Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hopscotch Highlight: Wild Fur

When I first had contact with Wylie Hunter, the local songwriter behind the Americana group Wylie Hunter & The Cazadores, I was immediately hooked. Hunter's got a serious knack for catchy hooks and booming choruses, regardless of whether he's singing in jest of tattoo'd girls or with an earnest hint of sadness over lost loves, he's doing it with passion. That's probably what got me so excited when news of Wild Fur came around. Hunter and fellow local powerhouse Nick Jaeger teamed up last year to create the inexplicably awesome duo of Wild Fur. Combining both artist's songwriting prowess, they immediately began to push genre boundaries between pop, Americana and electronic with their numerous singles (one of which was premiered here on The Bottom String). When Hopscotch's lineup dropped and I saw Wild Fur, I immediately knew I'd have to check them out at some point throughout the weekend. After getting a sneak peek of their live set-up at a recent Local Band Local Beer, it was clear that they'd be one of the weekend's highlights for this busy festival. I recently spoke with Wild Fur about the origins of the band, why they chose to release singles initially as opposed to an EP, and their Hopscotch excitements.

1. What brought the two of you together musically? I know Nick has been involved in a slew of local projects both as a musician and producer, but what specifically sparked the decision to start a project such as Wild Fur?

Wild Fur was started as a way for both of us to do something different with no preconceived notions of what we were trying to sound like. Had these been recorded or released under the monikers of “the Cazadores” or “The Tomahawks” they would be perceived as sounding a certain way because of association with those bands. We were both in a place where we wanted to explore new territories and and not be bound by what had come before.

2. Did you have a musical direction in mind when you started the band or was this just how it came out?

The idea from the beginning has been to avoid genre and follow the muse of each individual song.

3. How do you break up the songwriting responsibilities?

In short, we're still discovering the process. In the beginning we each had songs or song ideas that we had been working on individually. We worked through those ideas together and kept what we liked. Anything we disliked was reworked or rewritten entirely. Every part of an arrangement is discussed, not just lyrics or melody. It's an interesting approach, having someone give you their candid opinion about a song makes you push into ideas you never would have considered. 

4. How did you go about switching the tracks from studio set-ups to a live show?

We decided to start with a four piece band for the simple fact that it makes touring easier. We decided to both play keys and guitars in the live setting. We did a lot of talking about what parts were important to include in a live show and tried to adapt those to work for the setup we have. We basically asked ourselves, “what are the hooks?” and tried to make those translate to a live show.

5. You've been slowly releasing singles throughout the duration of the band, what's the reasoning behind that? Do you feel that the slow trickle of musical releases as opposed to an EP or album out the gate helps to build the trajectory of your band?

Releasing singles was an attempt to get people to actually listen to each song. There’s so much music released now, when releasing an EP or LP there’s always the potential for someone to start listening but then switch their attention to the latest viral sensation.

6. Speaking of trajectories, when do you see Wild Fur releasing a full-length or EP?

The 4 singles have been packaged and released as an EP and a split 7” with Joshua Carpenter was released in June. We’re currently working on finishing up a full length. We’ll release it once we have the means to do so.

7. What do you feel each of you bring musically to the table?

We each bring our own individual definition of what a hook is. The common ground between those two places is where the songs of Wild Fur are found.  

8. What are some of the major influences in the songwriting process for Wild Fur?

Inspiration for these songs comes from attempting to move away from the well-trod paths of songwriters before us. We’ve listened to a lot of music and have a lot of influences but, we both reached a point where emulating our influences was not filling the creative void.   

Wild Fur performs at The Lincoln Theatre on Thursday, Sept. 4 at 8:30 pm 

Lineup Recommendations: Saint Rich, How To Dress Well, St. Vincent, White Laces, Phosphorescent, Sun Club, Free Clinic, See Gulls and Dark Rooms

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