They were quite willing to listen to my rambling questions.
If you've been waiting to hear what a band thinks of my sludge/vintage rock/metal thoughts, consider your wait to have ended.
Glacially Musical: Thank you for taking some time for me today.
Wo-Fat: Thank you for talking to us and for supporting the scene.
GM: Your album sounds very vintage in a modern world. Aside from the founders, Sabbath, Cream, Jimi, et al, where do you look for inspiration?
WF: We take inspiration from new and old.
The old blues masters, like John Lee Hooker, Mississippi Fred McDowell and Howlin’ Wolf have been very influential on us as well as 70’s fusion, things like Herbie Hancock, Billy Cobham, Eddie Henderson, Mahavishnu Orchestra and Miles Davis.
You mentioned the classics – Sabbath, Cream, Hendrix, which of course are influences, but also other bands from the 60’s/70’s like Cactus, Blues Creation, Leaf Hound, Mahogany Rush and Poobah, as well as the funk of Betty Davis give me a lot of inspiration and ideas.
There are so many bands/artists that influence – more recent bands like Trouble, Sleep, High on Fire, Acid King, Penance, Earthless…
We also find inspiration in the writing of Lovecraft, Robert Bloch, Robert E. Howard and other horror and sci fi writers.
GM: In my mind, when I hear bands like yours, it seems to me that you've shut off 40 or so years of musical evolution. How do you see what you're doing?
WF: I don’t see it like that. I would say more that we are very aware of the history of metal, rock and the roots and foundation of where it came from and we embrace that in our music and we essentially use that established musical vocabulary and language as our vehicle for music creation.
I don’t think we are a retro band at all and we’re not trying to re-create the sound of a 70’s band. We are more modernly heavy and are coalescing a modern metal sensibility, along with a jazz-minded approach conceptually and performance-wise in terms of improvisation and interplay, with the blues-based melodic foundation that is the roots of rock and metal.
GM: What about equipment? Your sound feels like it walked right out of the old days. Do you need vintage stuff to get that feel?
WF: It’s a mix of modern and vintage. More than anything else, it’s about analog, quality gear.
As far as recording, myself and Michael (our drummer) own and run a recording studio together, which is where all of the Wo Fat records have been made. We have an amazing vintage analog SSL console as well as a lot of great new and vintage analog outboard gear that we use.
Things don’t have to be vintage to be good though. It’s more about quality design, but, with that being said, most new gear that sounds good, is heavily based on classic vintage designs (kind of like our music) or, when it comes to the digital world, is trying to emulate classic gear.
GM: What does the name Wo Fat mean?
WF: Wo Fat was a super villain from the 60’s/70’s TV show Hawaii Five 0.
He had a very cool mysterious far east thing as well as a dark evil vibe. We picked the name basically just as a somewhat obscure reference to something cool from the 70’s, since the 70’s has been such an influence on us.
GM: What bands do you see as your peers?
WF: Elder, Egypt, The Well, Mothership, Doomstress, Crypt Trip, Duel, Scorpion Child, Switchblade Jesus, Las Cruces, Geezer, The Re-Stoned, Stone Machine Electric, Mos Generator, Witch Mountain, The Skull, The Watchers, Earthride and Freedom Hawk to name a few.
GM: In my circles, there's been a lot of discussion about bands' output. In a perfect world, how often should artists be dropping new records?
WF: Ideally releasing a record every 14-16 months would be perfect. That way you can keep momentum flowing by not waiting too long between releases but you’re not saturating the market.
That can be hard to pull off though if you’re busy with shows and other stuff.
GM: When you're at home relaxing, how do you listen to music?
WF: Usually at home I listen to vinyl and CD’s.
I’ve got a little portable player that has a 200G card in it that has a ton of music that I listen to in the car, which is where I probably get to listen to music most often. Vinyl sounds the best but it’s obviously not so portable.
Even mp3s that are ripped from vinyl sound better than mp3s that weren’t originally taken from a vinyl source. It just adds a certain vibe and character to the sound.
GM: What's in your player right now?
WF: Let’s see, the last two things I listened to were Church of Misery “And Then There Were None…” and Mahavishnu Orchestra “Birds of Fire”.
GM: Tell me about your favorites: alcoholic beverage, caffeine beverage, comfort food, high class food, and type of music.
WF: Alcoholic beverage: I am a big fan of craft beers, especially a good porter or black IPA. I dig regular IPA’s as well and can groove on pretty much any ale.
I also enjoy some red wine with dinner. Coffee, specifically French Roast, is a must for me.
Comfort food for me is either homestyle Mexican food, Tex Mex or Indian food.
Can’t afford high class restaurants, and generally the portions seem to be a bit small and I can’t justify the cost.
Music: Anything that grooves hard, especially something that emanates from the blues. Could be stoner rock, could be delta blues, could be gospel, 70’s rock, fusion, 70’s funk, or salsa and Cuban music.
GM: What is there we need to know that I didn't know to ask about?
WF: We are embarking on this rare tour of US dates starting on June 17th. We don’t do a lot of US touring so we hope to see and meet a lot of new fans out there on the road.
The tour dates are:
6-17 Blue Note – Oklahoma City
6-18 Riot Room – Kansas City
6-19 Reggies – Chicago
6-20 Taps Live – Indianapolis
6-21 Northside Yacht Club – Cincinnati
6-22 Kung Fu Necktie – Philadelphia
6-23 Bar Matchless – Brooklyn, NY
6-24 Maryland Doomfest