atjf interview :: wakey! wakey!

After the Jump presents Wakey! Wakey!, this Saturday June 21st, for After the Jump Fest in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY, performing during the day on the Main Street stage at 2:30pm.

Listen :: Cokehead

MIA: Musically, how did the band form, what past experiences do you carry with you?

WW!: I was playing as a solo artist until I joined up with Wes Verhoeve’s label, Family Records last year. We were planning the first full band show, and my friend Lach told me not to add any members that weren’t in some way telling the story. For instance, he didn’t want me to get a drummer just because every band had drums, or a guitar player because it was cool. I thought about it and a string quartet seemed to be the logical choice. So we started arranging, and then drums and bass felt necessary, and it just sort of grew from there. I still enjoy playing solo, but a 16 member band is fun too!

MIA: Describe the feeling of living and making music in New York, feel free to share a memory or a certain place (bar, restaurant, record store) that makes you feel like home.

WW!: I always wrote about and romanticized Brooklyn when I lived on the Lower East Side. Everything about it seemed so logical and wonderful. I’ve recently moved to Williamsburg, and it’s even better than I imagined. I ride my bike every day, and write ten times as much. As far as bars I love, I really get down with Fette Sau. I was a vegetarian for the last 8 years, and recently returned to the wonderful world of meat. I’m originally from Virginia, and grew up on barbeque, and they just do it right. I’m about to eat some when I finish this interview, actually. It’s doubly comforting, because it’s so New York and VA at the same time.

MIA: How does the band like to get ready for a live show? Is there a favorite song that you enjoy to perform live?

WW!: It’s really challenging to get everyone together, since there’re so many of us. We really just gather as many as we can and shoot from the hip. It’s funny how well it always comes off, considering there have been instances when I’ve met new band members 20 minutes before shows… As a band, I think we all have new favoutires every day. I really like the car crash song with the full orchestra. Blame You has been tops for a bit. We were just in the studio doing that one today.

MIA: What are your recommended records so far of ‘08?

WW!: I really really really love the new album from Lowry. It’s just the most exciting thing I’ve heard from our scene in a while. I’m super flattered because they just called and asked us to play the release party for it in July at Galapagos. I’m dying to hear the new Bloodsugars, cause their songs are so good. Their song “Life Before the Accident” has tortured me every since we got back from We Fest. As far as wider releases, the new Bon Iver is beautiful. We got down with Man Man’s Rabbit Habits on tour recently, those guys are geniouses. And Speaking of Rabbits, Frightened Rabbit really hit the nail on the head with their new one.

MIA: Name a visual artist or piece of work that inspires you.

WW!: I really love Amy Shawley. I have 3 of her pieces at my studio. I’m a huge fan of Santiago Rubino. Jonathan Rodriguez did some early posters for us, after I fell in love with his work at MF Gallery.

MIA: Please share a mixtape with a theme of your choice.

WW!: This is the mix I’m making for my GF’s little brother. He’s already much cooler than me, so it’s really just for bonding purposes. A few easy to miss, but very important older songs, and some newer stuff I love.

ZebraMan Man [man in a blue turban, 2004]
Black MagsCool Kids [totally flossed out, 2007]
NantesBeirut [flying cup club, 2007]
Time To PretendMGMT [oracular spectacular, 2008]
Be Not So FearfulBill Fay [bottom of old grandfather clock, 1971]
PokeFrightened Rabbit [midnight organ fight, 2008]
KnifeGrizzly Bear [yellow house, 2006]
In the Aeroplane Over the SeaNeutral Milk Hotel [1998]
A Rose for EmilyZombies [odessey & oracle, 1968]
Pan American Blues, Pt. 2Papercuts [mockingbird, 2004]
StarcleanerBrian Jonestown Massacre [this is our music, 2003]
Pink BatmanDan Deacon [spiderman of the rings, 2007]

images. wakey! wakey! // artwork. amy shawley
thankyou to michael.

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