Good things come in threes, they say.
They also say some things just aren’t meant to be. And so after almost ten years, Edmonton punk rockers Old Wives became a three-piece. Their new record, aptly named Three, comes out Friday, May 5.
Three is for the three of them, that it’s their third major release, and all three are super excited about it, says bassist Ryan Dix.
“The response so far to this one has been through the roof,” he explains over the phone. Three kicks off with an energetic pop-punk ripper called “And the Hits Keep Coming,” foreshadowing the catchy melodies of the next nine songs.
A long time coming.
Produced by fellow Edmontonian Greg Wright, the album was in the works for two years. They didn’t mean to take so long, but they hit some speed bumps along the way.
“We’d made it about six songs deep and then everything went to hell real quick there,” Dix explained. “So we started rewriting the album. As a three piece.”
Punchy tunes carry tongue-in-cheek lyrics and titles of the band poking fun at themselves or making sense of their situation as a three piece. It’s a robust release for the group in the absence of their fourth member that is refreshing, yet stays true to Old Wives’ roots.
They wrote all new songs for the most part, keeping a few Dix had written, and just “went to town on writing and writing and writing.” When they were done recording, Three needed a home, and a sweet opportunity sort of landed in their laps.
Graeme Philliskirk of UK punk band Leatherface was putting together his label Little Rocket Records, and someone passed the new Old Wives album his way.The group liked what Little Rocket had to say and decided to work with them.
“Honestly it couldn’t of turned out better,” says Dix. “They’re so supportive, such a great label to work with.”
New album, check. New label, check.
New band? Not so fast, says Dix.
“It’s not a different band, it’s not different music, it’s not anything different than what we’ve done in the past.”
They toyed with a new name, new branding or changing the sound, but they didn’t feel their tale as Old Wives had reached the end yet.
“We wanted to keep on with being Old Wives,” explained Dix. “I mean that’s what we’ve been for ten years almost.”
The only thing that’s really changed is the band’s album artwork aesthetic. Three’s artwork is a mature graduation from past Old Wives designs that echo The Offspring and Descendents. Designed by Pete Nguyen, the tri-colour album cover features a fierce traditional-tattoo style dog and two cats.
A new look, a new direction.
Dix sees the design change as moving in a new direction.
“We’re old now. It’s time to grow up,” Dix said half-serious, half in jest. “Really, as a three piece now, it’s time for a new updated look, and we were really happy with the artwork [Pete] came up with.”
Once the album drops, they’ll be headed in the literal direction of east to tour, ending up in Montreal for Pouzzafest May 19-21. The festival is a multi-venue event with over 150 bands playing over the course of three days in downtown Montreal. It’ll be their third year playing the festival and Dix can’t wait.
“It’s like the coolest festival ever,” says Dix. “We love it, honestly. There’s a great punk community there, great community in general.”
The festival is unique in that it books mostly underground and independent bands, and offers features such as yoga, and kid’s events. Dix loves that you can pop into any venue and catch a band you’d enjoy, even if you don’t know who they are. The band will be participating in Pouzzafest’s baseball tournament, being held for the second time this year.
“Everybody’s so accessible there,” says Dix. “You meet people walking down the road. We have a lot of friends that play in bands and it’s nice to catch up with everybody. It’s like a little bit of a summer camp almost, a little spring camp.”
You can catch Old Wives at Pouzzafest or on tour. Get their new album Three here.
May 5 – Edmonton – The Needle (Release Show)
May 12 – Winnipeg – The Windsor
May 14 – Sault Ste Marie – The New American
May 15 – Oshawa – The Atria
May 16 – Toronto – The Bovine Sex Club
May 19 – Pouzza – Katacombes
May 24 – Calgary – Ship & Anchor
And check out their new video for “Lying Through My Drink” here!
Stay tuned for Sara Mai Chitty’s ongoing conversations with bands lined up for this year’s Pouzzafest!
Feature photo album art by Pete Nguyen