Interview: Wild Story – Different

Wild Story is a duo originating from Los Angeles, California. This anthemic band combines Viv Parker’s cinematic, immersive production with the adventurous, dynamic and vulnerable melodies of Katie Hargrove.

Hi Wild Story, how are you today?

Hey David! We’re doing pretty well, thanks for asking! We are stoked to be chatting with you today.

For those that haven’t heard of you yet, how would you best describe your sound, and who have been your biggest influences so far?

We would describe our sound as a mix of a couple genres. Our sonic roots are definitely well within pop, but depending upon the song we cross over into the alternative and indie world as well. For us, it’s all about the bones of the song; meaning where it comes from and what it evokes within us. We try to not limit ourselves so much to genre, but just making sure we make music that we love in the hopes others will love it too. 

As far as our influences – this is always a tough one because there’s just so much music that shaped not only the music we make, but also the people we are today. There’s the legends like Prince and Bowie to Amy Winehouse and Nina Simone to other acts like Florence & The Machine, One Republic, 30 Seconds to Mars and so many more. We really gravitate towards music that makes us feel something and tells a story that we can resonate with.

Do you remember what the first song was that made you want to start a career in music?

I think this would probably be a different answer for both of us, so we’ll answer this one separately!

(Katie) For me, I think the first song that really pulled me into music was “Wide Open Spaces” by the Dixie Chicks. They definitely lean into the country genre which isn’t normally my go to as a listener, but growing up in Tennessee I consumed quite a bit of country music. The lyrics of this song tell such a unique and incredible story about growing up and spreading your wings as an individual. As a kid, I really longed for that and music is what provided an outlet for me. One of my first concerts was the Dixie Chicks and watching three, badass women like them perform their hearts out set the stage for me to think I could do it too. They were such an influential part of my musical upbringing and I’m so grateful to have had legends like them as role models for my own music. 

(Viv) I remember growing up surrounded by music. My parents were both involved in music so I always knew I was going to be doing this no matter what. I can’t remember a specific song but I remember all these different records from Prince, Fleetwood Mac, Guns N’ Roses, Peter Gabriel, Michael Jackson and a million others were always being played so those were the inspiration for me to want a career in music. 

You have just released your new single ‘Different’. Can you tell us how that track came about?

The whole process was crazy because it came together so organically. The song itself really is such a beautiful mix of both of us. (Katie) I had this melody and lyric idea, which is really what became the foundation for the song. When I sent it to Viv he was simultaneously working on a track that was perfect for it. In terms of writing the song, it was the most serendipitous experience because of how natural it was. We wrote the whole chorus before we had to get into another session for something else, but we knew we were onto something special. We grabbed a date the week after to work on the verses and once we sat down it all just formed so perfectly.

And is there a story behind it?

“Different” has such a strong story behind it; and ultimately so many stories intertwined in it as well. 

(Katie) Growing up in the south, there wasn’t much representation for the LGBTQ community. A large factor in why I didn’t come out sooner was because I almost didn’t even see it as an option. I had really never felt comfortable talking about being gay in my music until this song. Viv has always created a really safe and comfortable space for me to feel open and vulnerable with our music. The first verse and pre-chorus kind of came to me when I was walking my dog and I just immediately felt connected. When I sang him my idea he was so on board and supportive to really go for it. Viv also felt attached personally as he was born in another country and came to America at a young age. He always felt like an outsider and like he didn’t fit in, so when we started talking about being “different” we realized we both had such strong stories to tell with this song. We made sure to be extremely deliberate and careful with our lyrics because this song felt like it held such power for us. It’s such a delicate topic for so many personal reasons, but we really wanted to make sure it didn’t come off preachy or trite. We wanted anyone who had ever felt like they didn’t fit in, regardless of sexual orientation or who they identified as, to feel connected to this song. 

It also comes with a very cool new video. Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind that?

We wrote the song, shot the music video and released it all within about a month, so the timeline was crazy! We knew this song was special and so we really wanted to give everything we had to making the music video an unforgettable experience. We wanted to involve our friends and members of the LGBTQIA+ community, but we just weren’t sure of how best to execute and give a new perspective that people hadn’t seen before. We spoke with about 15 directors before we found Rick Lawrence and we just knew he was the guy to help us pull off this crazy vision. He really helped us craft the video into what it is today by focusing on participant’s features and really highlighting the subtleties that make us all beautiful and “different”. When we got on set that day and were ready to start shooting, Ricky looked at both of us and said something along the lines of, “If you want anyone to believe in this – you’re gonna have to believe in it and give me everything you’ve got – every single take” and it was honestly exactly what we needed to hear. From that first shot we were so amped and excited for the world to see what we had made and we’re so proud of the way it all came together. 

Can we expect a new EP or even an album from you in the near future?

This is an exciting question that we can’t wait to share more about. There’s definitely a larger collection of songs coming in the next few months, but that’s all we can say for now!

The coronavirus outbreak has obviously affected everyone’s plans, but what have you got in store for the rest of the year?

The pandemic has definitely affected everyone in different ways, but we’re so grateful to have been able to connect with people through our music. We both come from performance backgrounds, so we can’t wait to eventually play these songs live! In the meantime we just want to keep releasing music that we’re stoked about and continuing to grow with our listeners. 

And finally, what is the best piece of musical advice you have ever been given?

Living life is just as important as making music about it. We both try really hard to be present in our lives and experience all that the world has to offer. This probably sounds cliche or cheesy to some, but it’s so easy to forget to be engaged in your own life. Sometimes we grow complacent and go through the motions of what we think our lives are or should be, but this bleeds into your creativity and music. You have to show up for yourself on a mental, physical and emotional level and when you’re more present in your life, you’re more present in your music too.

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