British rock band ‘The Wild Things’ are coming to Glasgow’s largest venue the OVO Hydro supporting the incredible and iconic rock legends ‘KISS’. I caught up with their lead singer Sydney Rae White where we talked about their upcoming gig and future plans, and we got to know the band a little bit more…
‘The Wild Things’ are full of life, fun and all things wild…duh! Read this interview for a little taste of what they are about and you’ll soon find out why you need to make sure you grab a ticket to check them out!
So, the band is called ‘The Wild Things’ – can you describe to us in 3 words about you?
Loud, a bit nostalgic, and joyous!! That’s not very ‘rock n roll’ is it? But that’s the main thing we get when people come to see our shows, they say ‘We have so much fun and that we (as a band) have so much fun.’ We just want to bring so much joy!
I think that sounds pretty ‘rock n roll’ to me…
Yeah I mean it kinda gives me Christmas vibes, but I’m gonna stick to my main 3 words…
Yeah, let’s add in ‘Christmas vibes’ too…I’ll make it 4 words.
Christmassy – yeah love it!
So you have a new album ‘Afterglow’, tell us a bit more about the journey behind that album?
‘Afterglow’ came about during covid and like a lot of other people, we were stuck and we couldn’t do anything. We’ve got a very lucky dynamic in the band in that Rob the guitarist is my husband, Cam our bassist is my brother, and Pete our drummer is our best friend, so we were around each other anyway.
We just started writing and Pete Townshend from ‘The Who’ got involved ‘cause we were cheeky and just sent it to him, and he was like ‘I really like this- let’s do something…’ So, when we were allowed, we got in the studio with him and it developed into, I’m not going to use ‘concept album’ because I feel like we don’t have the right to say that yet, so we call it a ‘choose your own adventure’ album in that it is a story. It’s set in a fictional town called ‘Valentine’ and it’s about an event called the ‘Afterglow’ that happens, but essentially you can listen to the album in any order that you want and make it the story that you want it to be. You know if it’s raining in one song and it’s raining in another, it all happens at the same time but you get to dictate in which order things happen. It’s not dark and deep, it all comes down to love as a lot of music does, but we were going through that time that was tough but we had each other. It is a choose-your-own-adventure album about this event that happens and we’re really proud of it and excited for people to hear it.
I love that. There is something so powerful about music and how it connects people no matter where you are in the world or your background. It’s lovely to hear you mention covid and how that was a tough time and something that the whole human race has in common.
So with the band during that time of lockdowns and covid, how did you guys handle that as a band, but also to engage with your fans?
Like you just said, everyone experienced it – it wasn’t just us in that difficult position and we are very blessed as creatives because it gave us time to not only write but it made us very introspective and gives us things to write about aside from world events, but really look into what was going on within ourselves. And we as individuals made a lot of changes within that time which ultimately helped better the band and our relationships with each other.
I hate to use the phrase ‘stay relevant’ but it really was that, we were having to come up with creative things. We were putting stuff out at the time that wasn’t anything to do with music. We would just hit people up and we would be really cheeky (which is how we operate), and we would go onto Instagram, find the people that we love and respect them as artists in any genre, it could be music or one guy we were speaking to, his name is Alec Gillis and he created the Predator, and Alien and all the effects that you see on screen he does. We would just reach out to these people and say ‘We’re a band and we’re not doing anything, can we interview you and have some beers at the same time,’ so we were doing weird stuff like that and going on Instagram live with these people. But again I think talking to people completely out of our world gave us more stories that would then influence the record ‘Afterglow’ and the stories behind it and help build this narrative that we were coming up with. We were speaking to people that we would never in a million years thought we would, but because everyone was going through covid people were more open to doing something kinda weird which is talking to a strange rock band from London who you probably never heard of and talking nothing about music potentially. We’ve been blessed again in that we were playing small shows before covid trying to keep up and desperately trying to book stuff, and after the fact that we wrote this record and started working with Pete our live career really took off and that’s where it all started.
In a weird way, a lot of what happened during the time of the pandemic was quite a blessing for us to go away, be introspective and come out of it better people, and better musicians. I don’t think that would’ve happened had that whole scenario not happened in the world as well. Don’t get me wrong it was really tough. It was a struggle, but you reflect and you look back and think I’m glad it happened even in the bad times.
I think that is really common too where a lot of people have come out of covid as different people. And it is great to hear that the difficult time helped shape ‘Afterglow’ and you mentioned it’s been co-produced by Pete Townshend, who is a total legend! So tell me more about what that was like?
It was quite scary in a good way. I’ve known Pete for a while but not that well, Rob and I worked with him many years ago, we were doing a touring production of Quadrophenia and that’s how Rob and I met and where we fell in love. I remember in the rehearsal period I just took Pete’s email address cause I remember thinking this could be useful one day. The thing about Pete is obviously he is a rock legend and a genius but he’s very, very, very, open to talking about music, creativity and story and anything you could bring to the table, so we would just kind of send him stuff sometimes as we were growing as a band.
Most of the time he’d be like ‘Guys…what are you doing sending me this, this is not good..’ And we’d be like ‘Cool that’s fine..’ But you know you grow as musicians – it’s a muscle, it’s a craft. The more you do it, the better you get I think.
Eventually, when we sent him two or three tracks from what is now ‘Afterglow’ before we wrote the rest of it he went ‘This is really good. You’ve developed yourselves, why don’t we go into my studio.’ Which was a trip in itself! And yeah, we did – we stayed at his place for a week and wrote with him, and sat with him and it was phenomenal. It was like the ultimate master class in writing, production, instrumentation, breaking down songs to build them back up in a way that you go like ‘That’s so simple why didn’t I think of that’ but also – ‘I could never think of that’.
The man is a genius what can I say – he’s also terrifying and I love him!
Would there be any other bands then or artists that you’d like to collaborate with?
I mean there is always gonna be some! I wanna say this so bad but we’re not allowed to yet…there is someone we’re doing a collaboration with that is coming out in August and it’s nothing to do with ‘Afterglow’. But it’s a weird, weird collaboration that you’d never in the world expect, and nobody could ever guess putting us two together but again we just reached out on Instagram and they were like ‘Yeah cool let’s do this!’ They were one of my dream collabs for so many reasons so that’s gonna come…
Other than them which I can’t say yet… the little emo kid in me would love to do something with My Chemical Romance!
There are so many artists though, it’s so difficult… Brian Wilson would be cool, Beach Boys, even anything a little bit country – we love country in the band!
Sounds exciting that something is happening coming out in August…
Yeah, it’s weird though so be prepared, everyone! It is odd. But good, obviously (I mean I’m biased).
But that sounds fitting with the band name ‘The Wild Things’
Yeah, it’s definitely out there.
How did the band’s name come together?
We were sitting in a room and at the time it was just myself Rob and Cam and we had said ‘What name could we see at the top of a festival billboard that’s easy to remember’. And I had grown up loving ‘Where The Wild Things Are’ and at the time we were very much not wild – we were kids, we were this little baby band that had no concept of rock n roll but we loved the name, we thought we can see that on the top of a festival line up.
And you know the little kid in ‘Where The Wild Things Are’ and he’s got that weird cream-coloured wolf costume…I have one of those in adult size and we had taken some pictures together just for fun over Halloween and we were like ‘Cool well you’ve got this costume let’s just do that and you can wear it on stage’ – I can’t wear it on stage cause you’ve got these fingerless gloves and I have tiny hands which make it impossible to play the guitar but it stuck – we are here – we are The Wild Things!
You mentioned seeing the name on the top of festival billboards & we’re in festival season, have you guys got a dream festival you’d love to play?
We’d love to do something like Rock Am Ring. We were really lucky enough to do BST Hyde Park which isn’t really a festival in the traditional camping out sense but that was great for us because it was our first-ever outdoor big show with a massive lineup. That was with Pearl Jam so that was really cool for us which was last year.
I mean what English artist doesn’t say Glastonbury?! For obvious reasons because I’ve never been to Glastonbury so I’m thinking the only time I’m gonna be able to go is when we play it.
Oh and obviously Coachella just cause that looks wild and I don’t wanna fork out $3000 for a ticket so if I can play, I can do it for free…so shout out to Coachella book us, please!
So you guys have been supporting KISS – how has that been?!
It’s surreal, to say the least.
We played the KISS Kruise last year over (amazingly fittingly) Halloween. When we got booked for it we thought it was a joke ‘cause we got the call and saw the email and we thought this isn’t real, they don’t know who we are…why are we playing on the KISS Kruise…what!
We thought it was basically a spam email until it got to September of the year and we were flying out in October and we thought wow okay it is happening let’s go do this!
We just said to each other, ‘Right, our goal for this is:
A – get as many people on this boat to like who we are and
B – also to make friends with KISS. That’s all we wanna do – we wanna make friends with KISS ’cause we’re all on this ship so come on!
And I don’t know how but we managed that – we played a bunch of shows on the boat and KISS had these suites, they had an entire floor to themselves of course cause their KISS (absolutely) – and it was above this stage so they could watch all the acts.
And they came and stayed and watched our very last show which was an indoor show and watched the whole thing and came to us backstage and were like, ‘We really dig you guys we think you’re music is really cool’ We were just sweaty messes shivering and shaking thinking ‘what was happening?!’
And they told us, ‘Look we’re touring in Europe, do you wanna do it?’ and we were like, “YES, we would like that!”
And that is what happened, amazingly they stuck to their word and they said come tour our UK shows.
They are amazing guys. They are the loveliest, kindest people – big shout out to Tommy their phenomenal guitarist ‘cause he just checks in on us all the time.
The first show we did, we were in Birmingham and he came into our dressing room and he was like ‘Can I get you guys some water, some crisps? I know you guys like walkers crips..?’
And we were like ‘What are you doing? Why are you here offering us snacks!’
They are just the most amazing down to earth wonderful men and it’s an honour to play with them and to be on their stage which is again surreal, bazar, bonkers! They’ve got 60 ft blowups of them on stage, spikes everywhere, panthers, and fire all the time.
I mean look, regardless of whether we’re playing to anybody – please come and see them!
It’s mad. It’s the best show and the most fun I think I’ve had watching an act. I do this for a living, I’ve done a lot of shows and they are phenomenal. I’m not saying this cause I’m biased – it is one hell of a night, you’ll have a great time and I’m honoured to be playing with them.
It says a lot for your talent too though, and that they are championing you.
Yeah, it’s unbelievable that they are that kind to new and up-and-coming bands. For giving us a chance based on nothing at all. When we got booked for the KISS Kruise, which they apparently filter through the bands themselves obviously cause it’s their brand – so if they have someone on the boat who turns up and are not even a nice person it’ll reflect badly on KISS. So they had taken a pure chance on us – we didn’t have any new music out – they just saw some stuff online and thought ‘They seem cool let’s give them a chance.’
And in an industry that’s so difficult to break into nowadays, the fact they took the time to give us that chance is something I’ll never, ever stop being grateful for, they really, really opened the door for us and we’re now getting to play some incredible venues and we’ve never played in Scotland before! So for us, we get to come and not only is it playing Scotland for the first time, but we’re playing Scotland with KISS!! On their last tour as well! You can’t make this up – we’re so blessed and so lucky. It’s very humbling.
You have done a wee shout-out to Tommy and I loved that he was offering you snacks before the shows – How do you prepare then for any sort of gig?
I think you always do the stuff like do some stretching, do the vocal warms ups, try not to eat too soon before you go on ‘cause we move around quite a lot, and this is where I have burped into the mic and it’s not attractive at all!
But I think for the most part we just try and keep the mood light, there’s a rule of no negativity in the room and you know the guys have a couple of rituals but for the most part, we just make sure we spend time with each other. We’re all exceptionally close, it’s like family members…our guitar tech she is the reason I started making music when we were jamming to Avril Lavigne when we were 12 and now she’s on the road with us as our tech and we just spend time with each other, make sure everyone’s feeling okay and we do a little band chant.
We have ‘costumes’ I think if you wanna call it that (not like KISS though) but I call it a band uniform and that kinda helps us get into character. It’s not just like our usual shove on a pair of jeans, it’s a full attire change that makes you feel like a character. Changing into that can help get you into it.
Otherwise, you have to remember to just have fun! If you are having fun so is everyone else and the audience wants you to do well, they don’t want you to fail so go out there and have a good time! That’s the most important thing. Yeah, it’s nerve-wracking – the walk-on is always scary but the second the song starts playing we’re like ‘Come on family this is gonna be great!’
You have played in pretty iconic venues – have you got a favourite place so far?
The Royal Albert Hall was special ‘cause it was our first ever big show. It was right after covid and lockdowns and the only show we played before that was semi-acoustic in a hotel basement but walking onto that stage for the sound check was like ‘What are we doing here? This is phenomenal!’ We all hugged each other for a minute and we were just quiet, ‘cause this is what we were working towards and we were there after such a hard, lengthy period.
Madison Square Garden was our first-ever show in America so that was amazing, although it was freezing. There is an ice rink under the stage cause they do the NHL I think (I’m not good with sports) but it was minus 2 degrees – it was freezing. I hardly remember the show cause I just remember being cold and my nose streaming.
We did get to play Brixton before that closed which for me I think I saw my first ever show there which was Panic! at the Disco so for me it was like hey guys – same stage!
Those three were pretty special but any place we get to play and discover somewhere new is also special – so Glasgow is gonna be good. My mum is also Scottish so it’s a big gig for me and my Mum. That’s gonna be a lot of fun!
You’ve never played Scotland before so I reckon we’ll be one of your new favourite places…!
Hell yes, you will! I’m betting on it already. The whole band loves Scotland, myself and Cam have connections cause of my Mum to it, but anytime I have been in Scotland which is usually for work, it is the best vibe! The best food, the best people. I love a good walking tour so I love the history and exploring and its stunning, and also the vintage shops!
You said about Scottish people and I think Scottish people really come out and show up for a gig…
Aw yeah!!! You guys know how to have fun! I am a Londoner through and through, and no shade to my fellow Londoners but you gotta step up your game. We are so stoked and we know it’s gonna be a party! And it’s the last night of the UK tour so it’s gonna be pretty mental I think. We’re certainly gonna have a party.
We won’t let you down.
Thank you that’s all I wanna hear!
Here’s something a bit different then – if you could do one thing different from when you guys first started as a band – what do you think it would be?
Try and be more patient. Don’t be in such a rush for things cause I think a lot needed to change on a personal level. I had a lot of growing up to do, I had a lot of finding myself to do.
And savour the moments that are a bit down and out… savour the silly moments, the small venues.
Also don’t think you are the best straight away cause my lord you are not. I mean I’m not saying we are the best now, but learn that growth is a real thing.
Don’t be put out if there’s no one in the venue that you’re playing to. Just have fun wherever you are, you’re with your friends, with your family – have fun, take each moment in and don’t be so negative about the night in retrospect cause it’ll all work out.
I think that’s my little message to past me. But I don’t know if I would change anything cause otherwise, we wouldn’t be who we are and where we are today without those experiences.
You’ve already said you are on tour with KISS ending in Glasgow (woo hoo)! You also have this top-secret collaboration out around August time, what other plans can we expect from you guys for this year?
We are about to announce our very own UK tour which is so much fun for us cause we’ve never done our own proper headline UK tour. We are very excited AND we are coming to Scotland!! We are coming to Scotland abso-freaking-lutely! It was the first thing we said, ‘If we’re doing Glasgow with KISS we are coming back!’
So that’s the next big thing that’s happening for us and we’re so excited. I think we’re starting in October so come see us, it’s gonna be a laugh.
We’ll definitely join you when you come back and we are glad Scotland is gonna be on your list! So The Wild Things have had a total adventure with; KISS Kruise, this farewell tour with them, new album, new tour coming up…what has been the best thing that has ever happened?
The best thing that has happened…It’s weird because all these big monumental moments that have happened for us have only really happened in the last year and a half which is a tiny blip of time. I think stepping onto the Royal Albert Hall stage and being like ‘We’re here guys, well done and we’re here because of our music’ – that was a big defining moment.
We were on a tour bus for the first time in our careers as well in February of this year and as someone who’s been doing music since I was like 10, for me that was all I wanna do! I wanna go on a tour bus and experience that. And we did.
But not all that its glammed up to be, but that was one of the biggest moments for me cause we were all shoved onto that bus and we travelled all over the world together but we were sleeping in like coffins next to each other so that is a test to your friendship. And there was not one riff, nothing. We never had an argument or had a bad day and I think for me that was a huge thing cause it was like ‘Cool this is for life guys – we are mates forever’ and because of that, after the KISS tour, we are all going on holiday together. We haven’t had a holiday in 6 years! We know we can do a tour bus so a holiday should be easy.
So for me, that was one of the really special, favourite moments cause it was a whole month in 12 different countries over 26 days so that’s a lot of driving and it was very special – knowing we could all do that and come out of it better musicians and better finds.
You must have so many best moments…
Yeah, it’s difficult to pinpoint – I mean there’s been a lot of struggles but even struggles that you never read about from other bands. I mean Cam and I nearly didn’t get to Madison Square Gardens…we had all the flights booked but then the Embassy didn’t give me and Cam our passports back and the rest of the band flew out and we were waiting…
We got to New York the day before we played – it was touch and go and we didn’t think we were gonna get there. There are lots of moments like that that you don’t hear about and you think ‘Is this worth the tears and the stress’ but obviously the good moments outshine those and now we look back on them and laugh.
The KISS Kruise was also so special, it was our first cruise ever as people! We’d never been on a cruise and getting to go to Mexico – never been to Mexico before either so that was cool.
There are just so many, and I’m not bragging it’s just that I’m so lucky to get to do this and to do it with my friends and family. I will never take it for granted and long may it continue, I hope it does. I really do. I just wanna play music! That’s all I wanna, do wherever that takes me.
So speaking of music, and cause we’re Discovery Music Scotland have you got a favourite Scottish band or artist?
Lewis Capaldi and Paolo Nutini are great! OH BIFF – BIFFY CLYRO!!
I’ve met them once – I went to one of their gigs, and sneaked into an after party..and they are the nicest people on the planet. Simon…I love my husband very much but you know…. if you ever find yourself a single man hit a girl up! But no, they are phenomenal what musicians, what songs – truly bringing in the kind of Scottish Rock n Roll that we need in the world. I don’t think I’ve ever disliked anything they brought out. I’m gonna be listening to them on my walk later…
So the final question – a very random one:
Pineapple – does it belong on a pizza?
I’m gonna say yes cause it’s very good for your throat! Helps the vocal cords.
And I am a singer, so controversial I believe in it. I’m here for it, I love salt and sweet.
So we know what to get you for your pre-gig dinner:
There you go, it has to be with vegan cheese though – I’m one of those…a dirty vegan! But I will still eat the pizza with the pineapple.
Tickets are still available to see The Wild Things who are supporting KISS alongside Skindred for the Farewell Tour on Saturday 8th July at Glasgow OVO Hydro.