Published on February 28th, 2018 | by Darren Paltrowitz0
Alexander Beggins On The New Wild Child Album “Expectations” & The Modern Touring Lifestyle
An indie-pop band hailing from Austin, Texas, Wild Child was formed in 2010 by vocalist/violinist Kelsey Wilson and vocalist/ukuleleist Alexander Beggins. Wilson and Beggins met as backing musicians for the Danish band The Migrant, and began to write songs together while on tour. The first Wild Child album, Pillow Talk, came out in 2011 and yielded a number one single on the Hype Machine. The Runaround, the sophomore effort of Wild Child, featured production by Ben Kweller and its song “Living Tree” was named one of the “Top Ten Songs Of 2013” by NPR. Third full-length Fools came out via Dualtone Records and led to an appearances on Mountain Stage and Last Call With Carson Daly.
2018 brings the fourth album from Wild Child, Expectations. Released on February 9th, Expectations was made in an untraditional fashion, utilizing a variety of producers including former Death Cab For Cutie guitarist Chris Walla, Delta Spirit’s Matthew Logan Vasquez, Shakey Graves’ Chris Boosahda, and Dr. Dog’s Scott McMicken. Wild Child — which also includes cellist Sadie Wolfe, multi-instrumentalist Matt Bradshaw and drummer Tom Myers — released two singles in late 2017 before the album’s release, “Think It Over” (produced by Walla) and “Expectations” (produced by Vasquez).
On behalf of The Hype Magazine, I had the pleasure of speaking with Alexander Beggins. More on Wild Child can be found online at www.wildchildsounds.com.
Word is that you two met while touring as backup musicians. When in that gig did it become obvious that you were also meant to have a band of your own?
Alexander Beggins: There’s so much downtime when you’re on the road so we used to occupy our time working on real and joke songs just for kicks. We wrote the majority of our first record Pillow Talk while we were on the road, but even then we didn’t really plan for it to turn into a band. We decided to record the songs when we got back home to Austin, Texas as more of a passion project. But the more we worked together, it just became undeniable that it was a perfect fit. It was easy and fun to write and play together, which isn’t always the case. We got lucky!
Where did the Wild Child name come from? Is it an Iggy Pop reference?
Alexander Beggins: On the tour that we met we took an incredibly cheesy photo together in the woods and started making jokes about what our band name would be. We settled on Wild Child and it stuck. I wish I could remember the other ideas.
What is the writing process in Wild Child like? Do songs get demoed? Do you write while in the same room?
Alexander Beggins: We have a general template that has evolved over the years, but the majority of the time it goes something like this… I’ll send Kelsey a pool of iPhone memos of riffs, and if she feels one of them, we’ll get together to work it out. She is “queen b” of beautiful melodies and lyrics, so we’ll grab some journals and our little Tascam 8-track and demo a seed of the song. Then we’ll send it out to the rest of the band and get together to break it down and fix it and make it pretty. Our new group works extremely well together and we’ve been touring so much that we’ve been writing together on the road. Excited to see how the next record develops.
Your second album was produced by Ben Kweller, who you share a manager with. Did you have your manager before working with Ben?
Alexander Beggins: Yes, our manager Pat [Cassidy] has been with us since close to the beginning, maybe a year after Pillow Talk was released. Wouldn’t be where we are today without him. Ben was looking for new management around the time we were making The Runaround together and that’s how they linked up.
Expectations is your latest album and you used several producers for it. Was that the plan all along to work in different studios with different people?
Alexander Beggins: We didn’t really like the album cycle process in the sense that you write and record a record in a studio and then it comes out a year later when you’re already sick of it. Initially, we wanted to release a new song every month and work with 12 different producers in 12 different places. So we started the project out with that in mind, but when we started stockpiling songs, we started to get attached to them as a body of work. We were surprised that there was a natural cohesive feeling between all the songs even though we recorded them in so different ways. We recorded some in Kelsey’s abandoned childhood house in Wimberley, Texas and some in Tromso, Norway, right up next to the North Pole. It felt fresh and fun.
Do you have a favorite song on Expectations?
Alexander Beggins: I have an attachment to every single song on this record, but my favorites are “Sinking Ship,” “My Town” and “Goodbye Goodnight.” They are honest songs and they tell a story of our lives during that time period. This is probably our most honest work to date in my opinion.
Around how many songs were written for Expectations? Were there any producer sessions that didn’t make the album?
Alexander Beggins: There were roughly 20 songs written for this record, and yes, a few songs from different sessions didn’t make the final cut. If you order our deluxe vinyl you get four of these songs on a separate vinyl. A couple of the other songs that didn’t make the cut we are planning to rework and we’ll hopefully see them on a record very soon.
What does 2018 look like for Wild Child? Lots of touring? Anything the band hasn’t done before?
Alexander Beggins: It’s a simple life — stay on the road, keep writing music, and try as hard as you can to stay healthy because this lifestyle grinds you down.
What was the last concert you attended for fun?
Alexander Beggins: I personally don’t catch too many shows anymore. Always seems like the last thing I want to spend my time doing. I still love to go support friends bands when we’re in town. The last show I saw was our sound engineer Robbie’s band. They are called Robbie and they rule.
So when not busy with your career, how do you like to spend your free time?
Alexander Beggins: I live a pretty simple life outside of our career. Nothing can beat a day with friends on my back porch having a few drinks and cooking up some food on the grill. I kind of have turned into a homebody over the last couple years. It’s just nice being at home and spending time with the people you love.
Finally, Alexander, any last words for the kids?
Alexander Beggins: Don’t take things too seriously, it’s a waste of time!