Q&A: Erin Lunsford of Erin and The Wildfire talks Lockn’ and life as a female musician
With their resonant and lively sounds, Erin and the Wildfire have rocked the Charlottesville music scene and they are set to do the same at the October 31st IX Art Park Levitt AMP Concert Series.
WTJU’s Chiara Brown corresponded with UVA grad and lead singer Erin Lunsford and talked everything from life as a female musician to future music plans.
WTJU: Erin I know that you are a UVA grad. How did UVA and being in Charlottesville
help you get into music, if at all?
Erin Lunsford: UVA and Cville are crucial to our success as a band! Charlottesville has been such a wonderful foundation and support center for our music. Everyone in this town really supports each other, goes to each others shows, and brings others up with them. I personally started busking on the downtown mall 4 years ago and my Cville career took off from there! We feel honored and lucky to be in such a thriving music environment that is so loving.
WTJU: How did the band meet and decided to start playing music together?
EL: We met at UVA in a student recording group called O Records. I asked the guys to
start a band with me so that we could play a few fraternity shows around grounds and
we vibed so well together that we stuck with it!
WTJU: Who would you say are the band’s main influences?
EL: We have lotssss of influences – each of us individually idolizes different bands and
sounds. I can say this – we’ve been listening to a lot of Alabama Shakes, Grace Potter,
Vulfpeck, and Jamiroquai in the car lately…
WTJU: What would it be like to be a fly on the wall at a typical rehearsal for Erin and the Wildfire?
EL: Our rehearsals are intense, but very fun. You’d notice that we never start on time.
We’ve been practicing and learning exclusively No Doubt songs for the past month and
a half for a special show we’ve got coming up, so our practices have been extra silly,
as of recent. Practices typically include lots of bathroom humor and movie quote recall.
WTJU: Erin, what’s it like being the only girl in the band? Can you also talk a little bit about what your experience has been like being a woman in the music scene?
EL: Sometimes being the only woman in the band can be difficult. There are times
when I really just want someone to appreciate how much effort I put into getting ready
in a grimy, light-less bathroom on tour! But being the only woman is incredibly
rewarding. I’ve learned so much about being a leader, a coworker, and a friend from
our band – it’s invaluable experience. Sometimes the music scene can really feel like a
man’s world…I’m often told how to use my equipment and how to set it up even
though I’m perfectly capable and knowledgeable (mansplaining). Often times I’m
assumed to be a groupie or a girlfriend of the band instead of the freaking front-woman
of the band… that is so frustrating. Sometimes people insinuate that I’m aggressive or
bossy, but I think that if I were a man asking for the same things it would be perceived
differently. I also think I’m critiqued more harshly than my male counterparts, but I can
take it (!) and taking criticism is something I need to get better at anyway.
WTJU: I know that the band played in the Lockn’ music festival last year. What that experience was like?
EL: We played Lockn last year (2014) and it rawked so hard! We had
a blast and would really really like to go back next year! This past July we played
FloydFest and it was the highlight of our summer! XOXO love you FloydFest. We also
played Festy Experience this fall and it was beautiful. We hope to keep playing more
and more festivals to reach more music lovers!
WTJU: What can we expect from Erin and the Wildfire in the future? Any tours or big
EL: We are planning to recluse ourselves from live shows in the near future to go on a
writing retreat! Oh Scary! We’ve got a lot of ideas in the works, but not much time to
execute them. Here’s to new material!