Fashion Week is great for finding new designers, cutting-edge beauty trends, and spotting the up-and-coming models. But one other thing it's really great for is finding new music. Whether it's Samantha Ronson DJing her sister's runway show or Wild Belle performing at an after-party, we always find a new favorite to add to our playlist before the final walk at the final show. This year, we're putting our money on Wild Cub. The Nashville duo, who released their debut LP Youth in 2012, have been tapped to perform at Rebecca Minkoff's show on Friday. "For this show, we'll play our singles in one long connected piece, which is really exciting. Shaping a 10-minute opus, building the energy, and paying it off at the end—it was fun to put together and we can't wait to have that be the first time some of these people experience us," says singer/guitarist Keegan DeWitt. NYLONmag.com caught up with Wild Cub to find out what you need to know, even if you're not sitting front row.
For someone who has never listened to Wild Cub before, what's the one thing they need to know going into the Rebecca Minkoff show?
We feel like our live show is an entirely different and more visceral experience from the record. Rhythm first, drums loud and bass locked in. Everything is in service of making people feel the music. We all beat on drums, everyone singing at once. For this show, we'll play our singles in one long connected piece, which is really exciting
What was the process of writing Youth like?
It all happened really fast. We formed and almost instantly started writing and recording "Youth." We converted an entire house that Jeremy was living in into a studio and tracked it over one month. Most of the songs are written beginning with a sparking point--for "Thunder Clatter," it was a loop I had made out of clanking on bottles and xylophones (mixed with some clapping and stomping). We took that, sat around the drums and bass, and started to work out the rhythm. Then I went away and wrote, usually early in the morning before anyone is up, surrounded by a bunch of books and photos, with a strong cup of coffee and a pen and paper. A few months later, we were playing the new tracks on stage at Bonnaroo.
What makes it a Wild Cub album?
Hopefully it feels as though it's a collection of many small "moments." I'm always most interested in the density of small moments rather than big ones. Walker Percy called it the "sad little happiness." The absence of one thing, but the presence of another. Driving home late at night, laying on your back in a parking lot with your best friend, sneaking out to swim with your friends late at night in the darkness. These small moments. I really try to let the music and the words be as wide open as possible, so people can understand that intangible feeling of meeting someone, and not knowing what it is, but that things won't ever be the same again. Those moments where your heart is going crazy, or it's so at peace, but it's not one singular emotion. It's a chaotic collection of feelings that doesn't have a name. That's hopefully what a Wild Cub record feels like.
If there's one song that someone needs to hear to get Wild Cub, what song is it and why?
I guess the easy answer would be "Thunder Clatter." In many ways, it's the perfect distillation of our work. It's fun, but with real density. The words work in two worlds simultaneously, sometimes they are bravely literal and other times entirely vague and poetic. The music calls towards what I was saying earlier, the chaos inside of the human heart. Stomping, clapping, clanking, guitars moving while bass churns and the drums persist. A lot of times lately, people like to be critical or cynical about things that are openly romantic in nature. I take great pride in our work being romantic, there are so many fantastic and highly regarded romantics: Wong Kar Wai, Michelangelo Antonioni, Keats, the list goes on. We're certainly not them, but we're compelled by what they are, and that's at the very root of "Thunder Clatter."
If not at a fashion show, when's the best time to listen to Wild Cub?
Driving at night. I always feel like that's the best time to listen to anything. Because you're moving, so you don't feel anxious, you've got nowhere to go, and you just float there and get to truly listen. You get to reflect and think, be still for a second, and listen.
REBECCA WILLA DAVIS
Not New York Fashion Week bound? Catch Wild Cub on tour right now!