Music evolves, or at least it should. Great bands are always adding to what they do while expanding their sound without deterring from their initial intent. That's what Austin's Wild Child has always seemed to do at least. With each release they've added more members, expanded on their intense live shows, and grown their sound to new levels. Ahead of the release of their beautiful new album Expectations, the Houston Press sat down with vocalist Alexander Beggins, a Houston native himself to discuss the new album and what Houstonians can expect at their show on February 8.
As part of that evolution, Wild Child has grown in terms of songwriting and live performance, as well as the overall size of the band. When asked how they went from a five piece to a seven piece and how they manage it all, Beggins replies, "I'm hoping that we are going to cap it off a seven but with us there is kind of no telling. Fast forward to 2020 when we have a pan flute section and a electric harpist. But to be honest it has never felt too overwhelming to travel with such a large band. We actually prefer it. The family band aspect keeps things fun and interesting. When we started out, the five of us would sneak everyone into one little hotel room but now we are able to afford a couple rooms a night or we spring for an airbnb so in some strange way it feels like we have less people."
The band's new album really finds the space between their crazed live performances and the intimacy their music can often inhabit. The band really seems to have pulled out all of the stops, so much so it makes the listener wonder if there were ever a time that the band held themselves back.
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"In short, the answer is no. We find that it's really important to not say no to ideas when you are in the studio. Hear out all ideas big and small and then decide it it's working for you or not. Having said that, our live show is always on our minds when we make a record. We constantly question if the music will translate in a live setting. It's nice to have such a large catalog now that we can break the set down into different acts. We're able to have high energy segments and we can also break down into a duet section," says Beggins.
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The way in which the band chose to record the record was vastly different from what most artists would do when making a record. Complete with recording with multiple people in multiple spaces, the original idea was even more off the wall, Beggins says. "Initially we wanted to release a new song every month and work with 12 different producers in 12 different places. So we started the project out with that in mind but when we started stock piling songs, we started to get attached to them as a body of work. We were surprised that there was a natural cohesive feeling between all the songs even though we recorded them in so different ways. We recorded some in Kelsey's abandoned childhood house in Wimberley, TX and some in Tromso, Norway right up next to the North Pole. It felt fresh and fun."
And now, at nearly a decade old, Wild Child seems to feel as fresh and inventive as they did when they first hit the music landscape. When asked if it felt like it'd been that long, the ukulele player replied, "I can say with certainty is it feels like we started this band yesterday. It blows my mind to think how long it has been and where we started. We are incredibly lucky to be together and I hope it never ends. We have grown up together and it's incredibly rewarding to see everyone change and grow over the years. We have a lot of love for each other. Feels like us versus the world."
And whether or not it's the band versus the world or not, their live shows have always felt like a party where the world may end following their bombastic set. "We try and bring our best to every show. It doesn't matter how big the crowd is or how it sounds we are there to have fun and connect with people. Let's sing songs and dance around together and leave our worries at the door," he says.
You can stream Wild Child's music in all of the usual places, or order your own copy of Expectations from Dualtone Records. You can also leave all of your worries at the door as well, when Wild Child play an album release party at The Heights Theater on Thursday February 8. The all ages show will also feature an opening set from Shane Cooley & the Midnight Girls and a very rare Coke bottle clear colored vinyl for the Houston date only for purchase. Doors at 7 p.m.; tickets Free to $29.