By Kevin Alan Lamb
Let’s hop into the Delorean with McFly and Doc Brown and set our clocks back to Day 2 of MO POP 2015 for a wonderful and weird conversation with the lead singers of Austin’s Wild Child.
KAL: If you had lyrics tattooed on you, what would they say and who might they be written by?
Alexander: Yikes, wow, jumping out the gate.
Kelsey: I’ve always wanted Harry Belafonte’s “Okay, I believe you.” [laughing] It has to be a duo thing like I’d get “okay” and you’d get “I believe you”.
Alexander: I’d take that.
Kelsey: Or, “Party” and “Bullshit”.
Alexander: Yeah…Party Bullshit.
Kelsey: Yeah I’d get “Party” on my ass and you’d get “Bullshit” on yours.
KAL: Something I love about Michigan, is we often have a duo, female vocalist, who are a couple of your guy’s favorite duos?
Alexander: Sonny and Cher? [laughing]
Kelsey: I was gonna say Ella Fitzgerald [laughing], I don’t like too many new duos… I like Ella and Louie they’re probably my favorite male/female duo.
Alexander: Yeah, I can’t think of anyone else.
Kelsey: Ike and Tina, but we all know how that ended up…
Kelsey: Great songs, though.
KAL: What’s the most excited crowd or venue you’ve ever performed to?
Alexander: Recently out in L.A. we had a show at The Roxie and everyone came up and flooded the stage. There were like 100 people on the stage and we felt the floor starting to spring up and down and I was moving outward because I was afraid the stage was going to collapse in… [laughing]
Kelsey: I wasn’t even playing my instrument [laughing], I was just holding it and hiding in the back but it was soo much fun.
Alexander: Yeah it was rowdy as shit! That one was dope.
KAL: After yesterday’s monsoon are you happy to be playing today?
Alexander: Definitely won that one.
KAL: It’s going to be really festive with the hay out there…
Kelsey: Oh yeah! I love the hay cart I wish people would bring out hay for no reason.
Alexander: I think that we brought it because we got to our hotel, and were riding down the elevator, and right as we stepped outside to go to the fest it was like pssschzzzz! [rain sound effects] and the amount of time we stayed here it rained the whole time and we were ready to go.
KAL: Where you guys staying?
Kelsey: At Motor City. Motor City Casino.
KAL: Is this your first time playing here?
Alexander: Yeah first time with Wild Child. It’s been a couple years since I’ve been back.
KAL: Does it look like it’s changed?
Alexander: Not really [hesitantly]
KAL: It’s okay…
Kelsey: Not really [high pitched funny voice]
Kelsey: The vibe is better. I dig the vibe, everyone seems genuinely stoked to be here, and to be around.
KAL: Yeah, despite the rain yesterday we were singing “Just A Friend” inside the beer tent.
Kelsey: There were people rolling around in the puddles (Lake MO POP) just lovin’ life. It was dope.
KAL: Who is someone who guys would love to share the stage with?
Alexander: Ooh, interesting.
Kelsey: Modest Mouse.
Alexander: For sure, Modest Mouse.
KAL: Who else?
Alexander: That’s a good one… We made a list one time.
Kelsey: I want to work with Mystikal. Just putting that out there.
KAL: This is where it starts.
Kelsey: I want to work with Mystikal. I want to work with Mystikal so bad.
Alexander: Hologram 2Pac.
Kelsey: Hologram 2Pac would be dope.
KAL: Hologram 2Pac in the house.
Kelsey: Yeah that’d be cool [laughing]. I wonder how easy that is?
Alexander: Jack Johnson!
Kelsey: Jack Johnson, you know what? I love that dude. I don’t why he gets so much guff because he sings about banana pancakes. Banana pancakes are dope! I love them.
KAL: He’s one of my favorite humans. He found a way to surf and make music for a living.
Kelsey: He’s got a million kids, married his high school sweetheart, donates all of his money to hurricane victims, he’s just the chillest dude.
[Music from nearby stage bullishly joins our conversation]
KAL: Individual questions. What’s the last song you want to hear before you die?
Kelsey: I’ve thought about this.
Alexander: [Laughing] Dust In The Wind.
KAL: Sung by Will Ferrell? [laughing]
Alexander: Sung by Will Ferrell! [laughing]
Kelsey: Off the top of my head, I would go Telephone Line by ELO (Electric Light Orchestra). I just think that would be dope. “Hello, how are you?” [singing with majestic harmony] Then I’d hopefully be ODing on heroin while jumping out of a plane or something like that. That would be dope.
Alexander: Maybe one of our records played backwards.
KAL: What are some of the surreal moments that encourage you right as you’re in the thick of everything you’ve always wanted to be doing?
Kelsey: [Interrupts excitedly] Every day! Every day.
Alexander: Yeah, it happens most to me when I’m having a bad a day, and then you step back and say, “Wait a minute, you’re bitching about what now? Like, take it easy you’ve got it really figured out even though this day kind of sucks.”
Kelsey: Yeah, usually on stage if anyone is singing with you at all, you’ll be somewhere like… Detroit, Michigan and someone knows every word to a song that you haven’t even released yet and you’re just like…
[I notice Alexander’s tattoo]
KAL: Jaguar shark, Team Zissou is that really you!? I have a Zissou t-shirt that’s Bill Murray and all made out of different fish. It’s so beautiful! When I was out in California for this past winter this guy made me a Steve Zissou painting so I’m ripe with Zissou.
Alexander: I’ve got a couple Zissou paintings as well.
Kelsey: Team Zissou!
KAL: I love that album. The Seu Jorge covers of Bowie.
Alexander: It’s soo good! [laughing] “Do-do do do do do-do-do Rebel Rebel.” [singing]
Kelsey: “Space Oddity,” Seu Jorge’s version would be the one to die to.
Alexander: For sure.
KAL: What are your favorite soundtracks?
Kelsey: [Laughing] Remember The Titans. It’s a great soundtrack!
KAL: That’s one of my favorite movies. And that is a great soundtrack.
Alexander: Yeah that is a good soundtrack. Anything by Mark Mothersbaugh in collaboration with Wes Anderson is so dope. I learned that often he will take a soundtrack that is written and he will just flip it upside down and reverse it and create a new track that way [laughing]. He’s like, “It’s so easy, I literally just turn it around, and flip it, and reverse it.” And I was like “Wow, that’s so cool.”
KAL: What are you looking forward to most the rest of this year?
Alexander: We are releasing a new album in October, our first release with a record label, Dualtone. Our first release in 18 month; so, we’ve been on the grind, in the studio, we’ve been 200 days of touring a year, sitting on this record for so long we’re just so ready to get it out.
KAL: Do you feel like it’s a purging or cathartic release since you’ve been working on something for so long, this creation, and you want to share it?
Alexander: Yeah, it’s the best, it’s really all you can think about. It’s scary; it’s exciting.
Kelsey: It’s exciting, and it’s scary because you don’t know if everyone is going to like it as much. We’ve already gotten some emails, we released a single from it and we got like, kinda fan hate mail a little bit which was crazy. I didn’t think anyone was too attached to anything we were doing…
KAL: Well it’s nice to know people are passionate about it….
Kelsey: People are passionate about it but it’s weird too. How do you respond to that? I’m sorry? Well, I hope you like the rest of the record.
KAL: Well people this morning on Instagram, on a general MO POP post, commented that they were really upset that they were missing your performance…
Alexander: Yeah you’ve just got to shed off the bad skin. You can’t let it get to you because it will.
Kelsey: I know. I was like “Did we sell out?” [nervous voice] “Did we sell out?” “I wasn’t trying to sell out.”
Kelsey: It was this one song we all did together as a band for the first time. We all took Mushrooms together and it was this awesome experience and we released that song and we were like “Fuck yeah! We got ourselves a pop-hit.” And that’s the one where everyone was like, “Guys don’t sell out, you were good, you were! You’re just trying too hard.” We’re like, “What!?” [laughing] “No, we were tripping balls.”
Kelsey: It’s different.
KAL: You don’t have all the facts, but we cannot release any other details.
Kelsey: Yeah! [laughing]
Alexander: And that’s one person’s opinion.
Kelsey: Yeah that’s one person’s opinion [laughing].
Alexander: But one person’s opinion could get stuck in your head and taint…
Kelsey: You can forget about thousands of others if that one person said just the wrong thing.
KAL: I struggle with this immensely, and somebody told me, “Kevin don’t let the little things get to you.” I go through a day and I could get all these positive experiences but one person is just getting under my skin, and we focus on it, but it’s like what the fuck? Let’s focus on these good things, like alright, nine good things happened, one bad, that’s cool, that’s 90%, that’s beyond Hall Of Fame in baseball, or in hoops, 90% is really shooting well!
Kelsey: Oh yeah!
KAL: What is one place you’re dying to visit in the world? Pure leisure.
Kelsey: We’re gonna go there!
Alexander: Yeah? Even better. We’ve been fortunate to go to a lot of places, but yeah Australia. We will have to check that out.
KAL: When you go to places, do you have time to enjoy the places?
Alexander: We try to, yeah. As much time as we have…
Kelsey: Yeah, most of the time we have about three hours between a soundcheck and a set to be like, “What can we walk to right now?”
Alexander: Check out some food, check out some bars.
Kelsey: We can maybe go to two bars and a coffee shop in every city, pretty much.
KAL: Any idea where you first saw a Good Sign?
Kelsey: Yeah! Seattle. Someone handed me one of them in Seattle, and my parents were there, and my parents got them, and I actually took a stack of them and I kept them in the van because I wanted to hand them out. It was at the Tractor Tavern.
KAL: So you’re a Good Sign Ambassador? Look at that.
Kelsey: Yeah! I love it. I kept them in the door of the passenger seat of the van for a while there.
KAL: I often like to tell people that the Good Sign blends the fine line between the music and the people dancing to it. Even the fine line that separates us all and gives us that opportunity to step across it. Marcus Mumford gave me a shout out in front of 40k people, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros sang with my totem on stage, we create these events by being the music we love, and wanting to write about it and putting ourselves into the story. It lets people know that the only thing standing between them and their dreams is them going after them.
Alexander: Yeah, for sure. I saw this Band called Fuck Up. It’s like this big giant dude and he said, “I’m doing this, which means you can do it, look at me!”
Let us dance out the doubt, and take home the good. Just in case you were listening for one, This is a Good Sound.