When Brian Wilson was 11-years-old, playing his father’s Yamaha acoustic guitar, he realized he wanted to be a musician. Of course, his name speaks music as that other Brian Wilson (The Beach Boys) has sold more than a few records.
He began "hanging out in basements and making a lot of god-awful noise on terrible equipment," he admits with a laugh. But for him, it paid off.
Today he plays in a metal band, Dear Black Diary, signed by independent label Year of the Sun Records. The band, which was formed about three years ago, already has a CD out in HMV, and a video you may have seen on Much Music.
Successful beginnings are arduous, but Wilson believes, "there’s nothing more worth it in the world."
Even a simple thing like scheduling practice among bandmates Jordan Shortt, Steve Ferraro, Colin Canning, and Ryan Forsythe can be a challenge.
"This week, for example, Jordon is working 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Colin is working 8:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m., and Steve, Ryan and myself are somewhere in-between."
Regardless, the band practises twice a week. If they have a show, they practise more.
"If everybody sounds good on CD, your live show [has] to eat other bands for breakfast if you want people to remember you. You have to be tight, have good music, and put on an entertaining show."
The word Dear Black Diary most commonly hears to describing them is "different."
"[This is] vital," Wilson says. "Every band that you like, you like them because they have a musical identity."
Graham Stairs, director of international and talent acquisition at True North Records, agrees that a distinct identity is essential. "From my perspective I’m always looking for artists that have character — personality as well as talent. Artist One may have equal talent to Artist Two, but one may have more character, ambition, or determination — we’re looking for career artists as opposed to one-hit wonders or flash in the pans."
Wilson’s maxim echoes this philosophy.
"You have to keep asking ‘what’s next.’ As soon as you’re satisfied, you’re done. You have to stay hungry. If you don’t fight harder than [other bands are] willing to fight, you won’t get it."