An Interview with The Penniless Wild

The Penniless Wild
The Penniless Wild

The Penniless Wild are an indie/folk/rock band based out of Hartford, CT. Originally comprised as a folk duo, they have since transformed into a five-piece electric unit, while holding true to their folk style of writing. The band released their first studio project in late 2017 entitled “Cardboard Sheets” and have been performing regionally in support of the EP playing with bands like Good Old War, Bronze Radio Return and The Ghost Of Paul Revere, to name a few.

Replacing acoustic guitars with electric guitars and the stomping of feet with driving bass and hard-hitting drums, the band brings an intense, heartfelt rock and roll aspect to their music; whilst creating a sound that is completely original to them.

We caught up with the band to get some industry advice and find out about their past musical experiences and present feelings on the music industry.

Tell us about how you started making music or what initially got you into music?
We are a lyric driven Indie / Rock outfit that oddly enough started as a Folk / American Duo. I have personally been writing songs for myself (accompanied by an overall need to release them out of me) since I was a kid. This current project started with two kids from very different musical upbringings getting together and realizing they both had the same need and desire to create. We have been lucky enough to expand to five people who were all once kids with the same desire.

What is your typical song writing process? Is it the same every time? Do you have any routines to get you in the creative frame of mind?
The way that the band works is I usually write a song and bring it to the band, and they bring it to life, we have recently started writing as a unit and it has been eye opening. Writing comes to me in spurts, I personally have weeks where I don’t pick up a pen and others where I somehow write six or seven songs. More recently in the past year or so with less inspiration, I have been allotting myself times as soon as I wake up to focus on writing, I have found that I am my freshest and most creative in the morning. It could be that I am still hazy so I don’t overthink things as much, which is also wildly helpful.

Can you describe a pivotal moment in your career?
We have had the pleasure of sharing the stage with a lot of brilliant artists, but being able to continue making music as great friends and long-time collaborators remains the constant pivotal moment. Partnering up with ANARA and having the possibility to grow our audience in more creative ways was also extremely pivotal.

How important do you think publishing representation is for artists and composers?
I believe it to be a massive tool to help get your music out there in a different, more unique way. A properly paired song with a perfectly matched placement can not only elevate each other’s importance but get your music to a wider, more general audience.

Who would you say has been the greatest influence on your music?
Oddly enough, being a part of an interesting conversation or overhearing someone say something strange or brilliant. It is the core to a lot of our songwriting and an integral role in the final product of our music which is based around melodies and harmonies. Musical influences are incredibly scattered, from early Nathaniel Rateliff to The Band, and even some more recent pop centric artists.

You’re based in the States, could you tell us what are the current musical trends there? How do you think your music fits these trends?
I think the current musical trends in the states are fresh modern production driven records that are incredibly fun and interesting to listen to. Alongside that is the jam scene, neither of which we fall directly into, but think of in different terms of relation to our music and live identity. We try to add our favourite elements of production into our recordings if it suits the song. We love when a song jumps off the page and we get to put it in its own little world, so we meld the songwriter driven Indie / Rock with modern elements if the sound is right for that. With the jam world, we don’t fit sonically at all, however the live show and the community elements are such a beautiful thing that we try and create a hybrid of inclusion and theatrics that the jam scene is built upon.

Do you have a favourite use of music in TV or Film?
A properly placed song that elevates a moment can completely change the feeling of a scene. A song that matches the depth of a pivotal scene can leave an imprint on me personally, and it has previously in so many different shows or films.

Do you have any advice for aspiring songwriters/composers?
Never focus on what you can get out of a song, always focus on how you want the song to sound and feel. In such a digital age, the thing that cuts through the most is being utterly transparent and honest. The best music, the music that we will never forget, be it a massive song or one of your friends, are the ones that are the most earnest and truthful.