Each season, we put our feelers out to find the best up-and-comers in the music industry to play at the runway show. For the Fall 2013 collection, we tapped Nashville duo Wild Cub to perform. Their debut album is called Youth – and appropriately so: Light and genuine with a hint of chaos, the album emotes an energetic yet poetic sound through hints of electro-pop 80s beats and synths.
New to the music scene, it was only natural that we wanted to pick their brains to get the full story. We took five with the band backstage to talk backgrounds, influences, making music, milestones and, of course, what it was like to rock the runway.
Where are you from? Has your location affected your style musically?
We are actually all from different places, now relocated in Nashville. I grew up in Portland, spent seven years in New York City and moved down south a couple years back. I don’t think Nashville has really played a large part in our sound. Mainly because we are all such avid music listeners, and we spend so much time on the road outside of Nashville. The one spot where location truly makes a difference is in terms of quality of life. Living in Nashville has allowed us all to have great homes with big backyards, and also allowed us to spend 110 percent of our time focused on making music. A lot of our friends who are in N.Y. and L.A. spend a large bulk of their time just hustling to pay the bills. We get spared from that, and it definitely allows us to have a singular focus.
How did you come up with the band name?
As with most band names, to a certain degree, you pull them out of thin air and don’t look back, haha. At the time we were thinking of names, I was transitioning from having performed under my own name. So a huge priority was it simply not being my name. On top of that, we wanted to find something compelling to the ear, that was at the same time vague. The best thing about this band and our record is it allows us to create moments and tones, and the name itself felt blank and open enough that it would afford us the grace to do edgy stuff, light stuff, sexy stuff.
What’s been the biggest milestone for the band thus far?
It’s been an amazing couple weeks for us, and it feels like there is a new one every couple days. One of the first was playing Bonnaroo. Being part of such a massive festival was super exciting. This fashion show is another, we are SUPER excited [about] that. We have a bunch of even funner, larger festivals locked in for this spring and summer that we can’t talk about yet. Those will be truly insane. Lastly, heading over to the UK in May is sure to be fantastic.
Where do you get inspiration for your songs?
It varies pretty widely. Usually the music will start with something I overhear that gets skewed. For example, I’ll hear some top 40 song playing in the other room, super muffled, and instead of hearing the song as I should, my imagination creates some strange frankenstein. I hook into one part, maybe the rhythm, or the melody, something like that…and my brain starts working. Then I’ll start building it, piece by piece, in the studio, writing the song and re-arranging as I go. For words and lyrics, I lean heavily on photographs and poetry. Philip Larkin (an English poet) played a huge role in the lyrics for Youth. I would sit and read tons and tons of his work, page through random photographs I had pulled off of the Internet, and I start to compile a moment or mood in my mind. The cumulative effect of those pieces is where a song like “Thunder Clatter” comes from.
Other than Wild Cub, of course, what song do you have on repeat right now?
Right now, the number one song I’ve been wearing out is “Latch” (featuring Sam Smith) by Disclosure. There has also been a lot of SBTRKT, Shook and Chairlift in the van.
What was it like performing at our show? Did any looks catch your eye?
It was all a bit surreal. There are so many moving parts backstage, but it’s all a very controlled chaos. It was amazing to be in the center of it. When the bright lights turned on, it felt a little insane. There were a couple moments where I just sorta looked around and thought, “Well, this is crazy.”
Credits: Photos via nymag.com and billboard.com