Among the very talented bands that enrich the US music scene, there is a duo that deserves particular attention: Wardell. The indie-folk rock band is composed by siblings Theo and Sasha Spielberg, children of well known Film Director Steven Spielberg. Their music is chill, enjoyable, and it goes along perfectly with a glass of wine and a beautiful sunset. Sasha is the amazing voice, and Theo is the catchy sound. Today we interviewed Sasha in exclusive for West 46th Magazine.
Hello Sasha, what are the origins of your band, Wardell?
It’s very simple actually—Theo and I had been playing music separately for quite some time and one day Theo asked me to help work out this chord progression to see if I had any ideas. It turned into Opossum, our first single. We never stopped working out chord progressions after that.
Who did you guys grow up listening to and who influenced you the most?
For Theo it was rock bands like the Strokes and singer songwriters like Bob Dylan, for me (Sasha) it was a mix of Radiohead, Led Zeppelin, and Fiona Apple. Pretty standard.
What instruments do you guys respectively play?
I sing. Theo plays guitar. I also dabble in piano and guitar and Theo plays bass and drums as well.
What were the inspirations for your last album, Love/Idleness?
The album was written over about three years, so there is a lot of inspiration there. We grew so much over the course of the three years, our earlier songs were fun and had less weight to them. Certain people and places were our inspirations, which sounds very broad, but because there were so many years of songwriting we can’t just name one. We’d write a song about a party we’d been to, or a friend who was heartbroken. Our songs kind of told a story and some peripherally affected us, and others are more personal. I was in a long distance relationship for all of my time at school, so we find there is a lot of yearning in our songs.
One of your biggest, and most beautiful, hits is Opossum that you guys created in like an hour, as reported on the internet. Tell us a little bit about the making of the song.
Ah, we said it above but it was really simple. There’s not much there. We just figured out a melody, wrote lyrics more later, made a demo, put the demo up and started the band!
You guys also write your own songs. What is your songwriting process? Do you have a particular custom such as having mushrooms in Joshua Tree?
Ha! Do we come off as the mushroom Joshua Tree type? Maybe we’ll start doing that. I do know that for me, certain places inspire me. The desert, like New Mexico inspires me for poetry. New York inspires me for heartache and longing. Los Angeles inspires me because it’s where we grew up. Also anger is a big inspiration. Anger and jealousy, for me. Theo loves writing on Sundays because its like a weekly purge. I take a whole week of feelings and press them into a song.
What comes first, the lyrics or the tune?
The tune, always. We used to write our lyrics as we’d perform them on stage, straight up free style – style. That was always fun, because I think we really become ourselves on stage so the lyrics we come up with are true to what we’re feeling in that exact moment.
When I was in LA, I was impressed by the huge amount of music shows of indie rock bands all over the city. In Europe, we are a bit more “Ibiza-Oriented” so, people seem more attracted to electro-techno-minimal music shows. As musicians, what do you think this cultural difference is related to?
Well if you look at the trajectory of European music, it’s not so far off. If I had to guess I would say that Europe has about a 1,000 year head start on America as far as the refinement of culture goes. There is something a touch more wild and untamed about our musical landscape, perhaps it mirrors our natural landscape: the american frontier, the wild west, Mississippi delta, and the Louisiana bayou, the rocky mountains, and the jagged New York skyline. Maybe many centuries of war and revolution has brought the European continent to a conclusion we have yet to come to: that we should all just chill out and make minimalist house music, drink espresso and not have rips in our jeans.
Is there any musician from the past whose songs you would love to cover?
We love covering Wendy Rene and Talking Heads. All of the songs we want to cover we never like to put out there for fear of someone else covering it!
I’m just curious so let me ask you this: do you know anything about Italian music?
Oh yeah! I love this song “Aida” by Rino Gaetano, and his other songs are wonderful. And then every Italian score is our favorite. We love Fellini and Nino Rota. I love Mina, “Il cielo in una stanza” is one of my favorite songs of all time, that and “Se Telefonando”, I just love how it keeps climbing.
Next projects? Where can we follow you?
We are going into the studio in April to record our second album. You can follow us on Instagram @wardellmusic soundcloud under Wardell, Twitter @wardell and Facebook under Wardell.
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