Eclectic pop-rock is somewhat hard to come by. You don’t always get a different blend of sounds, both upbeat and melodic, from that style of music. The Young Wild, however, has done just that. They have found their own space in the genre that represents it in an inventive way, with interesting synths, a more vibe-focused sound and handcrafted lyrics that truly set their music apart — all while remaining quite danceable.
PACIFIC recently sat down with guitarist Gareth Moore at Mike Hess Brewing Company in North Park to chat about The Young Wild’s appearance at the recent annual 91X “Wrex the Halls” concerts at Valley View Casino Center; their new single; and what the future holds for the thriving pop performers.
PACIFIC: How did The Young Wild come to be?
Gareth Moore: We all met in university. We played in various projects around town and were all involved in the music scene. We decided to make a change in sound a little bit, and Bryan (William) bought a bunch of ’80s synthesizers. We had members come in and come out, and when Brandon (Zedaker) jumped on board is when this sound really came about. It’s taken us around the country a couple times, to play some cool shows and festivals, so we like it.
How did you guys develop an original, pop-driven sound?
GM: This is definitely the most unique sound I’ve been a part of. I feel like it’s combining a few different influences and aspects of music. Before, Bryan and I were pretty straight forward rock ‘n’ roll band and he produced jazz and stuff like that, but I don’t think we ever had a chance to combine different styles. It has turned into something really cool, which is great. I tell people I play in an indie pop band, with tinges of rock ‘n’ roll. I never thought I’d play in a pop band when I was growing up. I was like, “That was a hard ‘no.’ ” I look at myself then, like, “You were so young, so stupid.” Now, I’m like, “Hell yeah, I play in a pop-rock band!”
What’s it been like to get further to the top of the San Diego scene?
GM: I don’t think we’ve ever been, like, part of the “cool kid group” of San Diego musicians. We were kind of on the outside looking in. It’s a lot of work — there’s no way around it. Whether you’re a part of the cool kids or not, you gotta put your head down and play music and do all you can to get your name out there. It’s been a grind, but we are definitely making headway, which is nice. It’s cool to see the new stuff, especially, being received. Being recognized locally is so great.
You guys just released a single in December called “In The Wild,” right?
GM: Yeah, and it’s a fun one. It’s totally the jam and it was a long time coming for this song. We started recording the music video 20 months ago. It got put on the back burner for one or two other things, this and that. We circled back to the guys at the label and they were like, “Why hasn’t this been blkinkput out yet?” and we were like, “We don’t know … why hasn’t it?” and then it was just like, “Let’s get it out!” and so now it’s here. It’s getting a good response and people seem to like it.
Is the single part of a new EP in the works?
GM: To be determined. I don’t think, as of now, there’s a structure behind how everything else will be released. We have a few other things teed up for next year that we want to put out; whether or not that segues into a full album-type thing, we don’t know. If you’re like Beyonce or blink-182, you can put out an album whenever you want and know it’s going to do well. For a younger group, I think the route of putting out singles and just making sure that attention is constantly being grabbed with new material is important. If you put out a single or a music video or whatever media it is — as long as it’s a steady stream — I think that’s better for a younger band.
What was it like getting to play 91X’s “Wrex The Halls” alongside blink-182, AFI and Pierce the Veil?
GM: It was amazing; there’s no other way to describe that. I don’t think we realized quite how many people were there. We were the opener, so we peeked our head out once or twice before, but once it got to be within 30 minutes of us playing, we were in the back just keeping to ourselves. We walked on, and when we walk on the lights are off. When the lights come on, you can see the first 15 or so rows and we are kind of like, “OK, we’ve done this before, this is fine.”
When the set ended, all the house lights came on and we were like, “Thank you, oh … oh wow, there are so many people here right now!” I think if I had known that going onto the stage, I would have panicked. Not knowing until after was good — that way, the goal was to not trip on a wire walking off, which was already a daunting task.
Watching the bands play, like blink — 20 years, AFI — 20 years, it is just crazy to see the pros do it. We had become somewhat friends with the guys of Pierce the Veil, so that helped us get in to playing this slot to be filled by local musicians.
How is it balancing other jobs while playing music and touring as much as you do?
GM: I still bartend here and there. I think most musicians do a side job — whether or not they want to admit it — for a while, until you’re selling out shows or headlining them. The day after “Wrex the Halls,” after playing that stadium, I was bartending. Some people came in and they are like, “Hey man, I saw you last night playing at ‘Wrex the Halls.’ What are you doing here?” and it’s just like, “Well, I have these things called bills and for now, I still gotta pay them.”
I’m hoping next year is the last year we split time doing other things. Whether or not Bryan wants to keep doing music stuff or film for other projects, or Brandon is producing music — if they want to do that, that’s cool, too. I would like it to be like, if we don’t want to do anything else, we don’t have to, and The Young Wild will be our full-time gig.
Who are some of your favorite local bands and/or artists?
GM: I love The Verigolds. There’s also a kid named Jimmy Ruelas who I’m literally obsessed with. He is a pure rock ‘n’ roll player, he’s like The Black Keys but tighter. I’ve always loved the Wild Wild Wets and The Lulls. There’s also Markets, who I feel are pretty aligned with what we are doing, and I also like Garden Echo.
What does 2017 hold for The Young Wild?
GM: For us, especially, whenever we release some content, playing shows matters. If you don’t show up, people forget about you. I don’t care how much content you put out. So for us, the biggest thing is getting to these towns again. Getting to Dallas again, getting to New York again … Chicago, Portland and Seattle. We are making traction in all of these various areas, and if we don’t keep dipping in there, they will think we forgot about them. We want to keep it going.
What’s your best piece of advice for local musicians?
GM: Our long running joke is: What do you tell an upstart musician? Become a CPA. No, but really in the project we played before this called Family Wagon, a lot of our first shows came from not even, like, people liking our music — I mean, you can’t totally suck — but becoming friends with other musicians goes a long way. Grabbing a drink, meeting up and if you feel like going to the after-party, then go. I remember when we first started, the Casbah was it. I mean, the Casbah is a solid spot, of course, like you can go wherever around the country and the sound guy at the show will have a Casbah shirt on. You want to play there.
The way we got that show was this band called Dirty Sweet — they were like the quintessential San Diego rock band — helped us. We fought tooth and nail to get in with them. I found out that one of them was bartending at Henry’s Pub downtown so myself and my old guitarist would go there Wednesdays and see Lady Dottie and the Diamonds and hang out with him. We’d beg to be the opener. We drew well, too. That’s important: Make sure you can try to fill a room and follow through with it. Make friends and make sure all your friends and family come. Then, eventually, you will hopefully develop genuine fans.
Upcoming shows: To be announced.
Full band: Gareth Moore, Bryan B. William and Brandon Taylor Zedaker
About the brew
We met up with Gareth Moore of The Young Wild at Mike Hess Brewing Company, 3812 Grim Ave. in North Park. The brewery is located in a 12,500-foot-space near 30th Street, an area known as the heart of craft beer in San Diego. This location opened its doors in 2013 and holds Mike Hess’ corporate offices, the brewery, a canning line and a tasting room.