The Wild Reeds Unpack 'New Ways To Die' EP, Touring With Shakey Graves & More: Exclusive Premiere


“The finest instance I may give [to describe this EP] is that I’m ingesting a kombucha, and it says ‘fall version,’ and it’s fully completely different from all the opposite labeled kombuchas,” The Wilds Reeds’ Mackenzie Howe says over the telephone.

It’s an correct metaphor. The Wild Reeds modified up their recording course of for his or her new EP, New Ways To Die, which you’ll be able to hear solely on Billboard forward of its large launch Friday (Sept. 28) Dualtone. While their earlier two LPs are filled with harmonies and energy chords, New Ways To Die is an experimental mission that reveals a extra uncooked and acoustic aspect of the group.

“I’d say that that is simply not us placing our greatest or worst foot ahead, this is rather like somewhat completely different type of B-side of extras,” she provides.

Though the indie folk-rock group initially started as a trio in 2010, The Wild Reeds have been recording as a quintet since 2014. They self-released their debut LP, Blind and Brave, in 2014, after which adopted that up with 2017’s The World We Built — their first launch on a serious label, which earned them their first entry on a Billboard chart, reaching No. 22 on Americana/Folk Albums and No. 25 on Heatseekers Albums. Their 2015 Tiny Desk Concert for NPR has additionally garnered greater than 1,000,000 views.

The Wild Reeds' third full-length set, due someday subsequent yr, guarantees to construct on that momentum. The group teamed up with Lucius drummer and producer Dan Molad on each the EP and the new album at Panoramic House in Stinson Beach, California earlier in the summertime. The group is presently on tour with Shakey Graves, and so they'll hit the street with Gregory Alan Isokov beginning Oct. 9.

Ahead of their new EP, Billboard caught up with The Wild Reeds’ Kinsey Lee, Mackenzie Howe and Sharon Silva to debate New Ways To Die, its mysterious cowl artwork, touring with Shakey Graves and extra.

On how they pieced collectively the three tracks:

Kinsey: We went within the studio to report 24 songs and scaled it all the way down to 21. The songs are somewhat extra intimate and actually particular to us, so we needed to place them collectively and launch them on an EP.

Mackenzie: The factor that’s so attention-grabbing about these songs is that we’re placing out a report subsequent yr, and we’re making an attempt to not announce it in any respect. Basically, these have been just like the "non-pressure, if-we-get-to-it" songs. We have been gonna put “New Ways to Die” on the [full-length] report, however I had a dream that there was this different track that was presupposed to go on the report as a substitute of “New Ways to Die,” and I instantly texted the band and was like, "Hey guys, I actually assume this different track needs to be on the report and we must always take 'New Ways to Die' off and preserve it with the opposite two Four-track songs — they’re triplets and belong collectively." You’ll see once you hear the report within the spring. 

It’s a really produced and punchy and enjoyable and poppy report, and so these songs which might be fully stripped down and intimate dwell alone with a really particular temper, and it felt bizarre to separate one from the opposite two. So as soon as we determined to place them collectively, we felt actually good about packaging it as an EP. We’re not making an attempt to introduce this as a brand new sound or sort of recording — these are type of our B-sides, and we’re releasing them first as a result of we simply needed one thing enjoyable to launch.

On recording with Lucius collaborator Dan Molad:

Mackenzie: We sought him out particularly for this recording course of. He’s the type of man that’s prepared to get actually actually hi-fi and go loopy with manufacturing and do actually enjoyable, trendy stuff, after which additionally sit round a Four-track tape recorder with three microphones and simply hope that we get one thing actually uncooked.

Kinsey: We made a listing of producers we’d wish to work with, and he was No. 1on mine, as a result of we had by no means labored with a producer that was curious about difficult us vocally. Everybody [in the past] was similar to, "Yeah, you understand what you’re doing." But realizing that Danny comes from a gaggle that may be very vocally pushed, we knew that he could be difficult us in that means, and he actually did.

Sharon: He made room for us all to be actually inventive but in addition problem us instrumentally and vocally. It was actually cool. He was like, "You can nonetheless have enjoyable whereas making one thing nice." I haven’t actually had an expertise like that earlier than this.

On the quilt artwork for New Ways To Die, which encompasses a Polaroid image of a rest room:

Sharon: We have been up at Stinson Beach — it’s such a ravishing place the place you may look out into the ocean when you have been recording. It was good. On day two, one of many bogs clogged — like, actual unhealthy — to the purpose the place it was leaking into the management room, and the scent was simply permeating the house.

So the way it’s arrange is there aren’t actually recording cubicles, it’s only one large lounge space the place they’ve all the things arrange. So we have been sitting on the bottom recording “New Way to Die,” and the proprietor of the home is simply strolling backwards and forwards making an attempt to plunge this bathroom and making an attempt to seal the leak, as a result of we couldn’t be within the management room — we have been getting lightheaded! And it simply permeated the house, and in between takes we have been like, "Oh my God, I don’t understand how for much longer I can do that."

Mackenzie: We have been burning so a lot Palo Santo.

Kinsey: We thought-about going residence as a result of we couldn’t truly breathe. The management room was beneath the restroom.

Sharon: So I simply went in in the future and took that Polaroid of the bathroom and had [producer Dan Molad] simply write “New Ways To Die” on it and we have been like, "That’s it! We’re completed with the report — tight."

Kinsey: It’s humorous to be in such a stunning place after which have one thing like that occur the place it’s like, "Ahh, it’s so beautiful and it smells so… oh."

Mackenzie: We nonetheless don’t know who the offender is, however we’ve got concepts.

On touring with Shakey Graves:

Mackenzie: It’s been nice. We’ve been mates with these guys for years now. We’re on the identical label and have so many mutual mates. Our managers are buddies, and it was simply type of the proper storm. We really feel just like the followers are extremely receptive to us in a extremely cool means, as a result of we’re equally as genre-confused as he is. It’s someplace between people and rock and singer-songwriter and heavy. It’s been nice up to now.

Sharon: They’re simply actually good hangs. They’re simply easy-going, and it’s good to tour with a band like that. They’re foolish and simply as bizarre as us.

Kinsey: I believe this is without doubt one of the best-matched payments we’ve ever had. We’re all the time trying to find what band we must always open for that will complement our music and their music, and our music is completely different [from Shakey Graves’] however related sufficient that we complement one another rather well. We give one another numerous power — and that’s actually necessary on the street.

This interview has been edited and condensed for size and readability.