JW: A year ago I saw the feeds about it on Facebook. After the release of my album, Gonzo Circus told me to contact these guys to play at their festival, and I’m very happy they got me over.
MOA: How was the performance for you last night?
JW: Actually I was very nervous, because this was the first show after the release of the album. It felt good to play live, after two years of work in the studio where the listening conditions are perfect. Live I felt the physicality of the music. Although it was a challenge to reproduce, improvising with the material opened a new door. We extended the track "Duration" for five minutes longer just because it felt right for that moment and that audience. And the last piece we played came from a work in progress, which has no fixed structure. I absolutely loved doing this, because just recreating the record feels limited, unauthentic, like a trap.
MOA: To me, live your music sounded more jazzy than on the album.
JW: That's maybe because of the live drum sound, which is more organic than in the studio. But perhaps it's also the free playing too.
JW: Indeed, I do not sing because for me it's very important that music is open so that people can find their own picture. Vocals immediately create a certain image.
MOA: In stead you use distorted bass guitar, electronic drones and drums. How did you get to this combination?
JW: Since I was 13 years old, I've been experimenting with guitars and bass guitars. Later came film scores and computer generated sounds. After many years of exploring music technology, over-driven bass guitars seemed to be the right thing as it's the sound I know best. The scope of the instrument is immense and in combination with drums and my lap top processing I'm my own synthesizer. I process the bass guitar sounds with software to abstract them away from the norms of rock, but still keep their energy and grit. It took a long time to find a happy combination of computer and guitars, because as we all know computers can give you a damned headache, and using them together is like two different brains. I like the point where the computer is a part of the sound, not the whole sound.
MOA: Do you always use live drums on stage?
JW: Yes, for me nothing beats a good live drummer. It's the hardest instrument to learn to play, so it's magical when someone masters it.
MOA: Although your music is comparable to projects like Nadja, it's different from them.
JW: Nadja are friends of mine and musically I think there are indeed some key differences. The very things I find they are geniuses at, for example, making those big, slow riff based songs with cycling chord patterns, their heavy usage of guitar effects pedals and drum machines, are actually aspects I don't use in my own music. I think it's great that we're different and yet can appeal to the same audience.
MOA: Do you crave absolute originality?
JW: I know that's unattainable because we all grew up with so many influences. But as soon as my music starts sounding referential I stop and try something else until it feels more unusual. I don't want references because they generate personalities and categorize the music. I’m trying to reach a point where my music generates itself and surprises me.
JW: Heavy pre-programming fucks a live experience up. I tried it for a moment, but quickly threw it out of the window. When performing live, I love the escape from the obsessive-compulsive perfectionizing that comes while creating a studio album. Although both improvisation and song performances sometimes terrify me because of the expectations of the audience, a middle form seems like the way to go. Adapting the music to the moment is a lovely thing, which I'd love to do more and more live. Sounds start swimming at that point. Performing live needs a risk factor; there's the struggle to make it happen there and then. It's so intense when it's down to you to make it happen. But I absolutely love working hard on stage. I've seen acts that can combine strong live playing, computers and album songs to great effect, like Caribou for instance.
MOA: Do you have other big examples?
JW: One of my earliest influences is The Young Gods. They were one of the first to use heavy processed guitars with live drums and avant-garde electronics. When they go live on stage, there's a lot of communication between the drummer and the electronics guy, which makes it awesome. Another big influence is the minimalistic, repetitive, jazzy thing The Necks do. Tony Buck from The Necks is a nomad who plays all over, in many different forms. He taught me a lot when I was working on the album. For example, he reassured me that focussing on having the best equipment and recording set up won't make a whole lot of difference to the music getting made. Perfectionistic standards held me back, but Tony’s attitude helped me let go and simply create the album. It took me two years to make it and it was one big discovery. At the end it felt like the music was telling me what to do.
MOA: How was your album received?
JW: I was amazed that my album got so well received. It got compared a lot to Godflesh, which is both flattering and funny, as I did not really know their stuff very well. I'm definitely going to dig in to their revered discography now, which is long overdue.
But the record has generally had a lot of positive reviews and attention from all over, in some really far flung places too.It's awesome how well the album was received in Belgium and The Netherlands. There's a massive hunger for new music here.
MOA: Is Barchan, which we'll see tonight, different from what you did yesterday?
JW: It's completely improvised, so you'll have to tell me. We started with Barchan when I was half way through making my album; it almost became an escape from what I do. The biggest differences are that my drummers have to work with my material, but I've got no influence over what the drummer of Barchan (Tomas Järmyr) does. Also there is absolutely no composition.
MOA: Any plans for the future?
JW: I'm working on new material now but feel like I am at the foot of the mountain again, looking up at a long climb. In any case I have to let it take its time and tell me where it wants to go.
'Hold' is available on Miasmah Recordings
'Soliton is available on Silken Tofu