Athens, GA-based Wanderwild have released their debut full-length, In Due Time, out now. Wanderwild, originally the brainchild of singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Matt Martin, has since its inception evolved from a solo project into a full-fledged band with Martin at the helm.
“The album title, In Due Time, refers to the theme of patience — relationally, creatively,” said Martin of the album. “That was challenging me while making the album. I’m constantly having to remind myself to find a balance between hard work and faith in the process.”
We asked Martin to take us through each track on the album and give us further insight into his inspiration and writing process.
Check out his track-by-track rundown below, and be sure to queue up the album stream below.
“Control” has always had an X factor for us. It’s in an asymmetrical time signature (7/4), uses jazz inspired chord voicings, and was originally intended to be played with a drum machine. We had a lot of fun with textures and layers in the production process—field recordings of rain, reverbed synth sounds, etc. It wasn’t always going to start the album, but became irreplaceable once we entertained the idea. It’s a song about being frustrated with shallow romance and the “illusions of control.”
“In Due Time”
The spark for “In Due Time” came during an afternoon jam session with Wes [Gregory], our drummer. We somehow started riffing off of “Everybody Wants To Rule The World,” and ended up with an iPhone voice memo that sketched out what would become the verse and chorus sections. I like to work under a little bit of pressure, so I actually booked studio time before the song was even finished. We hammered out the arrangement as a band the day before we recorded it. It’s a satisfyingly dynamic song for us, and the build in the bridge is one of our favorite moments on the album. Strangely enough, I named the song after the album title (which had already been decided), instead of the other way around.
“Coalesce” happened in a day. One morning I woke up with a drum beat and synth loop in my head, and spent the next 14 hours pursuing it. It’s mostly sample based, and represents a totally different workflow (computer based) than I usually employ. The process was exciting and liberating. The melodies and instrumental track all happened in that same day, but I didn’t record the vocal until a year later. Thankfully the song stood the test of time, because almost nothing was changed. It showcases my most honest attempt at a shameless pop chorus.
“Plans” is one of the most honest songs I’ve ever written. It was born out of sadness and heartache, in part because I was tragically unsurprised. I’m thankful I wrote it in such an emotional state, because I’m not sure hindsight would have allowed me to write it with such transparency. We kept the band arrangement incredibly simple to help highlight the fragility and vulnerability that the song contains. It translates live better than any of us expected, and is really fun (albeit depressing) for me to sing.
You know when you have a roof over your head and food on your plate, but still have a sadness that you can’t justify or pinpoint or explain? That’s what “Seasons” is about. I’m trying to talk myself into seeing the value in the darker moments, despite how challenging they can be, because they truly are essential. I was particularly inspired by The National’s rhythm section on this one. That’s nothing new, but this song really highlights that influence from both a production and arrangement standpoint.
“Taxi Cab” is similar to “Plans” in its vulnerability and subject matter, but channels frustration more than sadness. I’m not a very angry person, but this song flirts with that emotion heavily. It’s dynamic in a similar way to “Control”, and starts side B of the record with the same intention. The ending is unhinged and chaotic, which is reflective of the lyrical content, and a whole lot of fun for us to play live.
“Dreams” is a song about me trying to convince myself to keep pursuing music. It was written in a time of self-doubt and uncertainty, in the early days of Wanderwild’s existence. I wasn’t on the verge of quitting music necessarily, but I was struggling to find meaning and purpose behind songwriting and creativity. I was tired of placing stock in other people’s validation, and needed to find new joy and conviction in my work. Currents by Tame Impala had just come out when I wrote “Dreams,” so that record definitely influenced my production approach. Specifically the filter in the intro and third verse, and the punchy, real-but-sampled-feeling drum sounds.
“Numbers & Exchanges”
Admittedly, I sometimes feel like acoustic tracks are filler, but “Numbers & Exchanges” really wanted to be on this album. It’s a song about human value, and battling the feeling of being reduced to commerce and commodity. The piano outro was a last minute addition that I stumbled upon while we were sequencing the album. It’s a sketch that I recorded on my dad’s piano in Cleveland a few years ago that I’d totally forgotten about it. Amazingly, it paired perfectly with the song, and offered a new contemplative space within the album.
“Day 31” was the last song to be written for the album, so it’s a fitting way for the album to end. It’s called “Day 31” because I wrote it on the 31st day of 2017. I wanted to write a song that avoided flowery language and metaphor and spoke directly to where I was at in life. I had just graduated from college, and was trying to figure out which moments were and weren’t sacred in my life. Possibly all of them, possibly none of them — I wasn’t sure, and certainly knew I never could be, but found solace in the people and spaces around me. The seemingly mundane moments in life can sometimes be the most meaningful. I wanted the album to end with an exclamation mark, and the outro of “Day 31” allows it to do just that.