Senior Photo Editor
A Family is a group of individuals who are affiliated by birth, marriage or a nurtured kinship. However dysfunctional, supportive, or awkward they may be—we all have a group of whack-jobs to call our own.
What The Wild Family shares, however, is more than just DNA.
United by an appreciation for timeless folk melodies, lush vocals and steel guitar jams, the four-piece indie-rock band The Wild Family—led by biological brothers Jake and Zack Schweitzer—will drop their first studio EP Empty Promises Feb. 4 after their Jan. 29 release show rocked the Space, 1245 Chicago Ave., in Evanston.
After growing up together in their hometown of Genoa, Ill., Jake, vocalist, guitarist and junior music major, and Zack, bassist, began collaborating with guitarist and vocalist Graham Young, sophomore music major, at Columbia in 2012. In 2013, drummer Kevin Koreman, senior music major, joined the band to complete the multi-faceted indie folk-rock family. Since recording their first EP, The Wild Family was nominated for The Deli Magazine’s Best Chicago Emerging Artist of 2013 on Deli Magazine’s website.
The Chronicle caught up with Jake over the phone to discuss working with his sibling, what Columbia really taught him and Jolly Ranchers.
THE CHRONICLE: What is the best part about being in a band with your brother?
JAKE SCHWEITZER: It’s great because we’re incredibly comfortable around each other; I can give him feedback, he can give me feedback and it’s just a really comfortable situation and it always has been. We’ve always been really close, so it’s just like having your best friend [as a bandmate], but it’s also really frustrating probably more of the time actually because we get in really big arguments and we aren’t afraid to mouth off to each other. It’s great and it’s trying at the same time.
CC: Your music explores many facets of folk-rock, bringing a range and depth not usually found in such a baby band. How do you stay fresh?
JS: It’s really interesting to work with two primary songwriters in the band—me and Graham—we both have really different influences, so I will write a portion of the song and he might come in and comment on it and give me different ideas and gives me something fresh. [He brings up] things I wouldn’t have thought of based on my musical background and influences so that always keeps our songs evolving, which is really great.
CC: What was it like being nominated for Best Chicago Emerging Artist of 2013?
JS: It made us feel really good [and] really appreciate being nominated. It was a good thing for us, just getting that support and being recognized for that. Even just being in the running with some of the bands that were in it, because there were some really, really great bands in it. So we really appreciated that. We gave ourselves a really big pat on the back.
CC: If we were to spend an entire night backstage with you, how should we mentally prepare for it?
JS: You’d probably have to expect a lot of dirty jokes. You’d have to not eat all day because we’d probably eat four or five pizzas, and just a lot of rowdiness, hijinks and goofy stuff.
CC: If The Wild Family were a Jolly Rancher flavor, which one would it be and why?
JS: Is “banana” a Jolly Rancher flavor?
CC: I don’t think so.
JS: Then probably watermelon, because it’s almost too sweet. It’s almost off-putting it’s so sweet. Our music is so sweet and soulful that we basically reflect a watermelon spirit fruit.
CC: What is the best lesson you’ve learned from Columbia?
JS: To network and put yourself out there. I think everyone in the band was probably pretty shy and not ready to go for it when we came here, but being around other people who are motivated and doing the things you want to do gives you a really big push. I think that’s probably the best thing that I’ve gained from Columbia is just being surrounded by people who are always doing the same thing that you’re doing and you want to compete and be the best you can possibly be; that’s given us the drive to accomplish what we have so far.
For more information, visit WildFamilyMusic.Bandcamp.com.