A Chat with Wyldest About Feminism, Insecurity, & New Music

Like most of the world, during quarantine the UK-based artist Zoe Mead, aka Wydlest, had to put her outside life on hold. For a musician that means no more jamming with the band, going to the recording studio, playing shows, etc. She couldn’t even go out and let life inspire her.

So how did she end up writing, recording, and now soon-to-be releasing her newest album Monthly Friend?

“It was pretty much a pandemic album,” Mead tells BTRtoday. “Because I wasn’t out and about getting new experiences I thought I’d self-harness this passion I have for talking about feminism and just general discrimination and how unfair society is.”

Wyldest, “Hollow”

Mead took feminist literature and poetry and used that as the driving force for her lyrical inspiration. For the music portion, luckily, the drums had been recorded right before everything shut down. However, for the rest of the album she ended up recording it herself from under her bed.

The album’s lyrics are subtle in its fight against injustices. Mead uses her gentle vocals to soothe you into opening your eyes a little wider while soft guitar strums, catchy keys, and shimmering synth keep things melodic. Monthly Friend is an album that isn’t afraid to show you what’s fucked up in the world but also calms you down and gives you hope.

“I’d really like people to listen to the album in terms of enjoying the melodies and things like that,” she says. “But I would really love for them to really listen to the lyrics and try and decode the little feminist undertones that I’ve hidden in there.”

Wyldest, “Beggar”

Though the lyrics of the album are empowering, Mead says she struggles with her own self-confidence as a musician. Though she’s grown immensely since she started writing her own music as a kid, she still has moments where she feels like she’s an imposter.

“I was always worried that people would judge me or that I’d be some kind of fraud,” she says. “[But] there’s been a few occasions where I’ve relistened to a few demos and I’m like, ‘yeah! I’m onto something here!”

She says one of these epiphanies that gave her musical confidence happened two years ago when she got to play with one of her idols, Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol.

Snow Patrol, “You Could Be Happy” ft Wyldest Live @ the Royal Albert Hall

Monthly Friend is out on May 28 (pre-order here). You can also catch her on a socially distant tour in late May in the UK (find tickers here). In the meantime, listen to the entire interview with Wyldest on this week’s episode of The Music Meetup along with new and old tracks.