May 2017

On A Whim

WIMWIMWIMWIMWIMWIMText: Michal Roucek Images: WIM

It’s not often mentioned that Sydney’s WIM, Modular’s recent signing, are named after Wim Wenders and that the man himself is well aware of this fact. Just back from an Australian tour with stable mate Grace Woodroofe and independent Emma Davis, WIM bassist Dustin Bookatz spends some time with Michal Roucek and makes public the band’s desire to work with Wenders.

Michal Roucek: Just back from Mackay the last in a nine date multi-state national tour, how was it?

Dustin Bookatz: It was our first tour and apparently you can tour with bands you don’t like and it’s a bit awkward. It was like a little family with Grace and Emma.

MR: Wait, what’s a band you wouldn’t like to tour with?

DB: Well I haven’t met them yet but maybe Gypsy & The Cat are arseholes!

MR: Ha-ha well of course you’re starting a national tour with Gypsy & The Cat at the end of the week…

DB: Ha-ha I’m going to go tour on the assumption that they’re not arseholes… I’m sure they’re amazing people and we’re certainly looking forward to touring with them. Especially to Melbourne, their hometown and a place we had a lot of fun on tour with Grace and Emma. Grace sings a song on The Panics’ yet-to-be-released new album so when we hit Melbourne Jae Laffer sang with her, well on a few songs with her actually, and so we met them and had a great time with them too.

MR: This all comes off the back of your first single See You Hurry being released, with an amazing video clip accompanying it shot by Dan Askill. Tell us a bit about how that came about.

DB: Well Martin (Solomon – WIM lead vocalist) and Dan knew each other previously and when we were signed, Modular and Dan had a working relationship so we talked about doing a video together. We all love it which is really great. It’s so nice to get to hang out with people like Dan. I mean Dan’s awesome so on a personal level it’s great to hang out with people and do things which we find inspirational.

MR: I think that’s something I’ve noticed hanging around you guys as a band, is that is something you guys seem to do so well. You guys are all such good friends outside of music and all the people you tend to collaborate with are people who you meet along the way.

DB: It’s this weird thing about this band, we’ve had some amazing people come into our spheres who want to work with us and it’s sort of been through friends of friends, and whatever it is I think if you generate good energy it speaks volumes and it somehow moves..

MR: There have been some amazing connections in the recording of your album, the album was produced by Australian supremo Tony Buchen and the album was recorded in Los Angeles with industry heavyweights Bob Clearmountain and mastered by Bob Ludwig.

DB: I mean, I suppose the best way to describe the experience in LA is that Sydney feels quite corporate, families are made up of lawyers and consultants, but if you’re talking about Los Angeles it’s run on creative stuff. When we would go out in LA we would meet by coincidence other lovely people, one in particular who writes for the LA Times and loved our music. It’s just through people – when it boils it down it comes to these people connections. Even our wonderful producer Tony Buchen, who journeyed over with us, is somebody I met when I had my Bah Mitzvah as a thirteen-year-old!

MR: Precisely – people connections indeed. So, as you mentioned earlier, you guys are kicking off another national tour at the end of the week with the folks from Gypsy & The Cat in some larger venues, which are traditionally major Australian musical soap boxes, like The Metro in Sydney and The Palace in Melbourne and The Hi-Fi Bar in Brisbane.

DB: It’s going to be excellent to learn the lessons from our first tour – a small venue thing – and apply them to these venues and hopefully share with some more folk a little about who we are as a band. It’s great to play at the small venues – where we are playing this music for us, and sometimes the five people in the room, and that’s all that matters right now and learning to really not to care about the ego stuff. So it’s going to be interesting playing these venues. We got a taste of it playing St Jerome’s’ Laneway in Sydney, playing on big stages, and we’re certainly looking forward to it on this tour.

MR: Your single See You Hurry is out now through Modular and fascinatingly it’s been remixed by one of Brooklyn’s most interesting groups Twin Shadow.

DB: I was at work one day and I got this Skype message from a colleague saying to check out this Twin Shadow stuff and I listened to it and I loved it. Then the next time we met with the label I just mentioned, “hey check out this Twin Shadow stuff, I’m really into it,” and somebody else said “I think I know the guy, George Lewis Jr.,” and they approached him to see if he wanted to do a remix and a month later the remix drops into our inbox! It’s fun, he’s reinvented the song in this really crazy sort of summer-time fun meets this tripped out Prince layered shit…

MR: I’ve been lucky enough to have a cheeky listen to it and it’s really typical of the way he sees the world I suppose, a mix of ’80s feel synth, typically made with this decade (2000s) equipment and incorporating with it classical feeling acoustic guitar layers to make something very, very interesting. It would really be something if it made it onto a single b-side or something…

DB: I don’t know if physical singles are made anymore. It’s more digital these days, which is something I’ve come to really like. The blogs and tweets allow us to share our music with vast numbers of enthusiastic people who are seeking out music and scenes generally. In fact a really lovely thing happened the other day when an Air Force pilot from Orange County emailed us to say that he loved our music and wanted us to tour before he becomes contracted for six years to be posted all over. He said if it’s not possible to tour, to update him on how the band goes and he wished us all the best. I mean it’s amazing to be able to touch people on the other side world and to illicit that sort of reaction. Traditionally it’s been something only bands like Pearl Jam do.

MR: Well I suppose you’ll have to play a show in Iraq or Afghanistan for him at some point! It’s also through Myspace and the digital world you’ve had a connection with German film Director Wim Wenders, is that right?

DB: When we were in LA we got reviewed in the LA Times – and it mentioned that we were “named WIM as in Wim Wenders which might mean that they are the most pretentious three lettered band name in music history!” Three weeks later we got an email from Wim Wenders saying “most pretentious name in history? I don’t think so! Send me some of your stuff” and so we did and he liked it, who knows where that will go!

MR: It might be a good second film clip!

DB: Hey if you want to and you see this, Wim, let’s work. I’ve got a little bit of money in my wallet here, I mean I’ve got to pay for this coffee here first but… let’s work on something together for sure!

WIM

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