Remember Bad Bibles? Them dudes came out of nowhere back in 2011-12 with their fiery post-punk rock, then kinda disappeared just as quickly. Well, they didn’t actually disappear, they were just busy reinventing themselves as a bi-coastal project and rechristening themselves Wild Decade.
The band is still led by principle songwriters Phil Maves (in NYC) and Dan Leech (in SF), and they’ve got a new album out called Conductor that features a few songs fans of Bad Bibles will recognize, as well as several new cuts. Conductor is 11 songs in just 35 minutes, so we’re talking tight, focused post-punk here. See for yourself: The band has a new single and video for “Glowing Green.”
If you like what you hear, you can stream all of Conductor right here:
I had an email chat with Phil and Dan to find out just how you pull off a bi-coastal band, how it shapes your process, and what influence Freddy Krueger may or may not have had on Conductor. Interview after the jump.
Mike G: Why the switch to Wild Decade? What’s it from?
Phil: We got tired of having to explain what Bad Bibles meant. Some people liked the old name, but we thought it might prevent others from giving us a listen if they just assumed that we were a political group or a shock rock band, neither of which were or are true.
Dan: Originally we thought Bad Bibles had a nice ring to it, phonetically speaking. But it got to the point where we didn’t want to have to say it anymore. Nothing the band did, said, or referenced was critical of anyone’s beliefs. So we felt a name about nothing would suit us better.
Phil: Which is fine with us. Wild Decade as a name could suggest a noisy synth group, a party band, whatever. It looks good written down, and isn’t annoying. Yet.
MG: Did the bi-coastal arrangement impact the recording process much? Do you think the record came out different from how it would have if y’all lived in the same place?
Phil: It feels like we made Conductor in a pretty contemporary way. People do so much work of all kinds together these days from separate locations—whether you’re producing a hip hop record or working for a tech company—so this felt normal to us, even though we’re basically a rock band, which traditionally is all about the live moment.
Dan: Wild Decade started as an energetic live band, where we were more interested in honing our chops on stage. Our first EP as Bad Bibles reflected that ethos, since it was essentially a live recording with nearly no overdubs. Phil’s move back to New York City made us transition into more of a studio project, where our recordings have become the performance.
Phil: Right, when you’re not in the same room with a band anymore, let alone the same time zone, you make different choices when recording and communicating ideas with each other. We probably ended up focusing more on the mood of the tracks and the vocals overall, whereas when we started recording in person together, we were more or less just belting everything out.
Dan: Living on opposite coasts definitely affected the recording process and the overall mood of Conductor. It forced us to have our producer hat on during the entire process, since we knew we’d have to react to each updated piece at a future session. Making music with one person in SF and the other in NYC seems like the logical next step from Les Paul’s vision of multi-track recording. Plus, if we were in the same place at the same time, we’d both have black eyes in our press photos.
MG: Is there an overriding theme to the album?
Phil: Conductor was inspired in large part by a nightmare I had, and on one hand, you could probably take it at face value—rock songs with fantastical imagery. But there’s also some dark humor in places, and I think it’s fair to say that something more personal is also going on in some of these songs.
Dan: Conductor deals with the different aspects of the human condition we all grapple with daily. Some of the songs look into why someone may act a certain way or why a particular approach to a situation isn’t working. The origin of the band began with a nightmare, but then became much more than that.
Phil: Some of the lyrics are deliberately absurd and throwaway. That’s more apparent in songs like “The Statue Talks To Me”, “It Wants You To Run”. “Eternal Glories”—they have some intentionally ridiculous lyrics in between the more intense parts, just because they felt appropriate or made me laugh.
Dan: I see it almost as one of those Choose Your Own Adventure books, where we explore a different path in each song to find a resolution to that initial nightmare.
Phil: Well, Freddy Krueger always had a good one-liner in the middle of haunting people’s nightmares, so we’re just continuing that tradition.