WILD FRONT (from l-r): Joe Connell (guitar), Josh Betteridge (drums), Mike Flowers (bass), Jack Williams (vocals/guitar)
INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
Over the past couple of years, Wild Front have established themselves as one of the UK’s top emerging bands with a truly distinctive, diversely-influenced, guitar-driven indie sound.
This has won the Southampton four-piece plaudits from critics and fans alike, including BBC Radio 1, the NME, and Emily Eavis – one of the main organisers of the Glastonbury festival, which they played in 2017.
After playing a set in front of a packed crowd at The Hawley Arms in Camden recently – as part of the Camden Rocks Festival – I spoke to frontman Jack Williams and drummer Josh Betteridge about all of this, their soon-to-be-released EP, and a packed schedule of gigs and festivals over this summer, which includes a few slots supporting Sting.
How did the band initially get together?
JACK WILLIAMS (vocals/guitar): Most of us met at college.
JOSH BETTERIDGE (drums): Mine and Joe‘s parents were friends, so we knew each other from when we were born, and we’ve played in bands with each other for a long time.
Jack used to have a solo project, and that’s going back around eight, nine years, which kind of then morphed into something more rocky, so we decided to get together and start a new project.
How did the name Wild Front come about?
JACK: When I was doing my solo project, I was thinking of doing it under an alias, and Wild Front was one of the names I considered, and then when it came around to starting up the band, I went back to looking through those names, and it was one that stood out, as it gave off an image of being a wild place in the middle of nowhere, which I liked.
What would you say was your approach to songwriting?
JACK: We have a couple, actually. We’ll either start writing a song on an acoustic guitar, and then bounce that between us, or we’ll start writing a track in a room together as a band.
JOSH: That’s fun to do, because we’ll all jam together, creating random guitar riffs, which will then become the basis for a song, and we’ll add to it that way. I think a lot of it is like that.
JACK: Yeah, because me and Josh will then take the song away at that point, and then add some melodies and lyrics to it, because genuinely, that’s where we get most inspired.
What inspires the band lyrically?
JACK: A few different things, really, such as relationships with people – which is a big one – and then also we’ve all grown up having different relationships with faith and things like that, so I think a lot of the lyrics are based around that kind of stuff.
You recently brought out a new single, entitled ‘Confetti’. How was the recording process for that?
JOSH: We kind of just did it all ourselves at home. We’ve always done it like that, with Joe as the main producer, as we know how we want to sound.
JACK: A lot of the time, we will record a blanket of songs, and then we’ll choose which ones we think are the best, which ones work well together, and ‘Confetti‘ was just one of those ones.
This time, we actually had some help with the mixing, from a guy called Eduardo, who I think we’re going to keep working with actually, but prior to that, we would always try to do everything ourselves.
How has the response been to the track so far?
JACK: It’s been pretty good. It’s quite different to what we’ve put out before, as it’s rather heavy, because usually, we will work on a dreamier, funkier sound, and our live sets will often have moments where the music does become heavier, so we wanted to bring out something which showed that, so yeah, the response so far has been really good, as I think people have wanted us to bring out something like that for a while, you know.
The band played at the Glastonbury festival in 2017, and you were actually handpicked to perform there by Emily Eavis, one of its main organisers. That must have been quite an experience.
JACK: Yeah, it was, because it was relatively early days for us.
JOSH: And none of us had – up until that point – ever been to Glastonbury. It had quite a magical atmosphere to it, and it was almost like being in a small city.
JACK: I think on our journey, career, whatever you want to call it, so far, that has been a key highlight for us.
And how is it – for you all – performing live overall?
JACK: Well, we kind of like to think of ourselves as a live band.
JOSH: Really, it’s what we started doing this for.
JACK: Yeah, it’s definitely where we enjoy ourselves the most, as we always want to be playing, we always want to be gigging.
The band have quite a packed gigging schedule over the rest of this summer, including a set supporting Sting.
JACK: We’ve got a few supporting Sting, actually.
How did that come about?
JACK: He’s on the books of our agency.
JOSH: Growing up, Sting was such an inspiration for all of us.
JACK: Yeah, especially Joe. We will regularly talk about our top five albums, and for Joe, Sting will regularly sneak in there.
JOSH: And to get those slots – for all of us – is just amazing.
JACK: We were – and still are – pretty much over the moon with that one.
You will also be playing at festivals such as Isle Of Wight, so when this summer is over, what are your plans?
JACK: I think we’re currently talking about doing another headline tour, as it’s been a couple of years now since we did one. The last tour we did was pretty big, as we went to Ireland, Scotland, and everything, so we’re thinking of maybe doing a smaller, more focused tour. We actually haven’t decided anything yet, as so far, we’ve just talked about it a little bit.
And the band are going to be bringing out an EP soon, is that right?
JACK: Yeah, we will be dropping it later this summer, and I think we’re going to drop another EP after that as well, probably in around the autumn.
And lastly, what is your long-term aim?
JACK: We just want to play as many shows as we possibly can.
JOSH: It’s always nice when people come up to you and say, “Your music is really good“, so it would be great if our music is able to help people, and enable us to connect with them on a certain level.
JACK: Yeah, definitely.
JOSH: And in a way that we could never have imagined before we started this band.
JACK: To be fair, the few times where that has happened have personally been my favourite times of being in a band, you know, and that’s definitely an aim for all of us.
JOSH: We would love to play all of the big venues, headline festivals, and stuff, but the reason why we make music in the first place is to be able to connect with an audience.
‘ALL THE THINGS I CARED FOR BUT IGNORED’ – THE NEW EP FROM WILD FRONT – WILL BE RELEASED LATER THIS SUMMER, AND A FULL LIST OF THE BAND’S GIGS AND FESTIVAL APPEARANCES OVER THE NEXT FEW MONTHS CAN BE FOUND BELOW:
FURTHER INFO ON WILD FRONT CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES: