Track-By-Track W/ Wildling: Here EP

If there’s one Los Angeles band that we’re just going to call “adorably LA,” it’s Wildling. Yes, the band name evokes a Game of Thrones pull, but that’s not it: Ryan Levine (vox), Justin Levine (bass), Andrew Ampaya (keys/vox) and Erik Janson (guitar/vox) have tread a very well-worn musician’s path within the city – almost a rite of passage of fits and starts – from being in previous bands to early label interest to reformation as Wildling and playing their first show at the Satellite (a venue famous for nurturing new bands on the rise) to locking in a month-long residency there to having a little bolt of lightning strike in the form of the song “Hummingbird” to signing with Warner Bros. Records. But what’s especially “adorably LA” about them is the sound: Wildling’s songs practically sound (and feel) as if they have captured a healthy dose of sunshine for consumption.

With that in mind, their EP, here, was released on September 1st and it serves as a neat 5-song encapsulation of the band’s warm alt rock sound. Digging into what’s behind the music, Erik gives us a guide of Wildling’s here EP track by track…

“Setting out to record our EP, we really wanted to capture the energy of our live show. That was a big reason why we decided to work with Joe Chiccarelli. We were big fans of his records with The White Stripes and My Morning Jacket and felt that we could get the sound and energy we were going for with him on board. We went through an intense pre-production period with Joe where we refined parts and arrangements before hunkering down at Studio 1, at Sunset Sound, to record live with us all playing together. Coming out of the other side of that experience, we learned a great deal and were happy with the work we did, but we had another burst of songs and ideas that we also wanted to record. That was when we re-connected with producer Alex Salibian, who we really enjoyed working with when we wrote ‘Lilywhite.’ Alex only had about a week or so before leaving the country to tour with Harry Styles, so we had a very different experience working quickly with him in a short period of time. We ultimately stuck close to our approach of playing together as a unit in the studio to try and create what we enjoy doing the most, our live shows.” – Erik Janson


“I think we should start by saying thank you, Bulleit Rye. If you’re ever feeling too tired to record, just give ‘ol Uncle Rye a call. We were packing up after doing about 40 takes of our “last song” and then Uncle Rye showed up with the high. We started this song at about 11 pm and finished it at 6 am just in time to get a hamburger.”


“This was the first song we all co-wrote together as a band, where we entered a room and started from scratch. We put on our supernatural pants and entered the land of dark, dirty and dusty with this, but we’re a California band that lives on the west side of L.A., so the sunshine is pretty much always baked into the bread.”


“We wanted to write a song about a majestic bird. Some fought for the California Condor, but cooler heads prevailed and it became a song about a more elusive creature that has multi-directional flight patterns, or a complete lack of predictability. We kept at it and after several attempts at landing the bird, we feel good about this recording. The final bird. Here.”

“Little Lies”

“This is the song that almost never was. We wrote this on our first band writing trip to Rancho V in Joshua Tree. It had a folk-ier arrangement that wasn’t sitting with the direction of our other songs, so we almost didn’t record it until…Lenny Waronker. Lenny told us he loved ‘Little Lies’ and we figured we should listen. The next day we entered our windowless rehearsal space and imagined a world where everything was cool and the Caribbean was always hanging out with Afropop.”

“Ah Yes”

“Many fun elements came together on this one. It starts in a psychedelic kaleidoscope dripping with honey and emerges on a sunny street with all your friends not giving a fuck  and having fun doing just that. We also couldn’t help channeling the yacht rock gods on the guitar solo section just after a second honey trip. We walked by so many Doobie Brothers and Toto gold records every day at Sunset Sound that it just seeped in.”

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