by Cai Trefor Contributor | Photos by Press

Wildwood Kin on their major label debut, religion + music as a healing power

The family trio from Devon have an ethereal beauty and their alluring voices earned them a deal with Sony for an album where they've expressed their full artistic potential

 

Wildwood Kin interview Turning Tides Emilie key Photo: Press

Wildwood Kin, the family trio from Exeter who are into wistful English folk with Tolkien-esque mystical nature imagery and mediations on spirituality have such a cinematic sound that their voices are a natural fit for the staggering force of a modern recording studio.

Having signed to Sony, who snapped them up after witnessing their goosebump-inducing performance at the Union Chapel, they were shipped into record Turning Tides - their debut. Equipped with all manner of new possibilities, the trio have been able to express a fuller range of their sonic palette and moved away from their trusty acoustic and vocals combination and became something wholly modern in the process.

The trio - Emilie and Beth Key, and their cousin Meghann Loney - currently sit at the forefront of a wave of Anglo Americana and were a highlight of the Nashville Americanafest that we went to.

In light of their captivating performance, we caught up with Emilie from the band to get a picture of how the album came together, the being defiant against prejudice towards their religion, and how their music has had a heading effect on people.

Gigwise: Hope you're good and tour is going well. What's it like being on the road with each other?

Emilie Key: It helps that we're all family because we can be completely honest with each other. When one of us is having a bad day we don't have to pretend that everything's ok all the time. You can be yourself as family. We're all best friends really and have a laugh.

You have a close relationship with some of your fans. A widower wrote on Facebook that you helped him come to terms with the death of his wife. I think that's touching.

Our vision for our music is to bless people and encourage people. Music is great at doing that. I think it touches people in places that maybe the world can't give you but music has that special thing that can heal. It is great hearing feedback like that, hearing we're helping people like that.

Good stuff. Congratulations on the release of your debut album by the way. Did it help having built a following before getting signed?

Labels do look for bands that have a committed fanbase. But we're still growing definitely and hoping to get our music heard more widely.



Landing on to a major label is quite a big step considering you've gone from playing open mic to being centre stage at Hyde Park, Glastonbury and Americanafest.

I think we're all still quite shocked that we were offered a deal from a major label. It does feel like a massive step and I think we've been really fortunate that the team that Sony have put us with have been genuine people and they've never said we want to change your sound.

That's quite surprising considering the change in sound. You've gone from stripped back to a modern, big studio sound.

Part of that is what me and the girls have authentically grown into. We were a lot younger when we started out and now we know what we want. For the album, the producer offered a lot of different options for us, and we had our eyes opened to all of the different possibilities. It really, really helped us to think outside the box. For instance on 'Dove' we were able to experiment with different, more electronic-y ambient sounds and use sonics we love having listened to stuff like Sigur Ros and Aurora. I think for us we got truly excited at merging those sounds with our existing style.

You get compared to Staves a lot. Some of the production on the songs does make you much more distinct now.

Yeah we discovered Staves after we started the band and they're great. People would say we remind them of the them, which was a massive compliment. But it's nice we've established our own unique sound now.

Your single 'Talking A Hold' is my favourite song on the album - it's the most hook-y for sure. Did you all write that or was the producer involved too?

We all write the songs but our producer would often help us maybe with arrangement and stuff and definitely helped us hone in on the songs that have more hooks and work on them to make them into our singles. We all collaboratively delved into that and brought out own ideas to that. 'Taking A Hold' is definitely our favourite song on the album, too.

I heard you come from a progressive church. Can you tell me a bit about that?

We're all Christians and started playing music from a very early age in church. Our family are very musical and parents led the worship band.

What are the challenges being Christian in an increasingly agnostic/atheist country like the U.K?

We do get told that maybe it's not so cool to talk about your faith and that is disheartening and it's important for us to keep our faith central to our music, especially when people tell us they have felt blessed of felt healing with our songs. We don't want to take that away because people aren't liking the fact we're a band who have faith. If people don't like that it doesn't matter because we are who we are and won't change.

I hear your album is written over the course of your late teenage years and early adulthood – quite a formative period of your life. How did you make the decision to dedicate to music?

We were all finishing school just before we decided to form a band. It was a leap of faith. You're told at school that going to Uni is the only way. For us we really felt we needed to do music. We had no idea it would take us.

It has taken off....

We set out to do it to enjoy it almost like a gap year and just perform at open mic's and stuff just to have a break from school then it snowballed into a lot more We weren't expecting that.

The BBC Radio team have been great champions of yours.

Seth Lakemen who we tour and record with had a lot of support from Radio 2 and Mark Radcliffe and Bob Harris both have been really supportive. We've been really fortunate. We’re shocked that the previous singles have bene played on Radio 2.

What's next?

We’re excited our album’s out, It's a part of our life we've really invested in. We've got our first headline tour coming up in the winter. That's a quite a big thing for us. The next step after that will be to written the album or venture out around the world to share our music.

Turning Tides by Wildwood Kin is out now 


Cai Trefor

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