A Band by Any Other Name: Wild International

Written by  Published in Interviews Thursday, 04 November 2010 21:00


Refreshing. That is the word that describes Wild International. Familiar enough to bring a smile to your face but with an off-beat twist that leaves an air of mystery. The three guys of Wild International, Ryan Camenzuli, Greg Coffey and Bryan Daly, have what it takes to shatter the glass-ceiling of commercial pop-rock with their crazy addictive percussions and experimental sounds that throw you a little off-balance, but just enough to fall in love. I saw them for the first time live at Pianos in NYC, and despite the empty showcase (hey, the struggle builds character) they poured their soul out on stage. I met up with the trio after their performance and on and off-stage, they don’t disappoint:

So, how did the band get together?

B: We’ve been together for roughly a year and a half. We’ve had our fair amount of line-up changes along the way. It started really when Ryan’s first band broke-up so him and his old drummer and I started jamming together. Mostly percussion and polyrhythmic beats and it sorta grew from there. A lot of improv and a lot of percussion.

R: We had a lot of sessions where we practiced in a studio of us just using a recorder, hitting drums or tambourines, just trying to make something out of it. We’ve had 45 min recordings.




The raw feel from the percussions really sets your live performance apart from the recordings.  Where did your percussion persuasion come from?

R: We say a lot that one of our biggest influences is Akron/Family, which they 100% are. We wouldn’t be a band without them. At the same time, one of the things that they have done that they never really built upon, they had this one song, “Ed is a Portal” where they had this drumming African vibe and we loved it. And we kind of really wanted to just exploit that one thing because we loved that drumming

B: There is so much raw power in it. The three of us have taken Djembe (FYI goblet-shaped hand drums) classes back on Long Island just trying to really work in that sort of feel.

G: We want to add in something that a lot of people haven’t heard, and the audience always likes the beat. You look out into the crowd and you see people’s faces and they have this expression like, “yeah, this is pretty awesome”. It’s always fun.

R: if there was a genre for what we do it would be “Badass”

G: We like to have fun on-stage. If our friends are in the audience we have them come up and bang the drums with us.

So your band name “Wild International” where did that come from?

G: So we started with the original line-up, Brian, Greg, and myself and our ex-drummer, so we were working together for a couple of months and knew we needed to think of a name. But you know a band name is something that is who you are. We didn’t want something that we were going to change. We wanted something so awesome that would really stick. We never found that name. There is an EP from Zack de la Rocha from Rage Against the Machine and we were like, “screw it, that’s going to be the name of our band”.

Influences? We kind of covered that, but anything else?

B: I say if we had to pick a big three it would be Akron/Family, The Acorn. . .

R: I would say Animal Collective. We’ve gotten some strange comparisons from people. Like Fang Island, Bouncing Soul, Vampire Weekend, The Dodos. Nobody has really ever come up with a comparison that we’ve really felt.

B: Definitely a lot of Local Natives.

G: I think we’re a little more badass than the Local Natives. We all grew up with our parents playing classical music, or the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones. I love all of that stuff. It works its way into our sound. You can say that one of my favorite bands is Of Montreal. If we could put on shows like them, they are true artists.

R:  The reason I say Animal Collective, is because it is one of our favorite bands, and although it’s not as obvious an association it’s definitely there. Like the new song we sang tonight, I can definitely hear Panda and Avey singing that song.

So are those artists on repeat on your iPods?

B: Nobody has ever heard of this band, but Beulah, they broke up in 2003 have like a thousand plays on my iPod. But not really a musical influence.

R: They aren’t really in any genre anymore.

Biggest accomplishment?

All together: Bamboozle 2010.

R: It was awesome. The only thing that was bad about it was that I got sun-stroke and strep-throat and was out the whole next week.

B: It was his birthday too.

G: I skipped a senior trip. My whole class went down to Disney World. But I played Bamboozle. When are you ever going to do that again? We got to walk around. Talked to MGMT. Watched them sound-check. It was unreal.

R: It wasn’t packed when we played, but there were a couple hundred people.

B:  And Ke$ha was there.

R: Bamboozle has a very main-stream kind of pop feel. And our music is very different, but we decided to embrace it. After we performed we had thirteen year old girls who were like Justin Bieber-ed out asking us to sign their shoes and arms. We got such a great response. That really hit home.

Speaking of BieberFever, I saw so many Bieber costumes this past weekend. What were you for Halloween?

B: There were a few costumes actually, because of Halloween weekend we kind of rotated through costumes. The first night I was Clint Eastwood. The second night I was a scuba instructor.

R: Me and Greg have these spandex suits. Basically skin-tight and covers your whole body.

G: Have you ever seen It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia? The GreenMan episode. But in Red and Black. It turns out you can’t see through the fabric though. . .

R: But you can drink through it.

Wow, that’s pretty embarrassing. Most embarrassing band story?

B: There have been a few forgetting instruments

R: Sometimes we have bad technical issues. Like Brian’s guitar will be completely out of tune or…

G: This all happened in one set. Getting really into it. I’m playing the guitar, and the metal snap that holds the strap in completely flies out and we have two songs to play still. I thought the strap just came off so I decide to keep playing. I look down and the thing is completely ripped out of the wood. Then my cables got screwed up.

B: Then we went to play King Bear, the second to last song we played tonight, that has kind of an acoustic feel, and the guitar is completely out of tune.

R: I was like Brian stop playing, trying to cover it up.

B: And I did. It was a rough show. And it was sold-out. That was also the set that got us to Bamboozle. We’ve never walked on-stage without pants before. Nothing super embarrassing.



(Addendum. . . )

As we were taking pictures, the band gave me their CD, bashfully pointing out that songs #3 and #4 were switched and that was truly their most embarrassing moment.

If you had to get a tattoo what would it be of/say?

R- We have a T-shirt coming out in a few weeks, and I would love to get something like this (holds up a pendant on a long chain) of an Aztec bird on my forearm. That would be so sick

.G-Mine would be on my ribs. I would probably get the words, “Love is simple” it is the album from the Akron/Family that changed my life. My Uncle gave it to me. We were in the Virgin Megastore when it was still around and he got me a couple of CDs some jazz, a couple others and we’re walking out and he decides to give me that album. So that’s why. I would get “love is simple”. Also, it’s a nice thing to live by

B: He’s the reason we are a band pretty much. We wouldn’t be around without him. And I would get a tattoo of watch that says, “Party Time”.

Goals for the up-coming year?

R: Realistic or totally unrealistic? Realistically I want to book a show where people we don’t know come to see just us.

B: We hope in a year that we will have a recording deal with if not a major label at least a stepping stone.

G: I mean something that’s unfortunate is that our recordings have nothing on our live sound. It really hurts how people perceive us. We would love to get a couple live or audio recordings in studio so you get the real feel.

B: The recordings just don’t do us justice. No matter how hard we try.

And just to end with a holistic view. Celebrity crush?

All together- Janelle Monae.

R: She opened for Of Montreal.

B: She is beautiful

G: Pitchfork who destroy every album gave her best album of the year. Her album, The ArchAndroid,  just came out a few months ago and it’s like the greatest thing ever

B: She is so gorgeous.

G:And she can dance like no other

R: And sing

B:Either that or Ke$ha. We are big Ke$ha fan. Or to keep it classy Natalie Portman.

I like Wild International. I like how their sound is alternative without being too contrived or processed. I think there’s a natural feel to it that makes it sound sincere. That’s important to me in a sound. I want to listen to something and feel that it was obsessed over. Feel that the musicians are having trouble expressing themselves with just words alone (which is how so many people feel so often) to instead they can rely on the music and their intentions to shine through. Ryan, Greg and Brian are all disarming and genuine and it shows in their music.

(For those of you wondering Best Friend Alan would get a lightning bolt tattoo on his wrist, is crushing on Emma Watson, and was Peter Pan for Halloween).

Last modified on Saturday, 23 April 2011 22:50
Sherene Hilal


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