Folky trio Wildwood Kin open up about their debut album Turning Tides...
You can understand the Haim comparisons with trio Wildwood Kin. Comprised of sisters Emilie and Beth Key and cousin Meghan Loney, the band have the same close-knit harmonies and turn for a catchy chorus as the Haim sisters, but there's something a lot more British about this threesome, more steeped in early folk and country.
How did the experience of making your debut album compare to what you’d imagined it would be?
"When we started recording, we'd actually set out to record an EP because we'd had some older songs that we were desperate to record, but soon after starting to record and experiment with newer sounds, we were encouraged to write for a full debut album. At first, it was quite daunting, a debut album is a massive thing, but we've taken our time over it and are really excited to share it with everyone!"
The songs are a combination of some of our earlier songs and songs that have been inspired by new ideas and influences. As a band, we feel we have really grown in the process and learnt what we like and what we get excited about. The whole experience has been a massive learning curve and has really refined our characters and pushed our boundaries. We can't wait to start writing again and feel that we can be more equipped for our next writing adventure!"
You did the album with Jamie Evans, what did he give you as a producer?
"Jamie really helped us with our confidence and encouraged us to not be hesitant to try new things. Instrumentally he taught us a lot and opened our eyes to so many more options which we have recently incorporated into our live set."
Our lyrics are very personal to us and it really encouraged us when Jamie was really intentional about understanding our lyrical content and what inspired them, he wanted us to stay true to who we were and to continue to write from the heart. Jamie is now one of our really close friends and we see him as a big brother and always have so much fun working with him."
You’ve worked a lot with Seth Lakeman, what did you learn from recording and working with him?
"Working with Seth has been a massive privilege. We were always fans of Seth’s music growing up so when he got in contact to get involved in his album project we were so excited. Performing and touring with Seth was a big step for us as a band. The recording process with Seth was very different to what we were used to. The album was pretty much recorded as a live session, all in one room sometimes around one mic."
"When we worked with producer Ethan Johns. He encouraged us to hear the songs in their own entity and to not be picky and perfectionists over every detail, but to perform the songs and to come together as a band and use that chemistry to create the atmosphere for each track."
Which song on the album took the longest to get right?
"'Run' was our first single heavy song. We were encouraged to make this song the main single of the album and for us, we found that very hard. Sometimes writing a song where everyone latches onto the fact that it will sound great on radio, can be difficult to comprehend. We didn't want to compromise our sound and not be true to ourselves but we also wanted to work on the parts that would really capture people's attention. We had a lot of voices involved through the process of writing the song and in the end, we had to break it down and really focus on our sound as a band."
And which came together most quickly?
"Probably the quickest tracks to produce were 'Dove' and 'Warrior Daughter'. It was the first time working with Jamie and I suppose there was just a lot of synergy and team spirit in the studio that day. We'd been playing 'Warrior Daughter' live for almost three years at that point so it felt very natural to be able to finally solidify it into recorded form."
"'Dove' was a brand new shell of a track which we'd never played live, but we remember getting so excited about experimenting with new sounds and trying new things on the production for it, that enthusiasm was what made it come together so quickly!"
What kind of album is this lyrically? Is there a theme tying the songs together?
"The album lyrically is very diverse, but all based on our own life experiences so there are definitely running themes. We write a lot about our spirituality in our songs and use a lot of these influences in our lyrical imagery, which seems to tie the record together."
You've talked up your love of the writings of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, how did that feed into the lyrics?
"We grew up reading a lot of Tolkien and CS Lewis and it's inspired a lot of our song writing. Mainly their use of allegory, poetic language and metaphors is what has influenced our music. Both writers were inspired by nature and known for setting scenes and creating a mood through writing about natural environments in a creative, descriptive way. For us, growing up in rural Devon and Cornwall has had a similar influence on our work."
How do lyrics come to you? Do you need a melody to work to or are you always writing ideas?
"It always varies. Sometimes the lyrics will come before the melody or vice versa. It's always good to write as many ideas as we can while we travel or when we're inspired, but sometimes it takes a long time for those ideas to evolve into a fully-fledged song."
When did you decide the album would be called Turning Tides? Were there any other titles in contention?
"Deciding on the album title was quite a difficult process because everyone had different opinions, for a while, we really liked the title 'The Author' but others didn't agree. After going through lyrics and all the song titles on the album, one of us suggested Turning Tides and it seemed to click in that moment more than it had previously. I think under the pressure of having to make a decision also helped us because we couldn't be overly picky about it. We think the title suits the journey we've been on the past few years and that new beginnings are in store."
What are your plans to take the album out live?
"We've got an Autumn tour coming up in October and November all over the UK and a radio tour to promote the album and our single releases. We can't wait to share it with you all."