Wild Combination - Interviews - Soundblab

Wild Combination

by Amy Baker Rating: Release Date:

It's a crying shame that the most famous thing hailing from Essex appears to be the fake-tanned eejits currently overtaking our screens especially when the county has given us some of the best dance music of our generation including The Prodigy, Depeche Mode and Underworld. The latest exciting emergence from the county is Wild Combination whose debut single 'We Are the Creatures' has been described as "a dance tune that has the sound of a band living inside of it". Their jumpy electronic stylings have been likened to Pheonix, Foals and Postal Service and if that's not enough to draw you in, Radio 1's Huw Stephens is backing them for major success. I caught up with lead singer and keyboard player, Christian Wright to discuss the latest goings on…

Let's start off with a little background, how did Wild Combination come to be?

We've been friends for as long as I can remember and each of us have always been in various bands or working on different projects. It just so happened that our different projects came to an end at a similar time and it made sense to finally do something together. That was last December and we've been together since then.

And, where did the name Wild Combination come from?

We're named after an Arthur Russell song that we all love. We were slightly concerned to choose something that had 'Wild' in the title because there are a few bands around at the moment who have chosen that but we were such fans of the song and the documentary that it just made sense to go with it.

How did you get started making music?

All of us have been making music since we were old enough to play and I work at a recording studio so we're all constantly around music. This is just the first time that it has been good enough to put it out there...

Who would you cite as your major influences?

Well, we all have a love for dance music. Dan and I have an eerily similar taste in music. In fact, it's harder to find things that we disagree on. Obviously, Radiohead are just the be all and end all of bands for us - Kid A was responsible for turning us on to dance music and their early stuff definitely inspired me to pick up a guitar. I know that Terry is a huge Flaming Lips fan, they have literally brought him to tears on a couple of occasions, I believe. We like Postal Service too, their music just has so much energy and nowadays making pop music is nothing to be ashamed of.

To people who haven't heard your music before, how would you describe your sound?

Short songs, big choruses and loads of energy.

You've been compared to the likes of Foals and Pheonix - do you like these comparisons?

Some of the comparisons I understand but others are more of a surprise, like Foals. We love them but can't necessarily see the similarities. Any comparisons with successful artists are great. It's when people start saying bad things though that you know you're doing well.

Do you have a process/system when it comes to writing your tracks?

Well, we're fortunate enough to have a studio in Boreham which is great. The building used to be used to house cattle. We bought a mixing desk off Damon Albarn's studio, Dan is obsessed with guitars and I'm obsessed with synthesisers so we have an abundance of them. It's great to have the space, we aren't under any pressure to lay things down too fast and we can be there as much or as little as we want so things are nice and chilled out. I normally come forward with a few ideas, either fully formed or completeley rough and then we add in the drums and guitars. Everyone pitches in, Wild Combination is a democracy!

We heard you do some producing in your spare time...

Yeah, I've been producing for a local band called Hero & Leander and I've worked with Esser who did the track 'Headlock'. At the moment though, I want to concentrate on my writing and the band.

What kind of everyday stuff do you take inspiration from for your writing?

God, if I could go down the Sigur Ros route and just do instrumental, that would be great. It's so hard to write lyrics because I can't stand it when they are bad, it completely ruins a song for me. I like to make our lyrics a little ambiguous so that people can interpret it how they like. I'm not Jarvis Cocker who can write a whole story in a song, I like Julian Casablancas who's lyrics are non-sensical but awesome or Interpol where I literally never have any idea what he is talking about. I like interpreting things my own way, that's why books are so much better than films - you can use your own imagination.

What's your idea of music heaven?

The feeling when you write something and it all just comes together or performing live. I love watching others but nothing beats hitting play on something that you have recorded and knowing that it's good.

And music hell?

Bitching is a waste of energy. There is loads of shit out there and there always will be. I like to see what people do wrong and learn from it. It annoys me when bands are content to be carbon copies of other bands and where they make zero effort to do anything different, it's depressing and lazy.

The video to your song 'We are Creatures' is a little bit weird - how did that come about?

I think a comment from my mate summed it up perfectly - he said that I have "an intense ginger face"... Which I do, I suppose! I came up with idea and we hired some lights for £50 and stood as close to them as possible basically. We're really pleased with the result.

What's the single about?

Like I said, I think its nice to leave that to the listeners to interpret - it can be about more than one topic.

Tell us about your monthly club night High off the Dancehalls...

It's something that we have been doing since we were all in our different bands and it's continued. It's once a month and we get two or three bands along to play. We like some of them to be local and some to be from London or further afield. We had Vadoui Nmessico play recently which was amazing. They are like Vampire Weekend but better. There are loads of them from around the world and there is no drummer so they use a lot of percussion, check them out. Local bands like The Fancy Dress Party play as well. We run a label called Sweet Release Records which we have released their single on.

We hear that you've been giving away tracks with homemade cases, that's awfully nice of you...

Well, we like to give stuff away to people who support us at our gigs and it's good to give away content that we might not get to play live. My girlfriend made them and you unstitch them yourself to get inside.

What are you listening to at the moment?

I know Dan is obsessed with M83 and we're all loving The Horrors and Bombay Bicycle Club. To be honest though i'm not listening to that much because I'm concentrating on our stuff.

What's next for Wild Combination?

Well we have a gig in London on November 3 at the Old Queens Head for 6Music which is exciting. We're in the process of working out the perfect set list. The next single is out in January and it's called 'In Sight of These Shores'. I've got an idea for a video but I fear it may be a little ambitious for our budget. We're aiming to get enough tracks together for an album so that we can record it and have it ready should anyone want to sign us. There's so much pressure to get signed that we think its just best to do it yourselves.

Wild Combination's first single 'We are Creatures' is released on October 31 and you can catch them at the Old Queen's Head on the November 3.

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