Since The Wrecks were born as a band 7 years ago, they have not only consolidated a musical style whose sound they define as alternative rock, pop-rock or alt-pop, but they have also known better themselves and identified their DNA as a group. Their constant and progressive growth since they released their debut EP We Are The Wrecks has allowed them to build a community of loyal fans, in a long-distance race where challenges and sacrifices have not been lacking. Now they present their sophomore album, Sonder, whose fundamental pillar was compassion. “This whole album was written with that in mind, written with the idea that some people, even good people, lack compassion for others,” says vocalist/producer Nick Anderson, who we sat down with to talk about his new release and get to know their projects in the short and long term.
Before talking in-depth about your new release, could you please introduce yourselves to those who may don’t know you yet?
My name is Nick Anderson. I write and produce songs for The Wrecks. We started our band in late 2015 and it’s been a journey of a lot of touring, songwriting, and an overall DIY approach.
Now, six years after the release of your debut EP We Are The Wrecks, which featured their debut single Favorite Liar, you are presenting your sophomore album Sonder. How do you feel?
I feel good about the direction that we’re going as a band, and I feel very good about the reception that we’ve received from fans. I think it’s been 6 years of getting to know ourselves and exploring our band, and to see a positive reaction from this record is very encouraging that we’re on the right path.
Let's go back to the very beginning, to the initial germ of the project. Nick, The Wrecks began as your personal project, and then the other members joined you, right? Tell us more about this first stage of the band.
I was writing a lot of pop-punk music as I had since I was 14 years old, and around 18 or 19, I started writing some indie rock-type songs that I thought might work well as sync songs and pitch songs for TV shows and commercials. And so I started listening to bands like Jett, Cage The Elephant or the Pixies to get that kind of indie rock sound out of some guitar riffs that I was writing and to try to hone in on the commercial side of indie rock. And I accidentally stumbled upon some songs that didn’t sound very good for sync but were really cool.
At the time, that style, because it was so new to me, that alternative rock thing felt new for me and felt fresh, so I was really excited. You know bands that had been around forever were brand new to me, so I just started writing. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do a band out of it, so I just kind of chalked it up to sync songs and pitch songs. And then my manager at the time said, “you should do a band out of this style,” and I was like, “no, I got my punk band, I'm going to stick with this.” And he said, “no, it’s really cool, we should try it.” And I insisted, “no, this is not the kind of music that I grew up on and I don’t know it that well – it feels like I’m doing an impression. I’d rather do the pop-punk thing that I know really well.” And so he said okay, and then sent these demos that I made to a band in the United Kingdom and he said something to them and he asked them to learn them. They were an up-and-coming band. He said, “Nick, how about you write songs for this band and you’ll be the ghostwriter. They will be the band. They’ll be the look. And you’ll just write all the songs because this has to be a band.” So I said okay. But then the band sent him a video of them practising one of the songs in their garage and it sounded so cool and I got really jealous. And so I said, “screw that, I want to be in that band.”
I kept this all to myself and I started The Wrecks, and I knew that it was a new direction and I knew that I needed to find members, and that’s kind of what took me on the journey. And now, it feels very natural and it feels normal, and, you know, pop-punk sometimes comes into our alternative side and genre that we’re in, so it’s really cool to bounce between both genres now.
You have racked up well over one hundred million streams in total. An undeniable success that, however, I guess has also come along with difficult moments or major challenges. Is music a long-distance race?
We’ve been on this really slow, steady plateau type growth since we started the band, and I think that has lent itself to a really strong fan base. I really love the pace at which we’ve been able to sustainably grow. We, you know, every year we get a little bit bigger and bigger and we’re seeing growth this year that’s even more than we’re used to. And I think it’s really healthy, it creates a really strong foundation in your fan base.
What else can you tell us about this slow/long-term ‘approach?’
I think a long-distance race is what it should be if you want longevity and you want to continue to play for decades to come and allow yourself to feel creatively fulfilled and grow along with the music, rather than just having to come out with track after track after track and keep reinventing yourself with every new single. We kind of get to take that journey in chapters.
And what's most difficult about working in the music industry?
I think a lot of the major challenges were like switching between labels. That was really hard. Lots of confusion and a lot of empty promises. The fans were wanting us to release stuff, we promised release dates, but then the label signings and switching labels would always screw up our timelines. And it's also been really difficult just kind of monetarily, you know, there’s not a ton of money in music until you’re doing it at a pretty large level.
It’s a lot of sacrifice; it’s a career of making it a full-time job while also finding other ways to sustain yourself and to make a living. That’s taken a toll on all of us individually.
Also, we’re a band from 2015. And so, it’s not always the most exciting, hot new thing for people in the United States, for example, as far as brands go and stuff. But it’s good and different for a lot of reasons. Like a band that starts half a year ago and has a TikTok might sign a massive brand deal because it’s exciting and new, and fresh. But for us, it’s like slower, steadier growth, and with that comes fans who’ve been seeing us every single time we tour for 6 years.
Let's dive into your new album, Sonder. Could you first define it in a single sentence?
Sonder means compassion. If you come to the realisation that everyone around you has a life as expansive and complex as your own, you don’t land on compassion instead, you land on selfishness and individuality. Then I disagree with you and think you’re lacking compassion in your life. This whole album was written with that in mind, written with the idea that some people, even good people, lack compassion for others. 
From I Love This Part to Love Survivor or the title track Sonder, eleven tracks make up this new album. What has this release meant for you and what would you highlight from the creative process?
This release meant moving on from a past relationship and on the trials and tribulations of a breakup. It meant quite a bit of therapy. Writing this album was a vehicle for me to get through some of the dark times. And so, overall, writing and recording Sonder, which was mostly by myself, was a very cathartic process. It was very difficult, I’m not really great at guitar and I’m not really great at the keyboard, and I’m pretty unorganised, so I don’t really have the cables set up and at the studio, things are falling over and I’m always tripping on stuff, so it took me a long time. Maybe a guitar take that would take a real guitarist like 5 minutes would take me about 4 hours. And that was just how the process of this record had to happen. And I think it was very hard, but seeing it through and being given a really difficult deadline allowed me to kind of force me to just do it, and I’m really happy with how it turned out. I don’t think I would prefer to work under those circumstances, but it was something that had to be done, emotionally and scheduling-wise.
Nick, you said that you wrote this album “because you had to,” referring to the process of healing after a breakup. Is music a restorative balm?
For me it is. For some people, it’s just the vibe... It’s just fun. For some people, music makes them sad and they don’t want to listen to it like that. For me it’s always been an outlet, whether it be from growing up in a really small town and getting bullied for the way I dressed and for the music I listened to, music was an outlet and it was an escape.
Music has always been escapism for me. I don’t really listen to music for leisure. I do write music for leisure sometimes, but when I write for The Wrecks it’s not really a leisurely activity, it’s typically an ambitious, determined one. But it’s usually an outlet with the purpose of getting it out for a reason. And I don’t get my first happy moment in making a Wrecks song until I really feel the track come together and that typically involves me standing up and holding my dog and dancing around my studio, listening to it back, and feeling really happy how it’s turning out. Those moments feel like magic. But for the most part, it’s a pretty emotional, but also puzzling process. It’s very much math too, which is kind of the opposite side of emotion. I’d say it’s very technical for me. It’s very much about feeling, but it’s also very much about solving puzzles.
And do you feel part of a specific musical genre or do you prefer not to catalogue yourselves with any label? How do you define your sound?
I would define our sound as just alternative rock, pop-rock, or alt-pop. I would love to be a part of a scene, but I don’t think that we’ve ever fit in specifically with a scene, not because we’re polarising but kind of the opposite. We just fall somewhere in the middle of a lot of genres, which typically as a music listener I would find that to be pretty boring, but I like where we’re at. What it allows me to do as a songwriter and as a producer is to do whatever the hell I want and switch up genres on a dime and not worry about fitting in a scene or going too poppy, or too pop-punk, or too alternative, or too folk, or too singer-songwriter. We don’t really belong in a very specific scene or on a specific bill, because we don’t quite align in enough ways with all those different genres. We take a little bit from all of them in a weird way. I like it, I think it’s a good thing.
And the last question, what is your next goal? Is there anything you can tell us about your next projects?
I don’t have anything in mind currently that is fully fleshed out enough. I think that the reaction to this album will determine quite a lot of things as far as timelines go and when I’ll have time to work on the album. If the album continues to do well and it goes even better than it is now, then we’ll be touring a lot and we’ll be doing festivals and stuff and we won’t have time to be in the studio as much. If it just kind of drops off, you know, maybe then there’s more time to make an even better next record. So, yeah, I think it all depends on the reaction to this record to determine what comes next. We would like to do a deluxe version of the album, but I don’t know exactly when that would be. Certainly more touring… Certainly more collaborations in the future, maybe, cause doing this whole record by myself was good for this record, but I don’t know how I’m going to be feeling emotionally after this tour and by the time I’m ready to make new music—so I’m not sure if it’s going to be something that I want to do along again. I’ll probably want to work with some friends and have some fun with it.
The Wrecks 1.jpg