Luke Wild has released his debut EP Sunburn via Terrible Records. The EP was co-produced by Danny Parra (6lack, Yoshi Flower), in Los Angeles where Wild is based.
The artist also shared a video for the contemplative “Fever Brain” of which he notes, “This video was directed by my brother Caleb Wild. The video shows me in a feverish/ sick state, fading in and out of consciousness. The shots outside are to represent me entering into a fever dream as the color and settings change”
Wild is a singer-songwriter-guitarist raised on the craftsmanship and the soulful vocal characteristics of R&B and rock music, and the DIY energy and rebellious attitudes of Southern punk and rap scenes. At 24, Wild already has a decade-plus of musical experience, which he’s poured into Sunburn, his debut EP for Terrible Records, co-executive produced by Danny Parra.
The son of a pastor, Luke Christian Wild grew up a skateboarder in Tampa, Florida. He began playing piano at five, guitar and bass at 12, and performing in gospel bands at church (and then throughout the Southeast) during his teenage years. At the same time, Wild was listening to the alternative rock and soul music he stockpiled on the iPod he received as a kid, and to the Elvis and Marvin Gaye classics his grandfather loved. He was also playing in a punk band. “I kind of had a foot in everything,” he says about his musical upbringing.
Wild’s musical activities earned him a place at Lee University in Tennessee, where he convinced some local real estate folks to build him a studio in a co-working space they were opening. “I was like 18, and had this little studio where me and my friends would get together, and kind of DIY learned how to record. People would come to me, and I would help them make a record, producing or playing for them as a session guitarist. And as that grew, I became a little bit more confident in my songwriting. The things I would make that I really like, I would keep for myself and continue to develop my taste.” Eventually he dropped out and moved to Atlanta to produce and engineer recordings for trap rappers, before decamping for Los Angeles in 2019.
By this point Wild already had a clear artistic idea of the kind of music he loved and wanted to hear himself make.
“I’m attracted to these very beautiful, high-end sonics,” he says, “and then merging that very dreamy aesthetic with punk rock energy. What’s cool I think about this generation of punk is that it doesn’t always mean rock and roll guitars; it means a kind of attitude. There’s an openness that comes with being in a punk band now, because when you get gigs you are thrown on a bill with rap artists and indie folk singers, and you just kind of have to figure it out.”
These diverse elements coming together also feed Wild’s developing recording and songwriting philosophy: “I think the most important thing in music is melody, and I think attitude is second. If you look at artists who are very influential, the melody and the honesty and genuineness in the music comes through, and then it’s accompanied by attitude. And then third is the dynamic, which makes you feel something through the highs and lows.”
Sunburn is the culmination of his early musical education, his nascent but sizable studio expertise, and the experience of a young musician taking a chance on a cross-country trek to follow his dream. A thoughtful, studio-detailed beauty adorns its five soul-exposing songs, crafted of both emotional evidence and a hard-scrabble detachment, the harder-edge guitars showing off the latter. It is a diary of experience, aspiration and growth. “The color of the record is just oranges and reds,” he adds. “So every single song has that kind of burnt, warm feeling.”
“The theme of the record is just really being afraid of turning the mirror on yourself and being honest with who you are, your flaws. “Sunburn” feeds into that. I was crying a lot when I wrote it because I’d been kind of banging my head against the wall because the songs weren’t good enough. And then, I just wrote that in 30 minutes, looking around and coming to the realization that my generation is on this path towards vanity — but that I was really writing about me. Instead of pointing the finger at other people, it was me just pointing the finger at myself.”
These types of self-aware reflections have already brought Wild to a place that is rare for someone with high hopes, whose career is only just kicking off. “I can say without a doubt that music is the only thing that I truly, truly love, and if you have something that you love, it should be about the work and the art, and not about ‘a finish line,’ that’s what I’m learning at this early stage. It’s just waking up every day and just diving into the pursuit of the craft. So, every day, I’m waking up, and I’m chasing the muse.” May she serve Luke Wild well.