Chris Wilcox – “Some Kind of Wild” (Coast Records Sessions)
Today we’re happy to continue our Coast Records Sessions series with another video from Chris Wilcox, this time performing a brand new track, “Some Kind of Wild”. The song is a single off the upcoming Chris Wilcox album, Chris Wilcox & the Boys, which was fittingly recorded with Matt Zutell at Coast Records and will see release in late June. Other than going a Chris Wilcox show, this video is the first place that you can hear “Some Kind of Wild”.
I sat down with Chris Wilcox at Coast Records after a recording session for Chris Wilcox & the Boys to discuss the new album, his growth as an artist, and what it was like recording at Matt’s studio. The very first Chris Wilcox CD, which some of you may remember, was a pop-punk EP called Whatever It Takes that was first released back in 2010, when Chris was a freshman at the College of Charleston.
“That CD was a bunch of songs I wrote in high school,” Chris explains. “I finished recording it my freshman year at Charleston. And from then until I recorded that little Why Struggle? EP, I hadn’t released any music. That was the whole time I was at college. I introduced myself to a lot of new music then, and that’s what changed the way that I write, and my influences and stuff. Because all I listened to in high school was pop-punk music, and that’s the only thing I thought was cool. And then I found guys like Jason Isbell, John Mayer, and Sturgill Simpson, and that changed my writing. Not so much a conscious decision as finding new influences and getting into new music, and just growing up.”
The Why Struggle? EP that Chris refers to was released back in 2014, and the song “Ride” marks the first Zutell-produced Chris Wilcox track that had seen release. They have since worked together on several more projects, including the new album, Chris Wilcox & the Boys. Their friendship started in an Intro to the Music Industry class at the College of Charleston, when Chris was a sophomore and Matt was a senior who worked at CofC’s CisternYard Radio.
“At the end of the semester we were in group projects, and I was paired with Matt,” Chris explains. “I had submitted that Whatever It Takes EP to the College of Charleston radio station, so he had heard it before, and had looked into the studio in Baltimore that I had recorded at, so we had that to talk about off the rip. He’s a pretty personable guy, and we hit it off. I wound up hitting him up at the beginning of senior year because I wanted to record music again, and I liked the demo that he showed the class. Fast forward to a few months later, that’s when the rest of the guys moved down here. I moved to James Island with Aaron and Matt. It was me, Ron, Matt, and four cats.”
Chris was starting to explore country music while living in Charleston, but he didn’t really start to find himself as a songwriter until he moved to Nashville.
“When I first moved to Nashville, part of it was that I wanted to have a change and get away from Charleston, but another part of it was obviously to pursue music heavier,” Chris says. “I had this naive conception of what that entailed, and I think maturing from that realization and writing a lot, and working in the music industry for a little bit, in a soul-sucking environment woke me up a little bit. It made me appreciate the guys down here, who are writing and not trying to cater to something.”
Listening to artists like Chris Stapleton and Jason Isbell, Wilcox started to explore what Jason Isbell calls “writing with your pants down”, or not being afraid to write songs from a personal space.
“I think that’s what Legacy was the beginning of me doing, writing about a lot of stuff that was really sensitive to me,” Chris explains. “Legacy was about my dad and stuff, kind of like, ‘what do you want to leave behind?’. ‘Drive’ was another step up from that.”
As Chris has continued to grow as an artist, Matt has also continued to grow as a producer and engineer, and the two have been recording and playing music together the whole time. Now, with Coast Records studio fully operational and Chris Wilcox recruiting a band consisting of Aaron Utterback (bass, Human Resources), Paul Chelmis (keys, Human Resources), and Peter Clark (guitar, Ohio), as well as Zutell on drums, he’s been able to hone in on a sound that he truly enjoys listening to, and has found an alt-country vibe that he plans to continue to explore.
“The space itself is fuckin’ awesome, social aspect aside. The EP we did before this was in a storage unit, or in Matt’s bedroom,” Chris continues. “I’ve recorded songs like that with Matt since we were friends, whether it was in his bedroom off Spring street, or in our closet in the master bedroom in the house we lived in on James Island. But now he’s finally got a spot. A big thing with this project is, we played together on a bunch of shows before we started it. Matt, Paul, and Aaron are so tight because they’ve played with each other for so long, and Pete came in and immediately fit in with the crew.”
The new space gave them the opportunity to live track much of Chris Wilcox & the Boys, which contributes to the laid-back vibe you’ll feel throughout the album. Getting all the boys together to record live has the benefit of giving the recordings a certain energy, but having them all in the same room means that there will be plenty of time spent drinking beers and doing anything other than work.
“I was joking with Matt, and we’ve been doing this for a year now, and it’s only 9 songs. We did four of them on my first trip down here, and I always underestimate how much time I need to leave for bullshit.”
Check out Chris Wilcox & the Boys performing “Some Kind of Wild” live at Coast Records below, and stay tuned for the full album this summer. There will be two singles released between now and then, including “Some Kind of Wild” and another track called “Voodoo Queen”. The first single, “GoldFriend”, was released in March. Video by Dries Vandenberg. Subscribe to our Youtube channel here.