On October 15 at Brooklyn Steel in New York, hundreds of lucky concert goers will experience the power of singer-songwriter Rachel Platten and her gutsy support act The Wild Feathers. As part of the Ford Front Row series, Billboard intends to bring you closer to the artists you obsess over and the ones you should be keeping an eye out for. We caught up with the band’s Taylor Burns and Ricky Young ahead of the action…
You formed in Nashville. How did you meet?
Ricky: It all started six years ago. We were all doing our own thing. I was in Nashville, Taylor was in Austin doing a solo project. Joel [King] and I had this idea to start something with multiple singers and writers as opposed to one lead singer. We randomly met Taylor down in Austin through a mutual friend, wrote a song that night at his place. Before we knew it, Taylor moved to Nashville and now we’re working on our third album – crazy!
What is it about this particular band that felt right for all of you?
Taylor: We’d been trying on our own for so long and there’s something about sharing the burden in singing that became great. We looked up to The Byrds, The Traveling Wilburys and The Band. That seemed like something we subconsciously wanted to do and we jumped at the opportunity. We didn’t grow up together but we’re all family now and that’s kept us going. When we get off the road we’re like brothers.
What did you bond over musically?
R: Some of the early records we bonded over were The Band’s Music From Big Pink, Sweetheart of the Rodeo by The Byrds, and Déjà Vu by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. We love The Beatles too. Then we brought our own influences in individually.
What can you say about the latest record you’ve been working on?
R: We try not to have any sort of game plan. As cheesy as it might sound we let the music take us where it wants to go. Our last record was all soundcheck ideas that turned into songs. With the new record we got back to the original route of sitting around a coffee table, drinking excessively and writing songs with guitars. We’re always going to be naturally going one step further, bettering ourselves. We have that fighting spirit.
Are there current peers that you look to as influences?
R: I’m a big fan of The War On Drugs. I like his ethereal approach. My spectrum is so wide. I love Hank Williams but I also love Bon Iver and Radiohead, Springsteen B-sides…”
T: I’ve been digging on this band Whitney from Chicago. I wore that record out.
What are you most excited about at the moment?
T: We’ve all been jones-ing to get back out on the road again. When all you’ve done for five years is tour you feel like you’re slacking when you’re off for a year. We’re having to learn patience right now.
R: We’re ecstatic about wrapping this record up, getting back in our groove.
Is playing live the heart of what you’re about?
R: Yeah 100 percent. We love writing and recording but playing live is our favorite hands down. The instant feedback and connection with our audience has always been our drug of choice. We’re better live than on our records. It’s hard to recreate the energy of the live crowd in the studio. We feed off it.
What’s so special about New York crowds?
R: That city is a magical place that has an energy you can’t put your finger on. It’s the epicenter of so much great music and art. The crowds have always given us so much respect and love and we give it right back.
Check out some of The Wild Feathers’ favorite songs to cruise to in the playlist below: