Thursday, 15 March 2012

The Wiyos Interview: Part 2

Two days ago we presented part one of our interview with Teddy Weber and Sauerkraut Seth Travins of The Wiyos. Here is the concluding part...

Michael and Teddy at The Cluny

You had a couple of former members of The Wiyos – Parrish Ellis and 'Joebass' – were there any particular reasons they left at all? Any tensions?

You put four guys in a van together for months and years on end, there’s inevitably going to be some tensions here and there. But really it was just about life change. We’re all buddies now! Joe even did some initial recording for Twist, actually in my cabin with Seth. Seth played Joe’s bass…

(Seth) I did, yes…for the last song on the album.

And then the EP that we did last year, Joe recorded most of the EP. He recorded everything but Ain’t a Thing, which Kenny recorded. So Joe’s sort of peripherally involved. He moved down to Virginia now and he’s more interested in playing strictly acoustic music. 

For Parrish, he stayed with us a bit longer and ultimately it was just about life change. In fact it was the first tour Seth was with us over here – 2010 – that Parrish, in the middle of that tour, announced that he wanted to leave, but he would stay with us for five months or so, but he wanted to go back to school. It’s certainly not an easy life, you know? Financially it’s feast or famine and the instability I think just ultimately got to both those guys. It gets to all of us at times. But they’re both doing great and we keep in touch and Parrish is back in Ashville, Carolina – he’s going to school now. 

At first he was talking about selling his guitars and he wanted out of music altogether. He was really just kind of burned out of music – period. I remember I had an email exchange with him about a year ago and he was asking me to put his guitar for sale in our emailings. I responded and said, I’m fine doing that Parish, but you’re crazy, you’re crazy! You’re going to regret it! And then I didn’t hear from him for two weeks and then he got back and said, you know, you’re right – I’m not going to sell it! I don’t know what happened to the other guitar. But Parrish and Joebass  - they’re both all right.

Last time you were on tour in the UK you had Andy Bean with you. That worked really well. Was there any discussion based around making him a permanent Wiyo?

Seth with Andy Bean
No, because we knew all along that the Two Man Gentleman Band is his thing. It was just something we thought would be fun, to have a little collaboration with him. We wanted to do a UK tour and there were some offers on the table. Parrish was out of the picture at that point and we thought well, rather than…because we’ve actually toured as a trio a bunch in the States: Seth, Michael and I, but we just wanted to come back as a quartet and play some of that material and Andy’s a friend of ours so it was just kind of a spontaneous thing. What do you think about this? I’m into it! And so we recorded a couple of songs, did that EP, came over here and that was a whole lot of fun.

The EP

I love the EP, I think it’s a terrific collection of songs.

Oh, thanks – thanks!

They are all so different but they have the Wiyos class running through them. What about your future plans? I understand you might be doing some children’s songs.

Yeah, we actually have some work on a program through Carnegie Hall in New York and we’re working in…well, there’s a actually a couple of different programs we’re involved in but one of them is that they’re using a couple of our songs as part of an educational series with Balkan musicians and –

(Seth) A woman for Haiti – 

 - And I believe there’s a jazz band and so that’s been really cool for us and different. Michael has a lot of skills and experience there. So we’re doing a little bit of that and we’re talking about doing some children’s music. We’ve actually done a bunch of children’s shows, when we used to go Kansas we used to do kids' workshops and things like that. We’ve done them all over. We did one in North Carolina years ago. So we’re doing a little bit of that and we’ve already started talking about what the next full length album will be, most likely with this line up, with Kenny and Brian with us.

Are you tempted to do another concept album or would it be back to free-standing songs?

I think so. You know, at this point, going back to just a collection of random songs seems somewhat anticlimactic from where we are right now. It helped focus everybody so I think we’ve got a lot of conversations about what the next theme might be. Nothing’s stuck to the wall yet, but that’s definitely where we’re headed.

Official end-of-interview photo
Keep up with The Wiyos by visiting their official website.

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