INTERVIEW: An ‘Everbright’ future for Outwild

We interviewed up-and-coming Canadian producer Outwild, on his recent name change from his former alias Inukshuk and the release of his brand new deluxe edition of his ‘Everbright’ EP via Seven Lions’ Ophelia imprint.

With a penchant for crafting melodic tunes, Outwild first gained prominence within the indie future bass scene in 2015.

The multi-genre producer, who hails from Toronto, Canada, found popularity with hits such as ‘Happy Accidents’ and ‘A World Away’, released via royalty-free label NCS. Both songs have accumulated millions streams across Spotify and YouTube.

Over the past few years, the beatmaker has collaborated with prominent producers such as Half an Orange on ‘left Behind via MonsterCat in 2018 and Dabin on ‘Another Day’ in 2019, the latter of which was the lead single off Dabin’s Wild Youth album.

2020 marked the release of his first EP, Letting Go, and more recently he has joined Ophelia Records (of renowned producer Seven Lions) for his biggest record yet – the Everbright EP.

The six-track EP featured uplifting tunes including the titular track and ‘Before We Start’ to songs with ethereal melodies such as ‘Broken Constellations.

The deluxe edition of the EP was released today via streaming platforms and features remixes by up-and-coming producers such as Vaance, N3WPORT, Miles Away and AWAKEND.

Most notably this year, however, is his recent name change from his former alias Inukshuk. With his connections to Inuit culture, his name taken from the symbolic structures found in the Great White North, Outwild has altered his name to a more universal symbol, devoid of any cultural appropriation.

We caught up with him to interview the name change, his rise within the electronic music scene, and his thoughts on the remixers’ reinterpretation of his songs.

AL365: Hey Outwild, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. How are you holding up during COVID?

Outwild: Of course, thanks for having me on! I’ve been holding up fine, it’s difficult to predict where things are going to go from here but I’m doing my best to just keep working and continue to hope for the best.

AL365: How did you begin your career as an electronic musician? What makes this type of music genre so appealing for you?

Outwild: I played a lot of instruments in my early teens and was in different bands throughout highschool.  When I got to University, it was obvious that it would be a lot more difficult to perform with other people, access to jam spaces was limited and, living in a smaller dorm room, it was difficult to keep my instruments with me.  After a year or so of trying to make the band thing work I decided to try my hand at electronic music out of convenience.  I ended up falling in love with the process and seemingly limitless possibilities, I’ve been writing/producing solely electronic music ever since.

AL365: You’ve just recently changed your name to Outwild. Prior to the name change, you went by Inukshuk which has ties to your youth and Inuit heritage. Why change the name now?

Outwild: Growing up in Canada, the Inukshuk was a fairly prominent symbol in my experience.  They were structures that you came across while exploring the wilderness and saw as various public representations of the country, the Vancouver 2010 Olympics being a prime example.  When I chose to use the symbol as a stage name, I did it with the best intentions, with the idea that it was solely a Canadian symbol.  As time passed, it became more obvious that the Inukshuk wasn’t so much a piece of Canadian imagery, but more-so that of its Inuit roots. I, myself, am not of Inuit descent, and it took some reflection to realize the difference between heritage and culture.  Regardless of my personal experience, I had to recognize that the Inukshuk was never mine to use, and, ultimately, it was a brand that I should let go. It is a part of my heritage, but not my culture, continuing to use it commercially doesn’t seem ethical.

AL365: Why the name Outwild? What does the name mean to you?

Outwild: The Inukshuk brand created a very distinct nature-centric theme, I wanted the new name to be a continuation of that. Outwild is a very deliberate correlation to that theme, ‘Out’ directly meaning ‘a way of escaping from a problem or dilemma’ and ‘Wild’ meaning ‘a natural state or  uncultivated or uninhabited region’.  The name stands on its own without any cultural significance, which was important to me in the new brand being globally accepted.

AL365: Some say that your original name Inukshuk could be seen as embracing your own roots and the local Inuit heritage, bringing awareness to the importance of the Inuit people and their culture, instead of being seen as something offensive. What are your thoughts on that?

Outwild: I can understand that point of view, for sure.  I think the issue for myself was having the name be more about its cultural implications than just the music.  That being said, I was also running into instances in which people had no idea what an Inukshuk was and just thought that it was a name I created, taking away from its cultural significance.  At the end of the day, I wanted to alleviate myself of the role I was falling into, I am a musician first and foremost, and I wanted to bring the focus back to that.

AL365: Do you find representation to be an important part of one’s identity and their music?

Outwild: I think it’s very important to understand what it is you’re representing.  If you’re going to use any imagery or wording from a specific culture, make sure that you’re educated on whatever culture that is and have an understanding of the implications behind using that content.

AL365: I’ve had a listen to your Everbright EP and it is pretty lit! These are some of the most uplifting future bass tunes I’ve heard in recent memory, such as the title track, ‘Before We Start’ and ‘Broken Constellations’. Is there an overall theme and message that ties all the tracks in the EP together?

Outwild: Thanks so much! Absolutely, over the course of writing Everbright EP I was dealing with a lot of mental health issues.  I used writing uplifting music as a way to channel my positivity into something I could easily revisit.  This contributed to why it took so long for me to finish writing the EP because, at the time, those moments of positivity were occurring few and far between.  Looking back on the record as a whole, having overcome a lot of the distress I was going through at the time, it’s a testament to rising above personal struggle and finding myself in a better place.

AL365: What would you say is your personal favourite track from the EP and why?

Outwild: Everbright would have to be my favourite track from the EP.  It’s a clear representation of the ups and downs of emotional struggle, in my opinion.  It starts out with a lot of energy, is met with a moment of melancholy reflection during the breakdown in the middle, before building back up to a strong melodic conclusion.

AL365: You’ve mentioned that you have a deep appreciation for nature growing up. Does that help influence the production process of any song you work on?

Outwild: For sure! Nature is still a big part of my writing process.  It’s a bit difficult living in a major city like Toronto but there are still a bunch of accessible green spaces and paths to explore. I will usually start an idea in the studio, render out an initial pass of the project, then get outside for a walk, listening to the work over and over.  I find this helps provide a setting to the music which, for me, makes it easier to further develop the idea.

AL365: We’re now prepping up for a deluxe version of the EP which will feature remixes from rising producers. What was the reason behind the special release and how were these artists chosen for remix duties?

Outwild: In the process of undergoing a rebrand, I wanted to run the decision by the record label I am currently working with, Ophelia.  I was very fortunate that they fully supported the idea and we decided that introducing the new concept coupled with a re-release of my flagship record, the Everbright EP, with the addition of some brand new remixes would be a great way for existing fans to get on board with the change.  We’re all really excited for the release and I’m happy to have the remixers be a part of this special project.  I know all of the acts through different avenues, Miles Away & I had our collaboration ’The Pages’ released earlier this year, AWAKEND and I both did remixes for Seven Lions ‘Find Another Way (Remixes)’, and Vaance & N3WPORT I know through virtual festivals and our management team, 10G Management.

AL365: What did you think of the remixes?

Outwild: I’m really happy with the work all of the remixers put in.  They are all very melodic but really have their own sense of character.  I think they were great additions to the Deluxe version of Everbright EP and it’s been awesome having some varied options to play out in my live sets!

AL365: What are some of your personal artists/producers that we should keep an eye out for?

Outwild: If readers haven’t yet, be sure to check out the remixers on the EP! Miles AwayAWAKENDVaance, and N3WPORT are all very talented producers who have been working very hard during the pandemic to put out awesome new music.  I’m really excited to see what the future holds for all of them!

AL365: What’s in store for you in the future?

Outwild: I have quite a bit on the go right now, which I’m very happy about.  I’m continuing to write new original work every day but, in terms of content for the rest of the year, I have my single ‘One More Try’ with Adventure Club featuring Kotomi slated to release in the next few months, as well as a couple of remixes I’m also really looking forward to.  I’m hoping to get on the road in 2021 but, with the outbreak of COVID-19, we’ll have to wait and see on that!

AL365: Once again, thank you Outwild. We look forward to your projects and productions in the future!

Outwild: Thanks so much for having me, it’s been a pleasure answering your questions!

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