror the emotional dynamics of what the lyrics are suggesting. In terms of how this record stands in the growth of our greater discography, to me, Epigone reflects our feeling like we no longer need to prove ourselves. We are who we are and we will do what we do. That’s it.
What made you guys cover Radiohead’s “Everything In Its Right Place?”
It’s one of the songs on our long list of songs to cover. We’ve always enjoyed taking a song’s raw compositional elements and reimagining it as if it were a Wilderun song. The Radiohead track was just the one on that list that struck a chord with us the most in that moment so we went ahead with it.
Can you talk more about the song “Passenger?”
Passenger is probably one of the more immediate songs on the record and that’s probably saying something as a nearly 10 minute track as dense as that is not exactly immediate. When we showed our team at Century Media the demos for the songs before going into the studio, that was one of the tracks that stood out to them as single material so we all collectively decided to release that song first. It hits in quick and heavy and really grabs your attention right from the get-go. Lyrically it’s also a pretty good middle ground for a lot of the themes on the record.
Tours are either getting postponed, cancelled while others are doing what they can to complete an entire trek. What was your experience like for you returning to the road on the tour with Swallow the Sun?
It was an absolutely much-needed return to reality for us. After nearly 2 years of being coupled up at home and in the studio we really started feeling like we were on some sort of hamster wheel – releasing 2 albums back-to-back with no shows in between. There was no chance to do the victory lap after releasing Veil and we didn’t realize the importance of that until we were forced out of it. I’ve always thought that making records was the creatively fulfilling part of the job and that the tours were just there to have fun and promote your work but when we lost that opportunity I realized how integral the direct feedback is from a live audience. Without it you kind of feel like you’re just shouting into the void. That all being said, the Swallow the Sun tour was also a big adjustment for us. It was our first time being on the road for a full month and the drives in between gigs were no easy feat for a band driving themselves across the continent in a van. Luckily, the guys in Swallow the Sun were incredibly accommodating and really helped kind of mentor us through the process. I feel very lucky to now consider those guys my friends.
Now that the album’s been out, what plans do you have for this year that you can reveal?
We are scheduled to play Prog Power US on June 2nd and I’m incredibly excited to be a part of that. I’ve been wanting to go to that festival for a long time so it’s exciting that my first experience with it gets to be as a performing artist. Aside from that, we are working on getting some more touring opportunities this year but so far there is nothing I can announce.
Is there anything else you want to say about the new album?
I’m very proud of the record. It was an incredibly difficult record to make considering its size and scope and I am deeply appreciative of all the people involved who helped make it a reality. I’m hoping we can bring these new songs to a live audience soon.