With the release of all things pumpkin at Starbucks, this week was pretty wild. But it’s about to get even Wilder. We sat down with Rude Records’ indie rock duo, Wilder. to chat about the band’s debut EP, BAD BAD LUCK, which is out now, and unlike delicious fall lattes—it’s anything but basic.
Gritty vocals over a landscape of distorted guitars and powerful drums draw listeners in to a sound that inspires both introspection and head bobbing. Hailed as “dance emo,” Wilder. delivers a unique sound that marries pop-punk and post-hardcore.
Drawing inspiration from some of the biggest acts of the 90’s as well as the duo’s experiences with religion, gaining confidence and growing up in Long Beach, Wilder. packs a punch we can’t get enough of.
Beyond the Stage Magazine: How long have you been doing music? Did you always know it was what you wanted to do?
Stephen Ramos (vocalist/guitarist): Since I was in 6th grade. Started off playing guitar with church and right out of high school started my first band under the name Hearts Like Lions. I originally wanted to do EMT training and become a firefighter but went all in on music and started my music career.
BTS: What is the inspiration behind “bitemytongue?”
RS: This song is about looking back on the mistakes in the past thinking they would make you into a better person. The chorus says “Oh I feel it now, I feel it now. There’s something burning up inside of me.”
This is talking about the feeling of realizing how something that you were a part of that you thought was good was actually not. These feelings of being uprooted in realizing what “religion” actually means to you.
2020 really showed a lot of friends’ and family’s true colors. The tension and intensity of this song’s instrumentals are reminiscent of the band’s roots, but executed in a way that feels new yet familiar at the same time. The song was written with an explosive live performance in mind.
BTS: What was the process of creating BAD BAD LUCK like?
RS: We recorded in LA this time instead of Sacramento, so it was very nice to be able to be home every night rather than somewhere that doesn’t feel like home. We recorded BBL with Mike Pepe at Barefoot Recording Studios in Hollywood.
We crammed everything into two weeks and just got down to the nitty gritty of it all. Had a blast and would love to work with Mike again.
BTS: What is your songwriting process like?
RS: Collaborative for sure. Usually I will write a few different guitar parts and send to Nick for him to put drums over and vice versa as well. Usually starting with a verse or chorus then building out the song after that.
BTS: How would you describe your sound to someone who’s never heard your music?
RS: Indie Rock/Pop Rock is how we would describe it to most people. Someone once described it to us as “dance emo” haha.
BTS: What is one main message you’d want fans to take from your songs?
RS: That they are not alone in whatever they are going through. We have all endured so much shit this last year. I would hope whoever listens interprets our lyrics to whatever suits them best.
BTS: Tell me more about your experience as young adults in the church and your journey making a fresh start. What advice would you have for others in those same shoes?
RS: The journey had a lot of good, and a lot of not so good. We both have had some different experiences, but I think the common denominator was that we didn’t appreciate the tactics of shame and manipulation that were used to try and control us, and our peers. And again, not all of the people in the church were like that; just a select few. But what is sad is that that’s all it takes to really drive some people away.
For anyone who may be in that scenario, we encourage you to really take a look at the people who surround you. If they accept you for who you are, and don’t try to change you, then they are good company. If they seem to have different motivations, or seem to always have a critique for the way you are, be skeptical of them.
BTS: Who are your biggest role models in music? How did they impact you?
RS: They change as time goes by, I’d say for myself (Nick) it’s gotta be Rage Against The Machine, Green Day, and Dr. Dre. Growing up in the 90’s they were all unavoidable, especially in our hometown of Long Beach. I feel that I learned how to analyze rhythm by listening to Dr. Dre, I identify a lot with the message / politics of RATM, and overall I just love Green Day because they’re so fun and relatable.
BTS: Where does the name Wilder. come from?
RS: I think it mainly has to do with the fact that the both of us are in a place in our lives where we’ve come to really be confident in who we are, and have no problem being ourselves, unapologetically. As a result of that, we are just a lot wilder than we used to be!
BTS: What’s next/on deck for you?
RS: Continuing to write music and hopefully start locking in some shows. Our debut show will be October 9th in Long Beach, at Supply & Demand.
Check out Wilder. on Spotify: