Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Each and every Friday we offer songs by local artists. Today’s featured selection, chosen by Afternoon Show Host Kevin Cole, is “The Puget Sound” by Wow & Flutter available from Mt. Fuji Records.
Today’s song comes a Portland band that was originally formed in the mid-90’s as a five-piece, but experienced a few line-up changes before finally settling as a trio in 2006 with its current line-up - front man Cord Amato, Jack Houston (originally the guitarist but has taken turns as bass player and finally drummer), and Ryan Matheson. Their sound is much larger than you would expect from just three players (think My Bloody Valentine though just shy of making your ears bleed). Today’s song, the lead track on the new album, burns with a dark intensity that gains much of its weight from Amato’s very personal lyrics. Amato recently took some time to talk with us about today’s song and their new album.
This new album is described as “darker and more eclectic” than Golden Touch. Can you tell me anything about the direction you took or some of the influences for Equilibrio!?
We actually recorded about 13 songs which got trimmed down to the 8 chosen for the album. I don’t think I initially intended for a “dark” album, because the songs that ended up getting cut we’re actually a bit lighter and poppier. i guess it just ended up that way. As for more “Eclectic”, I’m a bit surprised to hear that. I actually thought our last album, Golden Touch, was all over the place. This time we made a conscious effort to try and make Equilibrio! more focused and “balanced” as a whole.
“Equilibrio” means “balanced” in Italian, do you feel you’re becoming more balanced as a songwriter over the years?
I think so... Or, I hope so! Now 40, I’d like to think that I’ve learned something as a musician/song writer... but I have to admit, even though Wow & Flutter has been a band since 1998, it wasn’t until Ryan, our bass player, joined in 2006 that I really felt like we were “balanced” as a band.
Are you still the primary songwriter for the group? How collaborative are you as a band?
I write all the lyrics, and an occasionally the song from start to finish, but lately I’ve found songs are more interesting when I come up with ideas or riffs and let the other guys dissect them. I totally respect the opinions of them (Jack & Ryan), so if one of us doesn’t like something, we usually try to change it or cut it all-together.
Considering the reference for your band name, do you focus on recording to tape or are you using digital recording tools these days?
I used to be a total analog only geek. In my early twenties I bought a 16-track analog machine and started making records. I still love recording to tape, but I have to admit, when it comes time to mix and edit, the computer becomes an amazing tool.
What can you tell me about today’s song “The Puget Sound?”
It’s about the death of a 2-year Long Distance relationship (Portland to Seattle).
What’s next for Wow & Flutter? Any touring on the horizon?
We’ll be putting out a “special” EP in the spring of 2011. Hoping to tour in Feb or March. I’d love to tour as much as possible, unfortunately we’ve had bad luck with bookers, and I totally suck at it.
In the meantime, here they are performing “The Puget Sound” live at KEXP from their recent Audioasis performance.