Posted by kluster on December 2, 2009
Why? creator and frontman, Jonathan ‘Yoni’ Wolf has just finished up working on his brother’s record when Kat Hartmann catches him for an early-evening chat. Today’s task: putting the songs together and blending them. Why?’s Australian tour is next on the agenda. It promises to be a multi-instrumental affair brimming with vibraphone, piano, percussion, keys, vox and guitar.
Covered: 4-Track learning, solo project to four piece, lyrics as poetry, having a critical ear and music as a social art.
Kat Hartmann: Is it true that you first started experimenting with music after finding a 4-Track in your father’s synagogue? Tell me a little about that…
Jonathan ‘Yoni’ Wolf: Yeah, it was a brief little stint, I think I found it in a closet and my dad showed me how to use it and I made a few recordings playing drums, piano and bass and just kinda had fun and rapped on one or two of them. I was 12 or 13 and I didn’t touch it again until I was like 18, maybe I did with a friend in high school but not by myself until [I was] 18. It really sparked something in me, and I knew at that point that I really liked recording.
KH: What prompted the decision to expand from a solo project to a four piece in 2005?
JYW: I had gone on tour to play the songs from the record Oklandazulasylum. I did that record by myself but on the tour I wanted to have a band and after that it seemed like a shame to go back to my hole, recording songs by myself, so we just kept working that way for the next record and it has just been ongoing.
KH: How has your sound developed with that transition?
JYW: In a way it has pared down since we have gotten more comfortable as a band, the sound has come back to the raw, basic elements rather than having so many elements going on at once like Elephant Eyelash or Oklandazulasylum do. Therefore each element becomes more important.