Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, Wild Ones have crafted two recent releases that are among the best pop albums I’ve heard in the past few years. Between the two, the band - led by vocalist Danielle Sullivan - has toured relentlessly, making waves (and new fans) along the way.
Their appearance at MidPoint marks the second time they’ll have stopped in Cincinnati in the last year or so, but promises to be a very different experience for the band. While they may have to vie for the attention of MidPoint’s roaming crowd, their set will be an absolute highlight of the fest. Check out our brief chat with Danielle about the band, the new EP, Heatwave, and their current tour.
Wild Ones might not be a name many of our readers have heard before. Would you mind introducing yourself and giving a little bit of info about the band?
We are a dream pop band from Portland, OR. We love Cocteau Twins, Devo, and Drake. We have two members from an indie pop background, two members from the Portland punk scene, and one member with a degree in classical composition. Out of this combination we attempt to build our own brand of pop.
WIth the re-release of Keep It Safe through Topshelf Records, you were introduced to a slightly different crowd of fans and listeners than you had seen before. Has that shift made a positive impact since?
To be honest we felt a little hesitant about joining the Topshelf family at first because of how different we sound from most of the bands on their roster. They have a lot of screamo and pop punk and here we come, with our smooth synths and R&B bass lines. But we went for it, and it has been a really excellent experience. Seth and Kevin at Topshelf have been extremely supportive and have helped us reach a much wider audience with our recent Heatwave EP.
As a follow up: You’ve done more touring with bands outside of the normal Topshelf circle, which I’ve found really interesting. Has that been by design or just by happenstance?
We love to tour with our friends! It makes being away from home for weeks on end far more bearable. So we've done many tours with fellow Portland pop bands that we've grown up with like Radiation City, My Body, and Typhoon.
A personal note: Keep It Safe is a household favorite for my family (my 15 month old son loves dancing to it, as does my 9 year old stepdaughter), and I’m sure Heatwave will be very much the same! It’s rare that we call can agree on something to listen to on the record player. So I just want you to know it’s appreciated by a wide range of listeners in this one house.
That is so rad! I love that. Hopefully we can keep inspiring babies to dance for years to come.
You’ve since been on several tours, actually coming through Cincinnati earlier this year, and have your new EP, Heatwave just out, again through Topshelf. Can you talk a little bit about how things have been going and what the experience has been like as things have picked up for you all?
It feels so good to release this new Heatwave EP. It's been years since Keep It Safe came out and we've been developing these new songs on tour and in the studio for a very long while. It felt overdue. Now we're getting so much good feedback from fans! We have people coming to the shows and singing along.
The Heatwave EP is a great extension and distillation of what you started with Keep It Safe - lush, poppy, synth-centric, and danceable, with accessible lyrics and soothing vocals. Can you talk a little bit about the writing and recording process, and how it might have been different from previous experiences?
Thank you! We learned a ton while working on KIS, partially it was what not to do when writing and recording a record. We did our best to switch up our process for the Heatwave EP. We simplified our song writing after realizing that you don't have to cram ten ideas into three minutes in order to make it interesting. You can stick with one idea and let it subtly evolve.
Your tour with Pure Bathing Culture is bringing you back to Cincinnati as part of MidPoint Music Festival - this is something that has been growing steadily over the past few years and is quickly becoming a sort of CMJ-lite for Indie music. It’s a big deal for those of us in the area. Had this fest been on your radar? How has your experience been with Cincinnati?
We are so looking forward to our tour with Pure Bathing Culture. Their upcoming record, 'Pray for Rain' is amazing and they are all excellent people. We get to play in cities I've always wanted to visit like Montreal and Toronto. I don't know much about the MidPoint fest but I'm excited to be playing! Last time we were in Cincinnati we got to spend a sunny afternoon walking around Main Street. It was wonderful.
After this late summer/early fall tour, what’s next?
We are demoing new songs for our upcoming full length right now! Chiseling down our future sound. It's the best part of making a record. I get to lay in bed with my little recording set up and experiment with new melodies and harmonies.
Is there anything else you would like to mention?
I think you got it all!