In the spotlight – Wild Horse

In the spotlight – Wild Horse

In the spotlight – Wild Horse sounds like what putting on a new suit and lighting a cigarette to go on a night out feels like.

Wild Horse are a three-piece band consisting of two brothers Jack Baldwin (lead vocals, guitars, keyboards/synths, bass) and Henry Baldwin (bass, keyboards/synths, guitar, backing vocals), and their childhood friend Ed Barnes (drums, backing vocals, guitar).

“We’re from a tiny village in East Sussex in the UK and we’ve been making music together since we were 11 years old.”

They have been relentlessly gigging since their teens. Still only just into their 20s, the guys have recorded many great tracks earning enthusiastic support in BBC Intros, BBC mainstream shows, RadioX, Caroline, Amazing and many other local FM & internet stations around the world.

As a fairly young band, how did you guys end up in music? Do you come from a musical home or was there a specific band or artist that peaked your interest?

“We didn’t come from particularly musical homes. None of our parents play any instruments. Our parents did get us into music subconsciously just by playing classic records around the house. Ed often talks about how he would tap along on some pots to Robbie Williams live at Knebworth. Henry got into music at primary school and started learning the guitar. Jack and Ed mostly taught themselves how to play their instruments and Henry also later sacked off his guitar teacher and did the same just by playing along to records we liked. We all liked a similar kind of music which was different to the music our other friends listened to at the time. All three of us were heavily into classic rock, punk, 80s synth pop etc. essentially, we sort of just decided to start the band because we wanted to play that kind of music with our own spin on it.”

What kind of sounds were playing around you as you were growing up?

“Mostly the older stuff. For example, The Stones, The Who, The Clash. We also had a lot of 80s stuff playing like Wham, Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran, U2 etc. It was basically just our parent’s music that inevitably became the music that we listened too.”

Was it hard to think of a band name that you could all agree on?

“Not really. We came up with Wild Horse quite quickly. After our first show we decided we needed a name, so we threw a few ideas around in the car on the way home. I think things like “Eric the pug” were mentioned but we thought it sounded too punk and we always had a slightly softer edge in our music. We came up with Wild Horse from combining the Stones song Wild Horses with Neil Young’s band Crazy Horse. We all thought it was cool and that was that. It probably took us about 20 minutes to agree on it.”

What can you tell me about the first song you wrote and recorded together?

“I think the first song we wrote and the first song we recorded were different songs actually. I think the first song we ever recorded was a cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Free Bird’ which we recorded when we were probably still around 11 years old. It seemed fitting as it was the first song we ever played together. It was a terrible version, it’s probably still on SoundCloud somewhere. We had a lot of fun playing it though. The first song we wrote was a track called ‘no name’. It was called ‘no name’ because we were terrible at writing lyrics back then, so it became an instrumental. A year or so later we added lyrics to it and recorded it. Again, it’s probably still somewhere on SoundCloud.”

Who would you say are your main musical influences?

“There’s too many names. We’re like musical sponges. We take influence from everything we hear. We love synth pop, rock, indie, hip hop, grime, jazz. Anything really. We even listen to classical music. I don’t think there’s a set list of artists that influence us, as there is with other bands. We have a massive fear of falling into the trap of repeating ourselves, so we always are looking to push our musical boundaries so we’re always listening to different kinds of music to inspire us.”

What have you been doing to find and develop your own sound?

“Essentially just working hard and experimenting. Having fun with it. We built a makeshift home studio during the pandemic which was really essential for us as it gave us the time and freedom to just experiment and try different musical things that we had not been able to do before. That was a massive part in finding our sound. Yeah, essentially it just came from experimenting and trying to find something which is authentically us. We can’t describe what that is, but when we write a song, we’ll just know whether it’s meant for Wild Horse or not.”

Did you have to make any sacrifices to achieve music goals?

“Yes, absolutely. We make sacrifices all the time. Relationships, career opportunities, friendships, social time etc. people don’t realize how hard musicians have to work to get to where they want to be. It’s all worth it for us though as music is the only thing we want to do, so we’re willing to keep making sacrifices.”

Is there anything you’d like us to know about your single ‘Do You Wanna Talk’?

“Well, firstly it’s out everywhere now so we hope everyone reading this goes and listens to it! It’s a feel-good summer song really. I think it should really be the soundtrack of a rom com about two people who keep being drawn back together by fate even though they want to hate each other. It’s kind of a driving-in-the-sunset with your friends’ summer sing along anthem. We wrote the song in about 20 minutes. It was one of those songs that wrote itself, which we find tend to be the best kind of songs.”

What are you hoping to achieve when you sit down and write a song?

“Nothing really. I find that if you sit down and say to yourself, “right, I’m going to write a song”, you’ll probably come out with nothing worth having. Good songs come from a place that is authentically yourself, so you just have to sit down and have fun with your instrument and if something comes, cool, if something doesn’t come, cool. There’s no set way to write a song. Often, I’ll just wake up in the middle of the night with an idea in my head. Other times I’ll just stumble across something on the guitar. I have been writing a lot on the piano recently which has been a really interesting experience for me.”

How important are lyrics to you?

“Lyrics are important, but not as important as the melody. We always come up with the melody first and then write the lyrics to fit that. Also, lyrics have to come from a place that’s authentically you. There’s no point trying to sing about something you’re not, that’s just cringey. So, you have to take your time with them and figure out what you want to say. That’s why it’s usually the longest part of the writing process.”

Musically, do you find the confines of a three-piece restricting? What sort of creative moves do you have to make to make a three-piece fit the vision you might have in your head for a song?

“No, not at all. We don’t write the songs for a three piece. Most of our songs have way more than three parts. We’re all multi-instrumentalists so we always have fun with that in the studio. We don’t let the fact that we’re a three piece restrict our creativity at all. If we did, we would have ran out of songs years ago. The only time where that becomes an issue is when we have to play the songs live. We usually have to spend a bit of time figuring out how to play the songs slightly differently live. Although we have things like sample pads which we use during our shows so it’s not so much of an issue to be honest.”

Are you also thinking about how songs might sound on stage when you’re writing and recording them?

“We used to, but not anymore. Recording and playing live are two separate things. Recording is all about serving the song and making sure the music is spot on. That’s the only thing you think about. Whereas, playing live is about much more than that. The music has to fit within the lighting show, the stage show. You have to think about which songs work where on the set list and how we can adapt certain songs to a live setting. Our shows are all about making sure the audience is having fun as they’re the ones who have paid to come and see us. We find that recording is all about selling the song, but playing live is more about selling ourselves. People don’t just come to hear the music, if they did, they would just listen at home. People come to see us, our personalities, our fashion, our stage presence etc. the music is just an important factor in the mist of other important factors when playing live. So, there’s no point thinking about how a song might sound live when you’re recording it, that comes later.”

A venue or festival on your bucket list to perform at?

“We want to headline Glastonbury, and we’re sure we will do. We want to play stadiums and the biggest venues around the world. So small ambitions really.”

Where do you see the band being in a couple of years’ time?

“Hopefully in a couple years’ time we would have been able to quit our day jobs and will be living off our music, touring the world full time and being able to make music whenever we want. If we’re able to do that, we’d be extremely happy. It would be something we’d never take for granted as we’ve been working towards it for ten years of our lives now. We’ve nearly been in the band for longer than we haven’t been in the band at this point.”

What’s your favourite song from the Cool Top 20 and why?

“I really like all the songs, but the one that really stands out for me is ‘Wasted’ by Racheal Teixeira. What a voice! The harmonies are great.”

What song would you like to add as a bonus track and why?

“Probably ‘Strangers’ by AsianBlonde. I’ve been following them for a while now, they’re really cool. They’re a duo from London with some really cool songs. This one is probably my favorite song of theirs and I look at them as a group who have really got some serious potential to do very well.”

(Photos by Andy Porter)

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