Musician and producer Ben Kweller says one of the big draws to working with Austin-based indie-folk band Wild Child is their unique instrumentation. “I’ve always been such a rock guitar guy,” he says, “but this band makes as big a sound as anyone without even touching a guitar.”
Wild Child is led by violinist/vocalist Kelsey Wilson and singer/uke player Alexander Beggins; both are very strong songwriters and musicians, and the unique arrangements they’ve developed with Kweller are at once quirky and beautifully evocative.
After a couple of weeks of pre-production, Kweller and engineer Steve Mazur started tracking with just Wilson and Beggins at Austin Signal (www.austinsignal.com).
“Everything begins with the two of them,” Kweller says. “We set up their mics, no headphones, no click, and we got these amazing takes—just live vocals and ukulele straight to an Ampex 440 1-inch, 8-track. We used my C37a on Kelsey’s voice, which Mazur set right in-between omni and cardioid. For Alex’s voice we used a Lucas CS1, and for his uke, my old SM 69. We dumped the raw duets into Pro Tools and established downbeats and created clicks for each song. Then we brought the band in and built up the tracks. It was so refreshing because the lead vocals were done first, and the end result still has that one of a kind, natural cadence that Alex and Kelsey have.”