BAND DOUBLE FEATURE: Part 1 - The Interview
Today’s Feature is a two part. For the first entry, I caught up (digitally) with Jason Horowitz (guitar, vocals, harmonica, mandolin, keys) and Brett Wilfrid (guitars, mandolin, vocals, banjo) of the Americana outfit ‘The Whiskey Farm’ out of Madison, WI. Bordering on folk roots and bluegrass, the record (to be reviewed in tomorrow’s second part of the double feature) is definitely an example of how music of this style can be fused in a way that it is not definitely one style or the other. With so much bland and uninspiringly flat music in the genre I hear now and again , these guys are a especially welcome listen and addition to the Red Line.
1) What projects are you currently working on?
JH: Right now, we are doing a lot of new writing. Putting out a record requires a real attention to detail on a small set of songs, and now that the new one is out, we are excited about writing a bunch of new things and exploring new musical avenues without getting tied down on the details. We're also doing more collaborative writing, which is a really fun and challenging process.
BW: Our efforts are varied, representing our different musical backgrounds and interests. We have everything from individual songwriting to group experimentation, from children's music to jam-based rock. In order to accommodate these variations, we have a rotational practice schedule in which each band-mate is in charge of what we do for the night. The most likely next product, though, is probably going to feature more group-songwriting, a less-structured process and product, but keeping true to our sound and overall feeling.
2) Why is your music scene the best music scene? (if you don’t think it is, what do you love about the scene in your city/what do you think is missing?)
BW: What artists usually look for in a music scene are loyal fans and good pay. On the first, our music fits well with Madison; lots of happy tunes, pleasant messages, progressive politics. Regarding pay, we remain solidly in the 99%.
JH: I think one of the great things about Madison, especially in the summer, is the outdoor music scene. We played a music festival in a beautiful park on the shores of Lake Monona last weekend, and this week we'll be on the Memorial Union Terrace, which is an awesome outdoor musical space.
3) Favorite OR least favorite/most embarrassing moment on stage from your career?
BW: Any one of my lousy on stage jokes that exist somewhere between "terrible joke" and "very likely to be offensive."
JH: I can remember a gig when I first started playing out, right after college, in a Borders book store, and when it was time for me to start playing, there was absolutely no one there. I mean, zero. That was not a great moment. So I played for myself until finally some people felt bad for me and came over and sat down. Luckily, things have gotten better.
4) If you could collaborate with anyone musically, who would it be?
JH: For me, Bob Dylan. I just want to be in the room with him and see how all those lyrics come out. And maybe catch a few of his discards.
BW: I think we'd each have a different answer to that. Perhaps more important to us is just finding time - good, quality, uninterrupted time - to explore what we already bring to the team. We all work full time, and most of us have young children. We might like to collaborate with each other most ... just more!
5) 3 records that shaped you when you first started playing and 3 records that best represent who you are now/are listening to now?
JH: I was influenced as a songwriter initially by the New England folk scene, including people like Ellis Paul, Martin Sexton, and Vance Gilbert. These days we seem to (maybe unintentionally) channel bands like the Lumineers and The Head and the Heart.
6) Why is creating music important to you?
BW: It's transcendent artistic expression - bottom line, when we're all gone, we will have recordings of melodies and memories from a group of good people who enjoyed making music with each other and hopefully contributed in some way to the overall benefit of the world we live in.
JH: I love the social and communicative aspects of it, on two levels. The creation of music is a wonderful thing to experience with people you care about, and then the sharing of music with an audience helps us connect with people in a powerful way. Plus, it's a great way to get all your friends in the same bar at the same time.
7) Do you have any "guilty pleasure" music? Something the world may be surprised to hear you listen to?
JH: Latin pop music, especially Juanes.
BW: I've been trying to get the band to play "Does Your Mother Know" by ABBA.
8) Aside from music, do you have any other pastimes? What would you want people to know about you aside from your musical endeavors?
BW: We're into aquaponics, stem-cells, beekeeping, psychology, soccer, and whiskey.
9) Anything else you want to plug or we should know?
JH: The songs on this new album are about things we care about. Many are about our home state and the people in it. We hope that they connect with people, and we'd love to hear from you if they do. Thanks for listening.
Check them out and get ready for the review of “From the Still” tomorrow!