Wild Belle | interview [web exclusive]

Wild Belle is a fresh new band made up of brother/sister duo Natalie and Elliot Bergman. Hailing from Chicago, they’re sound incorporates an array of influences spanning the globe and can best be described as Afro-Reggae Indie Pop. They are set to release their first album this Spring and I caught up with songstress Natalie in the midst of their North American tour.

What's the most notable experience you've had since being on tour?

We played in San Francisco a couple nights ago and it was just such a special evening, the energy was great. The sound on stage was really excellent and a lot of our friends were there. It was just such a good night, performance wise. I love San Fran, and there were lots of good moments off stage too.

How did Wild Belle come about?

Elliot and I were always trying to document sounds that were in our head. We recorded demos on our computers, or with whatever means we had, sharing with each other all the time. I started that in high school, I would experiment and show him, and get his feedback because I trusted and looked up to him as a musician and a mentor. He was always playing such great music and showing me records and musicians. After years of hearing music with each other, finally he invited me into the studio in Michigan and I brought in a few demos and we recorded them, and we ended up spending a couple months putting together the foundations of the demos and then creating something new, and then we just made a record.

There is an eclectic mix of sounds in your music, can you tell me a bit about where you draw inspiration from?

I would say that it's definitely from lots of different areas and regions of this universe. It's a big world, a big earth that we live on and I'm drawn to so many styles. Not just in music, but in food and fashion. In this case, I had the blessing of being able to travel when I was younger, and my mother and father were adventurers, so I've seen a lot. I've been to Kenya where my best friend growing up was from, and Kenya is surrounded by Ethiopia, Tanzania, and I used to listen to these cool Ethiopian records, like Mahmoud Ahmed. I love African music, Eastern and Western, and especially Southern, particularly Zimbabwe. I'm attracted to different sounds, I love African sounds, but also Carribean sounds - particularly from the late 60's and early 70's. I love folk music and hip-hop, we grew up listening to lots of soul, like Bill Withers, Al Green and Joni Mitchell.

What's the concept behind the Keep You video?

I had a dream to work with Melina Matsoukas, she's has so much talent and I saw some of her videos - she shot a Beyonce video, Why Don’t you Love Me? , in 16 MM and I fell in love with it. We got to go to Jamaica, we worked our asses off. She was so inspiring to work with. I loved Jamaica, and Kingston. It's so beautiful and the people are so generous.

More and more recently bands are starting to create Tumblrs as a part of their image or identity, can you tell me about yours?

I just like to have an online lookbook of the things that intrigue and inspire me. It's a combination of influences. I like to have a visual scrapbook that people can access. I think it taps in a little bit to our soul and is an expansion of us. All of these images that I'm documenting bring me joy, or inspire me or motivate me.

If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?

There are lots of people, but the first person that came to my mind was Jimi Hendrix. If I could collaborate with him, that would be amazing. I know I won't, but maybe in my dreams and hopefully in heaven.

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