Wildeyes Premieres Single "Open Your Eyes" From Forthcoming Album 'Shut Up And Dance' April 25, 2022 13:28
Press Release + Photo via Wildeyes
Nashville, TN -- When Wildeyes was born, life was simple. Emily and Daniel Kohavi were living a few doors down from guitarist Max Hoffman, where they would gather in one of their Madison, Tennessee backyards to create an initial catalog that would land them on NPR’s Tiny Desk On The Road and FireFly Music Festival before they had even stepped foot in a recording studio.
The first time they put pen to paper, Beauty & Sadness blossomed, with the debut album peaking at #9 on the Billboard HeatSeekers chart. The phone rang non-stop with agencies promising to turn the trio into industry darlings, and it seemed like something small had the chance to make it big.But as life wants to do, things got complicated. Emily’s reputation as the touring community’s ultimate hired gun earned her touring spots with Hozier, Phoebe Bridgers, Kacey Musgraves and more, until she was gone so often it almost seemed like the band was set to burn out before they really caught fire. Two years after the release of their chart-topping debut, Wildeyes felt the pressure to create another album— one that diverged from the folk-filled box the industry seemed to want to jam them into, and one that would expand their lineup to a full band with a deeper, psychedelia-infused Americana sound.
With Emily’s multi-instrumentalist prowess in high demand, Wildeyes understood how precious their time with their leading lady was. The band booked a two day session at the legendary Sound Emporium, working with Grammy award-winning producer Ed Spears and bringing in bassist Calvin Knowles (Katie Pruitt, Muddy Magnolias) and Terence Clarke (Robert Cray Band, Keith Urban) on drums. Originally intended to be a session for demos, the core members laid the groundwork for their second album. Knowles and Clarke immediately picked up the framework, building some of the biggest riffs the project would become shaped around. Wildeyes tracked seven original songs from what would become Shut Up And Dance in one take— a tried and true specialty from the band that thrives on live performances in remote places.
“The core performances (bass, drums, guitars, lead vocal) were all just that,” says Daniel Kohavi. “Performances in a room with no click track. This matches the way the first record was made, and is a big part of the ethos of the band. Capturing a moment, a performance, with all of its imperfections is what we have built Wildeyes on. For us, it’s all about the performance and the real musical interaction that happens within a collective of musicians."
Even with the bulk of the work done, bringing an album to fruition is complicated. Add in a front woman who spends the majority of her year globe trotting on other artist’s world tours, and the process is downright painful. Add in a global pandemic, and it is sheer torture.
“We’d spent two years on a recording hiatus between [Emily’s] tours with Hozier and Phoebe [Bridgers], and then covid added all of this extra uncertainty,” says Daniel. “The band wasn’t playing any shows, sitting on an unfinished record with no future release dates in sight.
They say idle hands are the devil’s playthings, and that is especially true for career musicians. With an abundance of free time, Wildeyes was forced to sit with an unfinished album, nitpicking every aspect to what felt like the point of no return. The Sound Emporium session had brought them one step forward, and the pandemic took them two giant leaps back.
In an effort to see through the fog, Wildeyes reached out to Hozier musical director Alex Ryan, stepping back into the studio with Spears in mid 2021. In that time, Wildeyes was able to record two brand new additions, “Angels” and “Let’s Talk,” and add thematic string elements that breathed new life into already existing tracks.
“Alex brought a new energy and excitement to some songs that we had been in the studio with for far too long,” says Kohavi. “[The album] gets her name from the title track. Shut Up And Dance is a sentiment that has been building up in the band’s ethos, and seemingly in the world it inhabits.”
The album finds the Kohavi’s and Hoffman writing about personal matters— their frustrations with a lack of touring (and therefore purpose), loneliness felt within a relationship, questions on self-identity as both a band and as individuals— as well as musings on the modern world outside. The songs are laced with layered strings, entwined electric guitars, and warped feedback, driven forward by ethereal hooks that lend a touch of nineties nostalgia. Gluing everything together is the band’s collective pent up energy, a palpable reminder that for Wildeyes, the time for talking about it whatever it is has come to a close. It’s time to Shut Up and Dance before the music shuts off and there's no one left on the dance floor.
Shut Up And Dance tracklisting:
- Shut Up And Dance
- Who’s Gonna Love You
- Lone Wolf
- Let’s Talk
- Open Your Eyes
- American Made
More on Wildeyes:
Wildeyes began in the heart of Madison, Tennessee, where neighbors and founding members Emily and Daniel Kohavi and Max Hoffman bonded over an undeniable love for the stage. Continuously receiving praise for their music, the band has peaked at #9 on the Billboard HeatSeekers chart, received placements in Rolling Stone, and been featured on NPR’s Tiny Desk On The Road. Wildeyes front woman Emily Kohavi is also recognized by established artists in the industry for her talents, grabbing the attention of Hozier, Phoebe Bridgers, and Kacey Musgraves and earning touring positions on their world tours.
Prior to the release of Wildeyes’s debut album Beauty & Sadness in 2018, the band spent two years touring together, earning coveted plays at Firefly Music Festival before even stepping foot in a recording studio. The band enjoys capturing live performances of their songs in some of the country’s remote places, including the Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree Park, and the flats of New Mexico. The struggle of getting the gear, instruments, and video equipment to the location, along with the possibility of sudden weather or temperature changes fits the bands ethos of fighting for genuine performances and capturing real moments.
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