Austin-based indie-folk bandWild Child drove through the night to perform an in-office session at American Songwriter a little over a year ago, and the band has been through quite a bit since then. Fresh off the release of their new record Fools, we caught up with Wild Child’s Alexander Beggins to talk about recording to 8-tracks, that ever-desirable sense of freedom when recording and Rayland Baxter’s impeccable new album.
You visited the AS office for a session a while back – how have things been going since then?
Wow, time really seems to fly away. Seems like forever ago since we stopped by the office. Things are going great for our whole camp. We have been going pretty nonstop since we caught up with you all last. I guess the biggest news is our brand-spanking-new record coming out Oct 2 called Fools. We’re gearing up to hit the road in support of the record next week, so we’re all spending time with our animals, savoring the time in our own beds and saying adios to our loved ones.
You guys write all of your songs as a pair. What’s that process like?
Our song writing process is constantly evolving. The majority of Fools was written loosely based on this process: I, Alexander, write riffs on my ukulele and record them as voice memos on my phone. When I get excited about something I send it to Kelsey. She will spend some time with them and start bouncing around melody ideas. She is the queen of melody. Then we find time to get together and hash out our ideas and write lyrics. We record a skeleton version on a little Tascam 8-track and send that to the band. Then we get together and everyone brings their ideas to the table and that’s when the fun really begins. The title track, “Fools,” was the first song we all co-wrote, which was different and exciting for us. I think you can feel the togetherness more on this record than our previous two. We spend so much time together and I feel like we are really honing in on how not to step on each others’ toes.
Who are your favorite songwriters?
I think Kevin Parker from Tame Impala is a genius. I have had Currents on a nonstop loop since it’s come out. I can confidently say that Scott McMicken from Dr. Dog is collectively one of our favorites. Nina Simone is another favorite for sure. We all have such different tastes. I think that contributes to our diverse sound.
What is the best song ever written and why?
An almost impossible question, but “Across The Universe” by The Beatles. That song makes me feel so god dammed high, it’s spiritual and beautiful. I think a sign of a masterpiece is an overwhelming feeling of happiness or sadness and a lingering feeling of jealousy. An “I wish so badly that I wrote that” feeling.
Who are you listening to right now that we should be listening to?
Rayland Baxter’s new album Imaginary Man. It’s so choice. “Yellow Eyes” is captivating.
If you could collaborate with anyone, living or dead, who would you choose?
We really want to collaborate with our dear friends in a band called Phox. They write beautiful music and are such great people. I think something special would happen.
What’s been the highlight of your songwriting career so far?
So many highlights and bucket lists have been crossed off in our career already. Doing a record deal with Dualtone was amazing. Recording our new record the way we wanted to do it was magical as well. There was a general sense of freedom when we were recording Fools. We moved to Savannah, GA for a month and rented a little house. Went into the studio every day and stayed up recording until early hours of the morning. We really felt like we were creating and collaborating in a way that we hadn’t before, and now to take these songs to the stage and see people really connecting to the music and singing along to every song is special.
What’s your favorite song you’ve written?
I’d have to say it’s a track called “Break Bones” off of our new record. We spontaneously wrote it in the studio and live tracked it one night. Kelsey was going through a lot of things in her life at the moment and we were able to capture her feelings on the recording.