WILD CUB: TROPICAL POP

Posted on January 7, 2013

The noughties have taught us how to love dreamy synth pop and the ‘10s seem to be about shaking it up. And so is the case with Wild Cub. This talented duo from Nashville has spent their first year as a band spreading their sweet, tropically-tinged, dance-y pop across the USA to resounding cheer. Impressing the industry at SXSW, rousing a crowd at the CMJ music marathon and gaining fans further afield with their slick version of Jessie Ware’s Running, this twosome have a little more up their sleeves to be named ‘just another electronic pop band’. For us it was the addition of steel drums, for some it’s their oft nod to the ‘80s and for others their ever so well-placed use of house, but what’s clear is there’s a lot love for this film composer and multi-instrumentalist duo. We’re particularly smitten with Thunder Clatter, the easy, toe-tapping track that got us dreaming of a sun-soaked festivals or a trip to the beach. (We also like knowing that this particular video was made when a couple of their mates came round and had a few glasses of wine together!)

We chatted Glastonbury, Damon Albarn and 2013 with film composer and one-half of Wild Cub Keegan Dewitt.

What’s the inspiration behind Wild Cub?

Wild Cub, more than anything, is about moments. A still photograph with air running through it. Everything is stillness, suspended, but just below the surface, everything is very, very alive. We were always drawn to exploring, what Walker Percy called “the sad little happiness”. Those moments of quiet and simple something… things aren’t good, they aren’t bad, you haven’t reached your destination, you know you’re different somehow but… things are simple for one second. It also allows us to take our faces off the cover, our names from inside the CD and let the music be a way for people to entirely escape.

If you could collaborate with any artist or band who would it be and why?

I’ve been a huge Damon Albarn fan since I was maybe 14 years old. I’m always fascinated when I hear a major pop song, or a striking and emotionally resonant song, and I have no idea how it was done. His changes, his approach, his lyrics are all truly fascinating to me. He also crosses genres so effortlessly, and with such intelligent inquisition that it’s incapable of being trite. I’d also love to have an opportunity to work with Ryuichi Sakamoto, Michael Nyman and Marjan Mozetich. They might seem outside of the scope of what we’re doing, but Sakamoto especially is such progression and fantastic. All three of them do an amazing job of taking romanticism and reflecting it through the prism of a more thoughtful and cerebral place, while still keeping a huge emotional gravity at stake.

If you could play a gig anywhere where would it be?

That’s easy, Glastonbury.

What’s been your favourite gig and why?

That’s tough. We recently played to a sold out Schuba’s in Austin with Sondre Lerche and that was pretty special. More often than not, the best gigs always surprise you. You show up and the club is tiny, you’re not sure if the speakers can even handle what you’re doing, you don’t know if a soul is gonna show up. Suddenly, the room is packed, no one can move an inch, it’s 1am and you can’t do anything wrong. We had that recently, playing an after party for The Alabama Shakes for a Billy Reid fashion show. 300 people slammed into a room at 1am and it was pure magic. Another great gig was Bonnaroo.

What music are you listening to at the moment?

We listen constantly, and there is so much amazing stuff currently. Disclosure is doing some breathtaking stuff, their remix of “Running” is so sharp. Jai Paul’s track “Jasmine (demo)” is fantastic. “Funtimes in Babylon” by Father John Misty was one of my favorite songs in recent memory. Chairlift‘s “Something” was my record of 2012. I have been wearing out the newest KINDNESS record. Excited for the new AlunaGeorge record as well.

What do you love about touring?

The driving. Totally kidding… In the states there is a LOT of driving. The best thing about touring is that you really get to be fully immersed with the music. I’m sure anyone who’s done a run of a play feels similarly. It’s very drive-play-drive-repeat… which is great because you get into a little bit of a hypnotized place. You get to really experiment with the songs, each night you can sorta dig a little deeper. Another amazing thing is getting to bond with the other bands. A great example of that was with Sondre Lerche, him and his guys are some of the most quality people, and in a way… tour starts to feel like summer camp!

Do you have any must-haves when you’re touring?

I think each guy has their own bag of stuff. For me, it’s an iPhone filled with music. Headphones so you can go away and listen on your own if you need to. Another big must have for me is the podcast “Radiolab”. It’s an incredible way to feed my brain and get inspired about new songs/lyrics/etc while I’m zoning out driving. Lastly, a swim suit. You never know when you’re gonna need that and boy is it a bummer when you don’t. NO HOT TUB FOR YOU!

Are there any live performers you love or look up to?

We spent most of our time at Bonnaroo last year sneaking around and watching all of our favorite bands play live. It was amazing to see SBKTRK, Little Dragon, and others translate their work to a live setting. Recently we caught Chairlift at CMJ in a small small club before their record came out. We were blown away. Felt super present, so visceral and emotionally resonant. Everything that critics might like to accused electronic-influenced music not to be live. It felt like seeing a New Order show or something. Really fantastic.

What are you most looking forward to about 2013?

We are currently in the middle of finishing up songs for a new EP or LP for summer time and that’s always exciting. We have to hurry because we are so busy this spring. I hop on a plane in a couple days for Sundance (where I have two films that I scored), then we’re off to the west coast for a tour, then back and out to Austin, Texas for SXSW. That’s just the beginning, it’s gonna be a busy year.

Watch the video for Thunder Clatter below,  find out more, here and don’t miss their album ‘Youth’ to launch on January 15th.

 

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