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Interview: Sitting Down With Art Wilde to Discuss His New Album, 'Learn to Swim'

Hello Art, welcome to BuzzMusic. Can you tell us more about some of the fundamental themes you have woven into this album?

"Learn to Swim" is about how we exist in a constant state of flow. It’s about navigating the shifting tides and trying to stay afloat. It deals with vice and our dependence on self-sabotaging patterns. “Try It All” explores how love is a drug. “Paris” examines how you fall in love with drugs. It’s all about relationships. Life is water. It pours from one moment to the next. It adjusts to the container and shapes our terrain. This record represents this fluidity.

When it comes to your artistic process, what do you define as the making or breaking factor? Does the setting have to be right? Is it all about spark motivation?

Creativity is a habit. The process is equal parts grind and inspiration. Sitting down and starting is crucial. If you wait for motivation, you could wait for a lifetime. Without the occasional breakthroughs, you’d be jaded. The process is a tap. If you don’t use it, it gets rusty. When you turn it on, it pours out straight garbage. Eventually, the junk clears and you can tap into clarity.

As far as settings go...I’m a nomad. This record began in an abandoned church in L.A and was finished in a basement in Colorado during COVID. Also, I come from the third world. I grew up in the Civil War. I’ve been in huge earthquakes and deadly accidents. None of these were “ideal settings”. For me, It’s less about external conditions and more about internal ones.

When you think back on who has been your number one influencer artistically, and how has this inspiration encouraged your own character and sound?

Jeff Buckley. He was just pure expression. Grace is a masterclass on vulnerability: the most

vital quality in any art-form. Tragically, it’s the only album he left us. He taught me how to put everything on the line. I’m only here for this moment. Can’t be afraid to be me.

How much do you believe you have grown as artists since you first started making music? 

I started writing before I was a teen. So, I really hope I’ve grown since then (haha). I’ve traveled from Spoken Word to Death Metal to Jazz to Urban Contemporary. All these soundscapes have taught me a great deal about myself and the heart of music. Everything from reading sheets to producing records has helped me tend to different colors in my garden.

Unlike my peers and mentors, I find myself straying from the path of specialization. To me, artistry isn’t about perfecting this or that. It’s about what needs to be expressed. Specialized studies have their own comfortable limits. I believe in the power of wide-eyed exploration. Oh, and getting wonderfully lost.

How did music inject itself into your life? Was it something you've always had an appetite for?

Music saved my life. My parents didn’t want me involved with it. They wanted me to study medicine but I’d found a different form of healing. Records and live shows always helped me mend. However, there were these cracks in between what I heard and what I wanted to hear. So, I started to write and perform to fill in these blanks. It evolved from healing myself to helping anyone who needs a voice. I like how you said appetite because that’s exactly what it is. A natural desire to fulfill a basic need. Without it, I’d probably starve to death.

What has been keeping you inspired throughout 2020 and what can we expect to see

from you next?

Love. This year I’ve realized how it manifests in different shapes. Both beautiful and dangerous. From the manic fear during the pandemic to the fiery rage at the heart of the BLM. The opposite of love isn’t hated; it’s indifference. Maybe that’s why despite my adamance on self-improvement, I still struggle with self-love. This realization pushes me to better understand myself, the people I know, the “strangers” I don’t; and love itself.

What’s next? Mad Honey Records and I are working on the More Love Movement. Our purpose is to create a community of artistic healing. A culture where you can share the beauty of music and mend what we consciously cannot. You can expect us to keep spreading more love.


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