Wild Child finds way back with new album, ‘End of the World’
The first time Austin-based, indie-folk-pop band Wild Child came to Aspen to perform at Belly Up, they came over Independence Pass towing a trailer.
“I guess I just missed the sign that said, ‘Do not drive with a trailer,'” said lead vocalist and bariton ukulele player Alexander Beggins with a chuckle. “I was driving through the highest peaks I’d ever seen with a giant trailer going through these narrow turns, watching the back of the trailer get really close to the side of the road. And everyone’s on edge. It was the most stressful drive of my life.”
Luckily, they got to town safely and learned a good lesson: It might take work to get to Aspen, but it’s worth it. Since then, he said, they have returned to Belly Up “a handful of times,” though due to the pandemic, their show Sunday will be their first time back since 2019.
“My best memory of Belly Up is how the staff treat you. They are so accommodating and very friendly,” he said. “Of course, it’s also a wonderful, great venue just littered with memorabilia of different artists that have played it. It’s a good vibe, a good night all around, and Aspen is just a really cool town.”
Almost the end
Their recently released fifth studio album, “End of the World,” and subsequent tour almost didn’t happen.
Beggins said that in 2018, after being on the road for 10 years, the band returned to Austin “burnt out.” They decided to take a break, and he seriously thought his journey with the band might be over.
“It just wasn’t feeling good anymore, and we didn’t quite know what to do,” he said. “We started doing some of our own solo projects, and honestly, it kind of felt like we had our run, and it was time to walk off into the sunset. It ended up being so good for us to just take this break from the band. We were doing our own thing and just living our lives.”
He said after a yearlong break, during the pandemic, the band came together to make music for fun and try their hand at some digital content. They found a loyal fan base online that made them rethink the future of the band.
“We started writing music again, just because we wanted to, and it was fun, and there wasn’t pressure to make a new record or do anything,” he said. “After a good couple months of doing that, we had enough for a record and decided we wanted to record it. That’s what got us back together.”
For “End of the World,” the two-surviving members of the original band, Beggins and Kelsey Wilson (lead vocals and violin), had the freedom to work with new musicians they had admired and try a new approach to recording the album.
“We hired this brilliant composer to arrange string and horn parts of songs, which we had never done before, and that was really rad,” he said. “Members of the Dallas Symphony came out to a recording session, and when they sat down with their sheet music and started playing, we were blown away. Sonically, it’s a much bigger sound that what we did before. It was kind of like hearing our music for the first time but through a different lens.”
Wild Child is finding its stride with this new album and tour. A little bit older and wiser and looking for more work/life balance, Beggins said, they have instructed their agent not to book them for more than two-week stretches on the road at a time, so that they get breaks to go home and avoid the burnout they experienced in 2018.
“I don’t know what the future holds,” he said. “But we’re having fun doing it now and getting this new music out. It’s been great to see the responses of people singing the new songs. The record came out just over a month ago, and it seems to be digesting well. I think we’ll try and do a little bit more globe-trotting over the next year and see where that leaves us.”
What: Wild Child w/Próxima Parada
Where: Belly Up Aspen
When: Sunday, 7 p.m. doors, 8 p.m. show
More information and tickets: bellyupaspen.com/events/wild-child