Indie folk band Wylder, known for delivering powerful lyrics and energetic melodies, is making a return to their home region this weekend. On July 31, the Fredericksburg, Virginia-based band is taking the stage at Hamilton LIVE in downtown D.C. They are no strangers to the spotlight, with a repertoire that’s been featured on TV shows such as “The Good Doctor” and “Shameless” and across the airwaves on national radio stations like NPR and SiriusXM’s The Pulse.
Frontman Will McCarry started the band while at the University of Mary Washington, collecting friends and other musicians who attended the school along the way. Performing on campus soon evolved into the band touring up and down the East Coast. The band released an EP and a record before officially becoming Wylder in 2015. Along with McCarry, bandmates include Lonnie Southall (guitar, mandolin), Jackson Wright (bass, piano) and Mike Pingley (drums).
Ahead of their performance, we caught up with McCarry to discuss the band’s genesis, musical influences and more.
District Fray: Is there a story behind the band name?
Will McCarry: Wylder is just the idea of the wilderness. There’s lots of naturalistic elements to my lyrics and an organic quality to the music itself, and we thought Wylder was a nice reflection of that.
Are there any bands who have uniquely influenced your musical evolution?
I got really swept up in the indie folk scene. Some of my favorites are Radical Face, The Paper Kites, Death Cab for Cutie and The Shins. I love Vampire Weekend. I think they’re just endlessly creative.
How have you tweaked your songwriting process over the years?
Every song is different. As I’ve gotten more experienced, I focus less on arrangement and more on lead melody and lyrics. That’s partially a result of wanting to continually make the songs each stand on their own, whether it’s an acoustic rendition or a full band version. And with each record, I approach it differently. With “Golden Age Thinking,” I had a very specific goal in mind. It’s a concept record in a lot of ways. The lyrics are all about a connected topic. I had this idea about loss and our inability to move on from the past that I wanted to explore with that album.
Are there any songs that hold a special meaning for you?
Each one of my songs has a very special place in my heart. “Right to My Head” is the one that always feels the most special to me because it represents closure [and] closing the book for me on a challenging time in my own life.
What excites you about performing at Hamilton LIVE again?
We played three or four shows last year. This is our first time back in D.C., which is our hometown, and that’s really exciting. The Hamilton has some of the best hospitality for artists. It’s just a joy to play there. They think of everything and make everything run incredibly smoothly.
What should fans be especially excited about ahead of your performance?
We’re probably going to play some new songs from the record coming up that I’m working on now. The guys [and] I have been arranging live versions and we’re really excited to get them out there.