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Interview with Wilderado - Denver Music Blog

Interview with Wilderado

Wilderado is a band who I have seen at several festivals, here in Denver and away when I have traveled. They are super fun live, and I also love watching their dedicated fan base enjoy the show as much as I do. As with all of us, Wilderado has been held back from going out this year, but it hasn’t stopped them from getting music ready to release, as well as building a studio to record the next batch. Last week, I was able to chat with Max Rainer, principal songwriter as well as singer and guitarist for the band, to hear more about what they’ve been up to.


Interview with Max Rainer of Wilderado


Aimee:

So, tell me how Wilderado got its start? Just for people who don’t know.

Max:

Well, there’s the long version, the short version, and then probably the extra-long version, but somewhere in between there, I think it goes, we all found ourselves in Los Angeles, and I had written some songs, and we just made a record, just kind of a group of friends. And over the years it’s looked like some different things, but I mean, really the true story is, we just made a record, put a song online, and the next minute we’re on the road.

Aimee:

Wow.

Max:

Yeah, it’s been one of those things that we never really had to force. We use that as a guide on what to do next. To be honest, it’s just trying to abide by what’s naturally happening to us.

Aimee:

And you guys went to college together?

Max:

Yep. Two of us did in Waco at Baylor University.

Aimee:

Yeah, I was reading some interviews, and I was trying to figure it out. So, you’re from Tulsa, and then you started the band in L.A., but are you back in Tulsa now?

Max:

Yeah. So that’s confusing, but you got that right. We’re back in Tulsa now, feels good.

Aimee:

Was it family… or just L.A., that made you move back to Tulsa, or what was the reasoning for that?

Max:

Yeah, definitely, those two things. We still love Los Angeles. I think we kind of found ourselves just not really being able to survive out there. I had a little girl, and the rest of my siblings were having children as well, and so I think we just kind of realized getting back home was going to be the smartest thing to do. We actually can be a little bit more comfortable here, as far away from everything as possible. It’s easier to tour, too.

Aimee:

Really. That’s interesting because Denver bands always talk about how hard it is, when you have to drive another five hours for every stop on a tour – versus on the east coast, where you hit a city every 30 minutes.

Max:

Well, yeah. I guess it’s all a bit dependent on what we’re comparing it to. The east coast is amazing. I mean, touring the east coast, is like the best thing ever, because nothing is over four hours away. But we just found ourselves time and time, again, starting in Kansas City. And you’re like needing to have two days of driving to get through your first gig from L.A.. Something about having a long drive home is way better than a long drive to start.

Aimee:

Sure. That makes sense. So, tell me about your new song, “Head Right.” Was that done during pandemic or was it done before, or? I love it, it’s such a fun song.

Max:

Thank you. We wrote it pre-pandemic, finished recording it, and we then mixed it in June 2020. So we were pretty far into the pandemic by that point. Yeah, that song changed a lot through the recording process, but I started it and wrote it in Nashville and then came and finished it here in Oklahoma with the guy who produced the record, Chad Copeland. It’s a fun song, you know what I mean? We, it’s just, it was kind of a no brainer to just kind of start it and we wrote it basically the exact same way it sounds.

Aimee:

Well, I feel like it’s a perfect anthem for right now, especially the video. I smiled the whole way through because I was like, yes, that’s exactly how I’ve felt for the last year. You know? I mean, is that what you were kind of trying to convey, or?

Max:

Actually, I was in a pretty dark space when I was writing the lyrics to that tune. Touring a lot and being away from family, just of trying to figure out how to enjoy where I am. Cause I would look up always wanting to be somewhere else. And next thing you know, a whole month has gone by and you didn’t enjoy any of it. You were doing all these amazing things yet, the whole time you were just trying to get home or trying to do something – that’s just simply I don’t want to do.

Aimee:

That make sense.

Max:

And that’s where I was writing that song, but so it was all pretty personal. Then you listen back and we’re starting to rehearse again and play it, that’s weird. And it’s funny, just how much of a hard time I’ve had actually doing that. Getting there. You know what I mean? I just never really do feel like my head is right.

Aimee:

I would agree that’s a thing that a lot of people have trouble with that in life, trying to be in the moment … it’s just a very difficult skill to have in general.

Max:

Man, isn’t it? It’s one of those things though, if you could really figure out. But I guess the hard thing is not really about figuring it out. It’s just doing it. That’s the hard part.

Aimee:

Right? Well, I completely sympathize with you in terms of that, because photographing shows, but then wanting to be home and then I’m at home and I want to be out, so I totally understand what you mean. But, so you know, again, I’d seen you at festivals and I also know that you’ve been doing a lot of great support shows, like Judah and The Lion and gosh, Lindsey Buckingham, and Band of Horses and those guys. Amazing. But are you working on doing your own tour or … what’s the plan after pandemic?

Max:

Well, we are. Yeah. I mean, it’s funny to think. I feel like I’ve been on the road for five years straight. We, basically, I think we’ve done two headlines. So, we’ve been really lucky to have the supports that we’ve had, but that is the idea. Yeah. We had a headline I think, held for August through September and just has been pushed again. We’re just trying to figure it out. I mean, I don’t want to rush back to playing, either.

Aimee:

Sure. It’s a difficult decision.

Interview with Wilderado - Denver Music Blog

Grandoozy Festival 2018

Max:

I’d rather do it when it’s right. Rather than just do it when we can. Got a record coming at the end of the summer or fall. So, I think that’s going to be a big player in the decision on when to go back out on the road.

Aimee:

And is that a full length?

Max:

Yeah, first one, can you believe it?

Aimee:

Yeah, I know you have a bunch of EPs, so that’s great.

Max:

Yeah. So that’s kind of, that’s what we’re doing right now. I mean, I think what inevitably will happen is, we’ll get an email from our manager, and he’ll say, we’ve got an offer for these dates with so-and-so band and that will be in two weeks. And off we’ll go. But right now, we’re just trying to put a band back together.

Aimee:

Right.

Max:

I kind of how we keep talking about it feels like the band, that we’re starting a band again. Doesn’t feel like we’re going into our sixth year. Which is kind of a good vibe, to tell you the truth. It’s been really fun to just look at it and appreciate what it was and understand it has to be the same thing while evolving and how to do that.

Aimee:

Right. That’s a smart way to look at it and basically say, who are we now? And what are our goals now versus trying to be exactly who you were two years ago or whatever.

Max:

That’s so true. I love, the thing I love about bands to tell you the truth is there’s so much of it that just kind of applies to your person in general. A band is like this weird animated thing, almost like a Tamagotchi or something. You remember those? That thing that you’re like trying to keep alive by all these little actions…

Aimee:

Right. I feel like that about my site. I kind of think of it as pottery, like on the wheel. Like I’m just kind of always spinning it and trying to build it and keep it alive. But it’s like, people don’t realize that you constantly have to keep adjusting it, you know?

Max:

Yeah. That’s actually a really beautiful thought.

Aimee:

Well, and speaking of, so do you have any hobbies outside of music?

Max:

It’s hard for me to decide what would be a hobby. There’s lots of things I’m interested in. I spent most of the most of quarantine building a studio, which has kind of been a dream of mine. It’s just this concrete pad slab that started as a machine shop where they made skateboard wheels, way back when, here in Tulsa. Been a storage facility for a long time. So, we got it and have just been remodeling it. Me and some buddies – we did it all. I mean, it’s been really cool. All the framing and sheetrock. And I had some people come in and do the stuff that I didn’t want to mess up, but it was fun work that I’ve never done before, but really, really enjoyed. It was amazing to have a long day putting up framing and, then you look and see exactly what you did that day. You go home really tired and feel accomplished.

Aimee:

Right? You actually got something concrete – ha ha, pun there, done.

Max:

It was very therapeutic.

Aimee:

That’s great. And anything else in the works?

Max:

I think we’ll just keep releasing, we’re going to release a couple more singles leading up to the record and then we’ll just get that thing out. We’re all excited about it. It’s funny. It’ll have been mixed for over a year and mastered for over a year, by the time it comes out. So we’re ready for people to get to hear it. And it’s a part of us, a big part of us, that we’ve got fans and people who have supported us along the way. Yeah, man, just that I’m ready to get back out and see people, especially see people who listen to us.


Thanks to Max and Wilderado – look forward to seeing you (hopefully) soon!

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