Q&A Scene: Jenn Wasner ~ WYE OAK

Tell us about your new album ‘The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs’ …

I think this record is a culmination of everything we’ve been working on for the past 10 years. It incorporates a lot of the techniques we learned while making Shriek (electronic/synthetic textures) but many of the songs were written on guitar (like the majority of our older material). It feels like we’ve finally matured to the point where we can create something that sounds the way we want it to with no qualifications. Thematically it’s about trying to find ways to continue to live when the world around you (and inside of you) makes less sense than ever.

What’s your favourite work at this point in time?

I can’t see how it would be a good idea to say anything other than the album we’re currently trying to promote, don’t you think? ;) It’s true though, I think this record—The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs— is absolutely our best. And tied for second in closeness to my heart might be my solo record (under the Flock of Dimes moniker, called If You See Me, Say Yes.)

Tell us a quick, on the road or studio, anecdote.

There was this one time, we drove 6 hours, stopped at a gas station, ate at a terrible fast food place, and then loaded all of our gear into a venue, and…

What, or who, inspires you?

The need to justify my existence by hopefully someday making something great enough that it offsets all of the damage I do just by being a selfish human consumption machine.

Which song do you wish you wrote?

Almost anything by Kate Bush or Joni Mitchell or Arthur Russell.

What’s next for you?

I guess I’m going to make some lunch and maybe hit up a yoga class later.

What’s your scene?

That one in Pink Flamingos where Divine eats dog shit.

‘The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs’ is out today!

For ‘The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs’, Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack flew to one another’s cities – she in Durham, North Carolina, he in Marfa, Texas – for a week or so at a time, hunkering in home studios to sort through and combine their separate song sketches. These shorter stints together produced less second-guessing and hesitation in their process, yielding an unabashed and unapologetic Wye Oak.
They discarded past rules about how to write a record, instead funneling all those experiences and experiments into perfectly unified statements.  The result is the biggest, broadest, boldest music Wye Oak has ever made. Louder pursues a litany of modern malaises, each of its dozen tracks diligently addressing a new conflict and pinning it against walls of sound, with the song’s subject and shape inextricably and ingeniously linked. It arrives at a time of immense doubt, when our personal problems are infinitely compounded by a world that seems in existential peril. But these songs answer the challenge by radiating self-reflection and resolve, wielding hooks and musical intricacy as a shield against the madness of the moment.
The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs contains the biggest, broadest, boldest music Wye Oak have ever made, and today, the duo of Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack provide a song that exemplifies the band at their most enlightened.
The title track of The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs – the triumphant fifth album by Wye Oak – is a coil of anxiety and exuberance, its verses and chorus sweeping into cascades of magnetic harmony. By the time the song ends, it has bloomed into an undeniable pop anthem, a spell to be shouted against the ills of our world. Press play for proof!
During the intoxicating It Was Not Natural, a weary walk through the woods unearths a discarded antler, a talisman that provokes deep questions about our work lives, social codes, and romantic mores. The music – a sophisticated tessellation of pounded piano and loping bass, scattered drums and chirping synthesizer – is as complex and ponderous as the issues themselves. “It Was Not Natural” is Wye Oak at their most sophisticated, navigating life’s difficulties with the nuance and power they demand.
Jenn Wasner offers the following: “This is a story about finding an object of uncertain origin whilst walking through the woods. Or, if you’d rather: it’s about exploring the space between the things that we are socialized to believe about ourselves, and the actual truth of our nature – learning how to push the limits of the systems we’ve put in place to help ourselves make sense of chaos.”

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About Mary Boukouvalas 916 Articles
Mary is a music photographer and reviewer.

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