With a clear vision, a trunk full of melodies and stories to tell, frontman and songwriter Esben Meyer Kristensen formed country-rock outfit Wild Whens back in 2016. When Esben talked to his longtime friend, Truls Kristoffer Vennman, about joining his new band (Esben and Truls had been bandmates years before), the talented drummer was happily ready to end his musical hiatus and get back on stage. It didn’t take long for Pål Fiskodde to team up with his locomotive-esque rhythm guitar sound either.
Esben kept searching outside of the country-rock genre for a bass player as he planned for the Wild Whens sound to be a melting pot of several genres, so Tony Moen was the perfect choice and they instantly hit it off. After a year or so as a quartet, the guys wanted to add some extra spice and depth to their live sound. They met guitar-wizard Sondre Gautefald at a jam-show in his native Drangedal, and after witnessing some jaw dropping performances, Esben made it his life goal to get him to join the band, and so he did. Torstein Vesteng Vala is the latest addition to the band taking Pål’s place on rhythm guitar and adding some talented keyboard playing to the mix as well. Besides being an awesome musician, Torstein is the most positive and happy guy you’ll ever meet! And he’s certainly no stranger to jumping off the stage while playing his guitar to interact with the crowd.
All music and lyrics released by Wild Whens are written by Esben. Every song is based on something real, first and foremost from his own life. He is hugely inspired by Mike Ness of Social Distortion who has been his hero ever since he was a kid. Esben is still a punk-rocker at heart.
Still, Esben felt country-rock was the best kind of sound for his lyrics.
In Esben’s own words. “It just felt so right. To dress my words up in a country-rock outfit. You see, every time I write a song I create a movie in my head, and they just needed that kinda soundtrack.”
Their debut single, “Captain in The Sand” (2017) was a huge success and really laid the foundation for the band’s sound. “Steamtrain Jane” and “Sally Saloon” followed later that year, and along with “Captain in The Sand”, they are still among the band’s most popular songs. Wild Whens’ first full length album, “From the Valley”, saw the light of day in the summer of 2018, after the opening track on the record, “Crazy to The Bone”, was released as a single in late January. Towards the end of 2018 “Tornado” hit the streaming world and became an instant fan favourite. Then, four singles with very different vibes followed in 2019 starting with the simplistic and stripped-down love/hate song “Where You Can’t Be Found”, then the vengeful and angry “Fire in The Sky”, followed by the wayward, heavyhearted “Somewhere Home” and the freedom-craving “Set Me Free”.
After previously releasing all material as an independent band, Wild Whens signed a record deal with the Norwegian label Grammofon AS in 2020. The first single to be released, after teaming up with the record company, was “Romeo” featuring a cameo from British singer Chloe Kay. And what an impact that song has had! Still does! “Romeo” basically dethroned longtime favourite “Sally Saloon” and became the most popular Wild Whens song on Spotify. In 2021 “The Mess” and “Man in Chains” were released, the latter was included in the third season of the popular Norwegian TV series Rådebank. With “Man in Chains”, Wild Whens gave a new spin to their sound, with a slowed down but groovy blues-rock-esque vibe and huge choir-vocals sung by American singer Debi Selby.
In early 2022 the band brought back some of that acoustic country sound from “Romeo” with the release of “Skylight”, which became the third most popular song on their Spotify chart. Not long after, the more upbeat and cheery “Will You” was released as the last single before their new album “Sting of Life” came out on April 8, 2022. This album was intentionally made to sound more like a compilation than a regular studio album, a compilation of life if you will. Almost a year later, on March 10, 2023, the single “Sweet Arms of Deception” was released. This song presented a more heavy southern rock sound with a dark and sultry mood to it.
As of now, the 2 albums and 15 singles released by Wild Whens have resulted in well over 12 million streams, and that’s on Spotify alone. They’ve had several songs included on New Music Friday and various Spotify Viral 50 playlists as well as being played on Norwegian radio stations on a regular basis. Several music videos have also been made, all of them self-produced on a freakishly low budget. For Wild Whens, it’s all about doing what they love. Creating, playing, sharing their music with listeners and audiences.
And that’s the story so far, but there are so much more to come from Wild Whens! Singles! Albums! Videos! Shows! So be sure to follow the band on social media and your favourite streaming service to catch the latest.