Los Angeles-based Tulsa-formed folk-rock foursome Wilderado, comprised of Max Rainer (guitar/vocals), Tyler Wimpee (guitar/vocals), Justin Kila (drums), and Colton Dearing (bass), have released a series of EPs over the last few years which have garnered millions of streams and much love from the digisphere. The band unveiled their latest single “Surefire” this summer, a wide-open road tune that brims with opportunity and desert heat. Wilderado kicks off a tour at Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom on November 2nd with Judah & The Lion and Mt. Joy and will be bringing their unique brand of rock to eager listeners across the country. We caught up with frontman Max Rainer to get the scoop on all the things:
East of 8th: How did you form the musical family now known as Wilderado? Was it love at first sight?
Max Rainer of Wilderado: Three of us met in college. I knew of the drummer through a high school friend. A lot of it was these guys, including myself, just happened to be around. Nothing about this band has taken much force. We all loved the same music and dug the same sounds. We also loved hanging out together. There was never much of a plan to start a band, it just fell together. Maybe that’s love at first sight?
Eo8: What is your band dynamic like, i.e., who contributes what personally and musically?
MR: The drummer and I write most of the music, but everyone is highly involved in the process, at least in terms of where we are and what everyone is digging or wanting to hear. They leave me alone to write the lyrics, which I’ve always enjoyed. Tyler, the guitar player, more or less runs the band. He keeps us on time and in order. The drummer, Justin, does the majority of the artwork. Colton, who plays bass, makes us all laugh and keeps everything from becoming too serious.
Eo8: If someone unfamiliar with your music sat down and listened to your EPs, what would they learn about Wilderado as a band?
MR: Hopefully that we write halfway decent songs. I’ve always thought in terms of songs. I think of them individually. I’m not prolific enough to conceptualize a string of tunes weaving in and out and painting some cohesive masterpiece. I don’t really care about that. Maybe one day it’ll happen, but for now, I like to take everything one step at a time. I think our growing collection of songs is a bit eclectic because of that. Which I think is cool! Mostly just because that’s just how it is and how I am and I’m proud of it.
Eo8: How long did it take you to discover your voice as songwriters, and what is your optimal emotional state/headspace/environment for writing?
MR: I wrote some songs in high school. My sister is a songwriter. She is really creative and has an amazing perspective and way with words. I mostly tried doing what she was doing. We ended up being in a project together and did a lot of touring and writing for it. At some point during that, I started writing more on my own and found I had studied her enough to finish ideas on my own. That’s basically how Wilderado started. I think I’m writing the best when I’m reacting and really early in the morning. I write terrible lyrics when I am trying to say something. Lots of times I’m ashamed of that. I feel like the best writers should be able to say what it is they feel, but I’ve learned to accept what it is that I do and try and do it the best I can. So mostly I’ll record myself singing out loud over pieces of music we’ve created and try and find melodies and words by digging back through those recordings.
Eo8: If you could fast forward 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
MR: I would choose not to. There’s such pressure to be in a band in order to sell thousands of tickets and get billions of streams. I’m constantly having to coach myself to just enjoy today’s work. Whether that be the song I’m working on or the show we’re playing. Knowing the future would be too much for me.
Eo8: If Wilderado had a baseball team, which artists (living or not) would be drafted to play on your team and why?
MR: I don’t know anything about baseball other than they seem to spend the majority of the game hanging out in a tunnel. So, I guess I’d choose people that didn’t drive me insane. We met the dudes in the band Liily once and they were pretty cool. They didn’t seem like people who would know much about baseball either. So I choose them.
Eo8: You have a tour on the horizon, do you have any crazy tour stories from the past you’d be willing to share?
MR: We’re lame. Colton pooped his pants once. Other than that, we mostly just play music and laugh about stupid stuff.
Eo8: Parting words? Is there anything else you’d like us to know about Wilderado?
MR: We’re just doing our best here and not trying to take this too seriously. Thanks for listening to the music we make, we know you have a lot of options.