Wild Meadows present 'First Exit', the opening track from their forthcoming debut self-titled LP. A dark, foreboding tune built on a rollicking rhythm section and atmospheric vocals, it offers an intriguing counterpoint to the album's more shoegaze-oriented lead single 'Feel the Noise', which has received regular airplay and favourable reviews across the likes of Triple R, Double J, Triple J and 4ZZZ.
Wild Meadows' current lineup consists of Jessica Lawrence (vocals), James Ross (vocals/guitar), Dylan Bird (guitar), Donovan Pill (bass) and drummer Peter Giannoukas, who joined the band subsequent to this recording.
Produced, recorded and mixed by Paul 'Woody' Annison (Black Cab, Rocket Science) and mastered by William Bowden (The Church, Gotye), Wild Meadows' self-titled album is set for release on Friday March 2, 2018 on vinyl and digitally.
Question: How would you describe Wild Meadows' music?
Jessica Lawrence: It's noisy, dreamy, and rhythmic, all smooshed together. Not too sure what genre describes it best? I guess it could be labeled something like -neo-psychedelic post-indie ceiling-gazing smoosh-rock', but then we'd be all pretentious and things would get all complicated and our music careers would go down the drain and we'd all become really depressed. But actually, probably shoegaze.
Question: What should we expect from the upcoming album?
Jessica Lawrence: Nothing, expectations ruin everything. I say bring some fellow folk around, share a few drinks, chuck on the vinyl if you're lucky enough to have a record player, and ride out the various moods and emotions. Let the music take you on a journey that is completely untainted by expectation.
Question: Do you prefer performing live or recording?
Jessica Lawrence: It sort-of depends on the situation. On one hand, it could be a choice between playing live at Golden Plains festival and getting down some last minute scratch tracks in the bedroom at 2am on a Wednesday. On the other hand, it could be a choice between having drinks with our producer in the studio as we listen to the final mixes of our album tracks for the very first time, or supporting Marilyn Manson and getting booed off stage. At the end of the day, I just really love playing music with the band, and any experience that can take that enjoyment to another level, whether in the studio or on-stage, is pretty ultimate.
Question: Which is your favourite song to perform live and why?
Jessica Lawrence: Um… I don't know, really. I guess since dropping into the chorus groove in Uzi is really satisfying, I'll go with Uzi. At this point in time. And by 'this point in time' I mean today, right now. Tomorrow is a whole other kettle of fish.
Question: What is the story behind the name, Wild Meadows?
Jessica Lawrence: The name was brought up as an idea, and everyone really liked it (this was before I'd met the band). Everyone agreed it had a ring to it and fit really well with the band's sound, and it has stuck ever since.
Question: How did the band come together?
Jessica Lawrence: It began many moons ago when James and Donovan started the band under a different name. It morphed through a few phases over time, and eventually arrived at a new beginning. This was the beginning of Wild Meadows. Dylan and I both joined a couple of years ago. I remember being invited to jump onboard for a couple of gigs with the guys before I joined, and the first thing I thought was "Wild Meadows, that sounds like a sick band" and became really intrigued as to what they sounded like, so I listened to the tracks, and thought "Finally! A band that sounds exactly like what I want to do with music."
Question: What motivates you most when writing music?
Jessica Lawrence: Usually I just get this sudden urge to play music (kind of like needing oxygen when you're drowning or something fun and positive, like that). So then I'll start playing and be really absorbed in the moment. And then, I'll play something that sparks an idea for a song, so I'll record it on my phone or write down a lyric line. Then, I'm on this high because it's an exciting thing to be feeling the music and writing it at the same time - it's working towards a goal and still enjoying every moment of it and this keeps me motivated to keep writing the song. It's usually even more motivating to jam with the band and write songs that way, it's just so fun.
Another part of what motivates me to write music, is that it's taking pure feeling and expression and using that to create something that actually exists for others too. It's a nice thought that someone on the other side of the world who I've never met in my life can hear a song I wrote and feel it the way I felt it when I wrote it. It gives me a sense of purpose, and is a cool little reminder of interconnectedness.
Question: Which music/artists are you currently listening to?
Jessica Lawrence: JJ72, Deep River Collective, Hope Sandoval and The Warm Inventions, East Brunswick All Girls' Choir, as well as visiting some old classics from the 90's for good measure.
Question: What or who was your inspiration to go into the music industry?
Jessica Lawrence: I've always really loved playing music and felt that, that's what I want to go all out with. So it was more a case of never being given a good enough reason to not go into the music industry. There have been a bunch of people (who I totally respect) who have given me reasons not to, which I'm sure are all perfectly rational in their own right, but I just figured 'why should anyone's opinion make me second guess doing what I love?' So it's like 'Ok I get it, it's really hard to make it in music and I should reconsider my options (according to my high-school English teacher). Ok I get it; I need to have a backup plan for the sake of my apparent future children (according to an ex-boyfriend's Dad). Ok I get it; I could do something else and have a lot more money...' Maybe I'll eat some of my words later on, but at least I'll have a lot less regrets.
Question: If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be?
Jessica Lawrence: I feel like I should say Smashing Pumpkins or Alanis Morissette, because they were both massive influences for years when I first got into writing songs, so no doubt it'd be a time and a half to jam with either of them. Then there are other artists like Dr. John or Akara that just make me think "I wonder what it'd be like to have an epic jam session with them, probably something along the lines of transcending into another dimension…" So it's really hard to decide. There are just SO many great artists out there who I'd collaborate with in a heartbeat if the opportunity arose.
Interview by Brooke Hunter