[INTERVIEW] With ... Wylderness

Wylderness - L-R  Chet 'D' Wyld, Big Phil Wyld,  Oli Wyld and Marz Jones-Wyld - Photo: Kirsten McTernan
Wylderness are a guitar noise quartet based in Cardiff and London. Following the success of their first two singles 72 & Sunny and Peripheral Vision they picked up a number of accolades and their stunning self titled debut album released in March is receiving rave reviews. 

BBC Radio 1's Huw Stephens and BBC 6 Music's Steve Lamacq are just some of the radio hosts who have been vocal in backing Wylderness and singing their praises and subsequently the band were offered headline slots such as the monthly emerging band night Huw Stephens Presents at The Social in London.

Singer and guitarist Marz Jones-Wyld, Oli Wyld, the band's guitarist, drummer Big Phil Wyld and bassist Chet 'D' Wyld have been securing deals in the US including a licensing deal with Bleed 101 Music in Los Angeles. They also gained eight sync deals including lead single 72 & Sunny (The Flash and The Fosters) and album tracks On A Dais (Vampire Diaries and Teen Mom), Daisy Street, So Preempt, Broadcast and YY AA (Teen Mom). 

Based on the strength of an early demo, Wylderness have played Swn Festival in Cardiff and have supported acts such as Pinkshinyultrablast and legendary Japanese psychedelic rockers Acid Mothers Temple.

Despite the band's background influences being as wide ranging as Ariel Pink, Kurt Vile and Diiv, shoegaze still remains a fundamental element in their music and It's All Indie wanted to talk and get their view on the term, the making of the debut album as well as their plans for the future.

What does the term shoegaze mean to you and how well do you think it describes your music?

Oli: It seems to be quite a thing now. It does not bother me at all because it probably helps some people who have never heard our music but have been reading something, it will give them some kind of idea as opposed to just describing yourself as a guitar band, that could mean anything really.

Phil: I don't think we ever set out to be shoegaze, it just happens to be the way our sound developed over time. 

Oli: Originally, the bands from that era were pigeonholed with that term and probably did not like it much because they weren’t trying to be shoegaze. Now some bands are looking back trying to sound that way, they embrace the term rather than just going 'why are you calling us that?' Back in the 1990s it was probably meant as a derogatory term describing a scene that celebrated itself, a number of shoegaze bands watching one and other perform.

Marz: I think we had a strong idea of how we wanted the songs to sound and we wanted a particular sound, lots of layers, the vocals not too high in the mix and it just so happens that people have interpreted it as shoegaze.

The lyrics on the album appear to have a conversation going on but I am curious to hear if this is how you intended it?

Marz: We wanted the lyrics to be a little more abstract, without being cryptic, not just be sort of straight in your face. We wanted it to be the listener having to do a bit of the work, as if there is another layer. So yes, the conversation thing is interesting because I guess 72 & Sunny was written like that like a conversation.

It strikes me that lyrics are important to your music. 

Marz: Yes despite it being the last thing we add, I do want them to play a significant part and be idiosyncratic. When we did 72 & Sunny there were loads more words in the song. I had done the first take of the song when it became clear that I was trying to fit too many words into a short space, so we took some words out, which instantly made it more abstract, so it wasn’t so clear what the meaning was.

How about the songwriting, did you all contribute to it?

Marz: Yes pretty much, it was a group process. We tend to get together in the practice room and just work on different ideas, we play some riffs, do some vocals and then we add the lyrics at the end.

Oli: Then in the studio we look at how we can layer stuff up more. I would not say that we finish writing the songs in the studio but we get an idea about different textures, we think about what will sound good.

The studio and recording side of things, tell me about working with Rory Attwell at Lightship 95, what did he bring to the process?

Marz: Rory just kind of gets exactly what it is we do, it is the same wave length. Out of everyone we have recorded with we might explain what we are looking for, something very particular. However, what the producer tends to come up with is not always what we have in mind but Rory just seems to get it. He offers some really great ideas as well.

Chet: We must have known Rory for ten years now. We met when we were in different bands and played the same show, we played a Reading and Leeds and BBC Introducing in 2009. He was in a band at the time and we just met because we were on the same bill.

Chet: Rory invited us to go and record in his old place in Shoreditch. Later on Rory took up a residency at Lightship 95 and we stayed with him as we really enjoy working with him. He is really chilled and he gets our sound, it is just easy. 

You are signed to Succulent Records, which is an independent label, what has your experience with them been like so far?

Chet: Our label has been really good and supportive. We have got total freedom and this is great.

Oli: When we did the first few recordings we just sat there but once some of them came back we looked at the release schedule for next year and we just thought let just go ahead and release stuff. 

Phil: It is easy to just let the record company take a certain percentage from whatever your sales are but our set up is different. We have had deals in America, so why should we have to wait another year and then let a record company take a share? Why delay our album for another year? It is better just to get things out there really and then if someone  does come along, like a bigger label or someone else is interested, then you can talk to them.

Things seem to be going very well for Wylderness but what are your future plans? What do you want to achieve? 

Marz: I know it sounds like a cliché, but we want to focus on the music. We want to record and make records and preferably we want to come at it from an artistic point of view.

Phil: We also just want to get together as we have been doing, have a good jam and hopefully something nice continues to comes out it somehow.

Chet: We have plans of a tour of the Lowlands, in the Netherlands. It is very early days but hopefully this will happen.

Marz: A Dutch tour would be great. We have a song called Dutch Wine so hopefully that will get us some fans in the Netherlands. We did have a review on a Dutch blog. We think it was a good review.

Oli: We don't want to wait for things to come to us. If you want to release an album, you should just do it, make things happen for yourself, that is a better approach. Luckily, we are in a position to be able to do that just now. 

Photo: Kirsten McTernan