Q&A with THE WILD FEATHERS
Posted On 09 Apr 2016
Tag: All Access, All Access Music, All Access Music Group, allaccessmusicnicole, Austin, Billboard, Bob Dylan, csny, Gary Clark Jr., Heatseeker, Jay Joyce, Jeff Lynne, Lonely Is A Lifetime, Michael Reich, otis Redding, Overnight, Pontiac, Pontiac GTO, Sonic Youth, Spotify, Tame Impala, Texas, The Band, The Replacements, The Wild Feathers, Velvet Underground, Warner Bros, Warner Brothers Records, Weezer, Wilco, Willie Nelson
All signs point to THE WILD FEATHERS becoming the next great American rock ‘n’ roll band. It’s not a matter of omens or conjecture either, but rather time and facts. The Nashville-based group— Ricky Young [guitar, vocals], Taylor Burns [guitar, vocals], Joel King [bass, vocals], and Ben Dumas [drums]—spent more than two years on the road supporting their 2013 debut self-titled full-length album. Their diligence slowly but surely started to pay off as the record hit #1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Chart, and they received invites to appear on Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O Brien, Seth Meyers, Craig Ferguson, ABC’s Nashville, and more.
Along the way, unanimous critical praise arrived courtesy of Rolling Stone, New York Times, Huffington Post, USA Today, and countless others. Simultaneously, the quintet turned casual listeners into staunch believers with incendiary and invigorating performances at festivals and touring with everybody from Bob Dylan to Gary Clark Jr. Throughout this whirlwind, they kept thinking about the next evolution and started writing songs for what would become their 2016 sophomore effort, Lonely Is A Lifetime.
All Access Music writer, Nicole DeRosa had a chance to catch up with drummer, Ben Dumas to chat about the release of their new album. Enjoy Nicole’s chat with Ben below!
Hey there Ben! Where does our interview find you today and what’s on the agenda today besides our interview?
Hi there, Nicole! It’s snowing in Nashville today, but we only got about an inch so it doesn’t warrant a real “snow day.” So in that case we spent it just like almost every other weekday – practicing. We have kept a pretty regular schedule over the past few months of getting together and practicing the new songs, getting things really tight, and having fun just jamming on stuff.
For those that are not familiar with THE WILD FEATHERS and your music, how did you get your start? Who or what was the catalyst for you to want to live the life of a musical gypsy?
We got our start a few years ago when Ricky and Joel were hanging out in Nashville, doing their own music projects, but had the idea of starting a band with multiple singers. Sort of like The Band or CSNY. They started writing songs and then ran in to Taylor out in Austin and he was really into the idea as well. There isn’t necessarily a catalyst for any of us wanting to live the life of a musical gypsy. We have all wanted to play music since we were kids, that calling or that need has just always been there in all of us.
I understand that Jay Joyce produced The Wild Feathers eagerly awaited second album, Lonely Is A Lifetime (via Warner Bros. Records) How was that experience working with Mr. Joyce? Any wisdom he bestowed upon you that you can share with our readers?
“Lonely Is A Lifetime” was produced by the one and only Jay Joyce. He’s an insane talent. In the studio he has this rock n’ roll attitude he imparts on you. It’s like, if you’re a real rock n’ roll band, you are either awesome or you suck. So when the tape is rolling you better be awesome! He is not one of those producers who is going to go back and fix every little mistake and make things perfect. According to him, “perfect = boring.”
The Wild Feathers have had the pleasure of being on the same bill as Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and Gary Clark Jr. to name a few. Who have been your inspirations growing up that also inspire you today?
That’s a tough question because we all have a lot of inspirations. Neil Young is always one that comes to mind. He has never wavered on his artistic vision and has been able to do it his entire life. He’s not the best singer or guitar player in the world but that doesn’t matter. It’s the heart and emotion you can feel in his voice and guitar tone that really gets to you. It’s the intangibles that make an artist like that magical and that’s something we hope to channel whenever we make music together.
What did you learn between your self titled debut album (which hit #1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart) and playing live, that you felt you wanted to infuse into Lonely Is A Lifetime?
Most of the songs we have written for this new record came about in a live, full band setting. We played so many shows together since the debut record so we wanted to incorporate that big live sound on this record and I feel like we definitely made that happen.
What was the inspiration for your new single, “Overnight”? Did you help come up with the treatment for the video as well?
The inspiration for “Overnight” came from looking around and seeing other bands who were trying to make it to the top so fast without even putting in the real meaningful work. Then it kind of turned into a broader commentary on how we are living in a society now where things are so disposable and how that can be damaging.
We had a lot of fun making that video. It was directed by the incredible Michael Reich. He came up with the treatment but we had a lot of input. We did not want a video with a narrative, but rather a collection of found vintage footage containing images that loosely explain the sentiments of the song, and he nailed it!
Nowadays, everything is so instant…you press a button and it’s yours ala Spotify, Soundcloud, iTunes etc. What was the first album you saved up your hard earned money as a kid and bought for yourself?
Yes indeed, today everything is so instant, just like the song “Overnight” says. It really seems like those records we saved our hard-earned to buy when we were kids meant so much more (mine was Weezer’s first album). Back then it was like you saved your money, bought a record, and listened to it over and over until you could buy another one. You had no choice but to live with it and connect emotionally with it.
Now you just skip to whatever song on YouTube or Spotify. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just how the world is now. Yet it does worry me that I won’t have the chance to see if I’ll truly cherish the last record I streamed on Spotify as much as that first Weezer CD. I hope we are not sacrificing intimacy for convenience.
What was the first song you fell in love with (or made a lasting impact) on you and why?
When I was a kid, my dad bought an old muscle car. It was a 1964 Pontiac GTO. We would ride around on summer nights with the convertible top down and he would always play an Otis Redding tape. I cannot say a specific song, though I could list a lot we listened to. There was something so pure and simple and sincere in those songs and recordings that made me aware of the power that music has and the emotional impact it can have on a person.
Who is in your current playlist? What artists or bands are in current rotation for you?
Stuff we’ve been listening to lately…. The Replacements, Wilco, Jeff Lynne, Tame Impala, Sonic Youth, Velvet Underground. That’s all I can pull off the top of my head but I know there’s more.
What’s on tap next for The Wild Feathers? What are you most excited about for this year?
Of course we are excited to finally release the new record and for everyone to hear it in its entirety. And I know it sounds weird but something we keep repeating to ourselves is that we can’t wait to “be a band again.” We are most in our element when we are touring and playing live shows every night and we haven’t gotten to do that in a while. We just want to get back out there and play and now it’s time to prove ourselves on the road.
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