It is difficult to ignore the boys from Wildheart these days. We already had the chance to welcome them on our Grimm Nights in the Kinky Star and also on Glam Fest. Now they have released their first album independently (review is coming soon!) and they are ready to rock the stage on some summer festivals. Time to sit down and have a little chat with them.
First of all, thanks for this interview! How are you doing these days? It must be busy times with all the shows, your own festival and a brand new debut album out…
Wildheart: We’re doing great, thank you. It certainly has been busy over the past few months. But that’s the way we like it!
I read nothing but positive reviews of your self-titled debut album. How do you feel about all this love for a bunch of young guys who play music from a time long ago?
Wildheart: It’s quite overwhelming. We never thought we would receive so much positive feedback. It’s really satisfying, especially since we’ve worked our asses off to make the album sound good. It seems like people in Belgium were waiting for a band who could bring back the golden ages of eighties hard rock. We couldn’t be happier!
If you look hard to find any critique in the reviews of your shows or the album, it’s the fact that Farty needs a bit more rawness in his voice. What are the plans related to drinking and smoking to work on that? Or put more simply, how does he deal with this feedback?
Wildheart: You can check the box when it comes to drinking and smoking (laughter)! Look, a voice is something you either love or hate, simple as that. At the moment, there seems to be more more lovers than haters so it’s still good. Besides, we ourselves really dig his voice and it fits the music perfectly.
You are on the forefront of an active revival of bands who take their inspiration from eighties glam/sleaze rock. Are you afraid of being booked too often so people might get tired of you?
Wildheart: As we see it, there’s no such thing as being booked too often. We’d like to play as many gigs as we can in as many different places as possible. Although it might well be so that some fans from our home-area (Ninove) have suffered an overdose of wildness by now (laughter)! But hey, if they want us to play, we play!
While you are bringing back the eighties, Grimm is re-building the metal scene in Ghent. You have actively contributed to this by playing on some of our shows already. What’s your opinion about the work of Grimm?
Wildheart: We love the fact you’re supporting and keeping the metal scene alive! Nothing but respect for Grimm. And thanks for letting us be a part of it!
Some would argue that the eighties revival spirit was instigated by the likes of Steel Panther who often offer more a parody on the glam scene, while you are obviously writing genuine music. What’s your opinion on a band like Steel Panther?
Wildheart: Steel Panther is a great band, humour is a great way to connect to people. They are funny and really great musicians. We always go to see them when they’re in town! Maybe one day we’ll meet them or get the chance to play with them! So, Satchel, if you are reading this, give us a call!
Some weeks ago you organized your very own festival Wildfest and immediately made it the release party for your debut album. Megalomania or a brilliant promotional campaign?
Wildheart: Let’s call it a mixture of both. Thunderberck had some organisational plans for a festival in mind for quite some time. The opportunity was right and we, as a band, just went for it. To be clear: the idea to release our album on WildFest came in a later stage. When Wildfest, as an idea, came to the table, there were in no way plans already for an album, let alone making it the release show (as a matter of fact, on the first flyers, there wasn’t even any mentioning of a release show). As luck would have it, we managed to finish one in time and it all collided in a great way. We absolutely loved it!
How do you look back at Wildfest?
Wildheart: Organizing a festival in Belgium is always a bit tricky but we managed to get out of it alive (chuckles). In fact we feel that there is a need for a platform in Belgium for this kind of music. There is a solid fan base and there are a lot of (upcoming) bands. We’ll see where this Wildfest idea brings us in the future.
With everything that’s happening now I’m guessing you must be dreaming bigger and bigger. What are your plans for the future?
Wildheart: We’ll just keep going as we are. We’ll probably do some label shopping to get our album out in a wider distribution. Hopefully we’re able to continue playing because that’s what we’re really about. We play for fun and everything from there on out is just pure bonus! Off course we want to tour Europe, Japan, America, meet Eddie Van Halen or David Coverdale, but hey, as long as we’re having fun performing and playing we’re the happiest rockers out there! Bottom line: the sky is the limit!
Let’s go back in time. How did the idea of WildHeart came to be? You all have your experience in other bands as IC/TC, Warckon, Rosevalley Rebels, but then to decide to all dress up in spandex and re-live the eighties is something completely different of course. I’m imaging a drunk night’s decision, especially since I remember the very first promo picture of you as a band saying “Yes, this is really happening”.
Wildheart: The birth of Wildheart was somewhat of a happy coincidence. The fundaments of the band we’re already forming while another ’80s cover project was also taking place. There was some overlap between both bands and since forming a steady line up was a bit of a struggle for both bands, the answer lied in combining forces! And thus it shall be known that somewhere in springtime in the year 2014 WildHeart came to be.. or wait, scratch that! Make it ‘Sunset Strip’ in 1984.
Juice, Foxx, Thunderberck, Stevie Dee, Farty, … sounding nicknames for all the band members. Are you willing to reveal some background on the origins of these names?
Wildheart: Foxx got his nickname through another nickname he has in Dutch. Don’t ask. Although, occasionally he also goes by the name ‘Jack Sparrow’, but only when he has a moustache. Juice got his nickname through his favorite Steve Vai song. Stevie Dee’s name is based off his real name, as is Thunderberck’s. We have always known Farty by his nickname. The funny thing is we got to know Farty’s real name after we’d been playing together for six months!
A final question I must ask. When I think of the eighties and the stories I heard about how it was on Sunset Strip I need to know one thing… Are groupies still a thing for a glam rock band anno 2016?
Wildheart: (Laughter) We wish! Almost all of us have girlfriends so were pretty tied up (laughter).
The last words for our readers are yours. Anything you would like to say to our audience?
Wildheart: Sleep when you’re dead and let your wild heart out!
Thank you for the interview, guys!
Wildheart: Our pleasure!
See Wildheart live this summer:
July 23 – Tattoo Convention, Middelkerke
July 30 – Rockelingen, Edingen
August 8 – Parkconcerten, Ninove