Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ Wild Minds

Wild Minds
Earlier in the summer, I was in Florida, and the band members of Wild Minds were scattered across the Southeastern United States. So, this interview came together in a piecemeal fashion, with emails sent back and forth, from one warm state to another. Now, it’s being edited from my home in Toronto, while Wild Minds are back home in Nashville. Read on as Jeremy James, Bob Ferrari, and Drew G. discuss the thematic concerns of their songwriting, influences that range from 70s folk to 90s skate punk, and stories that beat a tour bus catching on fire.

AMBY: Hello, Wild Minds. Go ahead and introduce yourselves to A Music Blog, Yea?.

Jeremy: Hello A Music Blog, Yea! I play guitar/vox and do a lot of the writing.

Drew: Drew G. Bass/vox

Bob: My name is Bob Ferrari. I’ve been drumming with these guys for a couple of years and am looking forward to making a new album with them.

AMBY: In preparation for this interview, I’ve been scouring your social media sites, and read your Tweet about seeing Bruce Springsteen in Nashville this April. How has being from such a music-centric city impacted, if at all, your songwriting? What other standout shows have you seen recently?

Jeremy: Seeing Springsteen was unlike any other show I’ve seen before. I get obsessed with different artists’ music, and learning about their lives. I wish I could see Bruce play, like, once a week. Then I’d actually go out. Nashville, it’s certainly a great music mecca. And more people from all over have obviously been paying more attention to it over the last few years. Personally, I don’t think living here has influenced our songs or writing any more than traveling, or living in Los Angeles. Probably even less.

AMBY: Speaking of cities and songwriting, I’m curious about “Topanga,” the closing track of your self-titled, debut album. Anyone who was a nineties child may automatically associate the title with the Boy Meets World character rather than, say, the city in California. So, what’s the story, or inspiration, behind the song?

Jeremy: I didn’t have a car when I first moved to LA. So as soon as my roomie left town, I used the opportunity to “borrow” his car. I skipped work and spent the morning surfing in Malibu. Topanga is one of the breaks right down the road.  One of my bands in LA had already had a song called “Malibu,” as did [the band] Hole, haha. So I figured we’d go with “Topanga,” knowing it would probably bring to mind that character from the 90’s.

AMBY: Much of the thematic content of the album is concerned with location, home, leaving, and staying. I’m thinking, specifically, of “Emerald City” and the opening lines of “All Our Pretty Songs.” “The Burbs” demo continues that theme. Is this something that the band was conscious of, or did this theme organically emerge and persist?

Jeremy: Both. We were certainly conscious of those themes, but they emerged as a result of the last five years or so. There was a lot of living well, and not so well: traveling, touring, and moving back to Nashville. And then, there were people who you love, but who don’t live by you anymore, or love you anymore. Or people who maybe you’ll never even see again. Lyrically speaking, it’s usually just whatever lands on the page for sloppy punk songs. I’m much more excited, though, about lyrics and themes for these new recordings; we can write more intentionally and poetically when we wanna.

AMBY: Sonically, there seem to be a variety of influences melding in the songs, and perhaps that stems from your variety in musical tastes. You guys have mentioned that you’re fans of Mazzy Star, John Frusciante, and Cage the Elephant. Who else? What have been your favourite releases of 2014?

Drew: Matt Freeman has been a big influence on me. 90’s skate punk and 70’s folk. I love good songwriters. The most recent album I bought was Souvenir by Banner Pilot.

Jeremy: I’ve been so stuck on all things 1970’s, or things from around that time, for the last year or two. My playlists usually include: Nick Lowe, Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac, Dylan, Bowie, Dramarama, and anything else in that vein. As far as newer stuff, I’ve been digging Skaters and the new War On Drugs’ records. I think Bobby listens to gangsta rap and The Replacements, mostly.

AMBY: Can listeners expect a new, sophomore release from Wild Minds in 2014?

Drew: Yes! JJ has brought the best yet to the table. There is an overall good feel with this next record and it’s more straightforward, in my opinion—my favorite songs to play yet.

Jeremy: We’re gonna begin recording in August. All these new songs have a similar feel, style, and purpose. A lot of them are even in the same key and are designed to flow in and out of one another. Our last record was mostly derived from a bunch of old riffs Drew and I wrote, sitting around my apartment jamming. Bob joined and we just laid all the tracks down in his basement within a day or two. It was very haphazard.

AMBY: Prior to Wild Minds, Jeremy and Bob played in a band called The Pink Spiders. While touring in 2008, your tour bus caught on fire—a tough ‘tour story’ to beat. That said, what’s the wildest thing to happen to Wild Minds while on tour or while playing a show?

Jeremy: Probably last November at Foobar, in East Nashville. There was some drama prior to the show. My voice stopped working completely on the second song. Drew and I basically stopped playing guitars all together. It was terrible, but I looked out and everyone was just dancing like nothing was going on. I think we played about three and a half songs that night.

AMBY: If you could tour with any band, dead or alive, who would you choose?

Jeremy: The Libertines.

Drew: This is a tough one. In the grand scheme of things, opening for Weezer on a world tour would kill.

Bob: Pantera! Those dudes are bananas.

AMBY: Lastly, what’s something about Wild Minds that no one yet knows?

Jeremy: We’ve done this interview from all over the southeast. Bob is seeing The Replacements at a festival in Kentucky. Andrew is working the NAMM conference in Nashville. And I’m surfing in South Carolina.

Bob: I always wanted to be a ballet dancer and porn star.

Drew: We’ve probably all been to at least one AA meeting.

***

Thank you Wild Minds, for giving us your answers!

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Interview by Leah Edwards | @leahhedwards

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