Yoni Wolf grew up in Ohio and is now resides in the Bay Area. Yoni records/performs under the name of Why? The first time I was introduced to Yoni's music I was told that he was an "avant rapper". After hearing one track I was not sure what to call the music, but it was unique and I loved it. On his latest release, Elephany Eyelash, Yoni has gone from a solo act to a four piece and made a few changes in his sound. Yoni recently answered my questions about his new album and his music.
RMR: Hey Yoni. How was your summer? What were you up to? Vacation? Tour? Working?
Yoni Wolf: We toured in the beginning of the summer...we have been rehearsing during the second half of the summer and what not. I have also been trying to chip away at a long to do list.
RMR: Many of your lyrics seem to stand alone from the music. When you are writing the songs do you first write the lyrics and then later add the music
or do the two build off of each other?
YW: Most of the time I write words independant of the music and then the music is created to illustrate the words. Sometimes they happen simultaneously but not very often.
RMR: Why the switch to from solo artist to band. Does the band collaborate on the tracks or is it more of a touring band?
YW: The band definitely collaborates in the recording of tracks...My brother, Josiah produced and arranged all the stuff with me and Matt and Doug play a lot of stuff on the songs and the guys also cowrite a lot of the music.
RMR: How was the recording process different working with a band? Was it more difficult or did it alleviate recording?
YW:The recording process was more difficult working with other people I would say. It takes a lot more interpersonal relationship energy. I think the results justify the process though...
RMR: The title of the new album is elephant eyelash. This phrase, as well s just the word "elephant", is used a few times on the album. Just wondering what the significance of the elephant is to you? Along with this what does the album in general mean to you, what is the "goal" or "message of it (if there is one)
YW: An elephant eyelash is a hard on. Elephants grow old and have really good memories and seem sad. Elephants are big and awkward but have beautifull eyes with long girlish lashes.
RMR: And the super typical question which I am pretty much obligated to ask: What are you listening to or what music do you think people are missing out on?
YW: I just got an ipod and took all my friend Anna's music and all my sister inlaw Julie's music of their computers...So I've got a lot of new stuff to check out...Lately I've been listenning to the radio a lot in my brothers car and an eliot smith tape and a dj shadow tape and a bob dylan tape... at home I've been checking out the stuff on my ipod like death cab for cutie and interpol and all this stuff I used to make fun of cause the guys always look so pretty on magazine covers but it's actually pretty fucking good.
RMR: I know this isn't even why? material, but I need to ask about the Clouddead song "the Teen Keen Skip". It is such an incredibly catchy and unique song. The sample is outstanding! What is the story behind the song?
YW: The sample is this record that skips that adam found at the swap meet in oakland. We wrote the words hanging around our oakland stoop and on BART
(train)...We were stoned when we recorded the vocals.
The RMR lightning round
second favorite color?
favorite ice cream flavor
favorite time to record
favorite place of residence (past, present or future)
sci-fi or never say die?
What does that mean? If you mean sci fi or action flix...i'd say I dont really get into either but i like sci-fi better...really I preffer rom.
brussel sprouts or bean sprouts?
rotary phone or cordless?
cordless is much more convenient...My exgirlfriend bought me one and it was
amazing and then I was having a conversation with her on it one night and she said something that made me throw it against the wall...now all I have is this shitty phone that i have to sit in one place to talk on ...im a pacer.
Read any good books lately?
Just finished "catcher in the rye" for the second time...i really like salinger...before that i read this book about mormons and vonnegut's bluebeard and this book called ask the dust by john fante. All really good.
RMR: Yoni, Thanks very much for taking time out to answer some questions. I really appreciate it.
YW: thanks for being interested in me and asking me questions...
RMR Review: Why? - Elephant Eyelash
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