Wesley MacNeil Interview

Date: November 14, 2017 Author: Jeff Thorburn Categories: features
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Wesley MacNeil

Interview by Jeff Thorburn

Photos by Jacee Juhasz

Where are you from, Wesley?

I'm from Beaver Bank, Nova Scotia, a small town outside of Halifax.

How far from Halifax?

It's like 45 minutes.

Are there a lot of skateboarders in Beaver Bank?

No, not really.

How'd you get into skateboarding?

I don't know. They're just kind of always around. I think my siblings had one or something like that.

How old are you?

24.

And you live in Montreal now?

Yeah, I've been here for two and a half years.

Why'd you move there?

Halifax is kind of a boring city. It’s cool, it's tight, but there's not a lot to do.

Did you live in the city for a while?

Yeah, I lived there since I got out of high school.

Did you do any schooling there?

Yeah, I did a little stint of philosophy, but I dropped out.

Okay, and then why Montreal?

I like to skate. There's a great music scene here. There's a great skate scene, and it's pretty affordable.

Are you in school or something in Montreal?

No, I just work and play music and skate.

You’re in a band, right?

Yeah, I am.

What’s it called?

It's called Palace.

What do you play?

Guitar, some keys.

I heard you just played a show in Prince Edward Island. How was it?

Oh, it was great. My girlfriend is from there, and it's, like, so relaxed.

Where did you guys play?

At Baba's, in Charlottetown.

Did you drive out just for the one show?

No, we played in Saint John and Halifax, too.

Did you get fired back up on skating when you moved to Montreal?

I was kind of out of it for a while. For a good year or so. I had first moved here without a board, so I didn't skate for the first year I think, like at all. My girlfriend was working with Dylan Lamy's wife, and I met Dylan, and we were like, "Yeah, let's go skate sometime." I just kind of got more into it from there. I met all his friends, met Jacee, met a bunch of people here. Now skating's more like a daily occurrence.

What's your job?

I have a couple. I work as a dishwasher and a prep chef and a bike courier. It's all like classic Montreal Anglo-scum jobs.

Do you dish wash and prep chef at the same place?

No, different places.

So, sometimes you get to be a chef, and sometimes you have to slum it and wash dishes?

Yeah, basically. Both sides to the coin.

Is cooking of interest or do you want go back to school or pursue music?

Music, ideally, but I definitely don't want to work in kitchens forever. It’s not the best time. For now, it's just a way to make money.

There are a lot of characters in kitchens, yeah?

Yeah, totally. Some crazy people, for sure.

It's a pretty big party scene. Do you get involved in that?

No, usually not. If you’ve got to do fucking drugs at work to keep working there, it's probably not a good sign. There are some people that go pretty hard on the blow at work, and it's like, kind of worrisome, I guess.

So music is your main focus? Is that something you'd want to do any schooling in or you just want to play on your own?

A little bit of both I guess. I don't know. I was always self-trained, so the thought of going to school kind of sucks. There's always people telling you what to do and how you should be interpreting things. That's kind of restricting, you know, because really, you don't really learn anything that way.

Yeah.

I don't really like the idea of school that much, but that might change. I don't know.

Who are your musical influences?

It's kind of all over the place. When I was in high school, I listened to a lot of guitar music from the ’90s, like a lot of Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., stuff that was in the skate video soundtracks. Then, when I got out of high school, I started realizing there's a lot more shit out there. Right now it's a lot of Contemporary Classical music, New Classical music, Philip Glass or Steve Reich. There's some really bizarre shit out there.

How do you find out about that stuff?

My girlfriend. She's a classical percussionist.

So what does that entail?

She studied in school for… I think she's got seven years of music under her belt. That's why I feel like I do about music school. I've just seen the underbelly of it.

Is skateboarding a main focus of yours right now as well?

Yeah. I mean, I want to keep skating as much as I can. It's still in my brain, you know? You see spots, and you think of tricks. You're always like scheming on the next thing. It would be wrong to not do it if that's going on, you know? If you have that kind of relationship with it, you should just keep doing it. So, yeah, I want to be skating as much as I can.

What do you think you'll be doing in five years?

I'd like to be doing what I'm doing now, but more of it and less of the kitchen shit. That's kind of the general dream, I guess.

Just playing music and skateboarding?

Yeah. I mean, just see where I end up. There's just a bunch of stuff I want to be able to do when I'm still young enough to be able to do it. I feel like I should just keep trucking at what I'm doing.

I think you're right.

Yeah, you never know.