I’m going to assume these two fellows need no introduction to you fine readers. If so, click here and here, and maybe take a dive into this with a sprinkle of that. Now you’re sufficiently caught up. Welcome back!
Today Wildlife Control are unleashing a new single, “Ages Places”. From the horses’ mouth, this new track showcases the dichotomy of two progressions – the sparse, yet beautiful opening stanza with the rising anthem in the closing half, complete with heart pounding synth-rock and modified haiku style lyricism. You’re gonna love it.
Neil and Sumul, the gentlemen behind Wildlife Control, were kind enough to do some back and forth with me via e-mail about “Ages Places” and other happenings in the band’s stratosphere. See what they had to say about their start, the first LP, and what we might expect going forward from the band.
S: Sirens, Neil: Neil Shah, Sumul: Sumul Shah
S: Getting right into it…you are brothers working on this one project from two opposite sides of the country. Despite all the impediments of this vast distance, you collaborate on all the sounds of Wildlife Control and have produced this plethora of infectious tracks. So…is this the most successful long distance relationship ever? I don’t know about you, but mine never worked out. How do you make it work?
Neil: We happen to be brothers who live in two cities very far apart. That’s pretty common. But only relatively recently have so many forms of communication opened up that would allow people to collaborate very closely despite distance. We don’t have a set routine or way of doing things, and we don’t view the distance as a deterrent in the creative process. It allows us to not get in each others way. And then when we are together for tour dates we really make the most of it. When we’re together we lay down tracks, or sketch out ideas for videos, or just hang out and sing. When we’re apart we make good on the things that we know will help us finish things. The process of working together this way feels very natural to us.
S: You went from obscurity to becoming a bit of an indie darling in relatively short order. I remember reviewing “Analog or Digital” and thinking “well that was awesome, hope they make some noise”. Most times it’s a long slow climb for bands. The crazy thing is you guys broke out almost immediately. How has the response been for you, and did the amount of support you’ve received weigh on you when attempting to follow up with “Different”?
Neil: Sirens of Decay was one of the first blogs to show us support for Analog or Digital. It just so happened that shortly after that post, we made our beach video that took off. We put a lot of time and energy into making that video, we were very happy with it creatively, and we had a hunch it would be our best shot to stand out early on. When it started getting shared like crazy on all the social networks and blogs, it was a great feeling to connect with so many people. We received hundreds, maybe thousands of messages from folks saying how much they were inspired by the video and the song. It meant a lot to us to have that support and to find an audience who enjoyed what we do as artists. I think that once again the nature of how we reached folks online is a relatively new phenomenon.
S: You referenced the “Analog or Digital” “beach” video. As a guy who grew up video gaming, I was personally smitten by the “Analog or Digital” 8-bit interactive video. I feel like this video, though pretty popular, was criminally overlooked by some folks. How do you feel about it’s impact on your early cache with fans?
Sumul: Criminally! Well, we both grew up playing video games too. The Analog or Digital interactive video speaks volumes about us as people and as a band. We poured our hearts into it before anyone had ever heard of us and released it into what was essentially a vacuum. In retrospect, maybe that was a risky move, but it was our way of coming right out of the gate with something unique. It was eventually picked up in Wired and started connecting us with our first fans that weren’t friends of friends, which was incredible.
S: It’s been seven short months since your debut LP. You’ve released one amazing single (“Different”) and are about to release another gem in “Ages Places”. Were these holdouts from previous Wildlife Control sessions?
Neil: No, this is new stuff. The reason these tracks sound different than the LP is that they are much more recent recordings. And without overhead of an entire album we’re able to share our current vision and aesthetic while it’s fresh.
S: Does “two new singles in two months” spell “new Wildlife Control album 2013”?
Sumul: We are working our asses off at the moment. We’ll definitely be releasing more music in the coming months. We have some other exciting stuff in the works we’re excited to finish and share too. Sorry to be cryptic, but I don’t want to jinx anything.
S: Fair enough. “Ages Places” breaks the mold a bit, as you had hinted. It’s song structure is interesting and when I throw the headphones on and listen I picture a bird finding it’s wings, soaring higher and higher into the sun. I don’t recall any Wildlife Control tracks quite like it – particularly when compared to the triumphant crescendo that drives the latter half of the song. What’s the inspiration behind this latest track?
Neil: Ages Places started with a guitar riff Sumul came up with. It’s the main guitar part in the first half of the song. There is an aspect to the chord progression of that riff that’s very traditional, like from a 50’s musical. So we paired that with the chord progression of the ending, which is very modern. From there we continued to flesh out the dichotomy between the two progressions, while simultaneously trying to create a very strong bond between them. By the end we wanted to let it really open up. I like to think there’s an entire album worth of experience distilled into this single track.
S: You mentioned this latest single having “an album’s worth of experience distilled into this single track”. How much easier did that prior experience make the recording process on this second go around? Did you find yourself willing to try different things now that you are more comfortable with the process? It really feels to me like both “Different” and “Ages Places” have a “bigger” sound than the tracks from the self titled LP.
Neil: Definitely. We learned a huge array of things while making our first album and we established our identity in the process. It took a full two years to make and it was a big milestone. Sonically, we purposefully made the LP very direct and present. We wanted the whole album to feel like an introduction… like we’re meeting you for the the first time. Now that we’ve done that, we’re digging deeper, and going bigger. This has a lot to do with how our live sound has evolved, and hopefully it translates well to our tracks. We’re having a lot of fun and feel like we’re just getting started.
S: You said you didn’t want to jinx anything, but…what are the odds on seeing a video for “Different” or “Ages Places”?
Sumul: Ah, so if there were nothing in the works there would be nothing to jinx. Well played, Mr. Harrison. So yeah, the odds are pretty good!
I want to thank Wildlife Control for taking the time to play e-mail tag with me. I did this Q&A for selfish reasons really – I was honestly just curious, but I hope you guys find out some things you may have wanted to know as well!
Enjoy the gem that is “Ages Places” below. Don’t forget, Wildlife Control are giving away the MP3 for free so click download!