We exchanged a few questions with The Young Wild guitarist and vocalist Bryan B. Williams where we talked about the intersecting interests of organic songwriting and outside influence on the creative process. Bryan proves himself a thoughtful and articulate individual with a concise vision of who he is as an artist and what it takes to keep that vision moving forward for The Young Wild.
Do you feel that you have ever made changes to your musical identity to appeal to a wider audience? And if so, did you feel it compromised your integrity as an artist?
BRYAN: I think there is some part of my brain that is always willing to compromise to meet a need for our listener(s). But my “creative integrity” hasn’t ever been compromised by a fan telling me that I should “re-write and 3rd verse again” or “use the demo vocal you tracked while you had the flu cause you sound more interesting”. Those types of debates generally happen internally in the band, and that’s just inevitable and I welcome it. Overall the ideas and vibe behind the songs generally remain as I want them to – the reality is my interests or what my ear gravitates toward aren’t really that different from people that enjoy our music. So I feel safe in following my instincts. And when people don’t pay attention to what I make I don’t lose sleep over it – as long as I like it I can sleep 8 hrs straight 😉
With the release of your EP All the Luck and playing X-FEST you are seeing your band’s profile rise dramatically. His this altered the way you approach your music at all? Do you feel yourself pulling away from the thematic threads of your current music to more reflect the situational changes that come with success?
BRYAN: No. It’s the same fight every time I try and make a new song – you feel like it’s the first one all over again. It can be overwhelming and cause massive anxiety in me at times, but I think that’s because I just care a lot and I embrace this struggle to look inside myself and to find something that I’m proud of. At least in writing for TYW it always starts with what I’d like to hear or what is a best representation of myself and what I’m excited about. It’s my template and I feel very lucky to still be given this luxury. And whatever success may be evidenced hasn’t made me change this approach.
Is The Young Wild a democratic band or is it helmed by a singular individual? Whether it be songwriting, brand identity, or consequential decisions.
BRYAN: Yeah I think I have a lot of opinions about those things. Lyrics and parts in the songs… and the brand of course. I don’t know… I was recently called ‘fair’ and ‘loyal’ by one of my band mates, so maybe that makes me democratic? But there are definitely people who have disagreed with that before, and there always will be. Disagreement is part of any collaboration.
What is the most ridiculous experience you have ever had at one of your own shows?
BRYAN: We were opening for Andrew WK a few weeks ago in Kansas City and some guy near the front of the stage flipped me off while I was thanking them for coming early. It was surprisingly distracting. In that moment I was very tempted to make the show about his gesture, like address it and see where it went. He looked like the guy from V for Vendetta and was alone. Should I throw a water bottle at this guy? Or tell him his fedora didn’t fit? I ended up ignoring it but it kind of killed by buzz in the middle of our set. It was a reminder in some little way that ‘oh yeah, not everybody is going to like what I say or like our show.’ It was a small detail that I probably overthought but is the most recent account of something that made me a little crazy in that moment. I should have just thrown the water bottle.
What are your top five bands you’re listening to right now?
BRYAN: The Weeknd, Sleeter Kinney, Nick Drake, Beyonce, and Leon Bridges.