Wild Wild Horses Finds its Sound in the Foreground
Wild Wild Horses synthesizes the talents of four experienced musicians who, until the band’s creation, made music behind the scenes as songwriters and session players for numerous artists including Christina Perri, Jess Glynne, and Amy Winehouse.
Eventually, frontman Jack Edwards grew discontent with writing songs for other artists. He had four gems he wanted to keep for himself and was ready to make his own sound. To achieve it, Edwards signed solo with Buskin Records in 2014 and recruited guitarist Billy Adamson, bassist Jonathan Harvey, and drummer Gregory Rogove to form his team. In 2015, the band collaboratively recorded and released Edwards’ tracks in an EP called Ordinary Life and created accompanying music videos directed by Once Upon a Time star Jennifer Morrison. Since then, they’ve left the studio to head out on the road for their recent tour of the USA.
We spoke with Jack Edwards about future plans, the EP, what it’s like to get one million YouTube views in three days, not to mention making life-changing decisions in the back of an Uber and stealing birthday cake in bars.
Do you have any plans now that the tour is done?
Jack Edwards: We're basically going in to finish up a few songs that we're recording at the moment. We've got a bunch of music over the last year that we've written in different capacities. So we're going to go in and track some of that stuff and see what comes out.
Do you anticipate releasing an album with those songs?
JE: Definitely another EP. There's definitely something on the horizon that I can't really talk about, which sounds deliberately cryptic [laughs]. But yeah, we'll release an EP in the New Year. We've got so many songs that we're pumped about.
Are you planning to do more covers like you did recently with Sia's “Chandelier”?
JE: No, I think that those songs were based out of when we first got together as a band, actually. We were in rental spaces practicing the EP tunes, and then there'd be these songs where we thought, “Oh, I like the way this is played,” and how can we take this huge—“Chandelier” for example—belting pop hook and deconstruct it and make it intricate. It was more just to play songs together because we only had a few songs to start with, so we had to play something else or we'd lose our minds.
You guys come from very different backgrounds. How exactly did Wild Wild Horses form?
JE: Greg and Billy have been session players for a few, really, quite big acts over the years. Jon was in a band before and Greg's been in a few bands as well. Everyone's toured in their own right. And I was a songwriter, so basically I had the four songs for the EP and I said, “I really want to do this as a band.” Because I was playing and writing for other people before the band, and I had these songs that I didn't want to write for anyone else. I wanted to write these songs for me and the band. So I reached out to Billy and Jon. Then we saw Greg play in Los Angeles and thought, “Holy shit, this guy can really play the drums.” So we asked him, “Do you want to come to London?” and he flew out. After a lot of whiskey and somebody else's birthday cake we went into rehearsals and were like, “Yeah, let's do this!”
Wait, whose birthday cake was it?!
JE: We don't even know! We were out at a bar the first time we met, and it was somebody's birthday. I think we got hungry and thought, “Man, I wish I could come out with some of this cake”—delicious. That was the moment we knew. An unbreakable bond was formed with frosting [laughs].
That's so funny! So I take it that collaboration is very important for all of you.
What was it like working with Jennifer Morrison on the music videos?
JE: It was great! Our manager knew Jennifer from a little while ago, and we were in the midst of writing and recording and in that weird little internal world where you don't really know what's going on in life; you just focus on the new songs. We were at rehearsal preparing for a few gigs in San Francisco and our manager said, “Oh, my friend Jen is going to come; she wants to direct.” We thought, “Oh, okay – yeah, ‘your friend, Jen’ is going to come.” Then she comes into the room and I was like, “Oh, 'your friend, Jen.' I get it, nice one mate.” We were all in short-shorts and sleeveless tank tops and bare feet ‘cause we were rehearsing. We played her the songs right in the room, and she said, “I want to do this.” We talked about an idea for a concept video, and she really ran with it and the production was amazing and the direction was incredible. She pretty much nailed it.
Were you surprised when you got a million views in three days with “Demon Days”?
JE: Oh, yeah! Honestly, I thought it was my mom that clicked on “Demon Days” a thousand times a day. But yeah, we were going to put it out on a Friday night, and if we got 10,000 views over the weekend that was good. My mom's FaceTiming me, “Mate, you've got a million views,” and I said, “What?! What do you mean?” and she said, “Yeah, there's a million views there!” It was crazy and took off way quicker than we expected. And all of her [Jennifer Morrison's] fans were really supportive and got behind us straight away, which was so good. It was so nice to visit cities that we thought we'd never visit and meet people through the fans or people that had seen the video, so she's really helped so much.
I bet that's a great push in terms of momentum.
JE: Oh, yeah! You know, when you're in a new band, that initial thing is really hard. That can make or break a band. So to have somebody who was open to collaboration and creative and headstrong in the decisions she made for the video was great. It really got us off the ground.
After a lot of whiskey and somebody else's birthday cake we went into rehearsals and were like, “Yeah, let's do this!”
Then you went and recorded acoustic versions of all your songs on the EP. What was the inspiration behind that?
JE: There's something nice about the bare bones of a song sometimes, hearing it really stripped back and spacious. The EP was heavily produced, and there's a lot of stuff going on. Sometimes—not that we did it with the EP—you can hide behind that, and it's nice not to do that.
Originally, you had written songs by yourself for the EP, but moving forward, do you plan to work on material together?
JE: Oh, yeah. Even the songs I had written before the guys were in the band have taken on a new life live. They sound different; they feel different; they're much more alive. Everyone's putting themselves into the pot. I'm with three guys in a band, and I can barely play an instrument [laughs]. I'm just like [singing], “Old MacDonald Had a Farm,” compared to these guys. I'm always writing songs for the band, and we are going into rehearsals with a bunch of songs we've written together. We’ll put it all into the melting pot and see what comes out.
Do you hope to do a tour with the new songs in the future?
JE: Absolutely. We're playing one of the new songs at the moment. It's called “Strange Future,” and it's been getting a really good response.
Nice. What was the inspiration behind using the Rolling Stones song “Wild Horses” for your band name?
JE: Well, what you don't ever want to do is make big career life decisions when you're a little bit drunk in an Uber. ‘Cause we were wondering, “Ugh, what do we call the band?” Basically we all wouldn't commit to a band name and then this song came on the radio—the Rolling Stones song—and we were singing, “wild, wild horses...” We all started singing along, and I said, “That's it!” So now we live with that [laughs].