Interview by: Robert Cavuoto
Last December US Metal powerhouse WildeStarr released their new album Beyond the Rain via Scarlet Records.
The new album takes the listener on a harrowing ride and emotional roller coaster. Some might think it’s a concept album, but it’s much more than that. The songs are London Wilde’s lyrical expression of pain, torment, hope, and love based on the real-life tragic suicide of her brother Gary in 2012. Gary was a gifted musician who suffered the sad pitfalls of many others who pick up the guitar and dream of success in the music business.
Beyond The Rain’ contains ten tracks of classic Heavy Metal in the vein of Judas Priest, Queensrÿche, and Dio, complete with Dave Starr’s soaring guitar harmonies and killer riffs, pounding bass and drums. The band consists of Dave Starr on all guitars & bass, London Wilde on vocals and powerhouse drummer Josh Foster.
I caught up with Dave and London to talk about their new CD, Beyond the Rain!
Robert Cavuoto: the CD, Beyond the Rain, came out on December 8th, how is it doing and how has it be received by the fans?
Dave Starr: Sales are as good as can be expected in the age of the internet and music piracy. The reviews have been great with the exception of a few bad ones here and there, but no big deal. I’d say 90% of them have been very positive!
London Wilde: We have gotten a lot of positive fan response, and I think we have appealed to new fans as well! We wanted to make this album a little more accessible to multiple genres without alienating our fan base, and I think we achieved that.
Robert Cavuoto: Tell me about the importance of this CD to the memory of London’s brother Gary?
London Wilde: My brother was a guitar prodigy that struggled with success or a lack of success. The frustration caused him to eventually take his own life. I wrote this album in the first person mostly from his point of view hitting upon key emotional points in his life because I think it’s a story that needs to be heard. We are always told that if you work hard, all your dreams will come true, but 99% of musicians or other types of artists will never achieve that, and the emptiness and feelings of inadequacy it creates can be devastating.
Robert Cavuoto: I’m intrigued by the title of the CD what can you share about it?
London Wilde: Beyond The Rain is the album title and title of the second track. It’s the first narrative in my story and is about a kid who finds a sanctuary and strength in music, as a way of surviving child abuse. I wanted to lay out the why music was so important to my brother and myself as well. I think a lot of people use music to get through life’s difficulties; it’s something just about everyone can relate too. We also released a lyric video for this track.
Robert Cavuoto: Tell me about how the band has grown musically since the first CD?
Dave Starr: I think we started out very strong with the Arrival, and we have only gotten better. I think that’s what every band wants to do, but they don’t always achieve.
London Wilde: With each album, we seem to zero in on our unique sound. For me, I am more confident in my writing than the first two, and maybe that shows.
Robert Cavuoto: Who and what influences you the most as a songwriter?
Dave Starr: Pretty much everything! I’m a bit unusual as a guitarist, in that I never sat down and figured out many songs by my favorite bands or learned guitar solos, etc. I just absorb music that I hear, and it becomes part of my being. I try to maintain a certain level of excellence in everything that I write, and that really pushes me to get better and better. As for artist that were influences on me, there are so many, but the three most important are; KISS, Judas Priest, and Thin Lizzy.
London Wilde: My vocal idols were Rob Halford, Ronnie James Dio, and early Queensryche. Those formative years are the lion share of my style, but anything I have heard and liked may end up flavoring a song. The Mamas and the Papas harmonies for example, sometimes that’s just what I hear in my head when I’m layering my backups or ELO, Soundgarden, The Monkeys. Musical sounds that get stored in your subconscious, and come out in interesting ways.
Robert Cavuoto: Does keeping things simple – just guitar, bass, and drums – steer you down a certain creative path?
Dave Starr: It’s not really that simple. I play all the guitars and bass on our CD’s. And I orchestrate a lot of parts to create a huge sound like textured rhythms, harmonies, etc. Our songs have a minimum of two guitar tracks; there are a few songs where I did four or more.
London Wilde: Our sound has layers of vocals and guitars, with many counter melodies tucked in here and there. We like to make our music interesting for the 100th listen as well as the first listen. Some of the ear cookies you may not pick out the first listen, but we like to make sure there are levels of our music. Obviously, we start with the basic melody, and just expand and riff off from there.
Robert Cavuoto: What does it take to stand out as a band nowadays in an overcrowded market?
Dave Starr: The internet has made things more difficult. There are too many bands out there fighting for attention. In the old days, 90 % of the bands you can find today online would never have heard of them because you needed a record deal to get exposure. Today, every shitty band, great band, and everything in between is out there. The bottom line is, you still have to be talented and write great songs, to separate yourself from the pack.
London Wilde: I think it’s always been the same thing that determines the success of a band. To stand out, you have to have a unique sound that sets you apart and have good songwriting. Even with that, it’s hard to break through.
Robert Cavuoto: What do you think has been your biggest challenge, both musically and professionally, so far in your career?
Dave Starr: Just keeping at it, and never giving up. It’s hard doing what we do. I know many talented people who gave up on their dreams. But I have been at this for over 35 years now, and see no sign of stopping!
London Wilde: Beyond The Rain has been my biggest challenge musically so far. Writing a rock opera like this about my brother and his life was draining and challenging emotionally. From writing to mixing and mastering, it was a huge undertaking for me, and I put a lot of pressure on myself to have it be something amazing that my brother would be proud of. I am really happy with the results; it was worth all the effort I put in.
Robert Cavuoto: Are you planning any touring dates to support the CD?
Dave Starr: We never tour, or at least we have not yet. We just concentrate on studio work and releasing CDs. London and I are very busy with lots going on in our lives. We just approach thing differently than most other bands. In some ways, we are just too busy to tour.
London Wilde: We are still at a “Pay to Play” level, which most emerging bands are. We would have to give up our home and businesses to tour, and at this stage in our lives, that isn’t something we are willing to do. We would rather make amazing music and maybe do a couple of videos instead.