Phone Bill Episode August 14, 2020

Once A Tree

5:04pm - 5:55pm

“We live in a world where people want instant gratification. But sometimes, chasing after that can leave you feeling empty,” Once A Tree say of the track. “And the things that used to feel like magic lose their lustre.”

Once A Tree is a Toronto-based Indigenous electronic music duo comprised of BC-born Hayden and Jayli Wolf. They are multidisciplinary artists that combine an array of skills, vision and DIY work ethic to blaze their own path. They released their debut album, Phoenix, in November 2017 (winning Best Electronic Album of the Year at the 2018 Indigenous Music Awards) and met while leaving the doomsday religion they were both raised in. Excommunicated by their community, they decided to use music as their voice.

The duo began writing folk music in a small valley town near the Canadian Rockies. When Jayli won a songwriting competition, the two were flown to Toronto to shoot a music video. They arrived in the city with two suitcases and a guitar; looking for a fresh start and determined to pursue their dreams. After relocating to Toronto, Hayden was accepted into The Remix Project, where he was able to hone his music production skills. The two began to evolve their sound, infusing mellow beats with dream pop melodies. To date, Once A Tree has released numerous singles received to critical acclaim, including Whatever You Do Kid, What You Say, Run, Worth, Born For This, Coming Down and more.

Whatever You Do Kid was released in October 2019. The liberating piece inspires listeners to reflect, take chances and live in their truth. Listen to the song here. Their previous single, What You Say, took them to Mexico to capture a sense of freedom. Hayden and Jayli self-directed the video, creating a piece as liberating as a vacation in a new place. Set against the vibrant backdrop of San Miguel de Allende, we see vocalist, Jayli Wolf, traversing the city streets with a model skeleton, symbolizing “dead weight.” Loosely following the story of someone in a dead-end relationship, the visual sees Jayli jumping in between the worlds of her imagination, culminating in her burying the burden she has been carrying in the relationship, ultimately setting herself free. Watch What You Say here.

What You Say followed Once A Tree’s previous song, Worth, another powerful piece highlighting the group’s intentional storytelling. They returned to their home province of British Columbia, filming in the southeastern region’s Lower Kootenay Band Territory with First Nations Youth from Yawa Nukiy School, honouring Jayli’s Indigenous roots and Saulteaux heritage. The music video follows a young girl resembling a monster. She feels neglected at home, invisible on social media and bullied at school. The end of the video reveals that the girl isn’t really a monster – it’s simply a visual representation of the inner belief system she carries and has built from exterior judgments, evolving into courage, compassion and understanding above all.

Learn more about Once A Tree below, and continue following them on their journey as they prepare to release a new EP this fall.

Once A Tree's Phone Bill:
1) Margot and the Nuclear So and So's - Broadripple Is Burning
2) Keaton Henson - Sweetheart, What Have You Done To Us
3) Tragically Hip - Ahead By A Century
4) Buffy St. Marie - Universal Soldier
5) Josh Ritter - Temptation of Adam
6) City and Colour - Sometimes (I Wish)
7) Vancouver Sleep Clinic - Summer ’09
8) Charlotte Day Wilson - Work
9) Haviah Mighty - Thirteen
10) Joji - demons
11) Once A Tree - Rush

Track Listing:

Broadripple Is Burning
Margot and the Nuclear So and So's · -
Sweetheart, What Have You Done To Us
Keaton Henson · -
Ahead By A Century
Tragically Hip · -
Universal Soldier
Buffy St. Marie · -
Temptation of Adam
Josh Ritter · -
Sometimes (I Wish)
City and Colour · -
Summer ’09
Vancouver Sleep Clinic · -
Charlotte Day Wilson · -
Haviah Mighty · -
Joji · -
Once A Tree · -