Lost in the Wildermiss With Denver's Rising Indie-Pop Foursome

Wildermiss's Lost With You EP-release show is at the Larimer Lounge on October 27.
Wildermiss's Lost With You EP-release show is at the Larimer Lounge on October 27. Anna Hudson
The dynamic indie-pop act Wildermiss has deep roots in Denver. Guitarists Joshua Hester and Seth Beamer and drummer Caleb Thoemke all used to play together in the local band Red Fox Run. When that group dissolved in the winter of 2016, Wildermiss rose out of its ashes. Collaborating with Emma Cole, a talented vocalist who has been honing her musical ability since she was a child, the musicians redefined their sound.

“When I was four, I started to play songs by ear, with my first song being 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,'” says Cole. “From then on, I put the radio on top of my grandma’s grand piano, and I would just try to play all of the songs that I heard.”

Born in Arizona, Cole moved with her family to Denver when she was fourteen years old. For her senior recital as a music major at the University of Colorado Denver, she brought in several musicians, including Hester, Beamer and Thoemke.

“After that show, we all realized that we had something unique,” says Cole. “It was a really cool experience to play together. So the four of us began writing that summer.”

When the new project needed a name, Cole came up with “Wildermiss,” though the pun came at her own expense.

“It came from literally missing out on the wilderness,” says Cole. “I was on a road trip with Caleb, and we were driving through the Redwoods in California. The whole time, I was looking at my phone, trying to come up with band names. I looked up at the end of the road and realized I’d missed everything.”

As for the group’s fresh sound, Cole adds breathy and vibrant vocals to Hester and Beamer's throbbing guitar riffs. It's not a stretch to say that the group’s new Lost With You EP has a lot in common with Paramore’s newest album, After Laughter, both in Cole's Hayley Williams-esque vocals and in the pop-infused alternative instrumentation. Still, Wildermiss’s tunes are far less ironic than Paramore's. This shift from Red Fox Run’s earnest rock to Wildermiss’s alt sound is partly derived from Cole’s past musical taste.

“My dad had the best taste in music,” says Cole. “So, I listened to whatever he put on my iPod. I had a lot of Arctic Monkeys and Death Cab for Cutie. It was just a huge alternative spectrum of music.”

The other members of the group have different musical backgrounds than Cole, but she sees this as an asset.

“We all kind of range throughout the musical spectrum,” says Cole. “So we take pieces of things we’ve learned and loved and put them together in this project.”

The band incorporates these diverse musical influences into the music through a collaborative writing process.

“It’s what comes the most naturally to us,” says Cole. “None of us really try to write full songs on our own. Sometimes we just bring an idea, a guitar lick, a melody, or a drumbeat to the band and see if it can be something we can get creative with together as a band. If we’re vibing with it, we just start playing, and the form starts to become the form.”

If you’re worried whether this type of writing process leads to a lack of emotional depth, rest assured. Simple but introspective tracks like “Carry Your Heart” convey relatable and complex emotions.

“Josh came in with the idea for the story, a few lines and the groove. From there, we all wrote it together during band practice,” Cole recounts. “It’s really just about new love and how weird it can be. When you look back on it, you’re like, ‘Man, we were so weird and adorable, but now we’re just ourselves.’”

The “Carry Your Heart” music video depicts a fun and spontaneous side of the group that might not be clear from its flawless instrumental execution. Instead of actually carrying a symbolic heart around, they use an old sofa.

“My roommate grabbed this grandma couch for ten bucks from the side of the street,” says Cole. “We decided to carry this couch around Denver to weird places. It was very DIY and random.”

Cole looks to the future with a similarly free-spirited mentality.

“We want to tour more, write more, continue to build on things, keep the momentum going, and also play on Jimmy Fallon,” says Cole, laughing. “Just kidding...but that would be great.”

Wildermiss (Lost With You EP release), with the Bright Silence and the Solid Ocean, 8 p.m. Friday, October 27, Larimer Lounge, 2721 Larimer Street, 303-296-1003, $9-$12.
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Sage Marshall is a freelance writer and editor covering outdoor recreation, environmental issues, Denver's music scene, the arts, and other Colorado stories. You can check out more of his work and connect with him here.
Contact: Sage Marshall