The Queensbury natives are known for their 60s and 70s sound (the vibe is completed with the most ambitious afro I’ve ever seen on a 23-year-old bass guitarist), energetic and boisterous live shows and seem to be one of the area’s most promising local acts. The band includes vocal leader and guitarist Travis Gray (who has an awesome falsetto and guitar skills), drummer Mateo Vosganian (characterized by his impressively long beard), bass guitarist Rich Derbyshire (as earlier mentioned, the bassist with a larger-than-life afro), and guitarist Shane Gilman, who unfortunately couldn't make it to the interview. The band is currently keeping busy recording demos and writing songs for their new album, which they hope to release by early next year, and playing shows often—this weekend they’ll be one of the highlights at the much-awaited MOVE Music Festival in Albany.
Saratoga TODAY: How did you guys meet and form Wild Adriatic?
Travis: Mateo and I grew up in same neighborhood—we played in a band when I was 14 and he was 16, and then he went off to college and we both played in other bands. Rich went to Queensbury High School with us—he’s the baby of the band, and we’ve known him for a long time but didn’t play with him until about a year and a half ago. Then I ended up coming back around to play with Mateo again in 2011 and found Rich in August of 2011, so it all just came together randomly.
Mateo: Our first real push was our Lock and Key EP. When we put The Lion EP out, we were figuring out what the hell was going on and how to make music, and then the second EP was like, ‘Alright, we might be alright,’ and now we’re going to make a record that I think is going to be okay. Hopefully we make one that’s good one day—I think we’ll get there [laughs].
ST: Your band gives out a definite 60s/70s vibe. What draws you to that type of sound?
Travis: For one, I think it’s just really good. We are big fans of it, so we like to play stuff that’s reminiscent of it.
Mateo: I like its simplicity, and I like the fact that music and technique have come a long way since then. I listen to drummers that played back then and they played really cool, really thoughtful, all-about-the-song-itself parts, and they’re just there to serve the song and the music—but they play with this technique that’s genuine and not quite refined. So now I get to play that kind of music, but with a refined technique. We get to play music we love, but we have a different take on it because we play with updated styles.
ST: Your live shows are super energetic. How do you guys prepare to keep up onstage?
Travis: I work out a lot—got to keep that endurance up. I do a lot of bike riding so I don’t run out of breath when I sing [laughs].
Mateo: I’m a drum teacher and I play an open mic every week, and we practice two to three times a week and play shows two to three times a week, so I’m playing all the time—I really just love to play drums.
Rich: When I practice I’m kind of jumping around anyway—at home I’m always jumping around. It’s weird—if you ever come to my house and I’m practicing, it’s going to be weird [laughs].
Mateo: A big thing for us is video, too. We will go for a long stretch of shows where we videotape every show and then watch it and say, ‘Oh, we suck,’ or we’ll notice, ‘Oh, that was really cool and kind of accidental,’ and we’ll try to repeat that and just add it in to our next show. Rich goes nuts—he joined the band and just goes crazy. He’s so reserved, but he gets up on stage and goes nuts.
ST: Mateo, you have a massive beard. Rich, you have a massive ‘fro. You guys want to tell me more about how that happened?
Rich: This ‘fro started as a joke, actually. We filmed our music video for our song “Letter” and the director wanted me to grow an afro. It was barely there, and we filmed it and I figured I’d leave it for the CD release which was around the corner, and then thought I’d cut it after. But then I was like ‘Well, I’ve had it this long, so I might as well keep it.’ I didn’t know I could do this and now it’s here and I’m just working with it.
Mateo: The same exact thing happened with me. I was like, ‘My face is getting really dirty, but I’m not doing anything or need to get a haircut anytime soon,’ so I just let it happen. And then I went on tour, and it was three years before I cut my hair or even touched my beard with a pair of scissors. And by the way, No Shave November is bullcrap—it’s No Shave Life, everyone knows that. The best charity you can have is a beard on your face.
ST: What is your songwriting process like?
Travis: I do the writing, but we do a little collaboration—somebody will usually throw out an idea, like Mateo threw out some lines for Lock and Key.
Mateo: If something isn’t working out, we’ll all throw out things. In the past, we haven’t scrutinized lyrics as much, but sometimes we get to the point where we’re recording a song and we’ll be like, what have you even been saying that whole song? Sometimes I’ll have words in my head that Travis wasn’t even singing.
Travis: Yeah, sometimes what people thought I was saying is better than what I was actually saying. Sometimes it’s just better.
ST: Where do you see yourselves headed as a band?
Mateo: Two words: world domination. I would love to just make a living off of this band—I’m talking a working-at-a-crappy-retail-job, 40-hours-a-week kind of living. I want just enough.
Rich: If I could not have to work at my retail job anymore, I would be so pumped. This is just so much more fun—I don’t want to stand and be miserable on a sales floor eight hours a day.
Mateo: Being miserable in a van on tour would be better than that! Right now this is a side thing, but our goal is world domination, and the side thing to Wild Adriatic is more Wild Adriatic, and then we try to work whenever we can and have personal relationships. But instead we mostly just rock and roll.