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Where the Wild Child Roams

Wild Child bring their gorgeous parlor/gypsy pop to the Casbah Feb. 21

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Chad Wadsworth
    Wild Child headline the Casbah on Saturday, Feb. 21.

    "That sounds terrifying."

    I've just finished explaining my anxiousness about having to live-tweet the Grammys for SoundDiego to Wild Child's co-lead singer/violinist, Kelsey Wilson. Suffice it to say, she shared my trepidation -- but only after asking, "What is live-tweeting?"

    Wilson's Austin, Texas, band (which plays the Casbah on Saturday) is a well-oiled machine at this point. The group -- which got its start in 2009 with singer/songwriting duo Alexander Beggins and Wilson, and now counts eight musicians to its camp -- is riding high on a string of critically acclaimed (and SoundCloud/YouTube stream-busting) tunes, two albums of gorgeously constructed indie folk pop and a nonstop touring schedule.

    "We’ve gotten so lucky," Wilson said. "I dunno -- it's a lot of 'right place, right time' kind of stuff going on. The truth is, there is always gonna be another band that says yes to whatever you don’t do. We did 280 shows last year. We just never ever stopped. We were in a van every day -- you wanna get to them as soon as you can and as often as you can. It used to be miserable [laughs]. But it’s not hard anymore: Every time you pull up to a venue, you haven’t done laundry in forever and you've had nothing to eat but Taco Bell, but people are so stoked that you’re there. It’s hard to feel bad. Personally, I don’t like spending time in bars, but that’s pretty much the office [laughs]. But you get to make so many people happy -- it’s so rare. It’s the coolest job in the world."

    It seems that the number of people Wild Child has been making happy lately is on a huge uptick. Their fanbase has been growing exponentially since they released their debut record, "Pillow Talk" in 2011 (which spawned a gigantic hit with the title track), and their 2013 release, "The Runaround," and its three-headed monster of charming gypsy parlor pop singles, "Rillo Talk," "Living Tree" and "Crazy Bird." [Listen/buy it here]

    While each record seems like a natural progression for the group -- all songs are led by Beggins and Wilson's delightfully intermingled vocals and undeniably catchy ukelele-based melodies -- there was actually a distinct disparity between recording methods for the two.

    "['The Runaround'] was a very strange environment for us," Wilson said. "It was our first professional gig ever -- Ben Kweller was our producer; we had 9-to-5 studio hours. With 'Pillow Talk,' we rented mics, recorded vocals in the closet, worked midnight to 8 a.m. whenever none of us were at work. We were just making up the parts as we went. It was a lot of, 'Try it like this,' and, 'Try it like that.' It was sloppy, messy and beautiful. With 'The Runaround' … we were terrified the whole time. Having such a strict schedule and having something crowdfunded, too – people had essentially already bought it. We were so scared! We were like, 'This has to be perfect!' And it took us a long time. But it helped having a producer. When we were done, we got to step back and stop shaking."

    In some rather promising news for their listeners, it appears that record No. 3 is already in the can. Wilson explained that they culled what they liked from each of their two prior studio experiences for a smoother process the third time around.

    "We did a mix of both [recording styles] -- two producers, really chill engineer types, we co-produced it ourselves, we improvised a lot, recorded stuff live, just did whatever we wanted," Wilson said. "It was a nice mix. We’ll continue to do that. We’re shopping it to labels right now, and it'll probably be out by the summer."

    Studio-time wrangling and label vetting aside, the one thing that Wild Child have complete control over is their songwriting. Beggins and Wilson seem joined at the heart when it comes to putting lyric to melody.

    "That’s the one thing that we can do: Keep writing," Wilson said. "The thing we can’t do is: Anything by ourselves. But together, we're each other's safe zone. I can do what he can’t do, and he can do what I can’t. Immediately a melody will come out, we'll get the lyrics done and put it together. It takes, like, an hour. 'Pillow Talk' is our best seller, five years after being released -- and we wrote it in about 20 minutes. We've been trying to beat that time -- but no luck yet [laughs]."

    Wild Child headline the Casbah on Saturday, Feb. 21, with Desert Noises and Goodnight, Texas. Tickets are $12 and available here.

    Dustin Lothspeich plays in Old Tiger, Diamond Lakes and Boy King. Follow his updates on Twitter or contact him directly.