Born to be Wyld

BRIDGET JONES
Last updated 12:22 26/06/2012
Lyle McMahon

New Zealand band The Wyld talk about their new album.

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Up until a couple of weeks ago, The Wyld was The Wild. While it might be just one letter, it seems in a world where bands live and die by technology, a 'y' makes all the difference, especially when your debut album is about to be released.

The Auckland hip-hop/rock band was born around two years ago when Kiwi rock guitarist Joe Pascoe teamed up with fellow architecture student, and Sudanese poet-turned-rapper, Mo Kheir and American singer Brandon Nigri.

But it wasn't until the band started gearing up for the release of Preface later this week that their name became a something of a problem.

"No one was finding us online. If you Google The Wild New Zealand, you get pictures of kiwis and the forest. So it was like 'okay, we need to distinguish ourselves in some way', and if we alter the spelling, it wouldn't be too much of a change - we were more Googleable.

"In this day and age with the internet and everything, you absolutely have to set yourself up to be searchable, I guess," says Nigri.

And when you do get to The Wyld, you find a three-piece band drawing from separate walks of life to create a sound that combines the likes of Bon Iver and Black Keys with Kheir's Kanye West-like swagger, with an underscore of swirling cinematic electronica.

After honing their sound with endless bedroom jam sessions, Kheir emailed a demo to renowned American music blog Pigeons and Planes, creating a flurry of internet activity and some strong interest from US record labels attracted to the unique sound.  A sound he says comes surprisingly naturally.

"A lot of people assume he's pop, I'm hip hop and he's rock, and together, dum dum dum... but we love and listen to each others core genres and when we make music, we have to be happy with the product we've created, so it moulds quite easily," says Kheir.

"We can be a little more hip hop on some of the tracks, or a little more rock, but it's fun to experiment with that."

Experiments and plans, are two things The Wyld have a firm grasp of. The band is eager to go far with their up-coming album, but they also want to have a hand in more than just the sound.

"When you are making music, you almost do have a bit of a movement going... we try to have our hands in everything that is creative, and to do with aesthetics and the visuals of the band," Kheir says of the band's strong, minimalist look

"We love, not just the music, but the stuff around it. There's the videos and sculpting those and the images. It's a good thing to have your hands in and be a part of the whole creative process."

"One of the reasons we called the album Preface is it was heralding something more that was coming later on down the track, as we moved through our exploration of what we could achieve," says Nigri.

Something no doubt made easier by dropping a vowel.

The Wyld - Preface is out on Thursday

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