NoiseTrade One-on-One

PledgeHouse: Spotlight Interview with Wye Oak

This year we’re excited to partner with PledgeMusic and Kenneth Cole to bring you, from Austin, TX, PledgeHouse – FOUR DAYS of day parties with over 40 bands across two stages. Taking place March 13th through March 16th at The Blackheart, we’ll open doors at 11:30am each day as we welcome 11 artists across two stages, with our friends at The Current live streaming our indoor stage performances each day.

RSVP for all the PledgeHouse shenanigans here:

To help get you ready for the musical melee of PledgeHouse, here’s our PledgeHouse Spotlight interview with Wye Oak (playing Thursday, 3/15 on the indoor stage).

NoiseTrade: I usually hate questions about album titles, but The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs is quite arresting. What are some of the lyrical themes and creative inspirations that led to that title and to this new collection of songs overall?

Jenn Wasner: I usually hate questions about titles too, but this time I actually have a real answer! The record itself is, among other things, about learning how to live in a world that feels increasingly unfriendly and overwhelming. It’s about how difficult it is to fit an infinite amount of information and human experience and suffering and joy into one tiny, finite brain. It’s also about how our capacity for understanding vastly outpaces our ability to affect change outside of ourselves and how terrifying and sad that feels. And about how the need for comfort, stability, and peace is directly at odds with the desire for change, growth, adventure, and novelty. And just generally about the fact that I have to continue living my insignificant little life while watching our civilization destroy itself from within.

Regarding the title… buried within it is a double meaning. A sort of psychological litmus test. When I conceived of it, I thought of it as “I’m trapped in one place, but the more I call for help, the more likely it is that what I’m afraid of will find me.” But when I pitched it to Andy, his first reaction was “I want something, but the more I try to get it, the further away it gets from me.” The reason I like it so much is because both are totally accurate readings and I love what I can learn about a person based on which of those meanings they gravitate towards first. Maybe there are others, who knows?

NT: You tried a new approach to collaborative writing this time around, specifically in regards to traveling to each other’s cities and working within tighter timelines. What was that experience like for your creative process and how specifically do you think it affected the songs?

Wasner: I think Andy and I work really well when we take this approach. It’s something I’ve come to think of as the “alone together” option. It gives us a lot of unbroken time in our own spaces to really consider and execute our creative ideas before exposing them to the judgement of the other. There’s a lot of positive, critical back and forth. Then when we’re in the same space we both really know what we’re going for. We’re able to execute the ideas and be super productive without a lot of hemming and hawing.

NT: You’re certainly no stranger to SXSW, so what are you looking forward to experiencing again and what new experiences are you hoping might transpire?

Wye Oak: SXSW is hectic to say the least. I’ve learned to keep my expectations low. The best scenario I can imagine is that I run into another equally exhausted, battle scarred touring musician friend in a food truck line and we can lick each other’s wounds for a bit over tacos and tequila.

NT: Are you altering your normal setlist/show in any way for the SXSW audience? What song of yours are you most looking forward to playing live for the SXSW audience?

Wasner: Oh yes! We are not fucking around. We are pretty much just going to play our entire new record, front to back, for the first time ever. I genuinely can’t wait.

NT: Are there any bands or panels at SXSW that you are planning to check out yourself?

Wasner: Alas, we are generally so busy that I know better than to even look. I’ll only get my hopes up! But usually I stumble upon something unexpected and amazing without even trying, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed for that.