Credit: Natalie Hewitt
How do you make music in a town that is essentially music-less? That was one of the big questions Nick Anderson faced when creating indie rock band The Wrecks. Determined to break out of the confines of Wellsville, New York, the frontman spent countless hours making demos, playing gigs, and creating a band lineup that would eventually glean the interest of loads of fans. After sneaking into a recording studio and producing their debut EP We Are The Wrecks in 2016, The Wrecks started gaining momentum, receiving radio play, doing tours, and creating more music that collectively grew their fanbase even further. The release of their debut album in 2020 took the band to new heights, setting them up for sold out shows, millions of monthly streams, and features on iTunes playlists like New in Alternative and Spotify playlists like New Noise. With an upcoming sophomore album and lengthy headline tour on the way, we caught up with Nick to reflect on the band’s journey so far and learn more about what to expect from this next era of The Wrecks.
Hi, thanks so much for taking the time out to do this. How do you feel about starting this new chapter for the band?
I’m very excited about it, it feels very new for us. I feel as optimistic as I did our first year as a band, like that same kind of momentum and excitement is floating in the air. We’re all in very high spirits.
Your new album is called Sonder, and when I was reading about where the name came from and what it means, it’s a really cool concept – “the profound feeling of realizing that everyone, including strangers passing in the street, has a life as complex as one’s own.” How did you land on that name for the album and why did you feel it best represented all the songs that are on there?
The first song on the record is called “Sonder” and it was the first one I started writing towards the album. It was the first song I wrote following a breakup that ended up directing what the whole record would be about and the direction it would go and the energy it would have, and the idea for me was just trying to get through to someone that other people exist. Caring about someone on the other side of the planet is caring about the people in your immediate circles; just because your spawn point is different, doesn’t mean you’re any less or any more valuable than anyone else. That was kind of the theme of my breakup, and it was kind of the theme for the whole record.
“Sonder” was one of the last songs I finished writing because I didn’t have a chorus for it. I knew I wanted to name the song “Sonder” after I sang that word in the verse, so I knew that word was in that song and I knew I was gonna call it that, and I only finished it because I was like, ‘I really want this to be on the record.’ It ended up becoming one of my favorites and a lot of people’s favorites on our team, so I’m glad that I finished it.
Are there any other songs besides “Sonder” that you’re excited for the fans to hear?
I’m really excited for everyone to hear the song “Unholy,” the song “Dystopia,” “No Place I’d Rather Be,” all of them really. There’s just a lot of different expansive sounds on it, and I’m excited for people to see what directions I was pulled in and how it all turned out.
Your new single, “Where Are You Now?” just came out. I was reading something about how you started writing the chorus for that back when your debut album came out?
Yea, I was looking for an old voice memo of it for whatever reason the other day, and I noticed it was from May 8, 2020 – that was a week after the last record, and I had voice memo-d me singing the chorus. I finished writing it maybe over the course of the next year and didn’t finish the production until a few months ago when I finished the record, and it was pretty wild. That’s the oldest song on the record, for sure; most of the rest I just kind of wrote and recorded all at once and, all of a sudden, the record was done. It was all a very immediate thing. But that song, that song’s been around for a minute.
Did you always have the idea of having girlhouse do the feature or were there other people you were thinking of?
No, I knew I wanted to have a feature there, but I had never committed to anyone specifically, and I never had a version of it that I liked. But, we wanted to bring girlhouse on the tour, and then I was finishing the record and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, it would be perfect if she would be willing to do it,’ because we love her as an artist and her voice, I knew, was gonna be perfect for the song. So, I reached out and asked if she would be down to sing the bridge and she said, “Yea,” and then a few days later sent the files over, and I just threw them in the session and then sent it to get mixed, and it was perfect. I’m really happy with how those turned out and how easily it came together.
So your tour that’s coming up, the Better Than Ever tour, starts pretty much around the same time the album comes out. Are you mostly going to be playing the new songs for the tour or are you going to do a mix of old stuff and new stuff?
You know, we’re gonna play all the hits and then probably like five or six songs off the new record, so like the three singles and then a few more. Luckily, we have the kind of fan base that’ll learn the songs – even if it comes out the day of the show, they’ll learn them by that night. I think those new songs will go over pretty well and yea, we’re likely gonna play almost all of, if not all of, the last album and then a few of the songs off Panic Vertigo that did well and off our first EP. Luckily, we don’t have too much music out there, so it’ll be fun for us to put together just a really good set list.
Listening to your new stuff, it goes well with the old stuff, too…
Yea, especially with a song like “I Love This Part,” I think it has a lot of the newer, the modern production or whatever the hell that’s supposed to be, with the angst that our older music had. That’s because I had something to say with this record, and you’ll find that with a lot of the music on it. There’s been immediacy to it, and there’s purpose, and it’s very driven and determined. It knows what it’s trying to say, and it’s very clear what the message is; I think that was really helpful with writing good songs for the record, or at least songs I think are good. I like the album. [Laughs]
And, you know, all of our music is always surrounded around the truth. I can’t really write from fictional points of view. It’s hard sometimes to feel and to emote; to do both is very difficult for me, but with this record, for whatever reason, I was able to do it with just the right blend. I remember, you know, after going through that breakup, I was like doing laundry or something and I would have all these intrusive thoughts. I was able to turn them into lyrics and funny ways of looking at it because I really allowed myself to sit in it and process it or let myself get worked up and start feeling petty or resentful. So then eventually, when I was ready to come into the studio and make the record, I was like in my phone in my Notes app – I just had all these themes and all these ideas and all this stuff to say; it was a really good thing to cite. It’s only through thinking about it long enough that some of those better ideas came very naturally.
Yea, I think that the record is honest and it definitely feels like the old stuff because, you know, “Favorite Liar” was written on the tail-end of a breakup too, and it was like I knew exactly what I wanted to say, and a lot of our best songs come from the aftermath of something rather than trying to reference something from a while ago.
Your fans are so into everything you guys put out, and even with this tour, the shows are starting to sell out, so they are ready to see you live. Are there any cities on this tour that you guys haven’t played before?
Yea, Charleston….Charleston…South Carolina? North Caro-, South Carolina? North Carolina? It’s in one of them. [Laughs] I don’t think we’ve ever played there. Maybe we have, like on a support show, but I’m pretty sure we haven’t, and I was shocked to see it on the list. But, to the good folks of, [Laughs] to the good folks of Charleston, [Googles] South Carolina, I’m really glad we were able to do it.
Do you have any kind of design or set-up that you’re doing for the shows?
I had a call about that today, about putting together like some production, some lighting production. In the past, we’ve typically just done it ourselves. I usually end up just programming the light show, and we’ve used a few different set-ups, but it typically just involves me sitting here and programming the live set. [Laughs] But, I don’t really have time to do that for this tour because of all of the promo for this album and learning all the new songs in such a short period of time. There’s a lot going into this rollout that I’m trying not to spread myself too thin. I’m trying to get a little bit of sleep each night.
You’re still kind of learning the songs for the tour?
Yea, no, we’ve never played any of the new songs before together, for sure. [Laughs]
Yea, because the album was done in kind of a scattered [way] and a lot of it was just me in here making it, and so the parts have never even been played all the way through. So, it will be about all of us sitting down and picking out who’s gonna play what. It’s kind of a tedious process, but it’s also fun because hearing it all come together is really special.
Are you gonna be throwing down any of those moves from the “Lone Survivor” video?
Nope, probably not, though it might happen. I might not even have control of my body at that point. I might just bust a move because I have to, like it won’t even be up to me, so we’ll see. It’ll just flow through me. Hopefully not, hopefully for my sake and for everyone else’s sake it does not happen. But it might.
Anything else you want to add?
I think that’s a good rundown of what’s been going on, and I’m excited that people are excited about the record. I think it’s our best work yet. I’m really proud of it, and oh my gosh, there’s vinyl on sale now and all of the album merch is on sale. And we’re doing the tour and all of that, which is great, but I’m so excited for people to hear the music.
Yea, it’s gonna be really awesome.
June 10th? 9th? When’s it come out? June 10th? The tour originally started the same day as the record coming out, June 10th, but then we added a second night in San Fran, so now the tour starts on the 9th. So now I’m getting confused of which starts when. Tour starts the 9th, album comes out the 10th. Amazing. We got there.
Credit: Natalie Hewitt
Catch The Wrecks on their Better Than Ever tour this summer here.
The Wrecks’ upcoming sophomore album, Sonder, is due for release June 10. You can pre-order it here.