Interview: Wildwood Kin

There’s something about rainy days that makes me crave some really good folk music. Whether it’s Agnes Obel or Fleet Foxes, something about the uniquely earthy timbres of this genre sets the perfect soundtrack to a day spent staring out a rain-streaked window. No band better then, to see in this grey London day than indie-folk newcomers Wildwood Kin. Formed by sisters Emilie and Beth and cousin Meg, their powerful vocal harmony screams ‘unity’; the familial, the ancient feminine, and the bond between musicians who truly know and respond to each other’s every inflection. I spoke to the band following the release of their latest single, ‘Warrior Daughter’:


KM: Wildwood Kin is definitely a family affair. How long have you been writing and playing together?

WK: We were always very close since we were tiny and all shared a love of music, so it came very naturally to sing together from a very young age. We’ve only been a band officially for the past 3 years though.

KM: Is the rest of your family very musical?

WK: Yes, very! We picked up how to harmonise through our mums (who are sisters) as they both sing and play instruments. Music has always been a huge part of our family life, and the music our parents played and listened to has influenced our band’s sound a lot.


Wildwood Kin Junior

KM: Speaking of influences, Americana imagery plays heavily in your music. What inspired three Devonians to explore this style of music?

WK: The Americana influence was actually quite unintended! We didn’t really grow up listening to much of it, apart from being fans of the film ‘O brother where art thou’ which has some great Americana tunes in the soundtrack. But generally I think this was more of a label put on us by our listeners, which probably comes from the close harmonies. A lot of people compare the sound to Americana artists like Eagles or Gillian Welch, which is a huge compliment!

KM: Who do you take inspiration from?

WK: We grew up listening to a lot of Simon & Garfunkel, Fleetwood Mac and James Taylor and so we were inspired by that genre from a young age. We also love listening to bands like Fleet Foxes, Sigur Ros and The Civil Wars so we take some inspiration from them too.

KM: Unsurprisingly all these artists use close harmony singing heavily, as you do – as a group you are all incredibly receptive to what each band member is doing and you clearly work hard at achieving a blended sound. Do you think this is indicative of your relationship as a band?

WK: Yes definitely. We often take it for granted that we have such a close relationship, but without it we wouldn’t have the same synergy as a band. The fact that we are family and have been singing together for so many years gives us an unusual ability to read each other musically and blend together more naturally than if we weren’t related.



KM: You do come across as such a unified group, rather than disparate musicians put together in a band. Is that idea of unity and strong relationships between women very important to you?

WK: Absolutely. The 3 of us are quite different in many ways but we try to use our strengths to unite us rather than competing with each other. We hope that our love for each other is prevalent when we perform and that this inspires people, as unity is a common theme in our songwriting.

KM: So how does your songwriting process take shape? Do you all write together or do you come to the studio with different ideas?

WK: Absolutely. The 3 of us are quite different in many ways but we try to use our strengths to unite us rather than competing with each other. We hope that our love for each other is prevalent when we perform and that this inspires people, as unity is a common theme in our songwriting.


KM: As well as vocalists, you are all very accomplished instrumentalists– can you tell us about the different instruments you play?

WK: Well Emillie plays electric and acoustic guitar and younger sister Beth plays keys, percussion and a mandolin-like instrument called the bouzouki. Older cousin Meg plays drums.

KM: You’ve just released a new single, ‘Warrior Daughter’, which tells the story of a mother encouraging her daughter to go into battle. Is this symbolic of the transition into womanhood?

WK: Warrior Daughter was actually  written from the perspective of a Creator. After being inspired by a book about the beauty of a woman’s heart, we wanted to re-iterate the fact that although women have been given a nurturing tender spirit, they also have such strength and capability to fight for what they’re passionate about. We hope that women feel empowered and find identity in this.

KM: Although its polar opposites in terms of genre, it’s slightly reminiscent of artists such as Beyoncé, who also uses military or battle imagery to discuss feminist issues. Why do you think a lot of female artists are utilizing the ‘warrior’ image in relation to women?

WK: As a female trio we like to think that when other female artists write about these concepts, their aim is to encourage and build up other women to feel significant and empowered to achieve anything in life.

Beyoncé and her backing dancers pay homage to the Black Panthers movement in faux military garb. She is well known for her advocacy for women’s and particularly black women’s rights.

KM: You’ve recently premiered a beautifully shot video for the single. Can you tell us about the location and what the filming process was like?

WK: We filmed our video at the derelict Poltimore House with our talented friend and videographer Jonny Finnis. It was our first ever experience shooting a music video and Jonny had some great ideas. We had such a fun day and couldn’t wait to see all the pieces come together. The grounds were beautiful and the weather turned out to be lovely for once!

KM: You’re soon to embark on a tour with folk powerhouse Seth Lakeman after contributing to his new album. How did that relationship develop and did you enjoy working with him?

WK: We had been following Seth’s music for a few years previous to working alongside him. We would have never thought that our music would somehow end up in his hands. He contacted us out of the blue after a mutual friend recommended us, and we were delighted to then be asked to collaborate with Seth for his next album shortly after. We love working with Seth and have been able to create such a raw and real sound. We feel very privileged to be a part of it.

KM: Following this release, is there a new EP on the cards for Wildwood Kin?

WK: We have an extended EP/mini album ready for release in October, which we’re very excited about and can’t wait to share with people. We feel that our sound has developed over the last couple of years and we’re so pleased that we can finally release something that represents our newer sound.

KM: How are you feeling about the future?

WK: We’re very excited about the future, we never know what’s around the corner but we trust that the right doors will open and hope that we’ll have more amazing memorable experiences like we’ve had this year. We’d love to travel more and meet more people and musicians, and to hopefully work towards a debut album! We feel very blessed that we’ve been given these opportunities and want to give back as much as we can.

Warrior Daughter is out now.

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