The power of the internet is a wonderful thing. You throw some daft and thought provoking questions across the atlantic and eventually one talented individual will pick them up. That person this time is the rather sexy Doug McDiarmid, member of the mega talented folk and new wave band Why? He took time out from his beard growing life and hectic up and coming tour schedule to entertain my thoughts.
Soundsxp: Who are Why? and why are you here?
Doug: Why? are Yoni (doomsday hippie prophet), Josiah (funk-failed gold-band sage), Austin (hobbling indie casanova of the queen city) and Doug (the nice one/the loose cannon). We are here because our academic/intellectual/professional pursuits have failed us, miserably.
Soundsxp: Is it possible to hide behind a moustache?
Doug: No, it's not.
Soundsxp: Your sound is quite unusual. What/who has influenced it?
Doug: Well, if I had to pick 3 influences, i'd say the Krohn conservatory in Cincinnati, the mysterious 'congregation' I hear Josiah and Yoni (brothers) talk about in reference to their upbringing, and rap music.
Soundsxp: You've got a whole batch of tour dates coming up but none outside of America. Will you be coming to UK this year? I hope so.
Doug: Yes! We will come there on the tail end of our european tour...eary june, I believe.
Soundsxp: Who does the artwork on Why?'s releases?
Soundsxp: Your latest album, 'Alopecia' (release date 11th March) is a pretty breathtaking experience for the listener. It's a whirlwind of sound and emotion. How long did it take to complete, from idea to completed article.
Doug: Hard to say...many of the songs have been in the hopper for some time... years even. The idea of the album began to take shape during the recording, which took place last February. As we laid stuff down and looked at what we had, certain songs seemed to belong together, sonically and thematically. Then mixing/mastering/art - that's a few more months...
Soundsxp: When you look back on Why?'s discography what sort of journey has it been?
Doug: Hmmm, we don't tend to get that retrospective yet... we're more inclined to look towards the future. For instance Why? started as a solo project, more or less, evolved into a band, so at this point we're thinking, 'How can we go from being a band to a big band or an ensemble?' Brass section? Probably not. High school drum corps? More likely.
Soundsxp: Is Yoni, responsible for all the lyrics? The words wrap around each other and bounce off each other in a way that I haven't seen in quite some time. Where does this talent come from?
Doug: Yoni is responsible for the lyrics. God knows where his talent comes from. His parents are quite creative folks... his dad is a musician/songwriter and Yoni hung out with cool kids in high school but was himself quiet and introspective and uncool... which to me seems like a recipe for creative development.
Soundsxp: I'm a big Cure fan and I love your version of 'Close to me'. Any plans for other covers? Who would you like to cover one of your songs?
Doug: We talk about doing covers live... like Pavement or some shit like that. I'd like it if Deerhoof covered us... it would likely mean that our beef has been squashed.
Soundsxp: There are some religious and superstitious themes in your music. You come from religious backgrounds right? Do you wrestle with your inherited holy thoughts?
Doug: Yoni and Josiah were raised jews for Jesus and I was a fair-weather protestant. I think they are pretty comfortable in their skin as non-jews for jesus these days but that upbringing undoubtedly had some effect on their creative evolution. Or at least on how god damned weird they are.
Soundsxp: Are beards a necessity in bands who flirt with the folk genre? I think so.
Doug: Only Josiah and I have beards now, cuz the shit looks tight. Yoni shaved and looks MUCH better. Austin is the oldest but STILL can't grow one.
Soundsxp: What question keeps you awake at night?
Doug: 'What if the opener in Milwaukee sucks???'
Soundsxp: What is the folk/mixed scene like in America? Do any bands stand out for you?
Doug: Seems to be poppin off... though we're all pretty out of touch. I like Thanksgiving and Little Wings. Are they folk/mixed?
Soundsxp: What do Why? do when they're not creating music?
Doug: Lately we talk about girls like stupid junior high boys except that there's more sex involved. Well I suppose some junior high boys are more advanced than we were. Josiah teaches drums, Austin does studio work, Yoni sleeps, I temp.
Soundsxp: What are Why? hoping to achieve this year?
Doug: Rock some shows. Sleep well. Sustain relationships? Get paid. Not have our creative juices exhausted.
Your creative juices will never be exhanusted, Doug, for they seep from every pore of Why?'s bodies. If you haven't visited Why?'s website yet, why not? Check out their exhausting gig list and live safe in the knowledge that Why? will be crossing oceans to join us in the flesh in June..ish ...and if you can't wait for them buy their album, Alopecia (it wont make you lose your hair, it will make your hair curl!)