INTERVIEW: Flock of Dimes

If you haven’t listened to If You See Me Say Yes, stop what you’re doing and go seek it out. As Flock of Dimes, Jenn Wasner from Wye Oak delivers one of the most enjoyable records of the year, full of immaculately-crafted indie pop that’s quite far removed from the sister band. It’s certainly one of our favourite records of the year and – ahead of Wasner’s London gig at The Victoria next week – we decided to find out more about the project.

Cliche question that we’re sure you’re sick of answering: with Flock of Dimes being what it is, where does this leave Wye Oak?

I’m actually glad you asked, because it’s important to me that people understand that Wye Oak is alive, well and more vital than ever. Personally, I’ve found that my issues with being in a band like WO stem from the restrictiveness of the music industry/album cycle process. Creatively, I have a very short attention span and get tired of things very quickly. So having two projects to divide my time between means that I’m able to release as much new music into the world as possible, and I feel excited and invigorated by whichever skin I happen to be in at the moment. I need both of these projects to exist in order to be able to survive and thrive in both of them.

Obviously Flock has been going for a while, but what have the reactions been like – positive and negative – to you doing a full solo record? Were people receptive or did you face any new obstacles?

If there are negative reactions, fortunately I haven’t really encountered them. I feel like it’d be weird to get mad at an artist for making art. Perhaps if I was replacing one project with another, but that’s not the case here, so overall people seem to be excited that this record finally exists. I know I am.

Was there anything particularly ‘Wye Oak’ that you wanted to veer away from here?

I dunno – aesthetically, Wye Oak has become very malleable, I feel like it can be almost anything at this point! But it’s also a collaboration of two equals. Making a solo record is a very different thing entirely, and that was the experience I was going for. I’ve certainly learned a lot from it.

“If You See Me Say Yes”. How many people have actually come up and said that to you now?!

No one, yet but tour hasn’t started yet, so there’s plenty of time!

The album is terrific, particularly Semaphore. We’d love to know a bit more about the song, its genesis, and that startling video.

That song actually came about when I discovered the word Semaphore and looked up the definition. Flag semaphore is a means of communication using handheld flags held in various positions. I loved the visual and the word itself struck me as a beautiful, percussive series of sounds, and the refrain “too far gone for the Semaphore” jumped into my head not long after. It’s (perhaps obviously) about communication over great (literal and figurative) distances. The video was the brainchild of my dear friends Ashley North Compton and Mike O’Leary. They collaborate under the name Collective Collective, and they are brilliant, hardworking, and wonderful to work with.

Where does a song like that or Birthplace come from? There seems to be a lot of self-assured fire in them, even if covert…

Your guess is as good as mine. I work very hard and put myself in the position to be inspired as often as possible, but when it happens, it’s as much a mystery as anything else.

What are you hoping people take away from the record?

I have a theory that in art and music, there are healers and there are destroyers. Both are equally important. As much as I’ve wished in the past to be the latter, I know I am the former. So I hope that these songs are as much a comfort to others as they were to me in making them.

So what else are you listening to at the moment?

The new Zammuto EP (and everything he’s ever done from the Books onward), FLOTUS by Lambchop, The Glowing Man by Thor and Friends, The Pavilion of Dreams by Harold Budd (my airplane record), Arnold Dreyblatt and the Orchestra of Excited Strings, Will by Juliana Barwick… too many other things.

Final question we ask everyone: what’s your favourite Beyonce song?

COUNTDOWN, bitch. Such a banger that you never realise how weird it is!

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INTERVIEW: Flock of Dimes
INTERVIEW: Flock of Dimes