A Q&A with Wild Horse
Genre explosion from East Sussex – here’s Jack from Wild Horse…
What’s the title of your latest release, and what does it mean to you?
Our latest single is called ‘Joy Ride’. It’s a funky RnB summer banger all about car sex. We’re personally obsessed with the song, and we’re fully convinced it will be the song of the summer for all your readers. It’s a feel-good tune which doesn’t take itself too seriously. We feel that there’s not enough of that in music these days. There’s too many songs and acts that try to take themselves too seriously. At the end of the day, music doesn’t have to always be about having really deep and preachy messages. Ultimately, music is about having fun and forgetting about your problems. ‘Joy Ride’ is the perfect song for that. It’s also definitely our most ambitious track to date. It’s taken us away from the dynamic of just being another band of white guys with guitars. ‘Joy Ride’ has taken us in a direction which no other band is doing right now. The song has throwback 80s elements with synths and electronic drum fills but it also has a fresh, new and exciting feel to it which makes it stand out from anything else in music at the moment.
What was the hardest part about putting this release together, and why?
I think overall putting the release together of ‘Joy Ride’ was really easy. From the writing to the promotion, it was one of those songs that wrote and pushed itself. However, the initial stages of recording the song were somewhat difficult. The song actually started out as more of an 80s power ballad and when we took it to the studio and started recording it we all knew that something wasn’t right. We knew the song had huge potential, but it just wasn’t coming together with the original arrangement. So, we all sat down in the room for a few hours and stripped the song of all its components to the point where we were just jamming the riff on the piano and guitar. We then decided to speed it up and change the drum groove and it started to feel way more natural. We then added a load of funk guitars, some funky bass line and a load of synth parts. We spent ages building the song back up to we got to the point where we knew we had an incredible song, which is the version of ‘Joy Ride’ which is out for the world to hear now.
Who produced the release – what did they bring to it?
‘Joy Ride’ and another song we have in the bag ready for release were produced by Matt Leppanen of Animal Farm records. He’s very fun to work with. He has a vast musical knowledge and has a unique way of recording things which we really gel with. Instead of going take by take, he kind of lets us just jam over the track a few times and then he takes the best part from each take and glues them together. It creates a much less serious atmosphere of “oh, don’t mess up” and it means that it comes across so much clearer in our recordings that we’re really enjoying ourselves. He’s also very funny. We have a really good time working with him. We have also had some experience with self-producing our music. We self-produced our last album, When the Pool is Occupied, from home during lockdown. That was an incredible and invaluable experience which really allowed us to experiment like we had never been able to before and really find our song and what makes us Wild Horse, musically. It taught us a lot about arrangements and sound as well. Producing is an incredibly fun thing because it gives you freedom to experiment and have control over your sound. Although, we do think that it is absolutely important to have the outside influence of someone we all get along with and someone who isn’t afraid to say it how it is.
What do you want the listener to take away from listening to your music?
We just want them to enjoy it. We want them to feel excited, happy, sad, confident, angry. Whatever reaction they want to have to our music is fine with us. We’re believers that as soon as we release a song or a project, it no longer belongs to us. It belongs to everybody who listens to it. We think that it’s incredibly important for listeners to create their own relationship to the music that we put out as music is a personal thing and means slightly different things to everybody. So, there is no particular thing that we want our listeners to take away from our music, just whatever they want to take away from it. One of our goals is to provide part of the soundtrack to our listeners’ lives and we want them to be able to grow with the music we release.
How does a track normally come together? Can you tell us something about the process?
Usually, it starts with me writing a guitar riff, or a bass riff or maybe something on the piano. I’ll then fairly quickly come up with the main musical sections for the whole song and will have a pretty good idea about vocal melodies by this point too. I might even have some lyrics or even a whole chorus. I’ll also have a fairly clear idea about what the song feels like it needs to be about. When I’m writing songs, I don’t try to force anything, and I always just go with what feels right. So, if a certain subject to write about feels right with a certain song, I’ll write about that subject. I’ll then sit around and spend some time writing and perfecting the lyrics. Once the song is written, I’ll usually record a demo of the track. I spend quite a lot of time doing this. It gives me the chance to mess around with arrangements and experiment with production ideas. It helps to give me a really clear idea as to what the song needs to sound like before we step into a studio to record it, which makes the rest of the process so much easier. Once I have a rough demo, I’ll show Henry and Ed and they will let me know what they think about the song, whether they like it or think that there’s better songs to focus on. If they don’t like it, it just stays in the back catalogue, and I will decide what to do with them later. I often just leave them, but if I feel like it might really suit another artist I’ll look at finding ways to get them to hear the track. If the rest of the band does like it, we’ll come together and perfect playing the track as a band. We’ll rehearse how we’re going to play it in the studio, and also how we’re going to play it live. These are two very different situations which we find require slightly different ways of playing songs. We’ll then take it into the studio and record it and get ready to release it once the mixing and mastering is finalized and we’re all happy with it.
What band/artists have influenced you the most since you started this project, and why?
In terms of our influences, we have an extremely wide range. We listen to all kinds of genres. Anything from Pavarotti to Kanye West. Because of this, it would be impossible to individually name all our influences, but we incorporate the sounds of pop, soul, RnB, Rock, jazz, hip-hop, dance, disco, house, trap, gospel, country, blues, Britpop and funk into our music. So any artists within these genres, we’re probably influenced by them.
What countries would you like to tour? Are there any standout venues you’d like to play in?
We’d ideally love to tour the whole world! We haven’t been able to properly gig outside of England yet but we are so excited for when we are able to. We’d love to tour America; we know we have quite a few fans out there so we really hope we can get over that way soon. South America would be really fun too as I love the culture. I’d love to gig in Japan and China and lots of other parts of Asia. Literally every continent. I’d even be willing to put my massive fear of spiders aside for the opportunity to tour Australia!
What countries would you like to tour? Are there any standout venues you’d like to play in?
There are definitely quite a few iconic venues we’d love to play. We’re not too ambitious in this band. Personally, I’d love to headline Glastonbury Festival on the Pyramid Stage, that’s a big goal of mine. Wembley Stadium would be a good one too, or any stadium for that matter. I know Ed really wants us to play the Royal Albert Hall and Henry was the band to play Madison Square Garden in New York. So yes, not too many ambitions from us!
If you could pick one track for our readers to listen to in order to get a taste of your music, what would you pick, and why?
It would have to be ‘Joy Ride’. As I said earlier, the whole band are so obsessed with the song, and it’s had such an incredible reaction since it’s been released. We feel that it’s our most ambitious track yet and it always seems to get people going when we perform it. We feel like it’s quintessentially Wild Horse and sounds nothing like anything else that is happening in the music industry right now. It’s three minutes of pure funk-RnB bliss. It’s 100% the song of the summer to everybody who’s heard it.
What ambitions do you have for the band/your career?
We are extremely ambitious. We want to go right to the highest level you can possibly go with our music and really redefine the music industry as it is. We want to mark our spot in history as legends amongst all the greats and we want our music to live on forever. We want to be doing headline stadium tours, headlining festivals, and never losing our passion and enjoyment for making and perform music along the way. Ultimately, we just want to be able to connect with as many people as possible around the world through our music and get on stage and try to make people have fun and forget about all their problems for a few hours every night.
Finally, as you leave the stage, what are your parting words?
We usually just say a massive thank you to everybody who came down to see us and sing our lyrics back to us. It always blows us away to see people singing our songs back to us. It’s a feeling I don’t think I’ll ever get used to. We put our all into every performance, whether it’s in-front of 20 people or 20,000 people. The goal is to always make an intimate and comfortable environment at our shows through our music. By the time we leave stage we’ve left all our energy to the crowd, so we say a massive thank you and walk off and go and relax. We also love to talk to everybody who came to see us after the show is over. I love talking to people who listen to our music, it’s one of the nicest parts about being in a band.
For more info visit: wildhorse-rockband.com