With the release of their upbeat single titled, “Text Me?” the Indianapolis-based band, The Wldlfe, have catapulted their way in the indie realm. The Wldlfe is a band that doesn’t shy away from both visual and instrumental experimentation, which leads them into creating infectious hits. The Wldlfe spoke to Local Wolves about the duality of music and color, the ideal escape to go to when one is listening to their latest EP, and the profound love they have for Fleetwood Mac’s Tango In The Night. // Jansen Hogan (JH), Jason Boucouras (JB), Jack Crane (JC), Geoff Jones (GJ).
The Wldlfe’s sound reminds me of the height of the pop world, aka the 80s, what about that era of music is most exciting to you?
JB — Guns N’ Roses, N.W.A., and Michael Jackson all releasing historical records in the same decade; you can’t argue that it wasn’t an exciting time for music. There is just a lot of musical creativity that was born in the 1980’s, regardless of genre. Specifically for pop, I think the mix of instruments that were prominent at the time is exciting for me. Tango In The Night by Fleetwood Mac is a record that just feels like nothing was off limits as far as instrumentation goes. There was a big boost in synthesizer technology just more digital options all around. I think that the introductions of those sounds and styles are really where that inspiration is drawn from. And we all grew up listening to 80’s music. All of our parents grew up in the 80’s so we’ve all drawn inspiration from a lot of music from that time.
You guys have released a couple of tracks and are on the verge of releasing a new EP soon, do you think releasing these small EP’s, more often, is something you prefer as a band? Or would you rather pull a Frank Ocean and release an unexpected album when your fans least expect it?
JH — I think that we like doing these small EP’s. It gives us the opportunity to give people new music more often and we get to share our lives in a little more real time that way. I am personally a fan of surprises, and I think we’ll always share things unexpectedly, but for now, we like that we get to share music consistently.
When you started working on new music for this upcoming EP, who was the first person that you wanted to play it for so you could witness their first reaction to the project?
JH — As the songs come out, the first people that I share them with are always the guys, but outside of the band, my brother is usually the first person to hear the songs. Sometimes he’ll love one, and not be a huge fan of another, but I trust him a lot when it comes to the songs. I think it helps to have a good outside opinion to keep me honest and to help make sure the songs are the best the can be.
How do you tackle the nervous energy you get whenever you’re writing songs about immensely personal emotions, how does the process translate when you need to compile all those emotions into a song?
JH — I honestly feel the most comfortable when I’m writing about something that is super personal. When I try to write something with the purpose of being catchy or what I think people want, I find myself getting stuck and stressed about the song. The fact that the songs are personal actually helps the writing process move quicker, mostly because I’m just telling the truth. ‘Waterfalls’ started with the line “You make so sad.” and ‘Momma Told Me’ with “I don’t care if you’re bothered by the way that I was feeling.” Telling it how it is and getting how I’m feeling of my chest is therapeutic in a way and makes it easier to get those personal emotions into the songs.
Do you remember the first time you heard a song that made you want to immediately invest yourselves into becoming musicians?
JH — “More Than Fine” by Switchfoot is the song that got me. I just remember listening to it over and over in the car with my dad when I was in elementary school. As I’ve gotten older and continued listening to it, I think the simplicity is what got me. It just made me feel good and I want to give that feeling to people through our music.
JC — One of the earliest ones I can remember is a song called “A Boy Brushed Red Living in Black and White” by Underoath. I just remember hearing it as a kid and immediately I was hooked. I had never heard such aggressive and melodic elements fused together like that. The energy and emotion was what drew me in and something inside me clicked to where I knew I wanted to be apart of that energy and that feeling in some way.
Your video for “Waterfalls” is incredibly minimal yet beautifully constructed, are visuals an important part of portraying the thematic elements found in your songs? Where does your visual inspiration come from?
JH — I’m one of those weird people who matches everything with a color. Numbers, letters, you name it. Waterfalls is a song that I match with blue and purple and that’s the reason the song is visually represented that way. It’s important to us to be honest visually. We don’t want to put on too much of a persona or pretend to be something that we’re not. I don’t think you’ll ever see us in Versace or anything like that. Whether it’s a video or pictures, we just want to show people that we’re just like them and understand them. I think that’s something that is rare nowadays and we want to break through that.
As you’re currently integrating yourself in the music industry, what has been the essential piece of advice that someone has given you?
JC — Probably the most essential piece of advice I have personally received in regards to music as a whole is “Never lose sight of yourself, and never lose sight of why you do it.” If you’re doing it to make the most money or have the most notoriety, I think you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. We are all a part of this band because we love writing and playing music more than anything else, and I think it’s important to remember that even when things get messy or complicated. At the end of the day we’re four dudes who love playing music together and we’re very fortunate to be in the position we’re in and I think it’s extremely important to always remember that.
You recently released your single “Text Me?” how did the vision for this particular song come about? Are you all able to put your individual inputs when it comes to both the songwriting and music video processes?
JB — “Text Me?” just kind of started out as batch of chords and a guitar lick that was recorded on Jansen͛s computer. From there, we took it and built it out a bit more, and played at a few shows before ever recording it. Doing that gave us the chance to fine tune the song and get it where we wanted it to be before taking it to the studio. As far as the songwriting goes, Jansen usually writes the bones of the song on his own, laying down a base chord structure and lyrics. Then we all bring our own ideas to the table, and we get to shape the song together. The music videos are usually a collaboration between our vision and the director.
What song off the new EP do you consider the perfect song to play at the highest volume while driving on a freeway?
GJ — “Waterfalls”. It just makes you feel good. The lyrics are easy to sing along to and I think it͛s relatable in a non-conventional way. For those who want a good song to scream at the top of their lungs and for those who just need a new sound, I think “Waterfalls” is that song.
In what way would you love your listeners to listen to your EP once it’s released? On a Friday night with a glass of wine? Dancing in the middle of a dorm room? Or just sitting down and introspectively looking into every lyric?
JB — At the top of Mount Everest, just as the sun comes up on the New Year. If that option isn’t available to you for some reason, maybe just settle for wherever you have some room to dance.
JC — In the car with all the windows down and the music blaring. Hopefully you live somewhere where it’s warm when it comes out, but if not then definitely on a sunny Saturday or Sunday morning when you have nothing to do and can just relax, drink some coffee, and enjoy the music.
GJ — We really want this EP to be the voice for your thoughts and feelings. We feel like we’ve created something that you can listen to no matter where you are. Windows down on the highway would be the place I would recommend.
JH — At the end of the day, I just want our music to be listenable no matter how you’re feeling. We want our music to be for the people who need something to sing and dance to, but also those who need to be reminded that there is somebody else that has gone, and is continually going through, the same things as them. Listen to it with your grandma. Dance to it with your best friends. We’d love to join you on either occasion.