Radio Free Brooklyn and Bushwick Daily are proud to announce a new weekly local-music column that will focus on artists that call Bushwick home. Each week, a Radio Free Brooklyn personality will pen a record or performance review of a different Bushwick based artist, with a curated selection of the best upcoming local gigs in the neighborhood for the following weekend.
Electronic duo Wume has been making waves over the last decade with their unique brand of rhythmic, textured electronic music. Fresh off a successful European tour supporting Beach House, the band is back in the states and getting ready to release their next full-length
album, Towards The Shadow, this Friday. I had the chance to chat with Al Schatz and April Camlin of Wume prior to their record release show this Saturday at Union Pool.
As a duo, you’ve been making music together for about a decade. How’d you start collaborating?
Al: We met in Baltimore around 2005 when my former band (Bird Names) would play in Baltimore a few times a year. In 2009 April moved to Chicago and we started a music project to develop our skills in our respective instruments Drums/Synthesizers.
April: We both wanted to experiment with odd time signatures and polyrhythms and push the limits of our abilities further and it resulted in forming Wume. When Future Islands and Lower Dens hit us up to open for them at a Chicago show we decided to become a band and record our first demo.
You’re based out of Baltimore. What’s the music scene like there? How would you describe it?
Al: In 2018, I feel like its hard for any city to have a singular musical movement, there are trends but they seem to be pretty short. Baltimore has an eclectic mix of people making music. There’s a lot of support here for fresh ideas and great live performances. It does seem like “down time” after the fall out from people being evicted from the Bell Foundry and most DIY spaces are keeping things quiet (literally).
You’re known for creating very rhythmic, dense sounding electronic music. What’s your songwriting process like? How and when did you decide to collaborate solely as a duo?
Al: Songs begin many different ways and I feel like that is reflected on our new album. We’re always trying to get better at preserving that creative burst that first caught our ears instead of refining it to death. I used to write all the keyboard parts “by hand” on a piano and now i incorporate sequencers and rhythms boxes.
April: A lot of times Al will bring something to me that he’s written and I’ll try to develop a beat that goes against the part to create a syncopation. I’m always trying to write a beat that I can’t play at first and then slowly master it. Sometimes Al will write a crazy beat and we’ll spend an hour going over it as I try to learn it. We try to avoid being too formulaic in our approach to songwriting so that it stays fresh. As long as we’ve been a band we’ve been a duo, it just kind of naturally worked out that way.
Towards The Shadow is your first full length since 2015’s Maintain. How has your sound evolved since your last record? What was the process like writing and recording this album?
Al: Towards The Shadow is a lot wilder I’d say.
April: This album feels a lot more introspective to me. I’ve been engaging deeply in personal transformation in the past several years and the lyrics are reflective of that space. I was profoundly impacted by the writings of Carl Jung and Herbert Marcuse amongst others and it felt timely to share their ideas. It’s also different because it’s the first full-length album we haven’t totally recorded ourselves, we worked with two engineers who are good friends, Jared Paolini and Josh Dibb. It was a good learning experience and I’m really pleased with what they were able to bring to the album.
How were you influenced on this album?
Al: The music on Towards The Shadow is pulled from a few years of writing and playing so the influences change track to track. Personally, I was listening to a lot of YMO, Erkin Koray, Theo Parrish, Sun Ra, Pearson Sound, K.Leimer.
What can someone attending one of your live shows expect to see?
Al: I’m hoping that the audience can share what I’m feeling. My favorite shows are when I can lose my self a bit and just be in the moment. The more shows we do I look forward to the long kinda “zone out/in” passages.
You just finished a European tour supporting Beach House. How was it? Any highlights?
April: it was amazing. Victoria and Alex and I have been friends for over a decade so mostly it was just wonderful to get to spend that time with them. We reflected a lot on how in October of 2008, exactly ten years earlier, we were on this crazy tour together called the Baltimore Round Robin tour in which 55/60 Baltimoreans and about 26 acts went on an epic tour. That tour changed my life and it was wild to hold it up to what we were currently experiencing all these years later. The shows themselves were great, I really appreciated getting to share our music with new audiences. We weren’t sure how Beach House fans would respond to us but they were receptive and supportive! And of course it was such a gift to be traveling across Europe, experiencing new cities every day.
Al: It was a real treat. I’m grateful to Beach House for that experience.
You’re playing at Union Pool on Saturday with Yvette and Jobs. What do you like about playing in Brooklyn?
Al: Brooklyn can be a tough nut to crack but we’ve played some of best shows there. It’s always a pleasure to see old friends and make some new friends every time we’re in town. We loved opening up for Guerilla Toss at Union Pool in June, such a great venue. A really music lovers room.
What’s next for Wume?
April: We’re about to do some more touring in the US and as always we’ll keep writing new music and challenging ourselves!
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, so make sure you get your music fix in before you head home for the holiday. Here are some great shows to check out this week:
Graham Van Pelt, Real Clothes, TESHA at Alphaville
Wednesday November 7th, 2018 at 8 p.m.
Toronto musician Graham Van Pelt is performing an intimate solo set on Wednesday night at Alphaville. Van Pelt who previously performed under the name Miracle Fortress and as a member of Think About Life, released his first album under his own name, Time Travel, last month. The album is an eight-song collection of emotionally charged minimalist electronica. Also performing is trip-hop/folk artist Real Clothes and Brooklyn-based electronica musician TESHA.
Yelle, Barrie at Elsewhere
Thursday November 8th, 2018 at 8 p.m.
French Dance-pop group Yelle kicks off a four-show Brooklyn run on Thursday at Elsewhere. The group just shared their latest single, “OMG!!!,” a fiercely danceable track. The single also includes two blood pumping remixes of the track. In support, they’ll be joined by locals Barrie, a danceable chillwave quintet who just shared their Singles EP earlier this year. The EP features their well-received singles “Tal Uno,” “Canyons,” and “Michigan,” with remixes of the latter two tracks.
Swanky Tiger, Desert Sharks, Nihiloceros, Spectral Fangs at The Footlight
Friday November 9th, 2018 at 9 p.m.
The Footlight is hosting some of the area’s finest acts to kick off the weekend on Friday night. Swanky Tiger, who play a Queens of the Stone Age-styled hard rock, top the bill, followed by the enchanting garage-rock four-piece, Desert Sharks. Locals Nihiloceros are a raucous trash-pop trio, and they’re coming up on the one year anniversary of the release of their amped up self-titled debut EP. Handling opening duties are Spectral Fangs, another high energy trio who hail from Danbury, CT.
Toro y Moi, Dizzy Fae at Elsewhere
Saturday November 10th, 2018 at 8 p.m.
Toro y Moi, the moniker of musician Chaz Bundick. A prominent figure in the chillwave scene of the early 2010s, Bundwick has been churning out funky, synth-pop gems for quite some time now. His most recent release, 2017’s Boo Boo, was heralded as his most accomplished work to date, and Bundick is currently prepping for his sixth LP, which will be out in 2019. Also performing is Dizzy Fae, an R&B/soul artist whose shared her latest single “Lifestyle” back in August.