- Words Phie McKenzie
Wyvern Lingo are doing things their own way and in their own time and their music is all the more better for it.
Few childhood friendships last. Best friends may drift apart, some friends outgrow each other and others move away when the confines of school can no longer keep them rooted in their birthplace. Growing up often means growing apart but not for Wyvern Lingo, childhood friends and bandmates for years. The trio from Wicklow in Ireland have always been close, since they were small, and it’s this bond that helps propel them forwards as musicians, taking on life’s challenge’s together, hand in hand.
First appearing in 2014 with their The Widow Knows Ep, the friends got time to develop their sound and live experience on the road with artists such as James Vincent McMorrow and Hozier. Next came the more pop driven Letter to Willow EP and since several releases which saw them bring in a range of influences from hip hop to rock. In turn, their versatility has meant other artists have given their music a rework, including this rather lush Conor C remix of ‘Out of My Hands‘.
They seem to have finally settled into their groove and are readying to release their first full body of work this Friday. Ahead of its release, we spent some time with the group to see if good things really do come in threes.
Notion: It’s been a while since we heard your first EP. How has the process been writing your first album?
Wyvern Lingo: It was amazing. The album has been a long time coming for us, but we needed the time to figure out our sound and how we wanted to craft the album. We are three songwriters so we each bring the bones of a song to the group, rip it apart and then start again. We are constantly writing lyrics and melodies and bouncing ideas off of each other.
We did a few writing weeks in the countryside where we could focus on writing the material, and then spent a lot of time demoing, arranging, and re-demoing songs that made the cut. However there are some exceptions, for example the album-opener, ‘Out of my Hands’ was written while in the studio. All in all the album is a collection of experiences we had over the last few years and it’s riddled with sincerity.
How have you evolved as a band over the years?
I think we have very much found our sound now. That came from practising almost every day and getting better at our instruments. The Widow Knows EP was very much an EP created with the tools we had at the time. We then branched out and started producing our songs a lot more with the use of electronic equipment and apps like GarageBand, Logic etc. We want Wyvern Lingo to stay just the three of us, so we try beef out our sound as much as possible. It has always been in the back of our heads the way we wanted the band to sound and now with time and hard work for we’re finally there.
Have you always had a clear vision as to what you’d sound like now?
We are all 90’s babies, so we love a good chunky track. We were lucky as kids too because our parents listened to great music. Harmonies were second nature to us growing up. There was a lot of swapping CDs like Fleetwood Mac and Destiny’s Child. We are big classic rock fans and also love a cheeky bit of pop with playful ear candy. I suppose that flows through the songs we write and it’s all held together with a RnB backbone for a beat. The albums that inspired this record include Solange A Seat at the Table, Nao’s For all we Know and A Tribe Called Quest’s We got it From Here… Thank you for your service.
With such a unique style, there doesn’t seem to have been any kind of blueprint for you to follow.
Thank you – yes we’d agree. Each song, depending on who writes the initial melody or lyrics, requires different treatment, and we don’t like to get too bogged down in the formula. Instead, we prefer to take it where it feels it needs to go. I think we are aware now of each others differing strengths with writing and arranging, so know what we can each bring to the table with each new song.
You’ve been friends for years. Aside from your musical ability, which qualities do you each bring to your partnership?
Saoirse: Accounting/business skills and being a very good listener.
Caoimhe: Artistic/visual skills (having done the album artwork) and humour.
Karen: Organisational/management skills and optimism.
How much time do you all spend together? And when you’re not making music, what are you doing?
Haha, we are in each other’s pockets so much it’s ridiculous, it’s been that way since we met as teenagers. We also have a lot of the same friends so end up seeing each other almost every day of the week. It’s nice; we’re well able to turn off work mode and have a good night out together. Our interests are probably more similar than ever at this stage, so we end up going to a lot of gigs and events together, which is fun.
Personally, when not doing music stuff, I like to be outside as much as possible (jam rooms are always windowless and cold) and be active (guilty pleasure is Muy Thai boxing). I try to see as many friends as possible, cook (I miss cooking when touring) and go to gigs. We all have massive, constant travel bugs too.
The release of your album is this month – what do you think fans will make of it?
Our fans are amazing and have responded so well to the singles that we’ve released off the album so far, so we think they are going to love it. We couldn’t be more proud of what we’ve created here; it feels really good. We think Lingoland will be pleased.
Can you talk about one particular track that you’re excited for people to hear?
I’m really excited for people to hear ‘When I Can (Rubbish)’. It’s the last song on the album and it’s just so much fun to play. We feel like the next album will be more in this direction again. It has a chunky riff in the chorus and a chant for the post-chorus that ends up stuck in your head. Vulfpeck and Rihanna are probably big influences on this track, and we love it!
Wyvern Lingo’s album is out Friday 23rd February.