The songs are instantly memorable as much for their melodies as for their meaning – both of which are equally as integral to the impact of the song, if you ask Hester. “I’ve always thought lyrics find their validation through melody,” he says. “You can sing the simplest line but if a melody has conviction, then it works better than the most poetic paragraph you can write.”
BY SAM DESTEFANO
Beloved by fans and critics, the Denver-based quartet closed out 2017 as one of the most exciting acts to emerge from the Mile High City in recent memory. The promising quartet built up a strong, impassioned grassroots following that helped propel it to a pair of back-to-back wins in KTCL’s benchmark promotions, the annual Big Gig this past summer and Hometown for the Holidays.
Being able to claim this distinction in Denver is no small feat. For Wildermiss, however, it gets even better. The group not only swept both of those contests but it also earned the crowd-favorite designation at the annual Hometown for the Holidays showcase — which is entirely unprecedented in the history of the event. In the past, bands have earned one honor or the other but not both.
Hard to believe that a little more than a year ago this foursome was an auspicious yet aspiring act playing unassuming opening slots on weeknights. The outfit quickly won fans over with a smart brand of guitar-driven pop, which has plenty in common with acts like Local Natives, Echosmith, and Florence and the Machine. Cleary, the act found its way — funny considering that the whole thing essentially started by being lost, as the title of the band’s 2017 debut, Lost With You, suggests.
We were lucky enought to catch up with Wildermiss to get the latest and greatest.
Without a doubt, there is something special about your chemistry and your sound. What would you consider to be the secret ingredient?
A pinch of crazy. The middle of an oreo cookie. Lots of noodles that we throw at the walls till they stick. The four of us are long time friends and we’d say hard work and dedication are the secret ingredients. We try to do our best to write the best songs we can.
We were just discussing your band when we heard Carson Daly announce in the background that Wildermiss would make its TV debut with a performance of “Carry Your Heart” from the El Rey. Tell us about your experience and your response to being on the show.
It was and is surreal. We were on tour with The Oh Hellos and got to play a normal show but this time it was with a camera crew in and around the audience. We were all nervous, but by the time the show started it ended up being one of the most fun shows on tour. It’s an honor to be on Carson’s show and experience our music being played in front of millions of viewers. The response has contributed to our growth in other markets around the country, which makes us excited to tour more and meet new fans. Up next, Jimmy Fallon?
It seems like your songs must come easy to you because they are so well crafted. What’s your song writing process like? Does it really come easy or do you torture yourselves over the details?
It’s everything and nothing. We’re very collaborative and really try to focus on serving the song – leaving our egos at the door and coming together as a team to pull a song out of whatever dimension it was hiding in (woah). It’s easy to go nuts over the details, so we like to sleep on songs and let them steep until we feel inspired by them again. Some songs take longer than others. One song we can write in a week, another could take over a year. When the song is done, we all just feel it. It’s definitely always a process.
Wildermiss is two guitars, drums, vocals and synth bass. How has not having a traditional bass player shaped your sound?
We love it. Some songs, the synth creates a padded foundation which allows the two guitars to breathe and work with each other. Some songs, the synth can be bite-y and rhythmic and stand out in the best way. We’re not looking for a traditional bass player, even though many people have offered their talents. Since we don’t have a traditional lineup instruments for a rock band, it frees us to not be stuck with one sound or process of songwriting.
Have you landed on a sound that you love or is it an ever evolving process?
It’s an ever-evolving process. We write where we’re at. Life is ever-evolving and our music reflects that. We’re excited to find new sounds and challenge ourselves as artists and musicians. We’re not too concerned with being genre specific because we don’t want to limit where we can go.
Wildermiss has become a hometown favorite in Denver. Is it challenging to spread your wings into other market places?
Playing a show outside of your supportive and comforting hometown is a challenge, but that’s what it’s all about. We’re not doing this to be comfortable. We love the support we have in Denver and we’re excited to keep reaching new marketplaces. Touring is an exciting way to reach people, but also the internet has been a great insight to how far our music can go. We’ve found our music showing up in places we haven’t been yet. Even internationally. Apparently we have a decent list of fans in Malaysia.
You have been touring quite a bit recently. What’s life on the road with Wildermiss like?
Life on the road with us is full of smells, memes, bug-scraping, and tiki bars. Obviously tons of driving and barely seeing the cities we play in… but we make the most of it. We’re lucky that all of us are so light-hearted and easygoing. We really take care of each other on the road. One of our biggest challenges is our nightly gear pack job. It barely fits into the van. We find joy when we play the perfect game of gear Tetris. It’s the little wins every day.
You’ve had an extremely successful year, playing Last Call with Carson Daly, KTCL’s Big Gig and Home Town for the Holidays. Where do you go from here? What’s on the horizon? Are there new recordings in the works?
Currently, when we’re not playing shows, we’re writing and demoing new music. Recently, we’ve absolutely loved having The Music District in Fort Collins as a resource to hideaway for a few days and hash out a bunch of songwriting ideas. Our first arena show will be Not So Silent Night at First Bank Center, which is a rad milestone to top off this year! We’d love to just keep living life on the road and playing our music to as many people as we can.
Thanks so much to Wildermiss for catching up with us! They’re blowing up so be sure to check them out soon, so you can say, “I knew them before they were selling out Red Rocks!”
Wildermiss Photo Credits:
Main Image: Anthony Isaac
Double Exposure & Black and White: Urban Impression Photography
Treefort Festival: Peter Dervin