Local band The Wilder Janes talk about the songs on their debut album

Preparing for another Tuesday night practice, The Wilder Janes set up their harp and marimba and toast to the release of their first album. The chamber-folk trio of Melissa Wilson, Becca Babin and Heather Feierabend debuted Someday With Someone Else at the end of August with a sold-out release party.

The album combines a mix of folk and modern sounds highlighting the band’s classical and choir backgrounds. It’s a soundtrack for life and all its twists and turns.

While making the record, The Wilder Janes took advantage of their many musical talents, expanding instrumentally for a fuller-than-live sound and using multi-layered tracks to multiply their vocals and essentially become their own choir. They’ve taken pride in knowing the album is all them.

“There are hesitations sometimes because you can pull [in] other musicians, and people often do, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But we thought it was kind of awesome to have all the musicians [and] all of the tracks be us,” says Feierabend, who plays mandolin, bass, tenor guitar and banjo.

The trio brings unexpected soundscapes to their songs, with marimba, percussion, drums and guitar from Wilson and harp, guitar and bass from Babin. All three sing on every track.

Each song has a different mood because of the unique blends of instruments. The band members agree the studio version of the album’s first track, “August,” has many layers that are difficult to achieve in a live show.

“I get to play marimba, percussion, different instruments that I can’t necessarily play all at once,” Wilson says.

The three say the song feels relatable to their lives in Baton Rouge and the idea of kicking back in a lawn chair and opening a beer on a hot Sunday afternoon.

Every song on the album, whether it’s upbeat or on the softer side, is a piece of these bandmates’ lives. The musicians try to find a balance in their musical themes. “We are tickled by the idea of variety in instruments and in song styles. I think it keeps the show interesting,” Babin says.

From the briskness of “August” to the comical edge of “Drinking Song” and haunting tones of songs like “Arlington,” The Wilder Janes are inspired by the way life ambles onward. That’s what Someday With Someone Else is all about—accepting the past and moving forward.

In the months to come, The Wilder Janes look forward to sharing their new album with more in the Capital City.

“I think Baton Rouge has developed an audience that listens, and that’s kind of amazing and nothing to be taken for granted,” Feierabend says. “I’m excited that we are all local musicians, that we love this music community and that our audiences are so amazing.” thewilderjanes.com 

This story was originally published in the October issue of 225 Magazine.