Why? has always resonated with me for their emotionally honest lyrics and catchy beats. Yoni Wolf and the crew have been doing it for some time now. They bend genres and create new sounds with every album. Part hip-hop, part indie music, part funk, their music makes any critic search for words as to how to describe them.
Their most recent single “Sod in the Seed” is up there with our favorite songs of the year. Their full length album, “Mumps, ect.” comes out October 2nd via Anticon.
We recently sat down with Josiah Wolf for an interview to discuss their upcoming tour, new album, and documentary.
How is the tour going so far, just got done watching the latest episode of your mockumentary.
It is going great. We are on a little break now; we start back up on Tuesday. We are headed out to Europe. Yeah that mockumentary has been fun.
How is it touring in Europe? How are the crowds?
The crowds are not crazy different. Each city brings their own vibe to the show. But it is similar.
Your new album “Mumps, etc.” comes out on October 2. How long have you guys been working on the material?
Well, a lot of the songs Yoni has been thinking about for years. Probably around 2008. The songs themselves really started to become something around a year and a half ago I guess.
So is that kind of the format of how it works: Yoni writes the lyrics and then you guys get together and figure out the sounds?
It really differs from song to song. Some of the time Yoni writes all the music accompanying the songs. He makes demos for most the songs and then we get together and kind of flush things out a little bit more. Then we get into the studio. I would say it is different from song to song, but more so from record to record. Each record is done a little differently.
I really like the video that you guys released for “The Sod in the Seed”, how did that video come about?
That video, the idea for it was Scott Fredette’s idea. He is the guy who works for this company Lightborne and he has filmed a lot of videos for us. They are also doing a real documentary, different from the comedy one you were talking about. I think the idea for it was a combination of the upbeat nature of the song and then the kind of dark lyrics. It was just kind of fitting to have a bunch of our fans dancing around.
I kind of got an ironic take on the old Apple commercials combining a simple background with cheesy dancers. I didn’t know if you guys were trying to play a little joke on that.
Yeah I would not be surprised if in some way Scott was thinking that. That is actually funny, because I never thought about that and now that you bring it up it makes a lot of sense.
Let’s go back to this hilarious mockumentary that you guys have been doing. What inspired these little videos?
Well after every record we like to put out little comedy videos for the record and we really enjoy doing it. We always do it with the same guy, who plays with us, Eric. The videos are always based on stuff that is actually really happening. The last one is about our manager, and this one is about a documentarian. I think the fact we were filming a documentary is what inspired us to make a mockumentary, we just went with it.
Yeah I think one of my favorite ones was when Yoni was going to the gym.
Yeah that was a really good one.
So you guys have a pretty long tour ahead, including two stints in Europe. What are you most excited for?
HAHAHAH… yeah it is going to be long, that is a good question. I am really excited to go over to Europe. You know with our schedule going to Europe twice is just how it worked out. It is obviously not the smartest thing financially because we are touring with so many people. But it is just how it worked out because of the release date. You know, a lot of what happened did not quite work out as we wanted it to.
We really didn’t intend on releasing “The Sod in the Seed” EP first before the album came out. I think the record is a lot better, but it just happened that way because we had to push back the release and we needed something to tour on. But that is life. We booked the tour thinking we were going to be releasing the full length, but logistically I guess we made it all work out. But as far as what I am excited about— I am excited to go back to Europe, I really enjoy going there.
So when can we be expecting the next video off your album?
Well I think we just released “Strawberries” off the record and I think the video will be released sometime next week*. We pretty much have a video lined up for almost all of the songs off the album. Part of this documentary is going to be these videos, these little vignettes of our songs. I really like the “Strawberries” one a lot. Right now the plan is to keep some of the videos just for the documentary, but who knows what will happen with that.
So tell me a little more about this actual documentary that you will be filming.
Well you know they filmed most of it already. They have been filming for about 2 years. I think they only need a couple more interviews. It was actually Lightbornes’ idea. At the beginning Lightborne itself was not taking it on, it was some of the guys that were working with Lightborne and were fans of ours and we became friends. They decided to document a bunch of bands in their recording process. And what they wanted to do was find a lot of bands they liked and put together a series of videos documenting the recording process. But it just kind of took on an identity of its own. They just kept filming us and that is just kind of how it happened. It is more about the recording of our record then actually touring, but there is some of that as well.
Thanks for talking with us Josiah! Check out the video for “The Sod in the Seed” below and look out for their record “Mumps, etc.” coming out on October 2nd via Anticon Records.
Follow Kevin Camps @kpcamps.