Major changes for bands, such as a new name, often mark a step in rebranding. It’s a chance to set new goals, build a new foundation and prepare for a new adventure. While new endeavors are definitely a desire for Like Language, formally known as Wilder, their name change had less to do with an extreme evolution and more to do with differentiating themselves from other artists.
“We changed our name because there are too many Wilders,” says Matthew Murray, one half of the Chicago-based pop duo. “When we chose the name [Wilder], we wanted one word, something simple. As time went on, I was on Spotify browsing an indie new artist playlist and I saw Wilder was on there and I was like, ‘Oh man, this is the best day of my life. People are noticing us!’, and then it ended up being the another Wilder.”
Forming an 8-person band with members in two states whose music blends pop, folk and contemporary concert music may not sound like the most logical road to successful, but so far, the nontraditional approach has been working in favor for Matthäus. The band, with members in both Chicago and St.Paul, started as a small project from composer Ben Montalbano, adding bold horn sections, piano lines and other intricate instrumentations to a variety of folk-rock tunes. The group has since grown into a collaborative chamber collective made up of Ben Montalbano, Joe Meland, Justin Peters, Lars-Erik Larson, Samuel Peters, Alex Blomarz, Hugo Seda and Chris Shuttleworth.
With a new music in the works and a December 14 show at Schubas just days away, Montalbano, Peters and Meland gathered in a cozy window seat at Wicker Park’s Wormhole to discuss the band’s plans for the rest of the winter and the new year.