Produced by Greg Morgenstein, Shadow The Wild’s self-titled EP takes you into a cinematic journey with its emotive, anthemic, eclectic, and internationally infused songs.
Shadow the Wild formed when lead singer Ari Welkom was playing the part of a vampire killer and guitarist Fabien Hameline was assistant director. Between takes on the fateful film set, Welkom and Hameline struck up a conversation about music. Jam sessions eventually led to theaddition of drummer Adam Timmerman and bassist and twin brother Sebastien Hameline joining the band’s final lineup and redefining contemporary pop and rock melodies.
The band also sit down with VENTS to talk about the album and more!
Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
ARI: Hey thanks! We’ve been great. Excited about the release of our single Twin Flame and the upcoming release of our EP. Playing some gigs in LA to promote.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Twin Flame”?
ARI: Twin Flame is a nice synergy between us and our producer Greg Morgenstein. We feel like it’s a cool way to introduce ourselves to the world – give you an idea of what we’re about, and leave enough mystery so that you might not entirely expect what’s coming next.
Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?
ARI: Our drummer, Adam, came into rehearsal one day talking about the concept of “Twin Flame” which is essentially the metaphysical idea of a soul mate. At the time we were writing this song. It became the title. Again I think it’s a nice way to introduce ourselves because music is very personal, and in that way we kind of feel like the four of us are musical soul mates. Also, we happen to have fraternal twins in the band – Fabien and Sebastien.
ADAM: Unintentionally yes. I think it was the culmination of a lot of things that were in my head at the time. After a few, expected, tumultuous early 20s relationships I got to thinking about what’s important for me and what propels me forward at this phase. The puzzle that is life is not even just about finding your true soul mate but finding good people to be around and the right situations to put yourself in. Yes the idea of a Twin Flame is literally finding yourself in one but to me it’s finding that and more. I think I subconsciously just knew that I’m at that stable place and the music just came to me. I ran to the piano and wrote out on a giant sheet of paper the chord progression and prayed it gelled with the guys. When they started playing what I could hear in my head I knew we had it.
The single comes off your self-titled EP – why naming the album after the band?
ARI: Well, we tossed around some different ideas – mainly tracks on the album. But ultimately we thought it made sense to call it Shadow The Wild EP since we really wanted it to be our introduction to the world. Like “hello world, meet Shadow The Wild.”
How was the recording and writing process?
ARI: It was a blast. The writing process took place over a couple years. We started writing the songs and also playing them live, which helped us to shape them. Actually, we don’t really feel like a song is truly tested until we’ve played it a bunch in front of an audience. Then we met Greg, and he helped us tighten up all the arrangements, making sure everything was as smooth as possible, like a well-oiled machine, before we went in and recorded. Most of it we recorded in Greg’s studio on the West Side, but we recorded Twin Flame at Electro-Vox Studios in Hollywood. That place is amazing. So much incredible vintage gear. You could get lost for days trying different amps and guitars, xylophones etc… Plus we recorded that song analog which gives it an extra warm feeling.
What was it like to work with Greg Morgenstein and how did that relationship develop?
ARI: Also a blast. We met Greg through an introduction by a friend. We hit it off and the relationship has grown with each song we’ve recorded. Greg is a genius I think, and the ultimate professional. He really knows how to get the best out of us, contributing his ideas, while maintaining the integrity of who we are and how we want to sound. We’ve grown so much through working with Greg – as musicians as well as songwriters.
What role does your film background plays in your music?
FABIEN: Music can be a visual medium. Very much like synesthesia, feeling and thinking of the music as a visual medium makes the experience transcend just the audio realm, such as creating a space that is not there, or making sounds that you will inevitably associate with a visual element, such as making a phaser sound like thunder. It also influences me in asking myself the right questions during the writing process. In a film you don’t hear music during the entire film. So the first question usually is “do I need to play on this specific part,” and if it doesn’t serve the song, I don’t.
SEBASTIEN: In my early days of film making, I would do editing. My friends and I would reenact martial arts sequences from Jackie Chan movies, and we would edit the scenes, and over dub punch sounds from actual Jackie Chan movies. All this was a choreographed, and very accurately rhythmic-timed operation. Later on I started editing more “regular” projects. The feel of where the rhythm of the images is created is similar to where a riff, or groove is born. I never thought of it like this, but the essence of it is coming from the same place.
What movies influence your sound?
SEBASTIEN: Movies are like records. Sometimes similar to a compilation, sometimes a full album by the same artist. I personally enjoy when it is by the same artist, because it draws a very specific sonic landscape to a specific movie. And that landscape is homogeneous throughout said movie. I really like Joe Hisaishi (who composes the music for all Hayao Miyazaki’s movies), in particular his work on Nausicaa, Castle in the Sky, and Princess Mononoke. I like the music from Wong Kar Wai’s movies, like 2046. He mixes lots of influences (Tango, rock,…). In a different genre, Wings of Desire, by Wim Wenders also had a strong musical impact on me. Jurgen Knieper mixes different styles to translate the world of angels with the world of human, and the perception of each world. It’s like chuch choir mixed with underground German pre-grunge… very interesting stuff! Although not live music, it still gives a similar emotional representation of what a live performance could do!
FABIEN: More than what movies influence me, it’s more about how well the music is used to support the film. Music in film is a tool that helps the director to convey a specific feeling or emotion to the audience. If any, I will say Blade Runner/Die Nibelungen/ Ghost in The Shell and Eyes Wide Shut, just because the music is so avant-garde, in a non-classical way. They were not afraid of doing something different, unexpected, whether it’s in choice of the instruments or the arrangement, and stepping out of the safe zone.
Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
ARI: All over the place. Definitely in the town we live in – LA. I think She’s The One in particular is rooted in an LA story about a girl finding her way through the spiritual ups and downs of the LA night life and dating scene. Also, where we’re from – I’m from San Francisco, Adam’s from New York, and Fabien and Sebastien are from Paris, so I think we see ourselves as a band of the world, not just LA. Lyrically I pull from whatever’s going on around me, as well as inside of me. Two of our band members recently got engaged (not to each other) so that definitely could’ve influenced Twin Flame, as well as Hearts Like Clockwork. And Kingdom Come, well, I like to write about being a spirit trapped in a human body. I like the idea of breaking free through music.
Any plans to hit the road?
ARI: No immediate plans, but now that we’re releasing music it could happen any day now. Playing live is our favorite thing in the world, and I think it’s where we feel we are most in our element. We have our EP release show at Dirty Laundry in Hollywood – it’s a cool, understated venue, almost like a speakeasy. One of those places that doesn’t have a sign and if you don’t know exactly where you’re going you could walk right by it (like in Swingers). But when you get inside it’s packed and there are really cool bands playing. After that, we’re waiting for the right opportunity to come along to hit the road. Hopefully coming to a city near you real soon.
What else is happening next in Shadow The Wild’s world?
ARI: We’re finishing our album. The EP is a precursor to a full-length album which we pretty much finished recording and which Greg is mixing as we speak…or…type. We’re really excited about it and it should be finished and released in the near future. Then we’ll be rocking out in a city near you!