Wild Belle’s sophomore album “Dreamland” dropped last Friday, just 24-hours before Record Store Day — one of multi-instrumentalist Elliot Bergman’s favorite days of the year. The pseudo-psychedelic duo is composed of Bergman and his sister, Natalie, who sings vocals, and were on break in at home in Chicago before their U.S. tour to support the new record. He played some records for us (including a reggae cover of “Billie Jean,” we’ve been humming ever since) and discussed the band’s vinyl influences, DJ tricks and road fams.
Following Record Store Day, what’s your relationship with vinyl? Did you grow up listing to it?
Record Store Day is pretty much every day for more. I worked in a record shop all through college in Ann Arbor and am still very much addicted to buying records. But once you work in a store, it’s hard to buy ones [elsewhere], because you’re like, ‘This isn’t a $40 record, this is a $3 record and I should buy it for $5.” I went through periods of withdrawals because I was insulted by how much everything costs. Lately we can justify what I’ve been buying though because we’ve been doing a lot of DJ-ing. That’s a pretty dangerous rationalization.
What do you play to get people on the dance floor?
There are certain songs you can’t leave without because they’re engrained in people’s consciousness, like “Miss You” by the Rolling Stones” or “Hang on Sloppy” [by the McCoys]. People just get so excited when they hear them.
Did your vinyl collection play an influence on “Dreamland”?
W e were influenced by so many things on this album, like the downtown New York post-punk stuff like Liquid Liquid and ESG. Then stuff like this song called “With a Girl Like You” by the Troggs that I really love. There’s an innocence to it that doesn’t exist in pop music anymore. Like hopefulness in this thought — “Can I dance with you?” It’s such a simple thought and you can actually picture the guy at a dance asking before the end of the night. When you think of a lyric like that being able to capture the consciousness of people’s minds and be able to transport them, there’s something really beautiful about that.
There’s some dark stuff on this album, but there’s hope, too. We listened to that Troggs’ album and wanted to capture some of that hopeful stuff. We were being bombarded with lots of dark things in our personal lives as we were making this album. You have to embrace those things and deal with them in your own way, but you also have to be able to be hopeful and talk about love in a way that’s positive and constructive.
I’m sure everyone wants to ask you about touring and making music with your sister and that sibling relationship, but does that vibe extend to your tour family now, too?
People always ask what it’s like to be brother and sister. It's such a focus. Now we’re just trying to open that dialogue and be like, we’re all brothers and sisters and we’re at a point in time that we learn to love to everyone as a brother and sister. There’s so much hate speech in the political scene and people are trying to divide things up, so our understanding is that everyone is your brother and sister and it’s important to reinforce whenever we can.