Q&A: Wild Child

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We caught up with Wild Child’s Alexander Beggins as he geared up for a West Coast tour that will cruise by The Independent Jan. 27.  The cofounder and sometimes frontman of the shapeshifting Austin ensemble – currently at seven members – reflects on their growth as a band and reserves the right to keep changing it up.

“We didn’t want to put out the same record twice,” says Beggins of their latest release, Expectations.  Their most diverse to date, the 2018 album samples sounds from Motown to Hawaii, and features the ethereal vocals of Kelsey Wilson more prominently than ever.  Out for not yet a year, the album’s heart wrenching, runaway hit “Sinking Ships” has logged over 20 million Spotify streams and counting. It’s pared down and vulnerable in contrast to “Alex,” which carries on the vivacious instrumentation and tropical vibes of their first record, Pillow Talk.

Wild Child

Wilson slides comfortably into the groove carved out by Adele and Norah Jones on neo-soul numbers like “Back & Forth” and the title track, “Expectations.”  It’s these big, highly produced songs that really tap into the band’s full potential and put the “mini-orchestra” to work.

From ukulele and dreamy harmonies to cello, violin, horns and more, Expectations runs the musical gamut.  “Originally, the idea was that we were going to record and release a song a month for a year,” says Beggins.  Pulling in a handful of producers like Matthew Logan Vasquez, Chris Boosahda, Adrian Quesada and Chris Waller, Wild Child was able to focus on each track as its own piece.  

In a freeform fashion, between a series of tours, the album began to take shape.  “All of the other records we did in one studio, with one producer,” he says, “you know, the normal way.”  In an effort to unify the sound, the album was initially mixed by one person, notes Beggins, but “that kind took a lot of the magic away.”  As it stands, it’s fun and eclectic if not entirely streamlined. “You definitely get a lot of different textures and sounds on this record,” he says of the final result.  

From the looks of things, Wild Child is a band that does what it wants, and has a pretty damn good time doing it.  “We kind of decided early on not to take ourselves too seriously about anything,” muses Beggins, “and that goes for the live show – that goes for how we approach this business in general.”

They’ve been touring pretty consistently since 2010, and throw in a few gags to keep it interesting. Pranking fans on April Fools’ Day brings utmost pleasure – in fact, they’ve staged a band breakup and Wilson/Beggins marriage in years past.

Rolling with a big band wasn’t always easy for Wild Child from a real estate standpoint,  “Back in the day, when we were playing a little bit smaller rooms, we’d show up to the venue and be like, ‘alright we can make this work, we don’t know how yet, but we’re gonna figure it out,’” laughs Beggins.

With a seven piece band, they clearly aren’t in it for the money – or the legroom for that matter.  Wild Child will swing through Salt Lake (which they’ve already sold out) and Boise on their way to the usual West Coast suspects spanning Vancouver to San Diego, and we hope they have a big enough van.  Every tour brings opportunity for excitement, but when you’re rolling seven deep, any old pit stop could turn into a Kevin McCallister moment.

Our best advice before leaving the gas station: count heads.  

Photo courtesy of Clarion Media PR 

Wild Child plays the Independent w/ Batty Jr., Helyn Rain // Sun, Jan 27, 2019 // Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:00 pm // $20.00

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