A Chat With: Wand
Los Angeles psych rockers Wand hit the ground running after forming in 2013; releasing their first full length in 2014, followed by two albums in 2015...all while touring consistently. The original three piece consisting of frontman Cory Hanson, bassist Lee Landey, and drummer Evan Burrows took their time between 2015 and 2017 to craft their newest record Plum, out last week on Drag City Records. The trio also expanded in 2016 to include two new band members, Robbie Cody and Sofia Arreguin. The newly expanded group just kicked off a cross country tour to celebrate the new songs from Plum. Before the tour rolls through Chicago tonight, stopping at Lincoln Hall, Cory Hanson took some time to discuss the approach and influences behind the new album, his hand in their music videos, which podcasts they listen to, and what's next for them. Find out all that and more in our chat with Wand!
ANCHR Magazine: Congratulations on having your new album Plum done and out this month! What differences did you notice with the writing and recording process for this record, compared to your first few albums?
Cory Hanson: Thank you! The writing and recording process was pretty different. We kind of invented our own process together. We holed up in our own studio in Glassell Park, CA and recorded everything we did. Mostly jams, hours of improvisations that we did for a couple months straight. We then refined these jams into songs. We took them on tour in Europe for 3 weeks, recording every show and playing the songs differently every night. Then we went and recorded Plum in 8 days up in Grass Valley, CA with Tim Green. We mixed up in Woodstock with DJ Goodwin, and mastered it in Ventura CA with JJ Golden.
AM: Where did you draw influence (musical and nonmusical) from for the songs on Plum, for both subject matter and the sonic and production aspects of the album?
CH: We each come from different musical backgrounds, so we all brought our influences together. I got really into electric Miles Davis while making this record, which was the result of playing and hanging with Robbie [Cody]. I was also listening to a lot of This Heat, Spiritualized, Joni Mitchell, Townes Van Zandt, Grateful Dead. Definitely was interested in music that had its roots in the songwriting tradition, but skewed it into something freakier.
AM: Last month you also released a video for the song “Bee Karma.” How involved are you in the video concepts and where did the idea for the clown come in?
CH: I made that video [for "Bee Karma"], so I was about as involved as you could be in a project. The clown was the only initial idea. I wanted to drive a clown around, so that’s what I did.
AM: Which of the new songs are you most excited to play on the upcoming tour, and have you worked out any new arrangements for the set on this run?
CH: We are having a lot of fun playing "Charles de Gaulle" on this tour. It’s a really great example of how we breathe in and out as a band organism. There’s so many moving parts, but they’re not wound like a clock; instead they are muscular, based in memory. Human machines are fascinating.
AM: You’re playing The Troubadour for your hometown show, which is a pretty legendary place, but where else on the tour are you most excited to play?
CH: We were very happy to play there. I’ve been going there to play shows since I was 15 or so. It’s my favorite place to see bands. It’s got great sound, and it’s very intimate. I saw Dinosaur JR there when they reunited and stood right in front of J’s stack. I lost a lot of hearing that day, but it was totally worth it. I don’t know if I’d be here today if it wasn’t for that show. I’m just excited to bring these songs across the country. We’ve been gifted with some lovely venues on this tour: Lincoln Hall, Bowery, The Chapel in SF. Very happy and humbled to be invited to play these places.
AM: How do you stay entertained on the road? Do you have any favorite podcasts, books, or games that you play as a band?
CH: Oh my God. We just finished S-Town on tour. I nearly cried. It’s like one of the greatest stories I’ve ever heard told expertly, passionately. Now we are listening to Ear Hustle, which is all interviews with convicts at San Quentin Prison in California. It’s very heavy. We are on the episode about solitary confinement.
AM: Who are some of your favorite fellow LA bands at the moment? Any new bands we all should check out?
CH: Darto is from Seattle, they’re amazing. Dreamdecay is also a very good band. Gun Outfit is one of our favorite bands.
AM: If you could collaborate with anyone, who would you like to work with?
CH: I’d love to collaborate with Stevie Wonder. To work on a track with Stevie would be a dream come true.
AM: What else are you looking forward to this year besides the album and tour?
CH: A whole bunch of stuff that nobody even knows about yet! But soon will.