Stream New Music From The Wild!
The Wild has quickly become one of my favorite new bands. Not only are they on the ever friendly and generally awesome Asian Man Records, Witt Wisebram, who leads the band on vocals and guitar, is also vegetarian! Read our chat with Witt, and then check out a stream of “Don’t Look Back” from The Wild’s forthcoming record (due out this spring):
1. What prompted you to go vegetarian? Were there any bands, books, etc., that influenced your decision?
I’ve been vegetarian or vegan for almost nine years. I have always known that all animals, not just dogs and cats and other “pets,” have emotional capacity and the ability to feel, relate, and love. Before I went vegetarian/vegan, I felt a certain amount of conscious discrepancy and guilt when I would eat meat, and so after a while, and with the encouragement of my friends, I decided to quit eating it. A lot of the bands I looked up to growing up were vegan/vegetarian, and the more I learned about the alternatives to a meat-based diet—one that was still nutritious and whole—the easier it was to become vegetarian. I remember seeing bands like Bright Eyes on PETA’s website and thinking that it was really cool that those guys were pursuing more intentional and conscious diets. The longer I have been vegetarian, the less I miss meat and the healthier I feel about my diet.
I see the animal rights issue as part of a larger social problem, which is the exploitation of those that are more vulnerable by those with power. This includes women’s rights, the sweatshop industry, natural destruction, racism, colonialism, capitalism, and corporate dominance. Eating a vegetarian diet has been more about reconciling my life choices with my own conscience than about trying to make any sort of statement.
2. What are some of your favorite vegetarian and/or vegan foods?
I love eating vegetarian and vegan. The older I have gotten, the more I crave fresh, simple, and whole foods. The fake meat, tofu, and seitan are absolutely delicious, but I understand in order to be a healthy vegan/vegetarian that a diet based on balanced nutrition is the key. I find myself really drawn to fresh fruits and vegetables. You really can’t beat the flavors of a fresh organic pineapple or a well-cooked sweet potato. I do love late-night vegan Chinese, and I definitely have a soft spot for vegan junk food. When we tour, we love to use Happy Cow or other websites to find local vegan and vegetarian restaurants, and places like Foodswings in Brooklyn or The Chicago Diner are fantastic, and I definitely look forward to crazy vegan milkshakes every time we’re near one of those places! My favorite is the “Seymour” at Foodswings. I think it’s vegan pistachio ice cream, vegan cookies, and peanut butter. Whoa!
3. Of all the major animal rights issues (animal testing, factory farming, animals used in entertainment, dogfighting, etc.), are there any issues that are particularly close to your heart?
All of those issues are important to me. Again, it’s really about the exploitation of something that I believe we were meant to protect and foster that makes me feel upset and angry. It’s a beautiful thing that almost everything we need as a human race is provided for us naturally in balance. It’s hard for me to understand how our values as a society have shifted so much that we could torture animals, produce them and genetically modify them on factory farms, and generally be so disconnected from another living thing that we don’t ask or care how a piece of meat ended up on our plate. I think it’s great that more and more people are choosing local agriculture and to be more intentional and conscious about what they put into their bodies. I really think the way we solve these issues is by really building a new relationship with our natural world and with all living things. We have to fight and stand up for those that are not able to do so for themselves—this includes animals, humans, and our natural environment. We can’t ignore one of these issues without disempowering the others. I believe it’s all connected.
4. If a fan were to approach you with questions about how to get involved with animal rights, what advice would you give him or her?
I would just be as encouraging as I could. I think it’s great when people have a feeling inside that it’s time to challenge their values and our values as a society. We grow up feeling certain ways about things, but very few people ever ask why they feel that way and whether or not they actually feel the same way about the things that our parents, teachers, and friends expect us to feel a certain way about. I would tell them to pick up some literature about animal rights and to form their own opinion and plan for living a life that is respectful of the life of animals. I think it also takes practice, so I would probably suggest getting a good vegan cookbook like How It All Vegan! I think it’s up to people to determine their own level of involvement and limits with any sort of activism. A lot of times when people don’t set those limits, they find themselves burned out or disillusioned, so I would really just convey to him or her that their pursuit of animal rights activism should be based on what their own conscience calls for.
5. What’s up next for The Wild?
We have some really exciting things coming up! We are currently writing a new album, which should be out by the end of this year. We are planning to record the album this summer with the amazing Tommy Gabel from Against Me! at his studio in St. Augustine, Florida. We are really excited about working with him. We will be touring this summer and hope to make it to a lot of our favorite cities. We will be posting updates about the record and tour dates and such on our website and our Facebook page.
Thanks, Witt! And now, for a preview from The Wild’s next record, check out “Don’t Look Back.” Enjoy! 🙂