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Katie & the Wildfire’s chaotic 20s

Katie & the Wildfire // Supplied
Katie & the Wildfire "Ten Speed" release w/ Nature Of, The Eclipse, DJ Aladean Kheroufi
Mar. 22
The Aviary
All Ages
$15 at doors

By Navneet Gidda

A tidy collection of five tracks, Katie & the Wildfire’s latest EP, Ten Speed, is a relatable meditation on figuring out the chaos of your 20s.

“It’s very much a reflection of being confused in your early twenties and learning about how the world is changing and has changed,” explains Sam Malowany, the band’s drummer.

Thematically, this album does a great job of solidifying Katie & the Wildfire’s sound. Tracks like “Outerspace” and “Ringing” weave stories about the messiness of love and life as a creative. Each song seeping into the next, the album is curated to be a snapshot of the band’s personal, yet universal, experience of trying to survive adulthood. The album concludes perfectly with “Minute Hand”—it’s hazy melodies serving as an appropriate closing statement to the fact that sometimes your 20s are just going to be damn hard.

“Iʼve always written about [quite] personal experiences,” says lead vocalist, Katie Laine. “This one I think is a big mixing pot of ideas—there are some breakup songs and some groove-oriented, chill songs.”

This record is also a product of the band’s evolution from a solo endeavour to a more collaborative effort. Having started on her own in her university days, Laine has since recruited a few of her longtime pals to back her up. Eventually forming Katie & the Wildfire, the collective started doing gigs around the city and arranging songs together. Borne out of a friendly and relaxed musical process, the band has come to embody a rare soul-folk vibe, which it has successfully channeled into this record.  

“We wanted to have something to represent us that was an accurate representation of what the band is [now],” Malowany says.

Ten Speed // Cover art by Raine Radtke

Experimenting with their instrumentals, Clara Woodward’s talent on the keyboard fits in well with this album. Having joined the band recently, she has worked with Laine to hone the group’s lyricism and sound to give them a dazzling, dream-like feel. Often coming up with songs together, Woodward and Laine have generated a chemistry that is essential to the band’s vibe.

“I’m on the hype train of women in music—especially women fronted bands,” Laine says.

The record’s album art, created by local artist and friend of the band Raine Radtke, is as much part of the production as the music itself. The bike wheel serves as a homage to Laine’s many bike rides around the city when she’d have a chance to think. The dusty window pane is more of a direct reference to lyrics within the album, while the granular yellow is inspired by the colour of a pillow lying around Laine’s house. Shedding light on simplicity, these symbols are an important addition to the album’s overarching themes.

“Our community has meant a lot to us over this past year,” says Laine. “We try to support our pals starting out in their [respective] careers.”

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