Shadwick Wilde — lead singer, guitarist and songwriter for Louisville band Quiet Hollers — says the only thing consistent about his songwriting process is the inconsistency. But there are common themes to the band’s latest release, “Amen Breaks,” which comes out Friday, July 7, on SonaBLAST! Records.
Spirituality, mental illness, death and dying are topics that were swirling around Wilde’s mind when he wrote the 11 songs, and most of them stemmed from from one incident — when Travis Case, a close friend of his, committed suicide. Case was a veteran who struggled with addiction, depression and PTSD, and he also was the best man in Wilde’s wedding.
“‘Amen Breaks’ refers to the degradation of faith over time, and the word ‘amen’ being spoken at his funeral,” Wilde tells Insider. “How can we connect and grieve together with such starkly different views of what happens after we die? Why do some people choose to take their own life? How do those of us who don’t believe in an afterlife find meaning in our time here on Earth?”
Wilde says song lyrics will just come to him at odd times. He can set aside time to write and end up just sitting there staring at a blank piece of paper, while another day, when he’s playing on his phone or taking a shower, a melody or lyric will simply emerge.
“I’ve learned to be at peace with it and to let the songs decide,” he says.
“Amen Breaks” is the band’s third album, and they’ll be playing the new material at Forecastle Festival on Friday, July 14. They’re preparing for the big gig by playing other festivals around the country and perfecting their stage entries and exits.
“I guess the main thing to prepare for is getting on and off stage very quickly, and being ready to sound amazing with only a five-minute line check,” Wilde jokes. “I’ve freshly laundered the stage towels by hand, and we’ve been trying to stay hydrated. Hydration is so important.”
Asked about what he loves and hates about touring, Wilde toes the line of contradiction. “Live performance is the raison d’être of a band, I believe. It’s where I find the deepest connections, both as a performer and as an audience member,” he says. “It’s where we connect most intimately with music, which is the only universal language, after all. What I hate most about touring is everything else.”
Before Quiet Hollers drops “Amen Breaks” and heads out on tour, we caught up with Wilde to ask him some very important questions …
What’s the most surprising thing on your Bucket List?
The last thing I added to my Bucket List was to be a driver in a demolition derby. I recently found out that they will let anyone do this.
What poster was on your wall in junior high?
My junior high bedroom wall was mess, aesthetically. We lived in San Francisco. I had Third Eye Blind, Metallica, Van Gogh, Chagall. The VHS rental place down the block from our house would give away their old posters, so I just had random movie posters on my wall: “The English Patient,” “Twister,” “3 Ninjas” … ridiculous.
If you were mayor, to whom would you give the key to the city?
Didn’t have to think long about this one … composer/rapper/teacher Jecorey “1200” Arthur. I don’t know anyone who’s out there doing as much work for the children, for the community, for music. He kind of puts us all to shame, if I’m being honest.
What are your preferred pizza toppings?
Just the regular stuff, you know — flies, stink bugs.
If you could be any age for a week, what would it be?
I’d like to be 100 years old for a week and then die peacefully in some kind of wildlife attack. Maybe a tiger or a polar bear.
What famous person do people say you resemble the most?
Justin Timberlake as Bon Iver.
Who would you most like to be stuck with in an elevator?