ATH Interview: Wye Oak + Show Preview (7/6)

wyeoakIf you’re looking for shows to attend this week, odds are you’ve found something to your liking.  But, before the work week starts back up, there’s a nice little show over at the Parish featuring Wye Oak that you should catch.  They’ll be playing with Pattern is Movement, and you can buy yourself a ticket to the show right HERE.  We caught up with Andy real quickly for some questions about their tour, and their latest album, Shriek.  Read on for the interview. 

ATH: On the new album, Shriek, the electronic touches seemed to come with a bit of trepidation, or worry in regards to the album’s reception. Now that it’s been out for a few months, have you been able to put aside those fears? Would you go back and do anything differently?

AS: I don’t think there was ever much trepidation on the part of Jenn and myself when it came to the electronic elements. Those were a very conscious creative choice and one which helped us to feel fresh about the material. However, there did seem to be some concern amongst our fans who didn’t seem sold on the new direction. Ultimately, though, the band is still based around songs, lyrics, and the tension between light and dark which we’ve always pursued in our music.

ATH: How has the tour unfolded in regards to the new songs on the record? Has the reception in the live setting been better or worse than your expectations?

AS: These songs were written and fleshed out completely in the studio setting, with no initial regard for live adaptations, so it was a somewhat daunting task to work out our approach for presenting these songs in concert. It’s important to us that the Wye Oak live performance feels like a living, breathing thing, with organic elements that interplay with the more electronic bits.

ATH: Along the lines of the live show, you’ve covered many a song, for the AV Club or on your own, so are there any covers in the tour arsenal we’ll likely get to here?

AS: Our most recent AV Club cover of Kate Bush has been sticking around in our setlists in the last month or so, though we know at some point we’ll have to put it to rest.

ATH: This might be tough to recall, but what was the band listening to during the recording of Shriek? Did any of those sounds leak into the album?

AS: As always, we were listening to a good bit of Arthur Russell, and his weird singer-songwriter avant-disco experiments were a great jumping off point for how we would think about our approach.

ATH: When you’ve come to Austin, you’ve often played at the Parish, as you are on this recent tour. What’s your relationship with the venue? Is there anything special that keeps you coming back to play there?

AS: The Parish was one of the first Austin venues we ever played, and it’s been a regular spot for Merge Records‘ SXSW events that we’ve been a part of. It’s a great sounding, intimate room. That stretch of 6th Street can be a little overwhelming, but the atmosphere in the Parish seems to always be just right.

ATH:  As a band that’s toured rigorously behind your records, what’s a staple that you guys need for survival on the road? What is it you miss the most from home?

AS: As any long running band can attest, this is answer tends to be a moving target. Currently, I would say that the most important thing for us to survive on the road is time off from being on the road. Any kind of luxury item or nice hotel room can’t really compete with time at home to reflect, write and work on music again, and be with loved ones.

ATH: There’s always internet chatter about the difficulty of surviving in a band in the present culture, the change in the label landscape, etc. How have you all been able to survive for a relatively long time? Are there any tricks to the trade?

AS: It’s all true. It is a very difficult climate to survive, and the advent of all of the internet technologies which as supposed to be artist friendly don’t seem to be paying off for the artists in the end. I think some keys to survival that we’ve found are to keep costs (and expectations) low, work with people that you trust, and to keep moving forward in spite of whatever the critics might say.

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