Band names are difficult to create. Most good names are already taken by some Australian dad-rock band. Even when one is available it begins to feel like a trap.
For new-to-Minneapolis rock band Wild Firth, that’s a non-issue.
“I don't want attention on a name,” said guitarist and singer Will Fraser. “Unless it fits the whole aesthetic world of the music super well. Sometimes I want to change the name of this project — to just shift all attention to the music.”
Wild Firth can trace its roots to Fraser’s freshman year in college. While initially recording under the moniker The Chalice Room, Fraser decided to start a new project.
“I’d been writing a lot of songs and I wanted to actualize them. I rallied some close friends and the band was formed,” Fraser said.
Fraser and drummer Fez Felzan have been the only consistent members of the group. They met each other while living in Appleton, Wisconsin and both decided to move to Minneapolis — keeping the band alive.
“Appleton is alright,” Fraser said. “But I was ready to get out of there right after school. I’m from the West suburbs so I've known [Minneapolis] my entire life. It was the next logical step.”
Fraser’s musical influences are disparate and far-reaching. The band was initially borne in a headspace filled with trendy, jangly dream pop.
“[We’re] into a lot of late nineteenth century and early twentieth century classical music,” Fraser said. “I think their music is so relevant to pop music making now — if we’re to save the genre from becoming [completely] watered down.”
In March, Wild Firth released their eponymous proper debut. Songwriting centered around Firth and his backlog of written and saved pieces from the last three years. The band’s newest member, guitarist Jordan Bleau, helped record it out of a practice space in Minneapolis.
Fraser’s songwriting focuses on catchy vocal melodies laid over harmonic chord progressions. The lyrics are always elusive and mysterious — ripped out of some surrealist cut-up poetry technique handbook.
“I’ve never written a song that felt honest where I had prescribed lyrics to set,” Fraser said. “Or some specific thing I wanted to write about. It has to come from absolutely nothing — innocent and honest trust of the ear.”
For Fraser, songwriting is less an intellectual pursuit and more about following natural inclinations.
“I’m realizing more and more that I find myself most honestly in the music I write,” Fraser said. “It’s like my diary to the world. That sounds corny. I wish it didn’t.”
Since moving to Minneapolis, Wild Firth has doubled down and is playing live as much as possible. The pensive songwriter and his backing band are setting their sights on artistic goals rather than ascribing to the popularity contest that local music can be.
“Honestly, fuck the band names and song names and all these bands that love being in a band and having these trendy, vaporwave-y, post-internet names,” Fraser said. “I’m so sick of it. The music’s what matters, and there’s so much terrain to explore.”