A warm tribute to the camaraderie and rock ’n’ roll spirit that much of Bristol’s live music scene thrives upon, Wild Eyed are an easy-going group, snapping at the ankles of the city’s most polished musicians despite only playing as a fully formed band for less than a year.
Fronted by singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Sam Winter-Quick, the Bristol five-piece find a niche in the contrast between their heavy hitting riffs and more melodic moments. Nitelife caught up with Sam to chat about musical influences, songwriting and what to expect from their show at The Lanes this August.
the Bristol five-piece find a niche in the contrast between their heavy hitting riffs and more melodic moments
Tell us about the origins of Wild Eyed? What brought you guys together and how did you choose your name?
We’ve been playing on and off with each other for as long as I can remember. After getting on stage for a Christmas show at the Cori Tap last year, we decided to up our game a bit. Fast forward half a year and we’ve written an album’s worth of material that’s ready for some live shows.
As for the name, covering Thin Lizzy’s The Boys Are Back In Town used to be one of our things, and the first couple of lines, ‘Guess who just got back today, them wild-eyed boys that had been away’ resonated with us – given how we always find ourselves back in Bristol, itching to play a show. There are a few other reasons, but that’s what made it stick.
How has your sound developed into what it is now?
There’s always been an underlying contrast that makes us hard to place, but with a focus on melody and producing something we enjoy playing and listening back to. Over time, we’ve broadened our scope and are more open to producing music in a way to make the most of a track, instead of sticking to a live sound where guitars run the show.
we’ve broadened our scope and are more open to producing music in a way to make the most of a track, instead of sticking to a live sound where guitars run the show
Do you have any major musical influences?
As a band we’ve got pretty different tastes. Way back when, we only really bonded over a couple of big acts from the turn of the century. Apart from that, everyone marched to the beat of their own drum. As a songwriter trying to find a decent melody, I don’t really find myself limited to a particular genre and it’s often the intangible elements of a song that keep me listening.
What inspires your songwriting and who is involved in the process?
I guess there’s an overarching theme of ambiguously playing with perspective. In terms of the process, generally I’ll take a demo to the band and that’s when it comes alive. That said, it’s most exciting when we’re practicing and someone’s idea latches on, then all of a sudden we’ve got the opener for our set – the most organic moments are the best.
You’ll be playing a show at The Lanes on 12 August, what can we expect?
Plenty of good tunes to get you in the rhythm for some bowling. It’s also home to a very suave DJ, John the Mod, who spins some of the best tunes you’ll hear at a club night in Bristol.
Do you have any other dates lined up this summer?
There are a few things in the works for September, we’ll probably be supporting a national act somewhere and looking to spread our wings outside of Bristol a little.
Are you working on any projects currently?
We’ve been recording at Coach House Studio in Clifton and it’s been a great experience. We’re very excited to share everything that’s been going on there and can’t wait to get back in. The studio hasn’t really been active since Massive Attack recorded Blue Lines there, but Tom Hackwell is breathing new life into the place and we’ve gelled really well with him as our producer.
The studio hasn’t really been active since Massive Attack recorded Blue Lines there, but Tom Hackwell is breathing new life into the place and we’ve gelled really well with him as our producer
How has Bristol influenced your development as a band and as artists?
One of our songs, Nightdrive, is set on the streets of Bristol, so it’s definitely embedded within our music. The local scene has always been very supportive and it’s pleasing to see the wider world starting to take notice of what Bristol’s been conjuring up recently. We’re proud to be a part of it, even if it means there’s a lot to live up to.
In your opinion, who is currently making big sounds in the city?
I’m excited for Armchair Committee’s new album that’s out in a few months. We’ve heard some initial mixes and it’s not just sounding big, it’s sounding huge!
Words by Molly Chinner