We chat to the Aussie melodic hardcore band about all things music.
Having released their debut EP A Thousand Days in March 2015, followed up by a two track entitled Above/Below in August 2016, Wildheart quickly moved to make a name for themselves sharing their heavy yet melodic music and showcasing their energetic live show all across QLD.
After an extended break toward the end of 2016, Wildheart returned to the studio with their newest single Exhale recorded, mixed and mastered by Gareth Hargreaves (Young Lions, She Cries Wolf, The Brave). The band have always been a band to push boundaries, and the band’s latest single Exhale showcases their prowess to create vastly contrasting music while also enforcing a strong message that is rooted at the ‘heart’ of what they do.
All sound pretty good, doesn’t it? We wanted to get to know the band a bit more so we sat down and chatted to bassist Kerry Rowe about all things music.
How did you get into music in the first place?
I got into music the same way as I think most people do – through my parents. My folks were pretty into the east coast music scene around the Sunshine Coast in the 80’s. Dad was a band booker/promoter, and mum helped out behind the scenes and worked the door; things like that. They instilled a love of classic Aussie rock like the Cockroaches, Barnsie, Farrnsie – the classics. That, on top of bands like The Doors, Led Zepplin, Janis Joplin, and Hendrix all lead me down that rock/alt/metal path. One of the first gigs I ever went to was Parkway Drive at the Bundaberg State High School assembly hall in like, 2006 so yeah, the love for all things guitar-driven started early thanks to my folks. Cheers for that actually hey, haha.
If you had to describe your sound in 3 words, what would they be?
Emotional, heavy, and raw.
When on tour, what’s the ONE thing you always need to have with you?
Wet wipes (baby wipes, whatever you wanna call them). Finding places with showers is sometimes hard when you’re slumming it and trying to save every buck you can. Staying with mates is always great, but you can be a real burden on their household if there’s you know, five of the band, plus a couple extra’s (photographers/videographers, mates playing TM/roadie, etc), all wanting to clean up on top of the people who actually live there! The last thing I ever want to do personally when in those situations is put anyone out, so wet wipes can save you stinking up the van/house/apartment/venue/life. Spacial and time awareness in those sorts of situations is so important so your best to keep others at the top of mind.
What was your favorite ever on-stage moment?
This is a pretty tough one; we’ve had some fun/weird/cool stuff happen. The most obvious would have to be at the Brisbane show on our first ever tour with our homies in Tapestry (from NT, if you haven’t heard them before, stop reading now, open a new tab up and listen to their latest EP Ghost of Me – it’s fantastic) and it was right at the back end of the tour run. Long and short of it is there was a stage invasion while we were playing and they bombarded us with streamers, and party poppers, and toilet paper and just a whole bunch of fun shit. Yeah, that was dope.
Secondarily to that was when on that same run our old guitarist dislocated his shoulder on the last track of the night. I promise it’s funnier than it sounds – he was prone to doing it every few weeks and having to pour beer into his mouth as he lie on the ground laid out was pretty funny. I swear, it was actually funny – I’m not a sadistic fuck.
How would you describe your songwriting process? Do you have any rituals?
Our writing process has pretty well taken the same sort of shape. Our guitarists/Adam will write riffs and demo stuff out independently and throw some programmed drums over it to get a bit of a feel; then we’ll either throw that ‘song’ into the jam room and have everyone nut it out and tweak as we go, or we’ll do sort of like, training sessions where say he and I will jam out a few of the new ‘songs’ and get them tight with each other, to what they are as it stands, and then throw them into the jam room and workshop from there. It sort of depends as to just how it all plays out with either way having its pro’s and cons. Once we’ve got the structure as we want it with most rhythms sorta locked in, then we do as much vocal pre-production that we can to work on layering, lyrical content, hooks, and that sorta thing. We always end up running out of vocal pre-pro time because we’re disorganized fucks, but that’s generally how we aim to get it done, haha. Shout out Lewis for hooking us up with his studio for the vocal pre-pro on We Are – you’re a legend my dude, big love.
What would your dream festival line-up be, including yourselves playing?
Aight, this is hard so I’m just gonna spit some random bands that I think are dope that I could maybe see us fitting on a line-up with. Okay, ready, set, go:
Architects, The Ghost Inside, Fit For A King, Stick To Your Guns, Polaris, Counterparts, Northlane, Knocked Loose, Saosin, Hands Like Houses, The Colour MOrale, We Came As Romans, The Fever 333, and I dunno, a million others. Those are the first artists that came to mind (that weren’t trash SoundCloud rappers) that I’ve been spinning recently/since forever. I’m sure I’ve forgotten some crucial bands that the boys will rip on me for when they read this but eh, what ya gon’ do.
What has been your biggest challenge as musicians?
There are so many challenges being a musician (or at least some pleb slapping open notes on a detuned bass guitar). There’s all of the stresses you would expect; things like dealing with writer’s block, liaising with four other individuals on a very regular basis trying to get results, but without the structure most people are used to through things like jobs etc, trying to just release things independently. It’s all a lot of work, and when you consider that this is all on top of everyday life stuff, work, relationships, money, the continually declining condition of the world as a whole; it can all add up. I think (well, I KNOW for myself) that staying positive is a huge challenge in itself. It can be really discouraging seeing hours, days, weeks, fucking years of work you’ve put into something not achieve what you want – whatever that is. But at the end of the day, it’s a matter of remembering that if it was easy everyone would do it. And that you know, the off-chance that it all pays off and blows up and you end up being one of the tiniest, most minute proportion of musicians that has the freedom to do what they love every day for the rest of their lives, then it would be all be worth it tenfold.
Stories from the road – what’s what funniest thing that ever happened to you on tour?
We were on the road up north a couple of years back and managed to blow out our axel, or wheel or some shit on the van (or was it the trailer?), no, yeah, the trailer. Long story short is half of us went to get a replacement while the other half smashed a carton on the side of the road and began a couple impromptu games of big bash (20-20 Cricket) and goal-kicking practice. Big Bear (Axel Best – vocals) still reckons he slotted a JT-inspired boomerang kick from the sideline, but I dunno, I’m struggling to remember it this far on.
What was the first album you ever owned?
Shit, I’m not sure. It was probably some 6-year old trash, but two of the first records I remember buying/hassling my mum to get me were P.O.D.’s ‘Satellite’, and Linkin Park’s ‘Hybrid Theory’. I had pretty good taste in hindsight because those records are still full to the brim with bangers. I explicitly remember reasoning with my mum that Hybrid Theory didn’t have any swear words in it, even though “the cover made it look like it did”. I dunno man, I wanted that good-good, and I’ve never looked back.