The Athens, Georgia based three piece “Wanderwild” released a new single, Irma, this past week. Wanderwild consists of Matt Martin (lead vocals), Wes Gregory (drums), and Taylor Cotton (bass). Wanderwild has always delivered showstoppers, and Irma is no exception.
This single is climactic and roaring with passion, your heart picks up speed like tires flying down a mountain road, only lit by high beams and moonlight. This is a night time drive, hand out the window feeling the sharp air on your skin type of song.
Tuesday had the pleasure of talking with Wanderwild about their background, inspirations, and goals for the future.
Tuesday: Hi! To start off, if you can give a little introduction about Wanderwild.
Wanderwild: Wanderwild is a rock band from Athens, GA, comprised of myself (Matt Martin), Wes Gregory, and Taylor Cotton. I started the project as a solo venture back in 2013, then shelved it. I brought it back to life in 2015, and we became a proper band in 2016.
'Wanderwild' was originally a solo project by Matt. How and when did Wes and Taylor join?
Wes was the first to join the band on a permanent basis. I called him somewhat last minute, right before our EP release show in March of 2016, because my other drummer at the time was unable to do the show. I'm glad Wes said yes.
Ian White, who was in the band until very recently, joined shortly after in April of 2016. He's still doing some shows with us, but has stepped away from the band as far as day-to-day needs are concerned.
Taylor joined in September 2016, also thanks to a show we had booked and the need for a bass player. Once he joined, we began to transition into a truly collaborative unit.
Tell me about the creative process behind Irma.
"Irma" is indicative of the songwriting process we've had for a little over a year now. One of us brings a little piece of an idea, whether that be a guitar part or bass line or drum beat, and we jam on it as a group to see if/where/how the song wants to develop. I think this time around, Taylor had the bass riff for the chorus as a starting point. We then wrote and recorded the instrumental track in the same day at Chase Park Transduction. I wrote the lyrics and vocal melody several months later.
The song is called "Irma" in part due to Hurricane Irma. We were in the studio while the storm was happening, and ended up working even longer than expected because the studio was one of the only places in town that still had power!
Who are some of your biggest inspirations, either musically or non-musically?
As far as inspiration goes, we're all big fans of the "rock is back" era of the early 2000's. Bands like The Strokes and Interpol still inform our tastes to this day. The National and Death Cab For Cutie and Spoon have been hugely influential for me as well.
Since the release of your album, In Due Time, last fall, how have you grown as a musician?
A lot has changed since In Due Time released. One of the coolest things about that record for me is that it documents our shift from solo project to full band. Some songs I did on my own, while others were highly collaborative. Now, I hardly ever sit down and start writing a song by myself. Finishing songs is a bit different -- I often do that on my own -- but the initial spark and energy comes from us playing music together in the same room. I've also pushed myself as a singer and lyricist more than I ever have. I think that's the product of writing vocal parts in isolation from the instrumental music. It allows me to give the vocals even more weight and even more time to develop, as opposed to sticking with whatever feels natural in the moment while playing a guitar.
What song do you enjoy playing live the most?
I'd actually say "Irma" is towards the top of the list right now! "In Due Time" is also really fun, especially with the drum build in the bridge. We usually get a really exciting reaction from the crowd at that part.
How has the local music scene in Athens shaped Wanderwild? Do you feel that there’s a strong community for musicians and bands in Athens?
Athens has provided such an incredible community for all of us, musically and otherwise. I've learned so much from my peers in bands, mostly from going to shows and playing shows together. It's a breeding ground for musicians and creatives, mostly due to a low barrier to entry and a constant influx of young people. There's an energy about this place that I think is really special. It's not much of an industry town, per se, but it's a hugely creative place. If nothing else, what we have to offer is a strong community for musicians and bands.
What is something you are looking forward to in the future for Wanderwild?
We're working on finishing another record! So I'm hugely excited about that. We've also got a great show coming up at the Georgia Theatre opening for Colony House...I've got a really good feeling about that one. It's on October 4th. And of course more visual content, as well as another single or two. We're in an exciting place where we can be prolific if we stay focused and work hard. We can't wait to share the new songs with people. They're our favorites we've made to date!
Listen to Irma on Spotify or Apple Music
Listen to Wanderwild on Spotify or Apple Music (I suggest Andy and Misty Morning)
Follow Wanderwild on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.