By Nicholas Jason Lopez
After being chosen to work together for a senior thesis project in college, Mike Neglia and Andrew Milea knew they were possibly onto something when their assignment received a good mark.
Already each in respective bands prior, they wanted to see what’d happen when they combined their musical backgrounds into one and the result – Wild Americans, an alternative/indie project launched in 2015, with Neglia on percussions/organ and Milea on guitar.
Most recently, they’ve garnered acclaim for singles “Hang On Tight,” “Inside Out,” “Friends” and “Instant Machine,” which will all appear on their upcoming project ‘One-Dimensional Man,’ slated for release on Aug. 13, 2021. The tracks off ‘One-Dimensional Man’ derived from earlier in their writing career, with a chance to now work on them collaboratively, on their own time and pace.
The Music Bugle had the opportunity to talk with Milea about ‘One-Dimensional Man’ and more.
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your style of music?
Andrew Milea – We are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to record and produce ourselves, so we get to experiment quite a bit. It’s hard to really pin our band down to one particular style, but in the larger genre of “alternative indie rock,” we get to check out all of the deepest and most distant corners. It’s always exciting to be creative without financial or time-related constraints.
Music Bugle – What is the biggest challenge in being a duo?
Andrew Milea – Sometimes, it’s tricky translating everything we’ve built in the studio to a live band setting, but we’re really grateful for the fact that we play out with some incredibly talented musicians. Being a duo also forces us to look in the mirror and be accountable. If something goes wrong, there’s no one to blame but us.
Music Bugle – How did you guys decide the name Wild Americans?
Andrew Milea – Early in our time playing together, we had a demo called “Wild American.” We always liked the sound of the words and the double entendre – crazy Americans and feral Americans. Then, as time went on, the term started to speak to a lifestyle that we abide by. When you see a deer in the suburbs, sneaking between houses, that deer gets by on what little bit of space and resources it is allowed. Out in the wild, the deer looks full of life, bigger, stronger, faster and the way it is meant to look. When in doubt, be a Wild American.
Music Bugle – What was your goal for your newest music?
Andrew Milea – We want it to be honest and to speak for itself. Of course, we will promote it and encourage people to listen, but we just hope that it manages to connect in an authentic way with the listeners who can relate to it most. Our music was never made to take over the pop music charts, but we think and hope that there are a lot of people out there who are waiting to hear something that they can latch onto without needing to be sold on it. We think the music is beautiful and are excited to share it.
Music Bugle – Which of your songs were the hardest to write?
Andrew Milea – Our songwriting process is pretty reliable, so it’s hard to say that one song was harder to write than another. On the other hand, the recording process was more challenging for some of the tunes. Tracks like “Genius,” “Again” and “Hold” were pulled from our catalogue of tunes that we had written in the past, before we sat down to piece this record together. We had to focus on keeping them authentic, while making them relevant to the songwriters we are now. It’s hard to work around that demo-fever. When you’re used to hearing a song one way, it becomes a real challenge to reimagine. Those three were the toughest to get where we wanted them to be.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
Andrew Milea – “Modern man thinks he loses something – time – when he does not do things quickly. Yet, he does not know what to do with the time he gains – except kill it,” by Erich Fromm.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Andrew Milea – We both tested positive for COVID and had to hold up the production of the record at different points in time. It’s always hard to start and stop when the creative juices are flowing. Beyond that, the first few months of the pandemic were the longest that we went without making music together since we met back in 2012. Thankfully, it was like riding a bike and once we were back in our studio space together, we picked up where we left off.
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need a break?
Andrew Milea – Hit the beach or go out skating.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Andrew Milea – Grateful Dead live stuff, soundtrack from “The Big Chill,” The Band, The Murlocs and Alabama Shakes.
Music Bugle – What has been your hardest challenge lately?
Andrew Milea – Staying organized. The more we accomplish, the more there is to keep up with outside of the songwriting process.