Wussy are a Cincinnati band who describe their genre as ‘Midwestern Drone’. If that’s your thing then watch out, as at the end of April they’re heading overseas to perform here in York. So, we caught up with them to talk about the differences between performing in the USA and the UK, favourite gigs and their new album Forever Sounds, which will soon be released.
By Jane Howkins
You’re doing a few shows in England in April, including York, Leicester and Manchester. What is it that appealed to you about playing York?
Lisa: York is one of the greatest places I’ve ever been to! We played there as a duo in 2012. Every single person involved in that show was amazing: the promoter, sound man, bar staff, show-goers. It was a very memorable experience for us. The town is so lovely, too. Like a fairy tale. There’s nothing like it in the States.
You’re also doing a pretty extensive tour of the USA. How does touring the USA compare with the UK?
Chuck: The US has longer drives, for one. I also noticed that the doorways in the UK were very low, and I bumped my head a lot.
Lisa: Sometimes you don’t know what to expect in the US, as shows and promotion can vary widely from club to club. I feel like there is a general sense of consistency in how shows are run and promoted in the UK. It was a great experience for us, and we really look forward to coming back!
Chuck: People attending shows in the UK tend to be extra polite and attentive. At least in our experience! It’s treated more as a concert than a night out with your friends.
Where would you say are your favourite places to play?
Chuck: Smaller clubs and house shows with good sound and an experienced sound-person.
Lisa: There are several, and York is one of them! I would have to say also Seattle, New York, Cincinnati, London. Plus there are a couple of house shows that we’ve played that we enjoy immensely.
Do you have a show that stands out as being particularly memorable for you at all?
Chuck: Touring with the Afghan Whigs was pretty memorable for me. Also, selling out the Woodward Theater in Cincinnati recently was a definite high point.
Lisa: I’d second that. Also, maybe the third time we played in New York. Tons of people showed up at the Cake Shop right before we were supposed to go on, and I realized that they were there to see us! I couldn’t believe it.
What was the inspiration for the band name? We’ve heard that Chuck was in a band called Ass Ponys before forming Wussy.
Chuck: I picked it because I thought it would look good on a T Shirt…. and it does!
Your new album Forever Sounds will be released soon. What can you tell us about that?
Chuck: It’s far and away, my favourite record we’ve ever done.
Lisa: I’d have to agree with that! I think we focused our energies equally on songwriting and textures on this record. We wanted it to kind of sweep folks away for 40 minutes. It definitely sounds more like we do live!
How do you find the music industry nowadays, and do you find it hard to get your music out there? You’re known for being a really good band that hasn’t quite hit the big time yet!
Lisa: I think, in some ways, it’s easier than ever to get your stuff out there! The real challenge is to be heard among all the other options. I think word of mouth is pretty important, as you generate a more loyal fanbase that way! It takes a bit longer, but I trust the progression more than overnight success.
How is the writing process for you? What sort of things inspire you when you are writing or make you want to write?
Chuck: I feel like I write through osmosis. I soak up things and then spit them back out.
Lisa: Definitely the world around us. Very everyday things sometimes. Popular culture. Movies and other bands that we love.
Who/what would you say you are most influenced by?
Lisa: Definitely a great collective love for the popular music of the late 60’s and early 70’s. That’s pretty universal in our band. Also bands that run the gamut between lo-fi and lush… stuff like John Cale and Yo La Tengo. It’s hard to nail down just a few, I could honestly talk all day about that subject.
Chuck: The daily grind.
Are there any other bands/artists that you would recommend our readers check out?
Lisa: Absolutely! Sparklehorse, Wooden Shjips, Moon Duo, Handsome Family, Vacation, Swim Team, John Moreland, Withered Hand.
Chuck: Nothing else in particular from me. Just explore!
Why do you think people should come and see you play, and what can people expect from one of your shows?
Chuck: Because there won’t be anybody there otherwise!
Lisa: You should absolutely come! And expect a lot of droney loud rock. Our live shows are pretty noise-heavy, and we look forward to bringing the full band to York. We were a bit quiet as the duo.
Any last words for the fans?
Lisa: We look forward to seeing you! (And Chuck is more approachable than he seems!)
Wussy are playing at The Crescent on Friday 29 April 2016