Album Review: Modern Ancient Man by the band Holy Wow never stops weaving you through a wondrous combination of ’60’s sounding surf riffs and dark, eerie Electro Goth flavored Rock. Dmitry Wild is the brainchild behind Holy Wow. Wild commented on his achievement in recording this album, “it’s my first conscious effort to record everything myself using Logic. I recorded and produced the whole thing.” Gary French recorded bass on the song “Nebulas” and Peter Breed recorded keys on “Dreamland,” Nebulas,” “Have Fun,” and “Remember.” Wild calls upon French, Breed and drummer for live shows as needed.
Recently, I had the opportunity to review “Secret Sessions” and “ExploZive” by the electronic / alternative New York based band Interzona. Lead singer and keytar player Mike Danilin describes the band as being in an “Unstable state between rock and pop, live and electric, dark and positive, reality and fantasy, retro and futurism – here and now…” Both of these albums above are extremely well thought out, produced and intense. I wanted to find out Danilin’s approach and philosophy to writing music and how he and Interzona create their material. This is what I learned…
I recently had the opportunity to catch up with poet, author, musician, singer, songwriter Dmitry Wild. He graciously allowed me to conduct this interview with him. Born in Moscow, Russia Wild came to live in Queens, New York as a teenager. It was also around this time that Wild would embark on his personal journey to becoming a musician.
One of things that makes this interview unique is that it is a musician who has an opportunity to ask a former bandmate personal questions. I played bass in a band Dmitry Wild created called Weapons of the Future when he was living in the Bay Area. I can personally hear the changes, growth and maturity in the music that Dmitry Wild is creating presently.
His latest project HOLY WOW has been busy creating! They have just finished recording their latest album “Modern Ancient Man” which will be available on January 25th, 2019. They have also produced a video for their song “Nebulas” which is dedicated to the memory of Theoretical Physicist Stephen Hawking. Enjoy the interview below.
Ash Andersen (Rock-n-Roll.biz): How did you first become interested in music initially? Did you play an instrument growing up that you don’t play now?
Dmitry Wild: I first began learning classic acoustic guitar when I was eleven years old, but I hated it, cause my guitar teacher had really long nails and I thought there is no way I could play like him because I couldn’t grow such long nails, plus it was the same old classical pieces that I had to learn over and over again. Finally, few years later I met some friends in the hood, and learning songs on an acoustic guitar was the thing back then to impress girls and to be the cool guy, so I picked up the shitty acoustic guitar we had that my dad and his friends used at parties and you know, I never stopped since. In high school, I played bass in a Jazz band, but I was horrible at it so I left the group. I picked up the bass again when I formed my first original band, Table Dreams.
Ash Andersen (Rock-n-Roll): How old were you when you formed or joined your first band? What style or genre was it?
Dmitry Wild: I formed my first band at 19 with my college friend, Vinni. We met on the campus one day while we were smoking cigarettes. The band was called Table Dreams and we called it Metal, Disco, Punk. We achieved modest popularity among the local Immigrant community because we wrote songs about immigration, moving out, and getting high. It was a fun time. Since Vinni and I both played guitar, I volunteered to play bass. We just could not find a bass player. But, it wound up being a good thing. It taught me how to write and structure songs.
Table Dreams (CBGB 2002)
Ash Andersen (Rock-n-Roll.biz): Talk to me about your personal creative process. How do you write songs in HOLY WOW ?
Dmitry Wild: HOLY WOW is my musical outlet where I had a vision to mix electronic beats and garage rock, I’m the one who writes the majority of the material. It was a long process for me to get to this point. I had to grow on so many levels since band practices where you are standing around the room with 4 guys, but with time and practice your songwriting abilities grow and expand. I’m always getting inspired by new bands, movie scores, other musicians that I play with. I’m always focused on coming up with catchy riffs and melodies.
I also have learned how to play with keyboards and synthesizers more effectively. I also dove head first into the world of LOGIC. That has taken songwriting to a whole different level. When I asked Gary and Peter to perform with me songs live, they understood the concept of this project is and plus we all like the same kinds of music. They were able to layer their instruments on top of what I initially bring to them. Sometimes though the process works differently, I asked Gary to come up with a bass line with a very specific sound for the song “Nebulas.” I was hearing bass lines that sounded like The Cure in my head, but couldn’t nail it. Since Gary had played in a cover band named after The Cure’s album “Pornography”, I knew that he would be able to nail it and he did.
Holy Wow Rehearsing
Ash Andersen (Rock-n-Roll.biz): So who is in this project right now?
Holy Wow Live at The Cutting Room.
Photo by Rostislav Kouznetsov
Ash Andersen (Rock-n-Roll.biz): Well, I think that you are a brilliant guitarist. Your guitar playing always inspired me when we played in Weapons of the Future. I felt like I became a better bass player through that experience. I know that you’ve always played with a lot of guitar pedals and effects. Tell me what is your dream guitar and please name five of your favorite guitar effects.
Dmitry Wild: Thanks Ash, I would concur, but I will just stay silent here. My dream guitar is a Gretsch Billy Duffy Signature Black Falcon or perhaps a Duesenberg guitar, that guitar has really been catching my eye lately but the price tag is a little steep! My favorite guitar effects are Electro Harmonix, Delay and Pitch Shifter, and very recently Mad Professor Fuzz with Delay and of course Tremolo arm on the guitar is like another pedal. All my guitars have it.
Holy Wow on the set. Filming a music video for “Nebulas”
(Baza Studio) Photo by Mark Sposato.
Ash Andersen: (Rock-n-Roll.biz): Is there any difference playing in a band now that you’re a father?
Dmitry Wild: Yes of course! Basically you have no time for anything. So you have to make sure that any extra time that you do get for music really counts. And you have to adopt new ways of being extremely productive. You’ve got less time for socializing and getting wasted at rehearsals. When you have children becoming a better project manager becomes a necessity. It can get crazy but if you want to rock you’ve got to hustle.
I used to think that when I had children, I wouldn’t have time for anything else especially music. On the contrary when you have children you know exactly what you want. Anything is possible you just have to work on finding the solution.
“If you can find a way to remain true to your inner calling then nothing can stop you from creating.”
Ash Andersen (Rock-n-Roll.biz): What other projects do you have at the moment?
Also I always had my own solo project under my own name Dmitry Wild
and I release music, poetry, covers or anything else I decide to create. My next idea is to record a full on album with spoken word poetry over music, in the style of Saul Williams and Jim Morrison’s “American Prayer.”
Also I recently collaborated as a composer and a singer on an upcoming Rock musical, called “The Mouthtrap” based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet. I got to play the role of Laertes, which was a lot of fun. The part required acting, singing and guitar playing. This was the most fun musical project I have ever participated in.
I also recorded guitars for few songs for Mekia Machine, who is a phenomenal singer. One of the tracks called “Keep Standing.” Mekia’s brother, Uriah Hall is a National UFC Champion. He used the track to walk out to his match in Las Vegas at TMobile Arena and guess what, he won.
Ash Andersen (Rock-n-Roll.biz): What genre do you think HOLY WOW fits into? Who are some of your major musical influences?
Dmitry Wild: Well shit, I don’t know that’s always a tough question. I guess in this particular project I decided it’s my chance to experiment mixing electronic and garage indie rock. I always used to say I hate electronic music, I am a guitar player. I would yell, “Song must have guitars!”, Now I learned electronic music is it’s own genre, where there is a lot of great music, but I guess what I like is mixing and blending styles together. Also I guess with my deep voice on the mic, it always sounds a bit Gothy on top of it.
Also I love films and cinema, for me it’s also a cinematic project, where I get to experiment with visuals and lights, while the music is playing. I finally created a backing videos for every song, so it’s more of an experience now.
I would say the style could be called, Indie Electro Goth rock? Something like that. (Laughs.)
My major influences are The Doors, Interpol, White Lies, Jesus and the Mary Chain, Stone Roses, then Queens of the Stone Age, Sonic Youth and Kino ( A Soviet band from the eighties similar in sound to The Cure.)
Ash Andersen (Rock-n-Roll.biz): What are some of your long and short term goals with HOLY WOW? Do you have any aspirations to tour?
Dmitry Wild: The short term goals are to just keep promoting “Modern Ancient Man” our new album which will be released on January 25. To just keep building up the hype and play a great album release show. I’m dying to go play in Europe but, I don’t want to play to just three people. I’m currently working with a publicist to help me achieve this goal. But first gathering album reviews is essential.
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Dmitry Wild: Oh man! That’s a hard question. I would have loved to have played with the Doors as their bass player or play guitar for Victor Tzoi from Kino. He was such an enigmatic and yet simple person. I started KinoFest in his honor where bands can play a Kino cover or two within their own sets. I feel his songwriting and mine are similar in that the songs are romantic with an existential twist. Russians love to talk and write about deep shit (Laughs.)
Dmitry Wild: The full album “Modern Ancient Man” will be available on iTunes and Spotify.
Ash Andersen (Rock-n-Roll.biz):
Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview! Best of luck to you and your bandmates on your upcoming album release!
Interview by Ash Andersen.