Eating good Mexican food is one of the understated perks for bands performing at South by Southwest that haven’t toured this close to the border.
“We were like, ‘let’s just eat it every day, all day,'” proclaimed Zoe Mead, lead singer of the indie dream pop band Wyldest, of her and her bandmates’ decision to dine only on Mexican food while staying in Austin, Texas. “It’s not like this in the [United Kingdom]. This is great.”
Barbecue is another typical must-have regional food option, but the North London trio did not partake because all three are vegetarians.
“Mexican food lends itself very well to vegetarianism,” explained Mead of the easy cuisine choice. “Amazing tacos [and] burritos. We’ve been addicted.”
SXSW represented the band’s first time performing not just in the United States, but overseas as well. “The shows have been really great,” exclaimed drummer Jack Gooderham. “We’ve been out here for a whole week, [and] we just wish we could play more. It’s been so quick.”
“It’s a really good vibe,” said Mead. “Everyone is so nice, and it’s just about the music [here] which is great.”
“We’re addicted to playing [live],” enthused guitarist Mariin Kallikorm. “Once we’ve finished one, it’s like ‘okay, let’s do another.'” Fortunately, it wasn’t all business, as the band had enough free time to also check out a few peers during the week-long festival. “We played with a local Austin shoegaze band called Blushing twice,” Mead stated in an earlier email, “and they have blown us away both times. We’ve seen Porches [thrice], Soccer Mommy twice, and [an acoustic set by] Kurt Vile [that] was quite something.”
“We’ve [also] been tailing Kevin Morby since we’ve been here.”
Wyldest performed a total of five shows in Austin, including one at the wildly popular British Music Embassy that showcased (you guessed it) music acts from the U.K. With a little more than a year left before Brexit, this represented the last SXSW before the world truly understands what leaving the European Union means for U.K. musicians.
“That’s the big question,” reflected Gooderham. “I guess the short answer is we have no idea. I think it [will] probably have some impacts, [but what] that looks like in two [or] three years’ time, we don’t know. Hopefully, it should still be okay for us to tour around Europe and come over here.”
“It’s really sad that it might be hard to like to see an international band in London,” said Mead. “London is great because of the fact that so many people from all around the world get to come in and bring their art and bring their culture.”
“That’s me,” offered Kallikorm.
“Mariin is from Estonia, so Brexit could directly affect us as a band,” explained Mead, “so please don’t let it happen. It’s pretty crazy.”
Starting with Hitchhiker, the band self-produced its music with the use of Still Corners′ studio through Gooderham′s connection as a touring member.
″Since we started self-producing,″ Mead explained, ″we’ve felt a new sense of control and power over our music and destiny. We love working to our own timescales and not being limited [in that regard]. I’ve always felt producing music has been this dark art, and it’s something that we can do. [Mariin and] I studied sound engineering. Jack knows what he’s doing, so we just kinda thought, ′well let’s just try it.′″
″We have been very privileged to work with some incredible producers in the past and have seen how it can lead you into different directions and, sometimes, lead you into trying things that you might never have tried. We’d certainly be open to working with other producers again; however, that doesn’t mean we’re going to ever stop self-producing.″
With two EPs (2016’s Dark Matter and last year’s Hitchhiker) already under its belt, Wyldest has been anxious to release more music but the timing hasn’t worked out. “Our first original plan was to release [our full-length debut album] in early 2018,” explained Kallikorm, “but now we’ve held it back because we wanted to put everything into it.”
“It’s crucial to have the foundations in place,” extended Gooderham. “Coming out here, [talking with other people in the industry], and working with people like Greg Hughes (of Still Corners) [help us toward that goal].”
But don’t expect another EP in the meantime.
“We just had so many songs [ready to go],” reasoned Mead, “we thought, ‘why wait.'”
“Everything we’re planning now is [for] album two already,” clarified Kallikorm.
While being mum on specifics, the band offered there would be 11 album tracks and, perhaps, a hidden track or two as well. Mead also hinted on the album’s themes of ″freedom from society and the chaos of everyday life, materialism, and greed″ that sound both culturally and politically appropriate in light of current global affairs.
The upcoming album also may or may not include a Wyldest/Still Corners collaboration. ″Something is coming soon,″ hinted Mead. ″I don’t know if I can say exactly what—it’s not a collaboration as such—but there are associations.″
″It’s been a wonderful experience.″