London shoegaze and post-punk band, Wild Echo, are finally getting the attention they deserve for a wonderfully crafted EP, In Dreams, released this past January. Pali, Mike Stankiewicz, Ben Reeves, Kamil Akhtar, and Rudy Logue create a dark, contemporary EP that ties into the abyss of the dream world, and is perfectly reflected musically. It’s easy to fall in love with their melodies and arrangements, and based on this EP, expectations are high for future releases from the band.
I had the opportunity to ask Stankiewicz some questions about the EP, and his take on ‘music.’ What stuck out to me about Stankiewicz was his honest tone towards all my questions, and the slight humour within his explanations. In the end, the process of how Stankiewicz and Wild Echo construct their music all came from a common ground; passion.
Read the interview below and check out ‘In Dreams,’ available on Tradiio.
As I was listening to the EP the second time around, I noticed how the song titles began to fit in with the name of the EP, and overall theme, which seemed dark on my end. Was this the intended message across from the EP? What is your interpretation of In Dreams?
I think you’ve nailed it on the head. Originally we wrote these jingley / jangley sugar pop licks which we envisaged orientating towards the summer pop genre. I think once Pali (our singer) started adding his lyrics, the songs took an immediate turn to almost melancholic influences of Morriseey (Even though Pali hates Morrissey). The vibe of the EP was aimed at the slow elusive state of dreaming which reflects in the genre tempo and mood of the EP, which I think from memory was an Idea of Ben’s, we actually slowed down our songs to add to this ethos.
I personally love dreams, and to be “in dreams” can evoke mixed emotions. “Endless” was actually a song which kinda doesn’t fit the mould of the EP, as it was written way before most of the other songs came about, and was written about real love loss.
I’ve read in a previous interview on Pouledor that each member’s musical inspiration differs from another, (which is usually the case), yet collectively you share the love for “80s, 90s and contemporary Post Punk, Shoegaze and Dream Pop bands” – How did you guys decide that this genre was the best way to showcase your music? Or was it just based on that mutual love?
Well to sum up our personal music experiences; Kamil and I used to play in a tropical indie band during uni, Ben and I used to jam in a Neil Young Tribute Band in college. Rudy DJ’s from time to time, and Pali used to do the odd open mic night mainly singing Elton John from memory. The dream pop genre though is a sound Ben and I have been playing around with since about 5 years ago. I used to go his parents house a lot, where we’d stick on a drum machine and just crack out some lovely chord progressions with me normally fiddling around over the top on a guitar drenched in reverb. We’ve probably written another EP’s worth of material before Wild Echo fully came around, but the only songs which stuck were “Deep Water” and “Endless”. But yet it seemed our bread and butter was to create the dream pop / shoegazey sound.
I’ve come across numerous artists’ where music just “fell in their lap,” and it was never a thought until later in life. Personally, did Wild Echo start as just a hobby, or with the intentions of growing into something more?
Obviously if we could do this for a living we probably would, but if we were being honest, this did start as a bedroom project (as it seems so many bands now do) and the whole project took around 1 ½ (years) to actually get songs to a live environment to which was super hard seeing as we all live in different cities. The gigging was both fun and at times tedious, but we’ve had a lot of fun doing this so far and look to continue making music in some form over the next months.
Is there a specific reason why you make music?
It’s a passion, I wish we could meet up more and create songs quicker. We’re not amazing at our instruments, but we do seem to create some good stuff when we’re in a room, which is becoming harder and harder. We have a bunch of new ideas floating around which we hope to one day develop.
What do you want to come across to listeners when they hear your music?
Listeners should feel whatever they want with any piece of music. Music should be void of thought or aspiration and go into it with a blank slate. We almost expect too much from songs or genres to deliver a set platter of emotions rather than appreciating the work and effort gone into a fully written song / EP.
Was there ever a time where you felt like giving up on music? In regards to this, what advice would you offer aspiring musicians?
Writing and gigging are great wonderful expressions of talent and creativity. Unfortunately the whole music game in reality is very underpaid and under supported. It seems the love of just going to a gig is starting to fade, with electronica and DJ’s becoming the forefront of what is popular and more productive to attend. To actually create a hype in England seems very difficult, unless you do it full time and play a shed load of gigs, it can be hard to create a buzz. I guess for Wild Echo we’re starting to angle more towards the creative side and want to put out music we’re genuinely happy with. We have played with some really good promoters who actually care about the bill and the type of people watching your music, I’m afraid though there are too many venues / promoters who really don’t give a monkeys to which is slowly killing the indie genre in England. I think we’d all agree in Wild Echo that there are no bands in England currently we actually are excited about, and seems places like Vancover, New York, Califorinia, Australia are currently producing way more interesting sounds then our current scene.
So to summarise, become a DJ…
I always assume post-punk and shoegaze bands are serious,(laughs awkwardly), but I know I’m wrong. Are there any funny, or crazy stories that happened while playing a show, or during a tour?
If you ever meet Kamil our drummer, you’d soon change that opinion. In between the serious stuff of recording or soundchecking, we generally joke around way more than we should. I don’t think we’ve ever shown up to a practice / recording / any kind of music related booking on time, it’s almost like we’re in competition with each other to who’s the latest. Unfortunately this isn’t down to a “fashionably late” scenario, more that were all fucking terrible with time-keeping.
What is one piece of equipment that you cannot live without?
Mike : My Boss DD-6 delay pedal, can’t imagine a show /session without it.
Rudy : One of his many hipster shirts, it’s quite a collection
Ben : Pleck – This man needs a pleck.
Kamil: His Retainer….Never could get his teeth sorted.
Pali: His Beloved Hemp.
Lastly, since I just bombarded you with a ton of questions, I want to reiterate my gratitude for your time and also would like to try and add some ‘personable’ flare (to this message so you don’t think you’re talking to a robot). What are some things (if you’re willing to share) about yourself that would surprise people if they knew? I’ll go first to break the ice. I sometimes listen to Country music…I’ve only admitted this once.
I (Mike) have a massive love for the Bee Gees and Abba, (and) think they wrote perfect pop songs.
Rudy – After trying 10 times, and paid numerous “VIP Entries” to Berghain, has still never set foot in that club.
Ben – Massive IPA drinker, there’s nothing more that boy loves then the Ruggers and an IPA
Kamil – Kamil is super vein, and we had to photoshop his pecks in a Wild Echo Field Day photo so “they looked a little bigger.”
Pali – Pali seems to never wear shoes, even at times when he really should. He also hates the shoegaze genre!