Q&A with Little Bigheart & the Wilderbeast
Little Bigheart & the Wilderbeast is a unique band with an unbreakable bond forged on the plains of Washington, DC. With inspired lyrics and memorable melodies, this band is making its way into the heart of DC’s music scene. Members include: Bryn Bellomy (Bass), Russell Joye (Drums), Patrick Mulroy (Guitar), and John Russell (Guitar).
Please enlighten us as to where the band name comes from and how you all came to find one another?
Russell: Well, we all knew each other more or less as students (different grades) at Georgetown University but never really jammed as a unit until early 2009. The jams sounded great and we all got along really well, so we just decided to stick with it, start writing songs and see where it went from there. Luckily for us, it’s been going well thus far, and we’re looking forward to keeping the train moving forward. Our name was a collaborative effort actually. I think Pat and John originally brainstormed “Little Bigheart” (along with a tiny stick figure drawing of a Native American courtesy of Pat – we’re a multitalented group here), but it needed more…I’m pretty sure Bryn and I were throwing ideas back and forth, “Wilderness” was one of them, “Wildebeest” was another, and we combined those to form “Wilderbeast.” We had an email chain discussion (literally hundreds of suggestions, arguments and counter-arguments etc) and at some point, we couldn’t decide on one or the other so we just threw them both together. There were plenty of tears, hurt feelings and emotional reconciliations along the way, but I think we’d all agree that the end result is nothing less than the absolute shit.
The band classifies its songs as "epic to ephemeral, catchy to chaotic." Are these traits that each member brings to the mix, or something that happens when you're all together working on and performing songs?
Pat: We have 3 songwriters, which means that we are already at a disadvantage: everyone has a different idea of “genre” or whatever and we’re all trying to express ourselves. But we don’t let each other get away with any bullshit and we are forced to meet in the middle. Sometimes we write folk music, sometime we come up with a totally metal or Brazilian-jazz song; but we make it an LBH song, because that’s what we do. Some times we write parts for the other instruments, and sometimes we leave it up to everyone’s personal interpretations.
Your songs are fun and spirited to be sure. I thought the song "When I Went Down" was pretty catchy and liked the harmonies in the song. Can you tell us a little more about the song—what was the inspiration and who is it about?
Bryn: That’s my baby. It’s about the absurdity of knowing the ultimate futile destination of all love, the single most infinitely wanting of any human experience, yet plunging into it anyway with great abandon. The storyline involves a young woman, poached from her soon-to-be husband by a cruel and despotic lord. She escapes but, upon meeting her love again in the woods, realizes that the perks of lord-wifery are superior to those of peasant-wifery. I’m not trying to make a commentary on women—it’s a totally gender-neutral phenomenon… No matter how drawn out the end of that sort of relationship might be, there’s always a point, one instant in time, when you realize with total, eye-needling clarity that the whole damned thing is over. Time just keeps cranking on. It’s crushing. But you always go back for more, unless you’re a broken son of a bitch with a busted soul. You know, last October I left an apple on my desk at work for a number of weeks so I could watch it decomposing every day. That’s when I was feeling the song the most.
Tell us more about the Assassination EP.
John: The suite tells the story (more or less) of the assassination of Julius Caesar and the resulting civil war and aftermath of that war. We tell the story from personal vantage points. Each song blends into one another to create a continuous, coherent piece. We’re really excited about releasing it—the final mixes should be done by the beginning of February, but we’ve got rough versions of everything up on our various inter-websites.
What's up next for Little Bigheart & the Wilderbeast?
Pat: We plan on constantly playing shows and recording until it makes sense for us to quit/die. Bryn: More percussion. More electronics. Better harmonies and melodies. Better storytelling. More world music in our sound. Concretely, though, we’re planning on releasing all subsequent material in the same format: four song EPs. We have another 9 or 10 songs ready to be released as EPs over the next year or so. We’ll accompany each with a little touring up and down the East Coast and, if we’re lucky, to Texas to dip into the Austin scene for a bit. We’re currently writing way more quickly than we can possibly record or perform. John: Christmas turkeys, getting fat, playing the EP to our families as many times as they’ll let us—but once we emerge from our gluttony-induced diabetic comas and return to DC we’ve got a show at the Red and the Black on January 22nd. And more recording sessions and shows to come after that, including a gig at Wonderland Ballroom in late March.
Who has the biggest heart in the band?
John: Well, based purely on anatomy I’d have to say Bryn. He’s a big boy. Some would say that I have the littlest bigheart (also referred to by some of our friends as “special feelings”), which I believe is what your question is actually driving at. But really I’m just the one who complains the most. I think it’s Russell—he’s one of the kindest and most genuine dudes on the planet, and definitely the emotional love glue (ew?) of the band. Join the herd and check out their new EP at: www.littlebigheartmusic.com