SXSW Interview: Wand

wand bannerSXSW is just around the corner, and while the beast seems to be laying somewhat dormant this year, I wanna make sure we keep you posted on what’s coming up, and who we’re excited to see.  I sent some questions to Cory Hanson of Wand, who released Ganglion Reef last year, and are releasing Golem this Spring. He gave me some honest answers, and seems to have taken his time with them, which I appreciate. Thanks to Pitchperfect PR for the set up. 

ATH: One of my favorite bits about Ganglion Reef was that despite the sonic blast provided, you still adhered to this incredible sense of melody within the songs themselves. It seems like Golem might have a heavier/harder edge to it.  Any truth to that or is it just the natural progression of the band?
Cory Hanson: I guess Ganglion Reef has more of a studio record quality to it.  Not in the sense that it is “shiny” or “professional” sounding at all, because it’s not haha.  But there are a lot of different instruments, textures, melodies that are obscuring the original performances.  With Golem We really wanted to do the opposite; have a performance-centric record that sounded more like our live set than a synthy studio exploration.  Though there was still a fair amount of that.  There was no real transition from one LP to the other, it’s the same planet, but one record takes place in the afternoon and the other after midnight.
ATH: When we last saw you in Austin with Ty Segall, I was really impressed about the ability to take the songs from the album and turn them up into a more forceful performance. It was quite similar to the record, but with more punch.  Do you feel like that’s something you try to do, as in giving listeners two different experiences for listening?
Cory Hanson: Oh yeah definitely, they are separate entities entirely.  It’s a huge pet peeve of mine going to shows when bands are painstakingly trying to reconstruct the space of their studio recordings.  It’s always a recipe for disaster or boredom. For us, we just want to play really loud and really well.  For our own sake.  We rehearse a lot! Haha.
ATH: Speaking of Ty…you were associated with his God? Label and now move to In the Red Records, which has released quite a bit of his work in the past, plus you’ve toured with him for some time.  Clearly it’s beneficial to have a guy with such renown in your corner…so has he taught you any tricks of the trade?
Cory Hanson: We all trade tricks, and we all trick each-other.  It keeps the music interesting.  Right now everyone is making records in some form or another, and the records are all coexisting in heavy influence of each-other.  They all possess this “rabbit hole delirium” quality. Like taking the path of least resistance.  We trade recording tips, or mixing tricks; and there’s a fair amount of involvement or vested interest in the documents everyone is drafting up right now.  It seems there’s a  virus of “idiot glee” going around…
ATH: At this point in your career as a band? What’s the one song you’re most proud of, if you had to pick one? What are the highlights for the band thus far?
Cory Hanson: The songs I’m most excited about are the ones I’m working on right now. And we are working on new music constantly.  I get super apprehensive when a record is finished. Or when it’s sitting in line waiting to come into “existence”…  It’s the least interesting part about making a record.  So the positive remedy is to just keep writing/recording and get excited all over again.  The best music is now and everything else is either in the past or doesn’t exist yet.
ATH: You’re about to embark on a long tour encompassing most of North America.  For you guys, what are the plusses and minuses of being on the road? Have you had any previous pitfalls?
Cory Hanson: Last tour I was looking at a map of the USA anatomically, like what if all the cities of America where these vital organs, and the roads were this giant digestive tract that we were driving through?   Then I guess we would be this thing inside of a van shaped pill being distributed throughout the digestive system of the United States.  Just a weird thought, what organ would Austin be?  The Liver probably.
ATH: What are you looking forward to in your return to Austin? Have you had much time to get to hang in the city itself?
Cory Hanson: This will be my 4th or 5th SXSW, but the first with Wand.  Austin is one of my favorite places to play in the US or anywhere for that matter.  If anyone wants to hang I will either be at Torchy’s or Whole Food’s every day at noon very sleep deprived and possibly hung over.  Let’s feel the pain together!
ATH: I really dig the artwork on your albums.  Seems like it has a purpose, which isn’t always the case.  Do you guys do that in-house or have a friend that does the work for you? Is there a story behind the Golem cover?
Cory Hanson: Thank you!  The cover was done by Ruben Sawyer, he lives in this little town north of SLO, and plays in this band Hollow Sunshine, which are rad.  He has done a lot of LP covers and shirts for bands.  We traded emails of source material… my end consisted of a lot of Rodin sculptures, Wire album covers, greek persona masks, and a bunch of little drawings and scribbled ideas.  I am actually the most stoked about this LP’s artwork because it’s a collaboration between him and Meghan Tryon who did all the artwork for Ganglion Reef.  Not to blow that shit up, but let’s just say they both do really great jobs.

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