The Wild Now Talk New Music, New Tour, and How SXSW Started It All (Interview)
The Wild Now have been making waves in Austin over the last few years, and they are about to embark on some of the most exciting weeks of their musical careers. They are getting ready to follow up their first EP ‘Tides’ with some new music and new tour dates across the country. The Austin duo consists of Taylor Baker and Drew Walker who met at a show here in Austin and the rest is history.
I Met Taylor and Drew at this year’s 2017 SXSW during their Austin 360 Studio Session at the Ticketcity event. I was blown away by their music, and even more so with their approachability and willingness to converse with fans after they were done.
I recently sat down with Taylor to discuss their upcoming EP release followed by a tour across the east coast. We also dive into how they met and became The Wild Now as well as the role that SXSW has played in their lives.
This local Austin band has a very unique sound, and they have great personalities on top of it to match their music. Unfortunately Drew was unable to make it due to work schedule conflicts, but we were able to hear Taylor’s story of how this wild ride began.
When and where did you and Drew meet?
Taylor: We met in 2013 during SXSW. We had some mutual friends, and we were at a Local Natives show at the old original Lustre Pearl (RIP). Loved the original one…I miss the old Rainey St. Oh the good old days….
Anyways we met at the show, and we naturally started talking about music. He offered to buy me a drink, and I introduced him to a Moscow Mule, haha. Later on he ended up filling in for my guitar player at the time, who was going on tour with another band. We playd this show at Cactus Café. KUTX was doing a contest, and we ended up winning. Then we got to play on the radio for KUTX, and so we just decided to keep playing together, and it all snowballed from there.
I love how things happen like that…were you playing as The Wild Now at that point? Or was this a solo project you were doing?
Taylor: No, we were not The Wild Now until Drew came in. At that point, it was just me and my name as a solo show.
How long had you been playing solo gigs for at that point?
Taylor: About a year, maybe two. It’s hard to remember exactly, but it was a lot more singer/songerwriter and folky. I just started playing at coffee shops and open mics in Austin. I met a bunch of great people, and I was just writing a lot of music and playing around town. Austin is great because it is not that hard to go out and build a community here.
Ya, even though Austin is a growing city, it still has that small town vibe here which is great.
Taylor: Ya, I love that about Austin.
So did you start playing solo gigs right after college?
Taylor: Well I actually just graduated from St Eds in Austin a year ago. I started college a lot later because I took a few gap years after high school and traveled around the world. I brought my guitar with me and I just traveled around and was working on my craft. Being in places like the beautiful New Zealand countryside, it’s hard not to be inspired.
Absolutely, I can imagine.
Taylor: Ya, it all started there. Then once Drew came in, our sound became more indie, electronic, with a little bit of rock, which I really liked. It created something really unique. It took my lyrically focused mind and combined it with Drew’s musical inspiration from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It was just a great collaboration. That’s why we decided to change the name and make it our own thing.
Another thing is, after we started playing together, that same year we won another contest with Durango and American Songwriter Magazine. We won $10,000, and they sent us all over the US for a whole year. We were constantly traveling and playing shows. We had all this money, so we kind of jumped the gun, and made an EP. We definitely spent too much money on it.
I can relate to that with my business too. The first go around in any business is usually too much money being spent. But that is how you learn.
Taylor: Absolutely, we have no shame, and we definitely learned from it.
So when did it become more than just you and Drew? When did yall add the rest of the band?
Taylor: It was probably around 2015 that we started having the full band play all of our shows with us. We have 5 members. We really only do duo stuff for corporate events and other things like that, but we always prefer to play with our full band.
Very cool. So how did you guys come up with the name The Wild Now? And what does it mean to you personally?
Taylor: Well in this day and age I feel like its hard to find a band name that isn’t already taken, so that was the tough part. I’m not exactly sure when and where it came about, but it’s all about being in that moment, in the now, and we really wanted it to reflect our music. I know some people associate wild with being crazy, and our music isn’t really loud and crazy, but we really wanted to express that feeling of the present moment. Plus no one else had already taken that name, which is great, haha.
So you mentioned that Drew’s inspiration came from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I can totally relate to that since they are one of my favorite bands, and the book Scar Tissue changed my life. But what music inspired you to want to create and be singer/songwriter?
Taylor: I always listened to a weird mix of hip-hop, Frank Sinatra, Marvin Gaye, and Bon Iver. Bon Iver is my favorite. He’s like a chameleon musically, and his lyrics really hit home with me.
Tell me about you and Drew’s creative process.
Taylor: Our writing process is really us creating the basic tracks and demos at home, with a make shift microphone and Logic. Then we have a couple different producers that we have worked with to help us finalize them.
So lets talk about SXSW 2017. I met you and Drew at the TicketCity party doing the Austin 360 Studio Sessions set, which was great by the way. But you guys also had an official showcase this year right?
Taylor: Yes this was a big year for us. We played 9 shows. The year before we did 12. The official showcase at Continental Club was sold out and it was amazing. That venue is great, and the people and atmosphere was just incredible. It was one of my favorite shows we have ever played. I just love South By.
Me too. It’s one of the most unique music festivals around, and I feel like I have discovered some of my favorite bands at a very early stage in their career at SXSW. Tell me more about your new music coming out soon. I know you guys released Tides in 2016, and it sounds like you have a new EP on the way?
Taylor: We are calling it ‘Afterglow’ which is the name of one of the singles single we released recently. We also just released another single off the EP called ‘Tongue Tied.’
I just recently listened to Tongue Tied and I really like it.
Taylor: Ya me too, that one is my favorite on the new EP I think.
Tongue Tied was the one you guys just announced right after you got accepted onto the 2017 ACL Lineup right? Congrats on that by the way!
Taylor: Yes, and thank you! I’m really excited. I was really surprised honestly. They let us know before the official announcement, but it really wasn’t on my mind. We hadn’t been talking with them or anything, and all of a sudden they reached out and let us know.
Too cool…and this is your first time to play ACL as The Wild Now.
Taylor: Yes! We are very excited.
Congrats again. Lets go back to the EP, how many songs are you guys putting out on Afterglow?
Taylor: We have 5 songs. We’ve released 3 singles so far, and we will probably just let the other two come out with the official EP.
And you guys are having an EP release party soon too?
Taylor: Yes, we are playing at 3TenLive under the ACL Live Moody Theater.
That’s a great place for an event like that.
Taylor: I love it! It’s my favorite venue. Bob Schneider is also playing a separate show there before us at 3Ten. So we like to tell our fans that Bob is opening for us that night, even though it’s a completely different event, haha.
It sounds like The Wild Now is going to hit the road on tour after this EP release party too, is that right?
Taylor: Yep, we are really excited to get outside of Texas since that is mostly where we have played so far. We are going to the east coast and hitting places like New York, Nashville, Chicago. We got the whole band coming and we are renting a van and everything. We also got a great deal to do some private duo shows in Chicago too, which should be a lot of fun.
How many shows are yall playing on the road?
Taylor: We are playing about 20 shows in 3 weeks.
That is very exciting! Just a few more personal questions for you…what has been your favorite live show that you have played?
Taylor: I think it’s probably 1 of 2 shows. The first would be the our first official SXSW Showcase at Continental Club…it was epic. We also played the after show for Young the Giant at Stubbs in Austin. We played the indoor venue, and it was packed as well. We wanted to open for them, but they let us play the after show and it was great.
What do you think is unique about The Wild Now? What do you want people to remember about you?
Taylor: I think the main thing we hear from people is that our sound is really unique and it doesn’t really sound like anyone else? We aren’t trying to imitate anyone else and we are really just trying to pave our own way and make our own sounds.
I always like to ask a question about giving back at the end, so what would be your advice to a new musician who is trying to break into the music industry and create a name for themselves?
Taylor: I would tell them to say ‘Yes’ to everything because exposure is golden. You never know who is in the room. Even if it’s an open mic with 5 people, you never know who is going to hear you and help take you to the next level of your career.
I love that. Taylor, thank you for your time. Please tell Drew hello for me, and I can’t wait to see yall play again at your upcoming EP Release Party!
END OF INTERVIEW
Make sure you check out The Wild Now’s newest single ‘Tongue Tied.’ It’s been on repeat all day for me today, and I can’t seem to get enough of it. For local Austin fans, make sure you get tickets to their upcoming EP release party at 3Ten ACL Live! For those of you outside, make sure you catch them on their upcoming tour across the east coast.