In the heartland of St. Louis emerges a dynamic force in the world of rock n roll – WISEMARY, a band that not only pays homage to the genre’s timeless classics but now stakes their claim with an original sonic masterpiece. The debut single, “Won’t Bow Down,” is more than just a song; it’s a visceral reflection of the band’s journey, a testament to their passion, and a symbol of their unwavering commitment to the craft.
In this exclusive interview, we delve into the heart and soul of WISEMARY, exploring the inspiration behind “Won’t Bow Down,” the creative process that fueled its inception, and the band’s relentless dedication to forging a new chapter in their musical narrative. Join us as we unravel the layers of sound and passion woven into the fabric of WISEMARY‘s debut, a testament to the enduring spirit of rock ‘n roll in the heartland of St. Louis.
Delighted to have you with us!
1. Can you break down a specific moment during “Won’t Bow Down”—maybe a lyric, a riff, or a drum fill—that you feel encapsulates the core of its defiant spirit? How did you craft this moment to ensure it hit hard with your audience?**
Carson: “Won’t Bow Down” shows off the band’s rhythmic abilities more than any other WISEMARY song. The combination of the steady riff and the pulsating drum beat create the feeling of a train with no signs of stopping. We crafted this song by not allowing ourselves to have any premonitions or motivations when writing; we just let the song’s energy and power carry us to the end of the writing process.
2. If “Won’t Bow Down” could inspire any change in the world, what would you want it to be? And do you see this song as a standalone statement, or as part of a larger narrative you wish to build with your music?
Zach: The lyrics of “Won’t Bow Down” focus on the idea of not backing down, and while I originally envisioned the message of the song to be about a relationship, I think the lyrics can speak to more than that. It talks about selling your shadow, or giving away part of yourself for a chance to make a statement. I think that’s something not only artists can relate to, but a lot of people living in 2023 have to face. We’re all facing uncertain times with a road full of pitfalls. While the message might be broad reaching, I really hope this song/album can help to prove that modern rock bands and other small artists in local scenes can make some incredible music. You don’t need an entire label’s support behind you, you just need to build the right group around you who want to help you reach your dream.
3. Imagine you have the ability to go back in time and play the latest single for one of your musical heroes. Who would it be, why, and how do you think they would react to hearing it? Do you think this interaction would have changed the way you approached the song or your music in general?
Ryan: It would be interesting to see how record executives would react to our music in the 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s when record deals were more of an industry standard. I’d like to see how big record labels would react to our sound and live performance. I would also love to see how bands/artists with longevity like The Rolling Stones and Foo Fighters would react to our chemistry as a live band.
4. The upcoming album tackles the highs and lows of young love. How did you approach the tracklist arrangement to ensure this story unfolds cohesively for the listener? Are there any hidden details or motifs throughout the record that fans should listen out for to fully appreciate the narrative?
Zach: While this album certainly comes together to create a cohesive story, the arrangement of the track list is less dependent on the lyrics. We really wanted to showcase the melodic qualities of the band so we arranged the album in a way that helps express that and carry the energy from the first to the last track. However, like I mentioned, I’ve said this album is about the highs and lows of a young love, and that definitely holds true. We had a lot of time to develop this album and coincidentally most of that period coincided with the rise and fall of a relationship I had been in. Over the months of writing I really got the opportunity to explore that relationship from multiple perspectives and if you listen to the lyrics with that in mind, you can piece together the unofficial track list. We’ll probably post a listening guide on our social media (@wisemaryofficial) when the album releases, but fans can expect an album that continues to dig into the emotions behind modern relationships.
5. Can you share a specific moment or story from the creation of your new album that exemplifies the band’s chemistry and how it elevates your music?
Andrew: It’s hard to pinpoint a specific moment where our chemistry evolved because of how long we’ve been working, hanging out, and creating together, but every artist knows the feeling of taking a shot in the dark. Moments when you’re unsure and have no choice but to trust each other always make your bandmates and team feel like your family. In addition, a good representation of our ability to work together is when Ryan and I took two days to record our tracks. We persisted through around a total of 30 hours of writing and recording, taking time to ensure we had good takes while creating parts that synchronize well with each other. These are the fundamental actions WISEMARY uses while recording.
6. You’ve successfully transitioned from covering classic rock songs to creating your own unique sound. Can you talk about how that experience has been instrumental in your transformation? What aspects of your sound do you feel are most radically different now compared to when you first started?
Carson: Starting out covering classic rock songs was a way to build our individual chops up and gain a foothold into some local bars and clubs. It was a great way to learn how to play and perform for an audience. However, once we started the process of writing and recording our album we naturally all dug more into modern sounds and styles of music. The last thing we wanted was to be looked at as a gimmick or act that is solely known for having a sound entirely based on previous eras. We’ve seen it in our city and through social media, and always wonder what the point is of making replica music. We have a ton of inspiration from all generations of music, but we find that the combination of all of our tastes and lifestyles come together to create a fresh new sound built solely upon the raw energy we feel when we listen to and create music.
7. How has St. Louis’s diverse musical culture, spanning blues, alternative rock, and hip-hop, shaped your sound and original music? Can you pinpoint any local influences or artists that have impacted your style?
Evan: St. Louis is an inspiring city for musicians. You can go into a bar in Soulard any night of the week and watch an incredible blues band, or visit a club and be submerged in the rich underground hip-hop and rock scene. There are various spots to see musicians where you can learn and be indulged in different art. We were blessed with the opportunity to work with St. Louis based superproducer Carl Nappa who has exposed us to and taught us about several different styles from the huge array of artists he’s worked with over his years in the business. Other locally grown acts like The Urge, Story of the Year, Miles Davis, Chuck Berry, and Nelly have given us inspiration to cultivate a scene in our hometown.