On the heels of a new album release, I joined Daniel Rayzel as we interviewed Kelsey Wilson and Alexander Beggins of Wild Child at The Ark. Scroll through as they share insight on the new LP, their old Halloween costumes, and reveal the prank master of the group.
Fools is available now on Dualtone Records.
Daniel (WDBM): What was your favorite track to record on the new record?
Wilson: I really liked doing “Break Bones” because we wrote it in the studio and just like, recorded it right then, right when we wrote it. So it was really special.
Beggins: Yeah, actually the version we recorded first didn’t make it on the record, and we’re going to release it, actually. And it’s just the two of us. It’s how we perform it live, and it was just kind of a magical studio moment. I was just playing around on the piano – they’ve got this beautiful grand piano in the studio we’re working in – and Kelsey overheard what I was doing and just said, “Hey, keep doing that.” And we just sat down and churned it out and recorded it, and it was really special. It felt like we were creating something. Most of the time when we go into the studio we have a pretty good idea of what we want to do. It was cool to spontaneously write a song that made it on the record.
Hanna (WDBM): Are there any other outtakes that didn’t make the cut for the album?
Wilson: Oh, yeah. There was a song called “Banana.” It was just all, like, filler words, and it was called “Banana” because we had this riff like… (sings) “ba na nana nah,” so we called it “Banana.” But then we never came up with lyrics or where it was going to go.
Beggins: Really, we were just lazy. We started working on it in the studio and we were always like, “I don’t know”
Wilson: “This is a lot of work.”
Beggins: “Let’s do something else.”
Wilson: “Scratch it, scratch that whole song.”
Beggins: And then we tried to do a song called “Saving Face” in three different parts and stitch them together, and it was a nightmare. So you’ll hear on the record there’s a spoken-word intro where I’m just trying to convince myself to sing it better. We were listening back to the tape and we were like, “That’s kind of cool, let’s keep it in there.”
Wilson: He’s just like talking himself up, it’s just talking – he’s just speaking. It’s a conversation. And we were just like, “Let’s keep that in there, that’s dope.”
Daniel (WDBM): How do you keep busy on the road? I can imagine it’s a lot of long car rides.
Beggins: A lot of us, especially on this tour, we’ve been on a thrifting mission. So every town we go to, we look up what thrift stores are around and go and look for cool vintage t-shirts or clothes, and, I don’t know. It’s just you have to stay occupied. And it’s a good way to stay out of the bar.
Wilson: We play a lot of Hot Dice, play a lot of Farkle, that’s a good game on the road. Read some books. Download and upload porn. [Giggles from all]
Beggins: Oh, and we sleep a lot, too, let’s be honest.
Wilson: That’s the best way to pass the time.
Beggins: And that’s kind of your options. Snacking, napping…
Wilson: Watching something on your computer…
Beggins: Rapping, drinking…
Daniel (WDBM): You guys are the first band to ever tell me what they do on the road. Usually the first response I get is “Oh, you don’t want to know,” which I guess might be true, and you’re holding something, which fine. And then other people will also say, “Oh, you’re just sitting in the car.”
Wilson: That’s because there’s a lot of nothing.
Beggins: There’s an illusion that the road is so glamorous and cool and it’s really not. There’s a lot of sitting.
Wilson: [Laughs] Yeah, sitting in a car, or in a green room.
Beggins: And I’m not even good at waiting. I hate it.
Wilson: Yeah, I hate waiting. We’re professional waiters.
Beggins: [Laughs] Sidenote, waiters. We were talking about this the other day. Why are they called waiters?
Wilson: Because they’re waiting on people all day.
Beggins: No, the customer is waiting.
Wilson: No, to be waited on is like, he’s waiting on me. It’s a person who’s taking care of you.
Beggins: But who’s doing the waiting?
Wilson: You’re just being consumers.
Beggins: You’re waiting for your food.
Wilson: For a second, but you’re paying someone to cook it, and bring it to you.
Beggins: So there’s the server, and there’s the waiter…
Wilson: They’re the waiter, they’re waiting on you. They’re the staff.
Hanna (WDBM): They’re waiting to get your order, then they’re waiting to get your food. They do a lot of waiting.
Beggins: Jury’s out. I think they should change the name.
Daniel (WDBM): So maybe it’s the waiter and the waitee, we’re the waitees.
Wilson: We’re all just waiting.
Beggins: I’m glad that we’re opening up the big q’s though. Exposing the truth.
Hanna (WDBM): So when you’re performing at venues – you guys were at MoPop this summer, right? Do you like the festival atmosphere more or are you thinking more of the smaller, more intimate style?
Wilson: They all have their positives. The festival crowd is amazing because people at festivals are determined to have a good time. Most of the time they don’t even know who you are, but they paid $200 to go to this festival for a day and they are going to enjoy themselves. So, that’s always a cool crowd, very receptive.
Beggins: And we love going to festivals ourselves so it’s always like festival season is very fun.
Wilson: We get to meet other bands, and it’s a little music community every time.
Beggins: I love celebrities.
Hanna (WDBM): Oh god, who’s your favorite?
Wilson: Anyone famous.
Beggins: Anyone famous I love. But we were just at a festival in Montreal last summer and I was at a picnic table with Jack White. That was… I didn’t say anything.
Hanna (WDBM): His presence was just enough.
Beggins: Yeah. And The Strokes were right down the street from my house at this little cafe. And my girlfriend was like, “Hey, The Strokes are here.” And I just sat there, drinking coffee, just awkwardly stealing glances… So, yeah, festivals are great for me, in that regard.
Wilson: And the small, intimate shows are cool, too, because you actually get to talk to people, meet people, and get sweaty in a really small room.
Beggins: Some of my favorite shows growing up were small, intimate, and not sardine-d in a crowd. But it’s one thing to tell yourself if the rooms empty, “It’s intimate!”
Daniel (WDBM): So, we want to go on a trip down memory lane now. In the spirit of Halloween, what was your favorite Halloween costume?
Beggins: You know, my dad showed me a picture – and I don’t remember this at all, I was, like, 6 or 7 – and I took a shine to this mask in this Halloween store, and it was Hillary Clinton. Which is so relevant now. It’s just this photo of me, like, with this cartoon mask of Hillary Clinton, in a little dress.
Wilson: [Laughs] That’s awesome! I was a yellow crayon for, like, 7 years. I just had this tall crayon costume and my face came through it, and it went all the way down to my legs so I had to waddle, but I loved it. And I wore it every year until I couldn’t fit in it anymore. I was just a crayon.
Beggins: I’ve been a surfer for the last couple years, and I always go get a spray tan, like the darkest one possible.
Wilson: [Laughs] And he’s orange for so long.
Beggins: And then I wake up in the morning, and like, that [stuff] gets all over the place.
Hanna (WDBM): What kind of music are you guys into now? What’s on your iPod?
Beggins: I pretty much only listen to Spotify now, and I guess on this tour for some reason one of my favorite bands has always been Phantom Planet. And Drew, our drummer, and I were talking about how good they were at the beginning of this tour, so I’ve been revisiting all of their records. They have a bunch of live performances on Spotify, which is kind of cool. And I think they’re great performers so… I’ve been doing a lot of that. And then, soundscapes. Like waves and rain, to go to sleep to.
Wilson: You listen to soundscapes? That’s dope.
Beggins: Yeah, they’re on YouTube, just look up rainforests.
Wilson: We should start doing that before we play. We should just put soundscapes… Which we’re doing tonight, now. “Monster Mash,” and spooky soundscapes. Just find some haunted house tracks of people screaming and stuff. But, yeah. I don’t listen to music anymore. Now, I just don’t. I listen to podcasts and books on tape and stuff like that. Whenever you’re in music brain mode, you’re just listening to things and thinking, “Aw, they should turn the kick drum up,” or, “I wonder why they made this decision,” or, “I really like those lyrics.” Right now, I’m not at the phase where I can relax and listen to it. I’m just thinking about it too much, so I think I’m on a little bit of a music break. Maybe I should go to soundscapes. That’s the next move, to ease me back into it. I’ve been getting back into Elliott Smith again, because you can just listen to that without thinking about it. It’s a dangerous thing, because you can get stuck in Elliott Smith loops where that’s all you listen to for a while and then you’re sad for no reason.
Beggins: I think Kurt Cobain’s daughter and Elliot Smith’s daughter are friends.
Wilson: That’s so cool! Of course they are, of course they are.
Hanna (WDBM): What are your favorite concerts that you’ve been to?
Beggins: I saw The National when I was in high school. Played to a crowd of eight people. And I didn’t know who they were either. Me and my buddy just looked up, y’know, if there was any shows on a Tuesday night in Houston, Texas in 2004. We ended up… we were just blown away. Just like, “What is this? What’s going on? Why aren’t they popular?” And now they’re huge.
Wilson: I used to go see, in San Marcos, this band called Ghostland Observatory had a residency. And Ghostland Observatory and LCD Soundsystem would play all the time for no one. There were three-dollar shows. Those were so much fun.
Beggins: I’ve been to a lot of great shows, but it’s more about… drugs and experiences. [Both laugh]
Wilson: Skrillex was the best night of my life, but it could’ve been the acid. I got to see, in the past couple years, Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder. And that’s just cool because they’re icons, just seeing them at all. Aretha sang maybe four songs then was like “I’m done,” and everyone was screaming for her to do an encore or whatever. And she’s like, “Alright, I’ll sing, but I’m doing it from over here.” She had a lounge chair next to the stage behind a curtain. She just kind of popped her head out and said “I’ll sing it from here,” leaned back and slayed another song. It was very cool. That might have been my favorite.
Daniel (WDBM): What are some unknown bands you dig that you wish more people knew about?
Wilson: No. [Both laugh] I don’t wanna tell people about them. I wanna keep them. Jeff Ratner, the bass player for Langhorne Slim [& The Law] has solo stuff that’s amazing. Rayland Baxter… he deserves to be huge. He’s so talented. [Imaginary Man] That whole record. Everything he does… and live, he’s one hundred times better. Which is the thing — it’s so much better than the record, and the record’s amazing.
Beggins: We went on tour with this band, Desert Noises. They’re amazing, but they just broke up. So, shucks! You missed out. There’s a band called The Deer that’s opening for us at our homecoming show in Austin. Great little Austin band.
Daniel (WDBM): Do you ever pull pranks on each other?
Wilson: Alexander is the prankmaster.
Beggins: I enjoy a good prank, yeah.
Wilson: Our horn player has a little stuffed adventure buddy that his girlfriend made for him and Alexander has been hanging him from places this whole tour.
Beggins: Yeah, I’ve been kidnapping him.
Wilson: Giving ransom letters. [Laughs] “Give me five dollars and I will show you where your adventure buddy is.”
Beggins: I had a problem on our bus of people stealing other people’s food, so I think I better poison something soon.
Wilson: He also gave ex-lax chocolate to one of the merch guys. And he doesn’t even like candy and was just so flattered that Alexander gave him such a big piece of this candy bar. [Both laugh] And he said it tasted horrible, but I think I have to eat it because he gave me so much, like that’s so kind.
Beggins: The box said something like “have one piece of ex-lax chocolate for fast, effective relief.” And he ate ten.
Wilson: It was gross. He was out of commission.
Beggins: I love a good prank.
Wilson: [Laughs] I love a good prank that lasts for 48 hours.
Interview by Hanna Kielar and Daniel Rayzel