"We wanted to make a record that you could discover and rediscover, hopefully liking new and different songs over time."
I'm sitting in Lollapalooza's cozy media tent, talking to Wild Cub's Keegan DeWitt about their debut album, Youth. "It's a blank slate of a record, down to the packaging -- we didn't even put our individual names on it. We really wanted listeners to discover it themselves." Band member and producer Dabney Morris adds that the band re-recorded several of Youth's songs many times over. "There was nothing wrong with the songs, or how we'd recorded them, but they didn't fit in with the record in a way we wanted them to."
Indeed, while Youth is a long listen teeming with 80's inspired new wave and dark hooks, each song feels considered and sequenced so the music fits together extremely well as a record. DeWitt says they wanted to make something like Badly Drawn Boy, where length adds depth and longevity. The band self-released Youth, and DeWitt says it's been interesting to watch people discover it. "It's been in waves. Lots of people will hear about it, then it'll slow down, then pick up again."
"We're thinking about writing something shorter for the next one, though," he adds with a good natured smile.
Wild Cub has been playing everything from small clubs to festivals lately -- they played The Firebird before they'd recorded Youth -- but the band is looking forward to LouFest in September. I ask how they've enjoyed the festival circuit lately, and he explains that it's fun, but they've got less time to hang out. "We did Bonnaroo a while ago, and got to be there for the whole thing. Now, we just kind of bump into bands randomly, like when we were at Hangout Festival and came across Dirty Projectors."
As far as St. Louis and LouFest goes, DeWitt says Wild Cub is excited to be coming back. "We're excited to be playing for a larger crowd -- we were a really young band when we were through St. Louis last," DeWitt explains.
Photo: Bryan Sutter