We had the chance to interview Wild Coast, a fantastic alt band from California. This is a group on the rise who recently had gigs opening for alt darlings Mt. Joy. Their sound is smooth as butter and it just puts the listener in a happy place. Be sure to take a listen to Wild Coast and read the interview!
1. How did you come to pursue music and how long have you been at it?
I was raised by a musician. My father was a side man most of his life. He played with some of the all time greats back from the 60’s and 70’s. I remember as a little kid peeking into our old Grundig record player to see what albums he was playing in the morning before work or school. He loved music. I think I just got bored with everything else in my life. I was lucky to have parents who believed that the “Arts” were a legitimate career choice. I went to University in Seattle for one quarter. Promptly dropped out. Moved to East Texas and started writing songs about girls.
A few years later my mom found a program at a local arts college in Seattle that offered a degree in Music Production and Music Business. It was perfect. I had been playing across the country for about 2 years at that point and just wanted to make records. Back then we didn’t have Logic and Macbooks. You had to use Analog or Protools HD. And those rigs were EXPENSIVE. So, I spent a couple years in studios learning the ropes. Taking internships at studios and record labels in Seattle. It was magic. Nothing like any school I had ever attended. I learned from a couple amazing guys. One in particular, Tom Pfaffael, showed me a new life. Tom worked with everyone from Nirvana and The Black Crowes to Heart (who my Father worked with as well) He encouraged me to learn everything I could about all aspects. Business, Recording, Booking, Writing, Performing, Everything. Be a student. Always. Over the last 15 years I’ve played with everyone from OneRepublic to The Head and Heart and pretty much everything in between. This project, Wild Coast has been going for about 3 years.
2. Could you walk us through your process of writing music?
I love lyrics. I love storytelling and I love sharing moments with people. I generally have 10-20 voice memos on my phone at any given time that I’m working on. When I have spare time I usually grab my guitar and work through whatever ideas I have brewing. I can usually get a good framework of a song done without the band. But, what I love the most is when the rest of the guys come in and add their own colors. Our guitar player James is brilliant at adding melodies that I could never have thought of. He brings a life to these songs that I could never bring. Once you get the band rocking, we usually like to see what all we can take away. I err on the side of “simple is better” and really love to let the song shine on it’s own without overcrowding it. Jeff Tweedy said in the documentary “I’m trying to break your heart” that when Wilco is together and working on songs, they always try to get it as simple as possible. Not over complicating anything. Just playing the purest form of the song as possible. I love that. I try my hardest to do that with every song with varying degrees of success.
3. What artists have inspired you in your career?
It’s a funny mash up, but Coldplay, Death Cab For Cutie and Wilco were big ones for me. Jeff Tweedy can really write a song. Chris Martin knows how to make people “feel” what he’s saying. And Ben Gibbard has some of the most dynamic sounding records. Though, I would put a lot of weight on the old folk greats. Dylan, Waylon, Marle, you get it. As I got older I fell into the “emo” crowd a bit. I think there was a lot about that scene that was overdone. The one thing I think they got right was the ability to lay bare everything. I try to put all our songs through a couple of those lenses. Am I saying something real? Can people relate? Can they sing along? etc, etc. More recently though, Noah Gundersen, The Head and The Heart, The Lumineers, Nathaniel Rateliff, Gregory Alan Isakov, Andrew Belle and just a TON of others. I’ve had the joy of working with most of those guys over the last couple years in one way or another and I always wake up the next day with a renewed sense of inspiration.
4. Do you have any favorite music gear (guitars, amps, effects pedals, keyboards, etc.) that you love to use? If so, what’s the story on them?
I’ve got an old Guild acoustic guitar from the 70’s that I’ll never part with. I bought it at a Guitar Center in Denver for a couple hundred bucks. I don’t think they knew what they had. It was WELL used. Dings and dents and the wrong tuners. But, damn. Does that cherry wood sound good.
I’ve also got an old Wurlitzer that my dad bought brand new in the 50’s. (still have the receipt) That thing was in every band he was ever in. I’ve actually got a couple studio sessions from the late 60’s on tape that has the wurly on it. That beautiful old thing sits in my living room today. He also gifted me an Fender Champ amp that I’m sure I’ll never get rid of.
5. Can you describe the vibe at your live shows? Also, what do you enjoy most about a venue when you do a show?
Sweaty? Ha, I dance around a lot on stage. I think it’s important to try to connect with folks in the crowd. I do everything I can to do that. I want it to be a good time. Sometimes my songs are on the sadder side lyricly, but I try as hard as I can to put a good groove or beat behind it to get some bodies moving. We are usually support on bills these days. Opening for amazing artists. But, not as many people know who we are. So, we try to win people over as much as possible by leaving it all on the stage.
6. What is one thing that you want the public to know about your music?
That there is always more coming. Life moves so fast and so many folks are out there putting out records. I love it. I’m so excited to share all these new pieces that we’ve been working on.
7. Do you have any upcoming projects you would like fans to know about?
We recently spent a week on an EP that we are working hard to finish up and release. Follow us on Spotify! We’ve got a single up there right now with more to come soon!
FMI on Wild Coast visit their Soundcloud Page