J.J. Wilde is rocking the year

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Photo by Jonathan Weiner

The Canadian indie rocker J.J. Wilde recently dropped her debut EP Wilde Eyes and Steady Hands, plus she’s had an amazing summer of touring, including opening for Incubus and touring with The Struts and The Glorious Sons.

Wilde’s debut EP is the perfect summer album with its upbeat melodies and lively vocals.

Recently, we caught up with Wilde to chat about her latest single from the EP, her upcoming summer performances, and the place of music in her life.

Let’s talk about your new song, “State of Mind.” Can you tell me about the track?

Well, that one is probably my favorite off of the EP. It’s a song about persevering. I write a lot of stuff about personal experiences, and that’s just a happy one.

Was there any moment in particular that inspired it?

I think it was a collective amount of times. A lot of the stuff from the first EP is kind of about when I’m at a certain apartment that I was living in, and stuff I was going through at that time. So I feel like it’s a collection of a few months of things that led to that song.

So your EP, I read it you created it in eight days. 

That’s true. It was interesting. That was one of the first times, maybe my second time, being in Los Angeles. I was writing with Frederick Fay, and he’s a producer. I had some ideas that I had brought with me, quite a few voice notes, and we worked through those. We wrote the songs together, and it all came together, I think it was in less than two weeks when it was all said and done. So it was a whirlwind, but it was awesome. A lot of long nights, and I guess there were long days that went into the nights, but it was a lot of fun.

So you’re opening for Incubus, and you’re going to be on the road with The Glorious Sons.

Yeah, I haven’t opened for Incubus yet, that one is happening in August, but I’m excited about it. And yeah, I’m touring with The Struts and The Glorious Sons. It’s so exciting. So cool to get back on the road.

When was the last time you toured?

Just back in February, the first time I went on the road with Glorious Sons, and that was a month and a half. We got back in March, the end of March, and that was a ton of fun. That was all across the states. I saw a lot of America that I hadn’t seen before — San Francisco, and beautiful San Diego. I had no idea how gorgeous San Diego was. And then, of course, California is gorgeous as well.

How does it feel that you’re going to be opening for The Strokes and Incubus?

Oh man. I mean how do you think it is. It’s crazy. I’m really excited. Yeah. I mean what else can I say. They’re both great bands. I’m honored to open for them.

What type of guitar do you use? 

Well, my first guitar was a Tanglewood. That was an acoustic. So I still write with that sometimes but not as much. My second one was a Fender T-Bucket acoustic that I split that with my dad. It was a boxing day present. That one was probably the one that I did the majority of my writing on for a long time, and then I most recently got myself a Taylor.

When you’re on stage, do you bring one of the acoustics with you?

Well, for the show, I’m not playing a lot of guitar. For the last three, I didn’t play guitar at all, I just sang, even though I write the songs on guitar. I’ll probably incorporate it into the set.

On the last year, I just brought the Tanglewood to write with on the road. It doesn’t have a pickup or anything. It was just about having at least one of them.

So you’ve kind of always had that connection with music and guitars.

Yeah, I’d say so. My mother taught me how to play when I was 15, I think, maybe a little younger.

What was one of the first songs that you mastered?

The first song … okay, so the first song, it was really easy, but it was Damian Rice “Coconut Skins.” It’s literally three chords, so it’s super easy, but it was so hard to learn.

What is it about music for you? 

Good question … all of it. I mean there’s something that you can just kind of like lose yourself in. It’s a nice thing to take your mind off of everything. It helps you focus, or it helps you un-focus if that makes any sense. But it depends on the type of music. Like if you’re going for a run, you’re probably going to listen to different music then if you’re just trying to relax or if you’re studying. There are so many different types of music — driving music. I feel like driving music is the best music.

I think it’s therapeutic. Almost at this point, it’s like both writing and listening are just ways to express and deal with my emotions.

Do you play any other instruments?

No, I just play guitar. I play harmonica, but I’m not very good.

What are some of the biggest musical influences with your music?

Honestly, I kind of listen to everything, but I don’t really believe in only being into certain genres. I listen to all genres. I think if it’s good music, then I’ll listen to it. Doesn’t matter if the genre is current or not. But I also draw influence and styles for writing from other things besides music, like just things around me.

I have to say I grew up listening to more classic stuff like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, and the classic Janis Joplin. As I got older, I kind of got into different things. I really loved acoustic music and then the guilty pleasure … pop music.

It depends on what mood I’m in. I mean honestly the music I listen to has lots to do with my mood. I like Hey Rosetta and Shakey Graves and stuff like that. And then I’ve always had a soft spot for Norah Jones and Adele.

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