If you are around the Canadian west coast pay any attention to the music scene around you, you've seen or heard the New Groovement around. The funk/jazz/soul/hip-hop is established a go-to for good time, big-sound live music 'round these parts. As a person who sees these sorts of things, I had seen TNG many times and then I showed up to White Eagle Hall here in Victoria one night and there was a new lady singing! The fuck was going on? Any fears I had of this new person screwing up the chemistry of this band I dig were quickly assuaged when I heard this new voice and saw her quietly commanding stage presence. I also came to learn the person behind this powerhouse voice was Stevie Wise. Since then that stage presence has gone from quietly commanding to powerfully radiant.
Joining an already established band was easier than one might have expected and Wise just dropped right into the role. “I didn't have to do any of the grunt work from the beginning. They already had an award-winning album and stuff. It was great. I had been such a fan of the band too so it wasn't a completely new band to me. It was like, 'I'm finally living my dream of being in an awesome band.' It was a natural progression,” says Wisla of her easy transition into her role. The partnership seems to have been almost immediately beneficial as both Wise and TNG seem to have a hard groove in 2017, both as powerful as ever. I sat down with the magnetic Wisla for a chat about the paranormal, people sharing names and that corrupter of youth – Hillary Duff.
1. What was the first album you bought with your own money?
I was kind of spoiled. I don't know when I really bought something with my own money. <laugh> My first go-to is Avril Lavigne Let Go. That shit was ace.
Was or is?
Is. Always is. The next one, Hillary Duff, Metamorphosis, I think it was called. My parents went through it and listened to it before we were allowed to listen to it so they could censor it. And I clearly remember we weren't allowed to listen to 7 or 11, because they talked about partying. Which, now, 'Sorry mom, do here what I sing about on stage now?! Hillary Duff ain't got nothing on me!”
How did they even enforce that?
I don't know. We were all just scarred shitless to do anything wrong. We all had very guilty consciences. I have an older sister and a younger brother. We were all kind of like, “I don't wanna do anything wrong because I'll feel bad about it forever.” I remember they used a sharpie to scratch out the titles of 7 and 11 so we couldn't even know the names of them.
2. When's the last time you did something for the first time?
Atmosphere Gathering. And I wanna leave the rest blank. Sorry, mom.
What a great festival.
It was insane. I only went up for a day and a half and I don't regret it.
3. Have you ever seen or felt a ghost or ghost-like presence?
I've never seen one first hand but I've definitely felt things. Even just talking about gives me the heebee-jeebees. Paranormal shit freaks me the fuck out. This guy I was seeing before, he told me about how when he was a little kid he saw a ghost that held him in place so he couldn't move at all. It freaked me out and he always slept with his door open. I swear there was always a thing was always watching me. In that same house I closed the sliding door once and this broken cuckoo clock went off and it freaked me out. I'm sure it was just because of the door, but still. That whole house...he was bad juju, that guy. These were all signs. Thank you, paranormal activity for being like, 'Get the fuck out of here!'
Sounds like pretty helpful ghosts to me, trying to warn you of this bad dude.
Whoa. Whole new perspective on this ghost story.
4. If you could spend the day with anyone living or dead, who would it be and what would you do?
Lady Gaga or Adele. I know that's basic as fuck, but still. Lady Gaga especially. She goes through so much shit – mental health issues and physical pain all the time, but she still goes out there and works her fucking ass off. And she's only 5'2 or something. So, maybe Lady Gaga. Her names actually Stephanie, so we'd probably get along.
Do you find you get along with other Stephanies most of the time?
I don't know. There's not that many.
Really?! I feel like I've met a ton of Stephanies. Hmm, maybe not lately though.
I always hated them growing up, like, “Come on, I'm the first Stephanie.” Now I hate being called Stephanie. It's so formal.
5. What's your most positive memory of a teacher growing up?
My Bio 11 teacher. He was super rad to begin with, but I was failing and he passed me because he was nice. It was grade 12 and it was the one class I needed to graduate. I wasn't much of a school person. I got 110% in Guitar 11. My sub teacher in band was the best band teacher ever. Everyone would come in and go, “I don't do music, I don't know anything!” She'd make everyone get their music out and play. I really actually wanted to play my oboe in band class!
6. The guest question comes from Applecat...
Oh, she's so cool! I just saw Amplify Her, did you see it?
I did. It was powerful. I was at the same screening you were. I watched you and your crew struggle for some time trying to find seats. I got there early and laughed.
Did you see who I was with? No wonder I was late. It's just all of us.
So the question...If you had to pick a song lyric for your tombstone, what song lyric would it be?
“It's better to love whether you win or lose or die” - Airborne Toxic Event.