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Favorite ThisWildlight: Hers Was As Thunder review + Ayla Nereo interview

Published: August 5, 2013
By: Jordan Calvano

After immersing yourself fully into Wildlight’s debut album, a fitting theme quickly emerges. There’s an overt femininity within the daring vocals and chilling ambiances of each track. This isn’t to say Hers Was As Thunder is strictly geared towards females, yet there seems to be a distinct push to explore their pivotal role in the music industry. Not just from the perspective of an artist, but from the soul of a women hoping to level with those who understand their struggle.
The visceral release coalesces two diametric forces, layering the folk-based vocals of Ayla Nereo with David Sugalski’s (The Polish Ambassador) harmonious, downtempo instrumentations. The finished product strikes a chord amongst supporters of both genres, drawing a fine line between two uncommonly mixed bodies of sound. Never shifting too far towards any single attribute, allowing electronic and terrene to complement the other.
While each song possesses a commanding milieu, the album achieves its most endearing effect when applying a minimalist direction. Stripping away distracting drums and unnecessary soundscapes, allowing listeners to focus on Wildlight’s true beauty. This appears most readily on “Twirl Me,” “Rise,” and “Dawn To Flight.” These lush standouts employ absolute simplicity, enabling Nereo’s tear-jerking lyrics to gently nuzzle against Sugalski’s melody driven compositions.
Wildlight’s debut effort self-released via Jumpsuit Records utilizes gentle textures to instill powerful emotions. Nothing is complicated, nothing is overdone. Instead, we witness two musicians channeling their sentiments through docile waves of beauty and breathtaking auras.

Writer Jordan Calvano got the chance to interview Ayla Nereo about the process and growth in her work with David Suglaski, a.k.a. The Polish Ambassador.

Congratulations on the debut album! Your vocals are enchanting. Give us a little background on Wildlight, and how the project originally came about.

Wildlight all began out of one song, "Live Inside a Dream," which David heard me play about a year ago and asked to work with the vocals. He created an entirely new composition, very different from the original, and it was the first time I'd ever heard my songs in such a darker and sexier pulse. Since I'd been wanting to create dance music for some time, and David had been calling in more soul and vocals to his music, it was a quick spark for our collaboration.
Describe the creative process of Hers Was As Thunder for us, and were there any major roadblocks throughout the album’s genesis?

It's actually been a very organic process, working on songs together. We're pretty different in terms of how we create music, but it feels like those differences just add to the flow of the music. Most of the time I'm on vocals, David's on production -- but there've been moments where David will have feedback on the vocal melodies that shape how I sing it, or I'll sit down and find notes for the musical composition. Some of the songs are true to the original chord progressions, while others are completely new compositions for the vocals. It's different every song. Wherever the inspiration of one of us leaves off, the other just picks up there and carries the creative process onward.
How were you originally introduced to the world of songwriting? Is this something you’ve been doing for a long time now?

Songwriting found me very suddenly in college. I was studying psychology, and interested in dance and filmmaking more than music -- and suddenly words just started pouring out. I was learning guitar at the time, and a new song came with every new chord I learned. I was TERRIFIED of singing, but people around me kept asking me to sing these songs more and more, so I figured, if this is desired, I'll keep doing it. Getting over the fear of singing and performing was as big of a challenge as learning how to write and channel songs. That was about 8 years ago.
What preparations or tactics do you utilize before and during the process of writing lyrics? Any specific rituals you like to follow?

Awesome question. I don't have any specific rituals, other than emptying my head of all goals or agendas for creating. Most of the songs I actually perform and produce have lyrics that just channeled themselves through my brain, where I felt a certain "stepping aside" so the words could just come without my thought interference. Whenever I "try to write a song," it's like pushing a river. Whereas the more I just open up and listen closely, the river pours in.

Are there any songs on Hers Was A Thunder that stand out to you from a lyrical point of view, or even a certain lyric that your extremely fond of?

The title of the album, Hers Was As Thunder, is a line from the song "Conversations Between." I like the lyrics of that song, especially because they came in that flowing/channeling way I described before. They just poured in. So when words come that way, it's like they aren't "mine," so I feel something more true, more real about them…. that song speaks to our communication between parts of self, our observer self and body self, our commitment to listening. "Mine was a cavern, a crease beside the road, filled up with fossils, walker to his load… filled with a river, dried with a moan, while Hers was as thunder…"
When can we expect to see you and David performing the album live? We can only imagine your performances would be unforgettable. 

Wildlight is officially joining The Polish Ambassador tour for Fall -- 24 concerts all over the country! So you can hear these songs live (and probably some brand new tracks too!) at those shows.

Tags: ElectroGlitchHip HopHouse