Interview

Why It Matters to WAZU

Australian ex-pats Matt and Rizz set up shop in NYC a couple of years ago as WAZU, and the dark wave duo have quickly established themselves.

Their new album, Robobo,  is a fascinating mix of instruments both electronic and analog, with songs touching on industrial, new wave, and some other surprising genres.

If you have any Depeche Mode or Nine Inch Nails on your playlist you’re going to dig Robobo.

Matt and Rizz sat down with Wimbot for a conversation.  I’ve translated it from binary for you:

Your intrepid reporter

Wimbot: You guys have been out on the road quite a bit lately. What are some of the places you’ve hit, and how’s the response been?

WAZU: We recently did a summer tour of the eastern US. We went from New York up to Rhode Island and Maine, then hooked around to the Midwest, then down south. After that we came back up through Washington, Maryland, Pennsylvania and back to NYC.

The response has been great, and unexpected sometimes. There are a lot of DIY scenes here that are thriving and they’re great to play. Some of the smaller places in the US are the best to play, and it’s often surprising.

Wimbot: People like to emphasize the new wave/dark wave/techno in your music — comparisons to Depeche Mode, Eurythmics, etc. I hear a little metal and psychedelia bubbling under the surface. Am I hearing things or do you have those influences in your tool box, too?

WAZU:You’re not hearing things. The first band we ever played in together was a metal band with Rizz doing death metal vocals and me playing drums. We’ve always loved metal. It’s fun! We still spin Meshuggah, Sepultura, Cannibal Corpse, Rammstein, Fantomas (Director’s cut).

A lot of our friends back in the Sydney and Melbourne scenes were or still are in great metal bands. It’s good for the complexion.

Wimbot: Tell us a little about Robobo, your new album due out this Halloween.

WAZU: The writing process was pretty fluid. We took some time with it, we wanted to get it as close to what we wanted to say as possible.

Some of the comparisons people make with us to goth bands, new wave and 80s stuff was basically accidental. We just wrote stuff and had a point of view, and people compared it to all those bands and movements.  This time, we were more aware of it all, but not beholden to it any more than anything else.

Robobo has a lot of different influences including the ones mentioned, but when it comes to writing we find it pretty difficult to say “write a song like such and such.”   I think [the end result] ends up being a good thing because it’s not derivative, while still being influenced by stuff we are drawn to.

Recording wise, we spent some time with Kevin in his old converted barn in upstate NY (his studio) feeding the drum, synth, and guitar tracks through some really crazy gear.

You can actually hear the barn in the tracks. He has an old grain silo that he uses for reverb, and a bunch of old equipment that gave everything a very physical and warm feel, but it’s kinda dirty and messed up at the same time.

Then we recorded vocals and some overdubs with Rick Parker, which helped get the poppier edge we were after. It’s razor sharp in some places. So I feel like we created something that really doesn’t sound like anything else.

Wimbot: Tour plans for the record? We have a lot of UK and European readers, too — plan on visiting there?

WAZU: We will be hitting the road the day after it’s released touring the US for a 6 week run around the east, inland and down south.

The UK and Europe are absolutely on the cards for 2013. We’re very excited to head over there. Almost all of our favorite dark wave/EBM/electro-Industrial bands are from European scenes.

Wimbot: Last but far from least: Why does music matter to Matt and Rizz?

Rizz: It’s the most wholesome way I can think of to self-medicate. When you have an over active brain, you can drive yourself bonkers trying to find meaning in the endless stream of subconscious thoughts. All of which you’re totally convinced carry significant meaning.

Being in an artistic field requires you to pay attention to your perception, reflection, expression. If I wasn’t doing this I probably wouldn’t be able to handle day to day life very well.

The world according to me is such a heavy place with so much heartache, it’s enough to bury you!

Matt: It’s just part of life. It’s a form of communication other than talking. Often it can speak to people more than any words can, it carries more meaning sometimes.

BONUS QUESTION: You are faced with the following decision: Join Nickelback or become horribly disfigured in a skydiving accident. My question is this: How quickly do you sign up for skydiving lessons?

WAZU: What are you talking about? Nickelback is,  like, our fourth favorite gravel-mouthed whinge rock band.

***

WAZU’s new album, Robobo will be out October 31, 2012 on Anti-Language Recordings.  Here’s where you can find them:

Band website: www.wazuband.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/wazuland

Twitter: @wazuband

2 replies »

  1. I love their answer to the essential question…music as the most wholesome form of self-medication. I fully get that.
    Thanks once again for introducing me to something great that I didn’t even know I needed!

    Like

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