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INTERVIEW: Wilhelm

1. How would you classify your music?

Lo-fi contemporary folk.

2. Who are some of your top 5 musical influences?

Leonard Cohen, The Cure, Bob Dylan, Talk Talk, Warren Zevon.

3. What do you want fans to take from your music?

I want my music to inspire their own unique perspectives, interpretations and memories. I want them to relate specific lines or entire songs to where they are in their specific moment in their life. And decades from now, when they listen to the song, it takes them back to that feeling and setting from years ago.

4. How’s the music scene in your locale?

I am from a small town where the everyone knows each other and there’s usually only a handful of bands at a time. Some are ways to pass the time, some focus on being cover bands for local bars and venues, and there’s always a handful of bands creating and writing their own unique music. Playing shows for bands who write their own material usually means traveling 1-2 hours to a larger city like Chicago, which, is good for reaching larger audiences. I usually focus on recording and releasing music online to a potentially world-wide audience, and play the shows when we can get them.

5. What is the best concert you have been to?

Saw the Australian metal band, Virgin Black, near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was at a small local bar venue and the band’s performance and intensity while playing the songs was mind blowing. I’d been listening to their albums for years and wasn’t sure what to expect from a live performance since they relied on a lot of orchestration in the recordings, but they made it work and I found myself re-introduced to some songs on the albums after hearing them in a live context. Unfortunately, the band went on a 10 year hiatus shortly after but they just released a new album late last year, so I’m glad to see they’re still active.

6. What do you like most about playing live?

Looking out at the audience and recognizing when people are connecting and getting into the music. There’s definitely a post-set excitement, as well, after a good show when you know you made an impression and get to talk with people from the audience afterwards.

With that said, playing live can be stressful for me, especially the moments leading up to the playing the first few notes. Once you get into it though, that stress goes away as you focus on playing the songs.

7. Is there a song on your latest CD release here that stands out as your personal favorite, and why?

I don’t know if I can call one a personal favorite. They all made the tracklist because they turned out how I wanted Lace to sound. Dateline and Carpet probably give off the atmosphere I was going for the most and have the unique quiet folk sound I wanted to get across during the album. They were also two songs that came together very quickly in the composing, lyric writing and recording, which, always seems to be how the best songs come together.

8. How have you evolved as an artist over the last year?

I used to put writing lyrics off for as long as I could. I dreaded it and could never get the words or lines out that I felt truly fit the music I was writing. It’s hard to explain, but I could picture in my head in an abstract way what the song was about, the words just wouldn’t come. I don’t know what changed since starting the writing for Lace and other current projects, but the words flow a little easier and I think I’ve found my unique voice. I can look back at my lyrics and songwriting from 5 or more years ago and see how I’d do things differently today, but that’s normal. I’m sure in 10 years I’ll look back at my music today and know I would have written things differently but also recognize that’s where I was at that time.

9. If you could meet, play a gig, co-write a song, have dinner, have a drink with any band or artist (dead or alive) who would it be?

Unfortunately, we lost Mark Hollis of Talk Talk this year, but he was always was someone I would have loved to met and worked with. I’m paraphrasing this quote by him but he made a statement that went something like “before you play two notes, play just one note correctly” and that philosophy really shows in his later Talk Talk albums and solo release. His music utilized silence so well and when the music got complex, it meant something. I also greatly respected his decision to quietly leave the music industry when he felt it was the right thing for him. It would have been great to get more music from him, but if he said all he wanted to say, there’s no need to keep writing.

10. What’s next for you?

More writing and recording. I haven’t stopped that since I was in high school. The main focus now is on by band, Murnau, with recording some new material and playing the occasional live show. But, I’m always picking up my acoustic guitar and figuring out what the next Wilhelm release will be and how it will evolve from Lace.

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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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