Wild Cub find maturity in ‘Youth’

GOB_WildCub2_0213

Most people looking to get a band off the ground move to Brooklyn. Keegan DeWitt got the hell out.

The Wild Cub frontman had spent the better part of eight years living in New York, working as a composer for commercials and film soundtracks — and successfully, at that. (“Inocente,” an Oscar-winning short documentary, for which he composed the score, was nominated for an Academy Award in 2013.) Still, he struggled to make ends meet.

“I spent a lot of my time learning how to bankroll living in New York, which is just such a big waste of effort,” he says. “I feel like I got a lot out my time there, and New York is such a fundamental part of who I am now, and it shaped me as a person a lot, but at some point, I was like, ‘I’m succeeding half way at my artistic career, and I’m only putting 50 percent of my effort into my day job, and not being very good at that. Maybe I should go to Nashville, where I can put 100 percent toward pursuing my art.”

So he did. Brooklyn might be the unofficial indie music capital of the country, but it’s also saturated with fairly interchangeable young bands struggling to establish themselves. That’s one thing that drew DeWitt to Nashville.

GOB_WildCubKeegan_0213

“The music business is changing, and that’s one of the places that it’s maybe changing in a good way,” he says. “In Nashville, there’s a strong burden of proof, in terms of having to write songs that have content to them. There are such long lines of songwriters that come from there that really write songs, legit songs. If there’s anything that modern music is missing, at the moment, especially hip indie music, are actual songs. So that’s one cool thing. You’re getting people that are really experimenting with new ways of making music but at the same time understand what it means to tell a narrative using the structure of the song.”

Plus, the cost of living down South is just cheaper. “I kept looking around in Brooklyn going, how in the f— are you guys paying for this?,” he laughs. “Are we all on trust funds, because I know I’m not. How are you doing this? Just hanging out and being in a band?”

These days, just hanging out and being in a band is pretty much DeWitt’s main occupation. In Nashville, he hooked up with multi-instrumentalist Jeremy Bullock to form Wild Cub, a fuzzed-out, synth-pop quintet whose debut album “Youth” dropped earlier this year.

Wild Cub might not yet be a household name, but most people are likely familiar with their single “Thunder Clatter,” an ode to DeWitt’s wife (who he married right around the same time he started writing “Youth”) buoyed by uptempo percussion and balmy beats.

GOB_WildCub_0213

Shifting gears from the solitary job of composing soundtracks to collaborating with bandmates and fronting a buzzy indie band can’t be the easiest transition, but he says it’s been an exciting change of pace.

“The nice thing about composing is that you can use restraint. You can just hit a single note and it can have a huge ripple effect if it paired with the right thing, timing-wise,” he says. “With a band you can also do something else. It’s like, at any moment that’s been really big in your life, there’s never been just one single emotion that comes. It’s not one-dimensional, it’s a multitude of things. You’re happy, but you’re also terrified, but you also feel invincible, but also crippled by the pressure of whether or not you can do something. A band gives you the ability to tackle a lot more nuanced emotions like that. It’s like the adage of what makes a really good pop song — something that sounds celebratory but underneath, it’s melancholy. You can dig at that more complex stuff.”

Still, learning to play well with others hasn’t been an entirely seamless transition. “I think one thing is true that, as the person who has to sing it every night, it’s difficult to connect with things that you haven’t written the entirety of,” he says. “It’s like in a play, you can do a certain amount of preparation as an actor, but things really start to take on a dynamic when you interact with somebody else. That’s where the drama takes place, and I like to think that some of that is true in terms of me having to collaborate with band members.”

That said, DeWitt isn’t interested in stealing the show. “I think in general, every year that I get older, the less I desire to be the main person that everyone is looking at. I try and think of it more as a literal thing, like it’s my job to be just one more piece of what’s happening on stage, in terms of how we’re telling the story to people, and the urgency or drama or physicality that I bring to it is all in service of helping people connect with the songs in a more immediate way.”

At 31, DeWitt has developed a fairly mature perspective on life. But he stresses that “Youth” isn’t about any kind of nostalgia for where he’s been, or what he could have done.

“You look around, and you just start to see all the people around you being shaped by a very simple thing — either them getting exactly what they wanted, or them not getting what the they thought they deserved or wanted in life,” he explains. “I was afraid that, through the refinement of growing up, you learn to either close yourself or open up, and that I was going to miss the one thing that I was desiring in my life, which was to meet someone to pair my life with. That I was going to shut myself off because of all the disappointments of growing up and getting older, and miss the one thing that I actually wanted. But there’s a lot more a celebration [in the album] of ‘wow, somehow I navigated that, and here is this person.’”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.