Music / Features
'Masquerade' but not masquerading -
A Chat with Wilderglow
Words by Conor Lochrie
Wednesday 18th March, 2020
Following the release of ‘Masquerade’ last week, a rousing indie-rock gem packed with striking emotion and dizzying highs, we had the members of Wilderglow interview each other to make sure the quartet weren’t hiding behind any masks of their own.
Not a band who - and excuse the phrase but it’s just so wholly applicable - ‘masquerade’ as anything they’re not, Wilderglow make rousing indie-rock that could fill most venues without fail. High on the feels and low on the jangle so common amongst their peers, their polished brand of alternative rock cuts straight and emotes wholeheartedly, leaving no room for pretension. Their latest single is a winning example - handsomely produced by Curtis Jay, the band sound huge, with Scully’s crisp voice standing boldly upfront as the dazzling instrumentation spirals around him.

Unsurprising for a band who exude hyper-confidence, Wilderglow asked to construct this piece a little differently. Read their band-on-band interview below, where their camaraderie is clear and their self-assurance is palpable and commendable.
James (drums): I came into Wilderglow pretty late. Scully, how has the band changed since it was formed and what have the newer members brought to it? Could you have pictured something like 'Masquerade' bring written before they joined?

Scully (vocals, guitar): Wilderglow was formed when Josh (guitar, vocals), John (synth, vocal, now ex-member) and I decided to get a new band together to play songs we’d recorded with a previous project. We undertook a regrouping/rebranding, and got yourself on drums and Adi - a good mate from the scene - on bass. I always consider the start of Wilderglow to be the release of our first EP with that lineup: My Days in 2018. I think ‘Masquerade’ shows we’ve progressed a lot as a band and I don’t think I could picture writing it with any other people. We all bring something special to the table and our individual tastes and quirks make into something unique.

James: Josh, you produced Wilderglow’s second EP, Space Between. How did that compare to working with Curtis on 'Masquerade'?

Josh: [Space Between] was a lot cheaper, like WAY cheaper, but of course, more time consuming and stressful. Personally it wasn’t a great time for me to take on that sort of workload, and it was my first time doing anything of the sort. I think we all learnt a lot from the experience, and made PLENTY of mistakes. We also used equipment that Curtis probably wouldn’t allow to even enter his sacred shrine of audiophilia. He even felt so sorry for us that he’s joked about lending us gear for the next one. Not sure how serious he is though... Regardless, I’m still quite proud of what we released, even ignoring the circumstances, and what we achieved as a band. I find those sorts of DIY experiences very rewarding.

Offloading a lot of that responsibility to Curtis for 'Masquerade' was great for me to free up time to be able to brush up on the management side of things, and I was able to organise our first interstate shows and assist in the strategic planning leading up to the single launch. A big part of me (and my wallet) still yearns to return to the role of producer, while the rest of the band takes over more of those managerial duties in their fried chicken devouring down-time. In a perfect world, we’d be able to buy Curtis and legally own him as our recording engineer/slave/concubine, but such is life in this cold and unforgiving sea that is the music industry. We will continue to live hand to mouth and scrape the leftovers into our band fund until we can afford his escorting serv- sorry, production expertise again.

Scully: Josh, you’re the one who found Curtis Hatton of Studio Truth, the producer and engineer we worked with on 'Masquerade'. Talk a little bit about the recording process and the love affair that ensued

Josh: On a conference call with James and I, Curtis complimented my work on our Space Between EP and he was by far the most enthusiastic about the live demo we recorded and sent to our shortlist of studios. I do remember James gesturing fellatio as this was happening, which I initially dismissed. But sure enough, since we’re all suckers for free stuff, and Studio Truth does a free 2 hour consultation, we were in there within the week. One thing led to another, and before we knew it we were loosening his G string (on his telecaster) and gnawing on his fat breasts (chicken, mind you, from his regular haunt ‘Fried And Tasty’). Oh yeah, we also recorded and produced a single with him or something. What was I saying again?

Scully: James - out of 10, how much do we stress you out?

James: Overall about a six, but I’m in the odd side project that clocks in higher than that. If I had to rank you all individually - and I’m going to - I’d say that Scully, you come in at a strong 7. You got a little bit of diva energy and can be a hard man to sway once you’ve formed an opinion on something. Josh is usually pretty chilled out and helpful, so I’ll say 5, but that’s only under normal circumstances. As soon as he’s involved in organising anything time-sensitive or working with someone from outside the band he goes straight to a 9... He’s a real DIY/creative-control oriented kind of a guy, and whilst I respect that, it can be hell to deal with when other people come in. Adi is more difficult to rank. He’s frustratingly easy-going, to the point that even when he’s doing the hard yards, it seems like he isn’t. Also, he tends to stealthily order Uber Eats to virtually every rehearsal space we find ourselves in. Seeing a big greasy burger materialise in your bass player’s hands mid-rehearsal is something that makes me particularly uneasy, so I’m going to give him a 4. Scully: Josh, Adi - your parts in 'Masquerade' came about in an interesting way. How so?

Adi: 'Masquerade' was written differently to how we normally write; much more organically. Usually one of us comes in with a mostly written demo and we go from there, but for this one I just picked up Scully’s guitar while we were chilling in the rehearsal space. The little riff I was playing became one of the main hooks of the song. Josh picked up my bass, played along and it quickly came together from there.

Josh: After that we got back to our own instruments and underwent a process of building on the parts we’d written for each other. Everything I wrote for this song stemmed from variations of the opening hook, which Adi pioneered.

Scully: James, what was the initial idea behind your drums in 'Masquerade' when we originally jammed the song together?

James: My first thought was “oh, cool, the bass note isn’t always changing on the one, I’m gonna catch that”. Our first jam was mostly on the idea for the verse section and I wanted to do as little as I could without the drum part sounding like it was there just to give me something to do. I think it came out okay - a nice relaxed groove that is spacious and simple and gives the song somewhere to go. More broadly though, I’d been listening to a lot of Death Cab For Cutie around that time and I feel like I was channelling elements of songs like 'The New Year' and 'Transatlanticism'.

Scully: James, originally I tried to organise the artwork for 'Masquerade', but it didn’t quite pan out. Tell the fine folk at home how we got to the final product.

James: Yeah, we originally got some pretty drab, low-effort stuff from an artist who shall remain nameless. My cousin Olly was filling in for us on bass around that time and asked to see it. He said a bit of what everyone was already thinking - basically “that’s shit”. Much discussion ensued and Olly turned us on to a mutual friend of ours named Jesse Locke, who’s got mad production skills and also has a real aggressive hip-hop project called Criimes. Anyone reading this should definitely go check out his music, it’s sick.

Anyway, turns out he’s got some secret graphic design chops as well. He was real easy to work with and gave us something really striking in the end that we think accompanies our shift in sound perfectly.

Due to the recent COVID-19 crisis Wilderglow have postponed their single launch until further notice, but make sure you keep an eye on their socials for updates, and until then, keep spinning ‘Masquerade’.