Nashville has produced its share of country artists, but it’s also been a music hub for indie-rock/pop acts Kings of Leon, Paramore and Jack White, who all wrote and recorded albums there and played many of the city’s venues. And last October, Denver indie-pop band Wildermiss
made “Music City” its new home.
“We wanted to stretch our wings and try something new,” says lead singer Emma Cole. “Coming out of the pandemic, we thought moving somewhere else would be conducive to the creative process of writing our next album. We’re also on the road a lot, which makes it easier to tour out of Nashville, because it’s centrally located to venues in Ohio, Michigan, Missouri, and New York."
So far, the move has proven to be what Wildermiss hoped for. “We moved into a house where we all live together,” says Cole. “It gave us a chance to really put our heads down and focus. We set up an in-house studio and wrote, recorded, did demos and worked on creating the best songs we could.”
Wildermiss will tease the crowd with new material when it headlines Meow Wolf on Thursday, June 30.
Courtesy of Wildermiss Facebook
The three-piece outfit, led by Cole on vocals and synth bass, Joshua Hester on guitar and Caleb Thoemke on drums, will release a brand-new single, “W.I.F.I.,” on July 6. Cole says the track — whose acronym stands for "when I fall in" — is a song “you can dance to, yet it’s threaded with moody parts.”
Using a collaborative approach, Wildermiss members wrote songs together with everyone in the same room. “We would start with checking in to see how we’re feeling. We would ask ourselves what would be a good song idea, come together and try to find a song," Cole explains. "We left our egos at the door.”
The result was pure enjoyment creating the tracks. “We’re embracing space with these songs," she says. "Instead of filling up songs with different sounds, textures and extra instruments, we’re giving them more air to breathe. We’re more about the minimalism you can embrace in a song.”
Wildermiss will return to the Mile High City on Thursday, June 30, to headline Meow Wolf
and tease the crowd with some new material at the show. This will be its first gig in town since playing the Gothic Theatre last December. Cole says the band plans to garnish its set list with many new cuts and a few classics, including “Italy
” and “Supermagical
“We nearly filled up our entire set with all new songs," she adds. "We are really happy with how they came out and can’t wait to play them for Denver.”
Denverites can expect an album from the band sometime this year. “There are some things still up in the air. We are in the middle of the recording process, and then have to get the record mixed,” Cole says. At this time, no title or release date have been set for the project rollout. “But with this collection of new songs, we’ve decided to give each a single space and will release one track at a time instead of pushing out the album all at once,” she adds.
For “W.I.F.I.” and follow-up single “Decay,” which is due out later this summer, Wildermiss teamed up with indie-rock singer-songwriter, recording artist and record producer Ben Kweller, who has worked with Ben Folds, Bright Eyes and Ed Sheeran. “We went to Ben’s ranch in Austin, which was a great experience. As artists, we love learning other ways that people do things when crafting their music, such as with Ben. If someone shows us something and we like it, we’ll work on learning that tool to apply it to our sound. And interestingly,” Cole says, “what we’ve discovered is that everybody is doing things differently in the music industry, which has been great to witness.”
After the band tracked “W.I.F.I.” and “Decay” with Kweller, it handled the rest of the recording and production of the new project on its own. “We tracked the songs in our Nashville home, thanks to our drummer Caleb, who majored in audio engineering at CU Denver’s College of Arts & Media,” she says.
Cole, who also studied at CU Denver and holds a degree in music performance with a vocal emphasis, says everything the bandmates have learned along the way – from their college education up to now – has reaffirmed their belief that the way they do things indeed works. “This industry has a lot of creative possibilities," she says. "And what we’ve realized as we continue to grow on this musical journey is that we can trust ourselves, trust our ear, trust our intuition.”
Since forming in Denver in 2016 and playing its first show in a basement, Wildermiss has built a large regional fan base, selling out many shows around the Rocky Mountain region. It has netted opening slots for Nathaniel Rateliff, Oh Hellos and American Authors, and has also received airplay for several singles on Denver stations KTCL-FM 93.3 and KVOQ-FM Indie 102.3. Its 2020 single “Supermagical
” went on to top Spotify’s biggest U.K. rock playlist, “The Rock List.”
When creating its new songs, the band used a minimalist approach.
Nikki Rae Photography
Wildermiss will come into town a few days before its Meow Wolf show to perform a private gig at CU Denver for the university’s LYNX Music Industry Camp students. The CU music department alums, Cole and Thoemke, along with Wildermiss guitarist Hester, will follow the set with a Q&A for the seventy high school students from more than sixteen states who come to the camp to immerse themselves in music.
“This is something we’ve done before. We love to give back to students who want to pursue the arts in college,” explains Cole. “We give them an inside look as former music students, as well as artists in the business.” Wildermiss is signed with 7S Management
, a large music firm in Denver that manages national acts including Nathaniel Rateliff, Big Head Todd & the Monsters, American Authors, the Velveteers, Mary Chapin Carpenter, the Allman Betts Band and many other big names.
Dave Walter has been running the music camp and eight more camps on campus, including ones geared for filmmaking, photography, digital animation, 3-D graphics and more, since late 2014. “We bring in guest artists most nights during the two-week music camp so that students can see that the arts don’t have to be a dream,” he says. “That’s why the guest-artist piece is a big part of the camp. When they actually hear from people who have made a career in the industry, it brings a whole other dimension and credibility into the picture.”
Wildermiss, Meow Wolf, 1338 First Street, Thursday, June 30, 8 p.m. Tickets are $20-25.