Pushing the paradigm: Big Wreck writes new ‘Pages’ in Canadian rock history with upcoming EP

by | Nov 13, 2023 | Arts & Life

Canadian-American rock icons Big Wreck are releasing a new EP on November 24, and they want you to know that they’re harder, louder and faster than ever. Led by musical powerhouse Ian Thornley, Big Wreck’s songs have resonated through decades. This month, the band is embarking on an extensive North American tour to showcase their newest music. The Nugget sat down with Big Wreck’s drummer, Sekou Lumumba, to chat about their sound, their fans and their live shows – which will include an Edmonton date.

The EP, titled Pages, is described as “once again rewriting the code for rock music” in the band’s press release and will consist of six new songs meant to emulate different pages in a book. “Some are soft, some are very out there and kind of technical, and some are just rock songs,” Lumumba explained. He said there’s “a lot to dig into” with Pages, and music lovers will appreciate the new details they pick up on with multiple listens. 

“Bail Out,” the first single from Pages, is intended to grab listeners by the collar. The rest of the EP’s songs, according to Lumumba, are all over the map – in a good way. A session drummer with disciplines across multiple musical genres, Lumumba has played everything from reggae to death metal. “I play a lot of different kinds of music, and [Big Wreck] is the first band I’ve been in in my life where every song is something I’m proud of, something I find changes the paradigm of rock music and where rock music is at now,” he said. 

Big Wreck’s discography spans from the late 90s, and their latest songs are influenced by 70s and 80s progressive rock bands like Yes and Genesis. “It’s taking those influences from these classic rock things that we all grew up liking and reshaping them into a new, more contemporary way.” 

With the help of producer Nick Raskulinecz, who has worked with bands like Foo Fighters, Alice in Chains, Korn and Deftones, Big Wreck is aiming to stay true to themselves while continuing to draw in a new generation of rock fans. 

“Big Wreck is a band that kind of blew up in the 90s, let’s be frank,” said Lumumba. “But we’ve been noticing that at shows, especially when we tour the states, a lot of people in the front row pressed up against the railing are young people, people in their 20s, and they’re singing the lyrics to all the songs. That really bolsters our spirits and helps us know that we just need to keep putting music out.” 

“We’re trying to figure out what it is, because we don’t know why we’re seeing [young] people singing the lyrics [from our older songs]. It’s great for us, so we’re just going to keep at it.” At the same time, Big Wreck wants their longtime fans to know they’re still here – making what they feel is some of the best rock music in Canada right now. 

“We’re still Big Wreck. We still know how to rock,” said Lumumba. “The idea is to slowly show people that we’re still here and the band’s harder and louder and faster and more technical than it’s ever been.” The artistry Big Wreck accomplishes with their limited time in the recording studio speaks to the band’s experience and technical talent. After Thornley comes up with a rough idea of a song, Lumumba said the rest of the band takes months to “germinate with it and really let it sink in.” 

“For me personally, the longer I have with a piece of music, the better. What I can do is I can kind of go, ‘Oh, this vocal part happens here,’ or ‘this drops out here’ or ‘the guitar thing, I’m gonna play with that, I’m gonna play off that.’ And the more chances you have to listen to it and live with it, you can add those little decorations [to] the song,” he explained. 

After pre-production, the band knows exactly what needs to be accomplished in the studio. “The idea is to go in not feeling any trepidation about the music. Go in feeling very confident about it and just execute at a high level.” 

Big Wreck’s studio talent translates to their live shows – which are some of the hardest-hitting performances in the country, Lumumba claimed. “If you don’t believe me, come to the show. We feel very confident about not just our songs, but our abilities on stage, and we always want to make sure that the audience is getting the best possible rock show,” he said. “When I walk off stage, I want to be needing oxygen to breathe because we played so hard, you know?” 

“We have pushed harder on this record than we have with any other album,” Lumumba said. “As far as our live show, you don’t have to be into Big Wreck to enjoy a Big Wreck show … we stand by our live shows with everything we have, so I think if people come out, they’ll have a good time. I’m confident in that.” 

The release date for Pages just so happens to be the same date as Big Wreck’s Edmonton show, which will take place at Midway Music Hall on the evening of November 24. 

“You know what? We haven’t started rehearsals yet, but you just put a bug in my ear,” said Lumumba when asked if there were any special plans for their Edmonton stop. “Tell Edmonton to watch out. There will be.”

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