“[Anza] is a tiny town at the top of the mountain in between Temecula and Palm Springs,” says Christy Barrett. “There’s a Dairy Queen when you pass through, there’s a Mobil, there’s a Circle K, and a Texaco, and then you’re out of town. My graduating class was about 69 kids. I grew up with those people my whole life, and there wasn’t a whole lot to do unless you rode horses.”
Barrett is one half of the duo Triumph of the Wild. Her bandmate and boyfriend, Ryan Schilling, grew up in a similarly remote fashion. He was raised in Palm Desert. The two met one night when Schilling was awakened by the sound of a woman singing in his kitchen.
Triumph of the Wild covers Maroon 5
“It was actually really good, so I got up and went to the kitchen and saw it was Christy. From that point on, I just kind of viewed her as a girlfriend and as a singer [laughs]. I started having her sing on some of my recordings, and she was just too good — so we ended up starting a new project. Now we’re just creative equals.”
The band is a throwback to the Laurel Canyon sound coming out of L.A. in the 1970s. Songs are boiled down to their essence and are basically just the pair’s voices accompanied by Schilling’s acoustic guitar. Barrett occasionally provides extra percussion, even though she is reluctant to dive too deep into the rhythm waters. Early on, the band lucked out and had a drum kit donated to their cause. Schilling handled kick-drum duties onstage, while Barrett manned the low tom, snare, ride cymbal, and tambourine.
“At one point she just kind of lost it,” Schilling explained. “She was just, like, ‘I’m a singer!’ At that point, we kinda cut some stuff out. The snare/tambourine thing took off from there....”
Like many groups these days, the duo crowd-sourced their debut album, We Come with the Dust, via Kickstarter. They surpassed their goal of $4500 and used the money to pay for vinyl and CD production costs. Schilling sold his jeep to pay for the recording of the album.
1271 University Avenue, Hillcrest
“I miss that jeep, but I love my record,” a rather forlorn Schilling said.
Like many Kickstarter projects, the duo created some unique packages to entice donations. For $300, a backer received the “YouTube, WeTube package” — a cover song, of the backer’s choice, performed by the band on YouTube.
“We had one person pick that up,” Schilling said. “We saw that it was Maroon 5 and thought, Whaaaaaat...? So [we] just got crazy with it and put on the slide and just rolled with it. It came out pretty good.”
Triumph of the Wild play a Radio Halloran showcase at the Merrow in Hillcrest next Tuesday, September 1.