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Interview with The Lonely Wild

On October 22, 2015

Los Angeles band The Lonely Wild may be flying under your radar, so we're bringing them above the fold. From proletariat anthems to songs that meet the complexity of death with love and reverence, this working-class quintet have been gaining a heavy buzz with their bombastic live shows. Their recently-released album Chasing White Light is in the VMP store now so we decided to ask them a few questions and introduce them to you.

VMP: Chasing White Light could be described as a love letter to death. It meets the subject with a care and delicacy not usually seen in songs. Andrew, this theme came about following the passing of your wife's grandmother. How did you broach the subject centering the album around death with your bandmates?

Andrew Carroll (AC): When I wrote the song, “Chasing White Light,” I knew that’s what I wanted to call the album. It kind of encompassed all of what I had been writing at the time—songs about death, mortality and acceptance. We didn’t set out to make a concept album—I never approached the band and said, “Hey, we’re making a death record.” But as we worked on a bunch of songs in the last year, we all saw similar themes appearing. I’m not very good at sitting down and choosing a subject to write about. I kind of have to go wherever a song takes me. So it wasn’t so much a conscious decision or declaration, it happened naturally and we all went with it.

VMP: How did recording with John Vanderslice come about?

AC: Having self-produced previous records, we knew we wanted to do something different. We wanted outside ears and outside opinions—someone who could shake things up a bit, and bring new ideas to the table. So we talked to a handful of producers, and John’s whole approach to recording sounded the most exciting to us. He operates completely analog—everything recorded and mixed to tape at his amazing studio in S.F. called Tiny Telephone. He liked our music, so we thought he would be a good fit. And we were right! The record has a spontaneous, unpolished feel to it—it’s alive with raw takes and live performances, which I think serves the material well.

VMP: TLW shine in the live setting, do you feel your recording process keeps in mind future live execution or is it a different experience every show?

AC: We really tried to liberate ourselves in the studio, and think beyond our limitations as a five-piece when orchestrating songs. We brought in string players, we used vintage harpsichord, vibraphone, an array of old organs and synthesizers. So when it came time to perform these songs live, we didn’t try to recreate them, but we took the lessons we learned in the studio about what orchestrations worked best, about use of space, about mood and tone, and brought that to the stage. I do think our live show has a different energy than any of our records, and I think every time we play these songs they have a unique energy.

VMP: TLW are definitely "working artists" in LA, most of you still have day jobs - correct? Can you tell us a little bit about your life as artists outside of touring?

AC: We are definitely “working class artists.” I think back in the day, that was something musicians were ashamed of. Everyone wanted to act like rock star even when they weren’t. The reality is most of us are never gonna get to rock star status, so if you gotta work to do what you love, you work.

I’m a bartender, I do some composing for film and television, and I love to cook. Jessi works in film production, and is a certified yoga trainer, and a Neil Young fanatic. Dave teaches science and has a YouTube tutorial channel called “Professor Dave Explains." Ryan works in music videos, he does some freelance sound design work and composing. Schneider teaches guitar, is a craft beer aficionado and drives Uber. So if you live in L.A. you may get lucky and get picked up by this guy after a night out. Two of us are married, three of us have kids, and we’re all incredibly busy all the time.

VMP: What's on the bucket list for the Lonely Wild? Any particular festival, late night show or award?

AC: We’d die happy if we played The Ryman Theater and The Hollywood Bowl.

VMP: The song "Running" is gorgeous and features an amazing time lapse video of LA. How did this come about and how long did it take?

AC: We had finished the song “Running” and its driving intensity combined with the song’s title made us realize that a video for it had to be pretty fast moving. Ryan had been experimenting with shooting time-lapse footage recently, and had the thought that we could project the lyrics onto scenery and sidewalks while taking time-lapse pictures of a journey across Los Angeles. We spent a total of about 3 or 4 hours running through downtown Los Angeles carrying a camera and a projector and snapping a frame every 4 seconds or so. We thought it was going to be fairly easy, but it ended up taking 4 or 5 days because the battery pack we used to power the projector kept going out halfway through. But I think the results make for an exciting watch.

Check out their self-produced video for "Running" below & buy their album HERE:

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