Interview by Will Milne
We're pretty excited about Oaktopia year 2 which starts tomorrow (Friday). One of the reasons that got us so pumped was that Will Wiesenfeld would be bringing his Baths project to Denton this Saturday on Oaktopia's "Main Stage" at 5:30pm on Saturday. We've been enjoying Wiesenfeld's work for many years and are excited to see him play in Denton. We spoke with him on the phone last weekend and asked a few questions about graphic novels, Tarzan, and annoyed him by asking if he preferred showers to baths.
Hey Will! Settle an argument for us. Would you define your own music as erotic or maybe even “sexy" or not at all?
Ehhhhh. It depends on the song. There’s a different lyrical context to every one. It’s a very contextual thing. There are very asexual songs that I’ve written that aren’t about it [sex] at all, and then some are just steeped in it. Maybe if you had a specific song in mind...
Howsabout "Apologetic Shoulderblades" from Cerulean?
Ahhhh.... "Apologetic Shoulderblades" is actually about Hugh Jackman in a roundabout, dumb way. So, that one definitely was. So, yeah. I haven’t touched that song in like five years, though. Hahaha.
What’s the best found sound you’ve recorded that you’ve been unable to incorporate into a song so far?
Recently, it was a lot of these stone samples that my brother and I went and recorded. A lot of which that went into the song “Incompatible.” That was like two years ago and collecting the rock sounds was really fun. We actually put it together into a rhythm that was really cool.
We loved your piece on the podcast, Song Exploder, in which you broke down your song "Miasma Sky" (listen in the video below). Why did you choose that song?
I think every song could have it’s own little story. We chose it at the time because it was one we were trying to advertise because my new record had just came out and it made sense at the time. The podcast is run by a close friend of mine, Hrishikesh Hirway, and he sort of asked us which one we wanted to do. I think it made the most sense at the time.
We read that you’re super into graphic novels. What’s the best one you’ve read this year?
That I’ve read this year? Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. it’s a super super dark one. My friend Maré Odomo recommended it to me. He is one of my favorite artists and also knows his shit when it comes to graphic novels and comics and all that. When I was in Seattle recently, I just went on a shopping binge with him and his girlfriend. They recommended a bunch of comics to me so I came home with like six or seven and that was my favorite of the ones that I’ve read so far.
His stuff is amazing. You can check him out at @mareodomo.
Do you actually prefer baths to showers?
Uhhhhhhh. I don’t know. It depends. There’s times when it just makes sense to have a bath and other times when it makes sense to have a shower.
You don’t feel more pressure or awkwardness of taking a “Bath,” having your artistic being “Baths?”
No, of course not. Not at all.
How important is having an energetic live show you?
It’s extremely important and it’s something that a lot of electronic musicians care a little less about or at it’s not part of their M.O. For me it’s really important because if you’re going to a show and to just play the track, that’s a different vibe for meI don’t go to clubs - I’m not a club person. I don’t go just to see a DJ play. I just completely don’t care about that. It’s much more fun to put money down and see a performance. In my own head, with my own stuff, that’s what it was - trying to put on a show. It exists like that for me, but I totally get it, some people do that. And some of my favorite shows were my favorite just because I love the music even if the show wasn’t that good.
Is there anything you do specifically to make your live show interesting?
It took me and my bandmate like six months to figure out. We had to spend a really long time what we wanted to do with the live show and what made sense. One of the easiest translations was doing vocals. It immediately brings a really human connection to everything. In between songs I’m speaking to the audience and that keeps everything grounded. Beyond that, there’s a lot of physicality. We’re using a lot of electronic stuff on stage, but when we’re physically using it and you can hear the change in the music and make it sense with what you’re seeing visually that works out. We try to keep it fun for us and also not sort of overdo it, and make it gimmicky with how we were doing it. It’s a tough thing. We also don’t it figured out, but it’s worked for us for the last couple years.
What are you listening to right now?
I’m listening to a lot of Sophie. I have a lot of love for club type music. "Bip" is my favorite one right now and the first track in the Boiler Room Session that she did recently.
I’m listening to a lot of the Cocteau Twins a lot and the Tarzan Soundtrack. We were talking about it recently and I just had to buy it.
The Brendan Frasier one?
No no no no no. The animated Disney one.
The one with the yell? The Tarzan yell?
I think so. I don’t know. I just know it’s all Phil Collins’ stuff with original songs that he wrote for the movie. Most of it reads like actual pop songs instead of a film score so it's fun.
What’s on the horizon for ya?
There’s a song that’s premiering in a couple weeks that I’m doing for a one off EP with a friend so I have one song coming out sometime soon and I’m working on the score for a cartoon called Being Puppy Cat, but all at the same time I’m starting to work on my next record - that’s my main focus, but it’s gonna be a while before there’s any news on that. I haven’t started recording yet.
The cartoon song, though, it’s gonna be on Youtube for Cartoon Hangover. The show is called Being Puppy Cat and it’ll be turned into a series and the first episode will be premiering in November.
Thanks for talking with us, Will! See ya at Oaktopia!
See ya next weekend!