On one of London’s hottest days in history, we took a moment to grab a glass of icy water and sit out in the heat with Wildwood Kin (and their part Border Collie, part Bernese Mountain Dog – Bear). In the matter-of-fact words of the ladies themselves, Wildwood Kin are simply the Alt-Folk familial trio from Southwest UK. Their ethereal music contains all the beauty of the traditional Folk sound and pairs it with contemporary energy and fiery drive. And if you are finding yourself in awe of their beautifully crafted melodies and heavenly harmonies, then you won’t be shocked to find out that they have quite literally been practising since birth. Composed of sisters Beth and Emillie Key along with their cousin Meghann Loney, they have been harmonising everything in earshot since their early childhood days. And with all these years of recreational practice, it wasn’t long before they found their signature style with Emillie playing the guitar, Beth on keyboard and Meghann on drums, each joining forces when it comes to vocals.
While taking influence from many musical greats that have come before, namely Simon & Garfunkel, Fleetwood Mac and James Taylor, Wildwood Kin have spent the last few years crafting their sound and building their lyrics to create a truly immersive storytelling experience. And while it is true that all these influences can be heard in their music, they have definitely made their sound their own. Wildwood Kin represents everything their music stands for – how it strives to be selfless and collective and, in every sense, encouraging towards listeners. With lyrics that reflect their own emotional journeys, they hope that what they write will inspire and encourage others who are experiencing their own battles, to keep going.
Their girl-next-door likeability combined with their fierce professional drive and unshakeable passion for music has gifted them with the perfect combination of qualities to be the best, and the most authentic, band they can be. This is why we wanted to catch up with Wildwood Kin and find out all about their musical journey and where they plan to go from here. And with the release of their second, self-titled album just around the corner, we can’t wait to see what these ladies do next.
Q: How has this year been for you so far?
Emillie: “It has been pretty busy. Since the start of the year, we have been in the studio, and we have probably spent in total about two months just working in the studio on the album. The production and the mixing process take a lot longer than you think. And then from there, it was just straight into touring with Under The Apple Tree which was really good fun, and after that, it was straight into festival season. It has been so nice to have different things going on rather than it just being the same thing for months on end.”
Meghann: “It has really been quite non-stop.”
Beth: “Getting the album ready and getting the album art ready was also quite a long process. What with all the photoshoots and video-shoots and promo. It has been fun though.”
Q: And we have already heard the amazing ‘Beauty in Your Brokenness’ and ‘Never Alone’, but tell us a bit about your upcoming album – what was the writing/recording process like?
Meghann: “This time round, we have done more co-writing which was a new experience for us. We would get invited by our publishers to just get in a room with some writers and we would just bring our ideas to them and they would help us with the arrangement for the song. I think we learnt a lot about writing through this. And yeah, the recording process was really good. We worked with a guy called Ian Grimble which was great because we just love his work and love what he has done with other artists. The process was just really nice. It got a bit stressful towards the end, but I think it always does because everyone is tired. It’s like having a baby. You start off all excited and you just can’t wait for it to come out and then when it comes to the final bit everyone is just like PLEASE come out. Everyone is so emotionally involved, and there is so much vulnerability that comes with pouring your heart and soul into music. You just have got to learn to sit back and enjoy the ride.”
Q: In a few words, could you describe the album?
“Uplifting, empowering, raw, authentic and eclectic.”
Q: How did the process of making this album differ from your last album?
Emillie: “We feel as though this album represents our live sound way more than our last album. This time around when we were writing the songs and doing the pre-production, we made sure that we felt happy with our arrangements in our live setup. We wanted to get that right before we added any production to it. It sounds like that would be the obvious thing to do, but for our last album, there was a lot of times where we had a lot of ideas but would just figure out how to play them later. This time we were very intentional with getting our sound right. This time around it represents where we want to be musically, which is a really good thing.”
Q: Where is your favourite place to be creative?
Meghann: “The best experiences of writing new stuff has been when we’ve been able to set up as a three. We just want to be able to jam out together. The writing process for “Never Alone” was very much like that, we just set ourselves up in a live format. They’re definitely the songs on the album that we are the proudest of.”
Q: What is the starting point for you when making a song?
Emillie: “It happens differently every time. Sometimes we have started a song from scratch by just jamming out with instruments and then a melody will come spontaneously. Other times, Meg might come up with a drum beat of I might come up with a guitar riff or Beth might be inspired by a concept. It is different every time. Sometimes I don’t really know where to start when writing a song. You just have to wait for inspiration and wait for yourself to be in a certain frame of mind. We have learnt that trying to force it doesn’t work. It would be inauthentic for us.”
Meghann: “You will go through stages where you’re just like ‘I don’t wanna write’, and then suddenly you will read a poem or a quote or you’ll see a piece of art or have a conversation with someone and it’ll all change.”
Emillie: “Sometimes you’ll just get a melody in the middle of the night and have to just start recording it on a voice-note. And you’ll look back in the morning and be like WHAT IS THIS.”
Q: And you’ve got your tour coming up; would you say touring is the best part of your job?
Beth: “Touring can be very fun, but it can also get very tiring. By the end of our last tour, we were just physically, mentally and emotionally drained. We couldn’t really function or process things.”
Meghann: “But I think that was partly because it was such a new thing for us. When we did our first headline tour, we were just so nervous as we didn’t know what to expect. The team dynamic wasn’t too good back then, as we were too stressed about whether people would enjoy it or not. We have learnt a lot over the last couple of years about what it means to tour in a more sustainable and healthy way.”
Q: Is there a particular city or town you love to play for?
Emillie: “We always like the Scottish; they are always amazing! And because Scotland is very different from what we are used to, it feels like the closest thing to playing abroad. They are always super wild; they go nuts and are super supportive. The further south you go the more reserved you get. The more north you go the rowdier they get. Performing has never been a natural thing for us though. We love to create and make music but going on stage has never been a natural thing for us. We are getting better though and it’ll definitely come with time. We have never played Ireland before and we are SO excited about it. And we are also so excited or Berlin, Germany. That will be so cool. There are going to be lots of new adventures coming up.”
Q: And what about festivals? What would you say is the main difference between a gig and a festival gig?
Meghann: “I think festivals for me are my favourite part of the job. You get to reach a whole group of people who you otherwise wouldn’t reach. People are just way more open at festivals. They want to vacate their everyday lives and really engage with what you are sharing, and so it feels like a more interactive experience.”
Emillie: “This year has been really great for festivals. We haven’t done as many, but the ones we have done have been really great. Because people are so open, they are more inclined to come chat to you after.”
Q: Is there anywhere in the world – country or city – that you would particularly love to conquer and play for?
Beth: “I’d love to conquer Japan.”
Meghann: “You want to CONQUER Japan?!”
Beth: “I mean I would just love to play there!”
Q: Your lives must be pretty full-on, but when you get a day off, how do you usually chill? Talk us through your typical ‘day off’ routine.
Meghann: “I like to go surfing. I live right by the sea, so I always just want to be swimming in it. I wouldn’t be the same person if I didn’t have sea-time when I go home. I love the feeling you get after.”
Emillie: “We all love the outdoors. We like to go on lots of walks and we just love to get outside. We just couldn’t move to London right now; we love the country too much.”
Beth: “I like to make videos and take photos; I find that quite therapeutic.”
Q: What are you most looking forward to for the rest of the year?
Beth: “I think it will be exciting when the whole album is finally released. It will be cool to see people’s reactions to it and see what they take from it. It is important for us to see whether our music helps people. Music is meant to be healing and so that is what we want to create.”
Full album link https://smarturl.it/WWKTimeHasCome
Photographer Kim Jobson
Styling Zoe Kozlik
MUAH Aimee Twist
Writer Lily Major