Meet Wilderado, an alternative-Americana 4-piece outfit based out of Los Angeles made up of Maxim Helmerich, Colton Dearing, Tyler Wimpee, and Justin Kila. Originally known as Bird Dog, they hit the scene with a couple of EP’s under their new moniker in 2016. With two band members hailing from our beloved Lone Star State and two Okies (folks from Oklahoma for those who aren’t familiar) to boot, the quartet set aside their bitter state-rivalry to form one of the hottest groups on the West Coast. Their sound varies from calm and emotional acoustic folk music to hard-rocking, lead guitar heavy jams, all featuring a sort of Southwestern chill vibe. Highlighting the entire range are the impressive harmonies that harken back to the Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young days, but with a lot less drama and a little more twang.
We reached out to the band to learn more about the history, influences, and goals of the group and we got some killer responses from the front man, Maxim Helmerich. So, take a look and take a listen, and I’m confident you will have a new soundtrack for your next road trip.
1. We loved Latigo and Misty Shrub and we can't wait to hear more of your music. Can we expect another EP or a full album in the future?
Thank you. You can expect more music! While still in this early stage of growing our fanbase, catalogue of songs and time playing together we’re trying to hold on loosely to the idea of how we bundle the music and focus more on writing and playing together. We did just finish recording a bunch of songs with Phil Ek up in Seattle in September. However it’s packaged, we’ll put those songs out early this year.
2. We've been listening to your music since the Bird Dog days. What inspired the name and identity change and how has that shaped the band's image and sound?
Wow! That’s cool. Thanks for hanging in there with us. We were asked to change our name by another “Bird Dog”. The identity change was great for us, though. We had shifted roles around in the band, our drummer had recently moved from Tulsa and we were preparing ourselves for becoming a four piece. It felt like the next phase in the band, one we could all start together and have total ownership of. We were figuring out our brand and our sound with a clear idea of who we were and it felt cool and fresh to us. We began playing together a lot and learning more about what our collective taste is, what sort of sounds and parts make us all excited. That’s the most fun we can have. The look that rolls around the room after someone accidentally plays something we all think is awesome. Bird Dog will always be what started the band, but we’re enjoying having Wilderado be what the band is.
3. Coming from Texas and Oklahoma, how has the transition to the West Coast been. Has the LA music scene been receptive to your southern rock vibes?
LA has been wonderful to us. Everyone listens to music in different ways. They do different things with it. Places like LA and NY package and sell music, but that doesn’t mean it’s being sold by people who don’t genuinely love what they have the opportunity to spread or that it’s the only type of person you play in front of. My biggest mistake was thinking everyone in LA will be the same. This city is full of every type of person you can meet and we have listeners and fans who have accepted our sound as sweetly and innocently as anywhere else we’ve been. It’s been a big lesson on controlling my presumptions. I’ll always love and appreciate this city.
4. Who are your biggest musical inspirations and how have they affected the direction of the band?
We all grew up listening to different types of music and all have different inspirations. We really focus on each other, though. I think the biggest inspiration for our band is writing melodies and changes that naturally move us collectively. we only want to sound like what we all love.
5. What has been your favorite part and the most difficult part of being touring musicians? What sacrifices have you had to make and have they been worth the reward?
Our favorite part is being together and seeing people know and sing our songs. When we’re back at home we all nest pretty hard, so there is always this rad energy of hanging out and getting to play our songs when we are on the road. Then seeing that people actually want to hear us and have been listening and allowing us to be a part of their lives hasn’t come anywhere near being regular. It’s pretty fun, we can never believe it. The most difficult part is being away. Everyone has an idea of home. People and places. The four of us take comfort in those, it’s where we get the most rest. There is a lot of literature curated and written by other artists on the struggles of touring. On how dangerous constantly moving can be. We try and have an understanding of that and talk about it, rather than being ambushed by it. Because from the right perspective we haven’t done that much touring yet. Not like some people have and like we plan on doing. No matter what, whatever we do or wherever we go it will be a direct sacrifice to time with our families. It’s humbling and makes us put a lot of emotion into what we’re doing, because the price is great.
6. Where do you see Wilderado in 5 years?
Continuing to write and play and hopefully be sharing and experiencing music all over the world. We’re loving all of this and grateful to have something to be excited about. hopefully we can maintain that.
You can check out Widlerado's music, concert schedule, and buy merch at http://wilderado.co/ .