Wylde may not be a household name (yet), but much of the young artist’s latest EP, Castles, is already working itself into our favorite chill-out playlists. At its best, Castles manages to capture the weirdness and alienation of the current moment we’re all collectively inhabiting — you know, that nearly year-long isolation we’ve been subjected to — without ever getting heavy-handed about the current state of the world. Instead, the parallels are aural, and we’re treated to music that is at once intimate and spare yet full of untapped energy bubbling beneath the surface, ready to burst.
Sort of like each and every one of us after a year stuck in pajamas.
This five-song EP marries Wylde’s syrupy vocals with beds of lush synths and steadily evolving grooves, making for a great listen whether you’re marveling at the sunset after smoking a joint in your backyard or hitting the road for a nighttime drive (because the car is the only place left you can still listen to loud music).
To celebrate the release of Castles, we linked up with Wylde, who is Los Angeles based — and therefore subject to some of the strictest quarantine measures in the country — to chat about themes behind her EP and how she manages to stay sane and creative during these precarious times.
How long did it take you to put together Castles, and what is the driving concept/theme?
This EP was created over the course of the last few years. All of the songs were inspired by the realizations and discoveries that made me grow as a person. The lyrics are very introspective and the theme behind most of these songs is self-transformation. My intention for creating these songs was for the listener to feel a sense of hope and be inspired to go a little deeper within themselves.
How have you stayed creative during the lockdown?
My main inspiration is people. I’m so inspired by people, their stories, and just the human experience in general. So it’s been difficult to have less human interaction but it’s made me feel really grateful for the people in my life and excited for the day we get to all come together again. I think that this year is going to give everyone such a deeper sense of gratitude for human connection.
I know I’ll never take for granted being able to embrace another person again.
What activity has been keeping you sane during the stay-at-home orders?
I’m super lucky to live in a beautiful area in Los Angeles where I can still explore the outdoors. Nature is so grounding and I feel fortunate to live in an area where I can still go on hikes and adventure outside. I think that even as adults it’s so important to still prioritize “play.” Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, we stopped playing. When we think of “playing” we always think of children and as we grow older we seem to lose our sense of wonder and the desire to play. Playing can be any playful activity that forces you into the present moment and causes you to lose track of time.
I love finding ways to spark my inner child and get lost in an activity.
There’s a book that completely changed my life called The Artist Way by Julia Cameron. She talks a lot about nurturing your “artist child” by setting up artist dates for yourself. This can include painting, drawing, etc. Anything where you can creatively connect to your inner artist child. When we were younger we would just create freely without the voice of our inner critic. Practicing getting in touch with your inner child can help you return to that place. Another way I connect to my inner child is by going on adventures by myself. Whether that’s thrifting, having a little picnic at a park, exploring nature — just finding ways to nurture that childlike sense of wonder.
Where are some of your favorite hiking spots around LA?
There’s an incredible trail in Malibu at Point Dume that I’ve been visiting a lot lately. Runyon Canyon is also amazing for Sunset Hikes. I love exploring Mulholland and finding the best views of LA at night. Something about getting to see the city at night is incredibly inspiring to me. I’m originally from Boston and was always so in awe of LA and I love being able to take a step back to take and be reminded how lucky I am to get to live here now.
Boredom can be a real inspiration killer. How do you stay inspired while in lockdown?
Learning to stay present has changed my mindset on boredom. I think that it’s impossible to feel bored and present at the same time. When I’m fully in the present moment there is always so much to be observed and so many things to be grateful for. If I were to find myself becoming bored, I’d use that as an indicator that I may have drifted from the present moment.
What did you discover during this last year in quarantine that you might not have had it been a regular year (new music, new movies, books, etc)?
Mental health is something I’m super passionate about so I’m always looking to expand my knowledge on brain science. Quarantine served as such a positive for me, because it gave me more time to dive in and learn more on these topics. I got tons of books on neuroscience and studied Cognitive Behavioral Therapy so that I could better articulate myself if there is someone that might need help.
There’s a book called Switch On Your Brain by Dr. Caroline Leaf that I read that was life-changing.
What local LA businesses did you find yourself relying on must during lockdown?
I really wanted to support small businesses as much as I could during this time. There’s a brand called “Remember Why You’re Here” that is really incredible. Their mission is to “remind people to live purposely, be consistent, and never settle. They make bracelets and have different merch items that read “Remember Why You’re Here”.
Has isolation driven you to create, or did you find that a hindrance to the process?
Recording sessions look a lot different right now for artists. It was hard not being able to have in-person sessions with my producer. I know a lot of artists are doing Zoom and Skype sessions but nothing beats being able to create together in the same room. Isolation inspired me to start building my own makeshift studio in my closet and start learning how to record my own vocals. Lately, I’ve been getting lost in there for hours.
What is one thing you wouldn’t have been able to live without during this quarantine era?
Mindfulness and spirituality are really important to me and I don’t think I would’ve had the same quarantine experience without these things. Meditation and journaling are a part of my everyday routine and it’s changed the way that I view life. I think we start to truly live when we can learn to quiet the mind and actually be present. It’s been a crazy year and having the tools to nurture my own inner world has helped me keep my peace through everything.
Where is the first place you’re planning on going when it’s safe to travel again and what can we expect from Wylde in 2021?
My mom is from Greece and I’ve been dying to go back there. I went once as a child, but haven’t been back since. I’m really proud of my Greek roots and think that the culture is so special. I’m counting down the days for when it will be safe to travel and explore again.
I’m really looking forward to this coming year and I have so much more music coming. I’ve already started recording the next project and I’m so excited to continue sharing my music with the world.