Ahead of their headline Servant Jazz Quarters show and EP launch tonight, London dream-pop trio Wyldest reveal their lighter side and musical inspirations. Singer Zoe Mead talks Depeche Mode, lyricism, and teddy rolls...
Tell us a bit about the recording and writing process for your new EP, Dark Matter?
Three or four of the songs were written before the band even existed, so it had been a long time coming for those. After the Best Fit show we played at The Lexington, our producer Guy Massey approached us and wanted to record those four tracks in particular. I had produced rough demos for them all as a guide, then Jack(drummer) laid down the drums at the amazing Konk Studio in Hornsey and me and Holly (guitarist) had a bunch of sessions at Guy’s studio, which is kitted out with some incredible synths and guitar pedals. We experimented with sounds with Guy and it really helped to have time to spend on those fine tweaks.
Who would you say inspired your sound on the project? It's a very unique mix of synth-pop and shoegaze with more hard-edged indie instrumentation.
We knew we wanted it to be somewhere between the traditional band set up - with real bass and drums - and electronic synth-pop and Guy really helped glue the two together. We’re inspired by a lot of different music: Siouxsie and the Banshees should probably get the credit for the hard edges, Depeche Mode for the layered synths, and Blonde Redhead for the combination of the electronic and organic elements on the beats.
How have you felt about the response to the tracks you've put out so far?
It's been incredible. The online support from some of our favourite music sites (especially you guys!) has been amazing. Also, we’ve been on a few awesome Spotify playlists, like Fresh Finds and Hot New Bands next to some of our favourite new bands, and had some great support from Huw Stephens, BBC Introducing and Amazing Radio; it’s been a real buzz.
Is there any moment throughout the creative process for Dark Matter that really sticks out to you as a band?
The moment we stepped into Konk with the array of incredible and interesting microphones (the telephone mic being our personal favourite), analogue consoles, synths and lovely amps, we got pretty excited. The guitar on "Dark Matter" was actually recorded in one take, which was a bit of a breakthrough moment in the overall recording of the track. After that we had a really clear idea of how the rest of the song was going to sound and feel, particularly the extended ending of the song, which we developed out of our live show. And Massey's ever-enthusiastic, smiling face always sticks out from the recording process!
With "Wanders" you talked about ideas like loss and memory that are very universal. Was the goal on the EP to make a project that dealt with really accessible ideas and emotions?
In a way yes. The songs all have themes which run throughout, but none of them solidly express a conclusive story. They are blank canvases for people to interpret how they will. The lyrics could relate to romantic love, death or nature. Everyone loves music they can relate to lyrically, and to have the power to create your own meaning out of someone else's story is a great thing.
On both "Wanders" and "Stalking Moon" there's a lot of natural imagery. Does that just feel like a natural language or is there an underlain message you're trying to convey?
I didn't really decide to write a song about nature. I think it’s an interesting way to compare feelings and emotions. For example a waterfall could be tears, and a “Stalking Moon” could be a hidden secret and me singing about a black sky doesn't necessarily mean what it is; it’s an emotion or an experience. I guess I learnt the effectiveness of metaphors in English class back in school and never really shook it off!
What is the biggest misconception people have about Wyldest?
That we're serious and moody, like our promo shots depict. We're actually massive dweebs and like nothing more than to do teddy rolls in our studio.
What's next for you guys after the EP is released?
We have a London headline at Servant Jazz Quarters for Parallel Lines tonight to celebrate the release. We’re playing a day festival called Dials Days in Portsmouth alongside some incredible bands like Estrons, Fear Of Men and Fake Laugh. Then a few festival dates, including sets at The Great Escape and Blissfields. We're already demo-ing for the next EP and talking to producers; we're hoping to release more music late summer/early autumn. More music, more shows, more fun.