Don't judge a book by its cover. It's a phrase we've all heard many times, yet we all too often forget to apply it to our every day lives. That guy who lives down the road with 27 cats, smells of wee and shouts obscenities at everyone who walks past might actually be a really nice bloke.
This nature of making pre-conceived judgements, is ever present with a lot of music fans, many people making snap judgements on a band before they’ve even heard a single note of their music. It’s something This Wild Life know about all too well.
“On one of our YouTube videos, the top comment was ‘I saw a picture of these guys and I thought they were going to be a two piece metalcore band. I was sadly disappointed’” laughs guitarist and vocalist Kevin Jordan, clearly taking a certain degree of delight in subverting the expectations of online trolls.
Jordan is joined by fellow guitarist and co-vocalist, the heavily tattooed Anthony Del Grosso. Given their appearance, the fact that they are signed to Epitaph Records, and have toured with metal and hardcore bands such as Emery and Being As An Ocean, it’s not surprising many people are shocked to discover This Wild Life are actually an acoustic outfit.
“Our name doesn’t fit our personalities, our look doesn’t fit our sound and Kevin’s beard doesn’t fit his voice” says Del Grosso.
The band wasn’t always an acoustic affair. Originally founded as a pop-punk act in the guys home state of California, This Wild Life’s current incarnation began to coalesce when Jordan recruited Del Grosso, his then manager at the guitar shop he worked at, to play drums in the band. Over times the group evolved, and personnel changes led to the two men finding themselves writing more and more acoustic songs until that was their primary concern. However the band’s change in direction hasn’t led to them forgetting their roots.
“We both listen to a lot of heavier music and pop punk, so we like playing with those sort of bands. That’s the scene we grew up in,” explains Jordan. “We want to be a part of that regardless of the music we play.”
“We look how we look and we play the music we play. We’re not going to change it. We’re the last dudes to change,” adds Del Grosso “We jump on trends when they die. We’ll jump on skinny jeans when everyone stops wearing skinny jeans.”
Ed Sheeran it ain’t and This Wild Life go a lot further than just proving you don’t have to wear a cardigan your nan knitted for you to play acoustic music. With a raw emotional vein that runs deep in their music, their sweet melodies and Jordan’s poignant lyrics pack the sort of heart-wrenching wallop that’s capable of making you shed more tears than a Hugh Grant rom com marathon. Yet there is also an air of positivity that can put smiles on faces faster than the floppy haired fop ever managed.
“We just try to write honest songs,” offers Jordan “I can’t stand the idea of writing something insincere, because for me personally, I think it would be pretty torturous to go out and tour like 250 shows a year singing a song that didn’t mean shit to you. That would suck! Especially if people came up to you being like ‘Oh my gosh, your song helped me so much because I can relate to you’ and you knew it was bullshit all along.”
This honesty has seen This Wild life’s success slowly but surely build and build, and while the band stress they want to make music for a living, they stay humble regarding their success and insist on taking each day as it comes.
“I took a picture of one of our tickets last night because it said This Wild Life on it. I’d never seen that before, it usually just says General Admission,” says Del Grosso. “Our goal six months ago was to do really well on Warped tour. After that our goal was to do really well in the UK. It would stress me out if the goal was like Wembley.”
“We don’t have delusions that we’re going to be U2,” adds Jordan.
“I don’t think our cd is going to pop up on everyone’s iPhone,” says Del Grosso with a cheeky grin.
While they may not be gatecrashing everyone’s phones like Bono has recently, it is safe to assume we will be seeing a lot more tickets that say This Wild Life on them in the future.
This Wild Life are currently on tour in the UK. See them at:
Sept 29 Birmingham, The Asylum
Sept 30 Sheffield, 02 Academy 2
Oct 1 Manchester, Sound Control
Oct 2 Newcastle, Think Tank
Oct 3 Leeds, Beckett Bar
Oct 4 Leicester Scholar
Oct 5 Stoke Sugarmill
Oct 6 London Underworld
This Wild Life’s debut album Clouded is out now on Epitaph.