As Posted on NeonNettle.com
Neon Nettle Sits Down With Wild Cub’s Lead Singer Keegan DeWitt
Wild Cub’s debut album ‘Youth’ is out September 15th
The American five-piece band, Wild Cub, recently announced their upcoming UK tour this September, in perfect timing for the release of their debut album ‘Youth’. Front man Keegan DeWitt teamed up with instrumentalist Jeremy Bullock to form the band that has since seen nationwide success.
‘Youth’ aims to formerly introduce the group through a collection of the pivotal moments that shaped their music and who they are as a band today.
Neon Nettle decided to get to know lead singer Keegan DeWitt a little better. We grilled him on his views for the band, potential fashion lines and to get some heartbreak advice.
NN: Your website mentions how your vision for ‘Youth’ was for it to be like an audio diary of your memories growing up, what made you decide to be so vulnerable and honest with this album?
WC: In many ways, the record is about the refinement that happens between 17-27. You begin very raw and idealistic and in many ways silly. In between then and 27, you spend so much of your time struggling, reaching into the darkness a bit. I felt like so much of myself and the people around me were being shaped fundamentally by how they dealt with that searching.
That search can be pretty tough, in that you really have to find a way to strike that balance where you maintain your romanticism, your willing to play stupid and go back out into the darkness again just after you’ve been hurt. I had this big fear that at some point I’d lose the willingness to do that. I was afraid that I was going to eventually say ‘there is nothing good out there anymore,’ I desperately wanted to make sure that I maintained that romanticism and desire to continue trying to find someone, something.
NN: Were you apprehensive about letting your fans in so much?
WC: I like to think that the record is a box of photos someone has found. It is truly personal to me and that’s critical, for your work to be personal. But it’s also removed by a degree. Someone looking through the photos doesn’t really know; when was this taken? What’s these people’s relationship to one another? What’s just happened? I like to construct things lyrically in a way where there is a lot of imagination involved on the art of whoever is listening.
NN: Is there any childhood memories in particular that you feel shaped your approach to your music and who you are as a band today?
WC: I think there is something beautiful about the compression of time as you grow older. When I was younger, I would drive around all night with my best friend listening to our favorite songs, talking about our dreams and what we were passionate about artistically. We’d park and sit in a parking lot and just listen to music. Those moments had a slowness to them, they lasted forever in my memory. Now, I constantly feel like time is rushing by, I never have enough time to do even half the things I both want (and have) to do. Touring doesn’t help haha.
There is something really wonderful about how simple moments like driving all night can have a huge meaning and span long amounts of time for you when you are younger. A lot of the record is intended that way, to bring a slow motion focus to very small moments. The way the air smelled when you sat next to her, not saying anything etc.
NN: If ‘Youth’ aims to prove how our choices are instrumental in shaping who we are, do you guys believe there is a divine plan, like destiny, or are we fully in control of our lives?
WC: Big question! Haha. I think choice is a fascinating and terrifying thing. I am not a spiritual person, but when I think about the fact that I could have potentially not have ever met my wife, it makes me feel very helpless. She is the most fundamental piece of who I am and the defining piece of my life. I could have missed her very easily. That is an overwhelming thought.
It’s true of a lot of things, how much decisions or the lack of decisions can really shape things irreparably in people’s lives.
NN: Last year you performed at Rebecca Minkoff’s A/W collection fashion show, during NYFW, is fashion something you’re interested in?
WC: We all have our own things we are drawn to in fashion. Harry has a very specific thing he’s drawn to, [he has a] really interesting and custom taste [for fashion]; Jeremy does as well. For me, I’m always really drawn to the crispness and simplicity of basics; Uniqlo button-downs, American Apparel basics, etc. I always really appreciate someone’s style when it seems crisp, intelligent, but not cheeky.
NN: Would you ever consider collaborating with fashion houses in the future or creating your own line?
WC: The thing that fashion does so right is feel. Speaking as a songwriter, I’m very rarely inspired directly by other music. Mostly it’s a poem I’ll read, a photograph, a film. I feel like that’s very often the case with fashion, it’s feeding off of a multitude of inspirations. We admire Grand Ceremony, Colette and a lot of these other spots that are using overall culture as a way to inspire people via fashion.
NN: After performing at loads of festivals this summer, what were some of your festival season highlights?
WC: Seeing Lykke Li last night was pure magic. Her presence is simultaneously sensual, electric, passionate and ultimately fiercely intelligent and assured. We really admire her.
NN: A lot of your lyrics seem to express feelings of unrequited love and heartbreak; would you say that relationships are the most influential experiences in your creative process?
WC: Overall, as an artist, I’m drawn by the idea that people can never fully communicate to one another. There is always something lost in between. That incompleteness, the idea of interpretation or something just out of reach; that is ultimately really driving for me. The idea that I still can’t fully express the immensity of the feelings I have for my family, for my wife, those are driving things for me artistically.
Especially when you are younger, you are meeting people, falling in love for the first time. The idea of learning how tough it is to connect with another person, there is a value in that that feels really basic for me.
NN: What would be your advice for fans going through a tough break up?
WC: Fixing it is hard. Time moves slowly, but it really heals. It takes a year of doing everything you did with that person, now without them, for those things to heal. But ultimately, the suffering there is a really amazing thing. It means that it’s still possible for two random people to connect and affect each other in a deep, deep way. That means it’s worth searching for again.
NN: What normally goes on backstage at one of your shows? Any rock star bad behaviour?
WC: It’s actually laughably not like that haha. We travel so much now, that a lot of it is resting, focusing, refreshing. Beverage of choice is Tequila Soda for backstage; keeps you energized, doesn’t let you get sleepy and isn’t horrible for you or at least we keep telling ourselves that.
NN: What can fans expect from your upcoming UK tour?
WC: We have such a huge respect for UK listeners. I grew up listening to almost entirely British music. I would pay loads of money to get the imported Q Magazine and then spend even more to hunt down the records. It was an entire world of incredible, intelligent and brave music that just didn’t exist in the States (for me) at that time. We are so grateful to get to come over, each show feels really, really special.
If you feel as strongly about your partner as Keegan does, here’s some special ways to spoil them this Valentines Day or for your next date night:
Keegan’s words about his wife are beautiful, it’s couples like this that restore my hope in the institution of marriage. But some people believe that marriage is no longer necessary, take a look: