D//E Interviews: Wreck And Reference

The fourth, very much anticipated album by cutting-edge experimental duo, Wreck And Reference, will be out July 19th, 2019 via The Flenser. Following the both intriguing, Sturdy Dawn and A Mirror, Ignat Frege and Felix Skinner have just unveiled a third cut off the forthcoming record, a more toned down and low-spirited piece, once more showcasing the inherent existential qualities in the duo's writing. Both artists talk about those, the new album and more in an interview which follows after the stellar, What Goes In And Comes Out.

What do you think makes your sound tough to classify? Is the term "genre-defying" something to which you can relate? Do you feel like your music inclines closer to any specific genre(s)?

Ignat: We recently came up with another term, anti-algorithm, which we are more into. That’s why in this Spotify age very few people will hear our music. I am kind of into this, too. There’s definitely some artists that I feel like we sound like, more than specific genres. Maybe Xiu Xiu. People have been telling us our new album sounds like Clouddead. Those musicians exist in genres on their own.

Felix: I’ve railed against the concept of genre in countless interviews at this point. It’s useful for the “business” side of music, and little else.

How different is Absolute Still Life from the previously three LPs?

Felix: I think a lot of people will see this album as very different from our past work, but to us, it feels like an inevitable next step. Writing something that sounds just like we’ve done before would be antithetical to our entire existence. If we ever release something that doesn’t sound different, you have full permission to Old Yeller us.

The more electronic direction seems like a great match to W&R's sound and aesthetics. How did you end up taking that route?

Felix: I’m not sure. There was no band meeting. No focus groups. No mastermind manager behind the scenes telling us what direction to go in. It just happened, and we’d probably be better off not questioning why.

You have expressed how strongly you have been inspired by literature on the previous records. Are there any literary influences in particular on Absolute Still Life?

Felix: The Internet told us to stop reading books. It’s been a big relief. We have a lot more time now.

What is it about still life that you find intriguing?

Ignat: Still life has a strong irony to it and I am drawn to irony. That irony encompasses the nature of things, how they are becoming, existing, and deconstructing at the same time, a multifaceted irony. Still life is also a genre of yesteryear. I thought it would be funny to reimagine it in a contemporary way, in its contrived ugliness, absurdity, the rotting seafood, the immaculate and gilded objects.

Felix: Still life is also an art form also forces you to focus on the mundane, on things you would normally overlook or avoid paying attention to. I think that’s something we try to do in our music as well. I have no interest in escapism. There’s so much richness and drama right here already all around you.

Do you think that you'll ever return to the more metallic sound of your earlier material?

Ignat: It’s impossible to say. The interesting and terrifying and liberating and depressing thing about life is that you can never return to the place previous. Why would music be any different? I think it would feel stunted, like you never went anywhere, if you didn’t make an effort to manifest that change in your art. At the same time, everything seems to come back. Have you seen all the people wearing tie dye? We will probably start making tie dye music next.

Everything you've done thus far sounds profoundly exploratory and experimental. Is the basis of your songwriting improvisational or more methodically structured and planned?

Felix: We spend a lot of time on the songs but nothing strategic. You just have to work on it until it feels right. Sometimes it never does, but you know when it will and you just keep working.

Last year's, Alien Pains, your homage to Guided By Voices' Alien Lanes, was brilliant. Are there any plans to do something analogous with other albums that you admire?

Felix: We’re working on covering the rest of GBV’s discography. We plan to be done by 2100. After that we’ll move on to covering all of the Frank Zappa albums.

When it comes to the lyrics, the new songs appear very creative and dark as ever. What are some of the themes with which Absolute Still Life deals?

Ignat: Power is a theme that we included a little bit more on this record. Power and ideology. I think those are really interesting themes, exploring the idea of power and how it relates to the individual experience. Sturdy Dawn is a track that has that, like the pigs, the ideas, the breaking up of a personal narrative by the pigs with ideas, coming at you like a train. But really, the themes are existential and that encompasses everything, doesn’t it? Can you really write anything that isn’t all encompassing, a reflection of the sum of your experience? Maybe I’m dreaming.

What are you currently listening to mostly?

Ignat: We’ve been patiently waiting for the Purple Mountains album because we are big fans of Silver Jews and really like the singles that have been released so far. I like the IVVVO album doG and Soft Features by Pregnant Women. I really liked this person Filmmaker that I found randomly on YouTube. Their music is cool to get anxious to. I saw Timecop perform at a DIY space recently and listened to their Tactic (S) DX, which I thought was a great noise record. It’s cool to come across artists you can enjoy for the first time in a live performance. That is pretty rare.

Felix: I’ve been listening to a lot of Robert Ashley lately, it’s good music for escaping into the self. Neil Young, always. The new Kokoko! record is really great as well.

How dark can life in Los Angeles be?

Ignat: Felix moved to NY recently and that’s a whole different scene. You should see all the rats, they’re all big, dark, and miserable. I still live in LA though. It’s fun when I can get some time away from my work and projects to enjoy it. But the real issue isn’t place. You can move wherever you want, but you’ll never shed your skin.

Felix: You can, however, duct tape a dozen dollar slices to your naked body and lie down in a flooded subway ditch and have the rats gnaw off your flesh. Not that I recommend this, but anyone can get flensed if they try hard enough.


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