Interview: Nick Anderson talks The Wrecks meteoric rise and their new EP 'Panic Vertigo'
The Wrecks/YouTube

Los Angeles-based indie rockers The Wrecks are pushing all the right buttons, whether it be literally in the studio or figuratively in putting their band on the fast track to success. After just a few rehearsals, The Wrecks recorded their debut EP, We Are The Wrecks, by basically sneaking into a recording studio and self-producing the three tracks on the EP.

The next step was to release the record and get it into people’s ears. The Wrecks had a bit of help with that. The EP’s lead single, “My Favorite Liar,” immediately clicked with Jeff Reagan of SiriusXM’s Alt Nation. “As soon as the EP came out, the next day it was played on Alt Nation,” Wrecks frontman Nick Anderson told AXS. “Jeff Reagan was a powerhouse in getting our band’s music out there.”

“My Favorite Liar” (watch the video above) would go on to crack the Top 5 of Alt Nation’s Alt 18 countdown and would remain there for 12 weeks. The story of The Wrecks meteoric rise is an interesting one. They are definitely a band to watch out for. AXS recently had a chance to chat with Nick Anderson about the band’s success and their latest EP, Panic Vertigo.      

AXS: You guys recently released your second EP, Panic Vertigo, how has the reception been so far?

Nick Anderson: The reaction has been really great. We decided not to push an immediate single with this EP, which we were really excited to try out because we wanted to let the world decide which song they gravitated toward most. That’s been a really interesting process because we’ve seen all these major platforms support different songs on the EP. Spotify has gotten behind our song “A Way With Words,” Alt Nation played our song “Panic Vertigo,” Hits One on SiriusXM played our song “James Dean,” and Apple Music played “Figure It Out” on one of their big breaking rock playlists. So four of the five songs on the EP got major exposure right away all from different platforms, which is kind of exciting and weird and different. But the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.

AXS: How did you guys come up with the idea to treat all the songs as singles?

NA: We wanted to see what people gravitated toward most. And we also wanted to get the music out more than anything. We had been sitting on that music for a while and the label couldn’t decide on a single so we said, “Alright, let’s just put them out and see what sticks.”

AXS: That says a lot about the strength of the EP.

NA: Yeah, they’re all being treated like singles, which is kind of a weird thing.

AXS: That’s interesting. Do you think each song somehow found a home on the most fitting platform?

NA: Kind of, yeah. They all kind of fit in their own worlds. The main thing was, we kind of felt they were all singles. Sometimes a single is very obvious, but it wasn’t for us. When we delivered the EP to the label, we couldn’t decide which one to use. Usually, that’s a scary thing because it means you don’t have a single good song. But we said, “It’s okay, we’ll just put them all out. If they’re all good, they’ll all be received well and we can then decide which avenues to go down.” For example, “Way With Words” and “James Dean,” do better on pop radio and “Panic Vertigo” does better on the alt-rock playlists and radio stations. So it’s funny, they’re kind of going down different avenues by themselves.

AXS: Your first EP was kind of a guerrilla affair. You had to run into the studio quick and cut the album. Was the process different with this EP?

NA: This one was also kind of an interesting process because we had just signed to a record label and they were like “Alright, here’s some money. Go record your music in Los Angeles with a big record producer.” So we have a budget now, we can do that. Then we spent three weeks working on this EP and our vision for where we wanted the songs to go was kind of ambiguous. We were being pulled in a bunch of different directions by management, and our label, and ourselves. So we ended up spending three weeks writing and recording songs we didn’t like. Actually, the songs were already written but we went down the wrong avenue with the recording and production. So after three weeks we were like, “This doesn’t sound like our band. We don't want to put this out.” So we ended up throwing away the whole EP after blowing our entire budget. So we were like, “Now what?” So I asked our management if we could move into my grandma’s house in Wellsville, N.Y.--which is in western New York--and if we could just go work on it there. My friend Pat has a studio in a barn about 45 minutes away from the house I grew up in, which is my grandma’s house. So we would drive every single day in May and June to this studio and we would just do everything ourselves. It was kind of like the first CD where we really didn't know what we were doing but you just kind of start doing it.

AXS: How did that work out?

NA: There were a lot of different elements to that. It was kind of just like us fucking around in the studio, hitting random shit to make cool sounds or picking up random guitars like, “this one might sound good.” We were like kids in a candy shop, or kids in a toy store. So we did it like that, kind of guerrilla style again. All except for one song. The song “Way With Words” we worked on with Colin Britton, he produced it and did a really great job with that song. Because we had done the demo with him and I really liked the vibe so I didn't want to try and recreate that. He kind of nailed the sound, so it was like, let's do this with him.

AXS: With your first EP, you guys had success with the single “My Favorite Liar” on Spotify, radio and critically acclaimed as well. How did it feel to have that success right out of the gate?

NA: That was really lucky (laughs). As soon as the EP came out, the next day it was played on Alt Nation. Then we were immediately touring and Spotify picked up the song. All these things happened all at once and we were kind of flung into it. But we were ready. Those moments and all the hard work kind of lined up. You get this kind of lucky payoff. But with all that luck there has to be a groundwork of hard work behind it. So I fully believe that success involves a bit of luck but if you don't have the grind behind it, it all just kind of falls apart. So it worked out for us really well, the right people, the right time, and the right work ethic behind it. We’ve had a very good couple years.

AXS: Definitely, you guys have been getting some stadium plays, right?

NA: Yeah, it was an agreement we signed. They’ve been playing our songs at hockey games and football games. I’m pretty sure our song “Turn It Up” played at the Super Bowl, in the stadium, not on TV. We would've loved to have seen that royalty check (laughs). I wish there was a video but we haven’t seen one yet.

AXS: What’s on the horizon for The Wrecks?

NA: This tour, the next tour, a bunch of festivals this summer and a bunch of radio shows. Then we’re going to go record an album.

The Wrecks are currently on tour and are opening up for New Politics on March 24 at the State Theatre in Portland, Maine. Click here to find tickets on AXS. You can stream The Wrecks Panic Vertigo below.