MUSIC PROFILE | WILD CHILD

When Wild Child decided to call their expansive new album "Expectations," vocalist Alexander Beggins explains, it was for a multitude of different reasons. “At first we were just joking around. After our third record we stopped being a baby band of sorts and made the decision to be a band that was actively trying to make it. No band really breaks on their fourth record though so the joke was essentially how high our expectations was for it. We were just being silly.” Rocketing through Tennessee on their way to Nashville, the Austin, Texas based seven piece mini orchestra is just starting the first leg of their tour cycle. “It then sunk in that the term 'expectations' actually really represented where we were as a band musically, our personal lives, our spiritual lives and our expectations or where we wanted to be with all of those things. It made sense to use that as it was something that brought it all together under an all encompassing umbrella.” 

Each track on Expectations was recorded with a different production team at a multitude of different studios around the world. “The idea initially was to record each track as a single, with a different producer at a different studio and release them as singles throughout the year. A track a month that would’ve culminated in the release of the album.” The band travelled all over the world. From Tromso, Norway with Chris Walla (Death Cab For Cutie) to Philadelphia with Scott McMiken of Dr. Dog and all the way back to Texas, where Matthew Logan Vasquez (Delta Spirit) set up a studio in the childhood home of Wild Child vocalist Kelsey Wilson. The group also worked with Chris Boosadha, Max Frost and Grammy winning producer Adrian Quesada. 

“No one really consumes music in they way that they used to,” Beggins elaborates. “We just got off touring our third record and it seemed that to do the same thing, in the same format, that traditional album cycle wasn't really sustainable. We put together a wish list of a bunch of different people we wanted to work with and incredibly they all got back to us and were super onboard with the concept.” Wild Child had 18 demos of tracks that they sent out to the different teams. “Surprisingly, again, each producer ended up choosing a different track.” 

Even with all the different cooks in the kitchen, Expectations has ended up a wonderfully cohesive album. “We thought it wouldn’t work out sonically,“ Beggins says. “When we were recording we really wanted each producer to run the show. It was important to us to let go of a lot of the control that over the past few releases was hugely important to us to hold on to. We hired one person to mix the album but when that was completed we found that we all really enjoyed the treatment that each of the individual production teams did better.”

The cohesion you hear on the album is the product of Wild Child being at a point in their career where they know who they are and are an incredible band. From the opening whimsy of “Alex” to the smooth groove of “Back and Forth” with its infectious horn arrangements and Wilson’s hook filled vocal melodies to the somber and eloquent album closer “Goodbye Goodnight”, Expectations is a varied and exciting journey. 

“We were in so many places and running super quickly to get everything completed. It was about really trusting the people that we were working with and really respecting the process and the project and I think we made the record that we’ve always been wanting to.” 

As the band gear up to take the show on the road they’ve expanded to a seven-piece lineup with a few of the members being multi-instrumentalists. “We are a bit of a Swiss Army Knife of a band at the moment,” Beggins laughs. “There are seven of us but a couple of us are also jumping between different instruments in different songs so it’s a bit more than that. We went into the process of waning to make this a real organic live type situation. There were a couple moments of okay, we will figure how to translate this live after but for the most part we avoided that.”

After 8 years and growing from just Beggins and Wilson, with a ukulele and a cello, to this rag tag family ensemble and to be able to release something that they are truly proud of is something the band couldn’t be more excited about. “It’s taken us four records to find this sound. It feels like this was something that we were leading up to the whole time and it finally feels like it defines who we are.” 

Expectations exceeded.

Photo: Sean Daigle

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