Wye Oak Return To Houston During Their Tween Years
Wye Oak. Photo: Alex Marks
It’s been over five years since Houston was graced with an appearance from indie rock duo, Wye Oak. Since then the band has become increasingly popular while releasing the acclaimed album Shriek. This year they released the album Tween, which contains reworked and re-imagined versions of songs that didn’t find their way onto albums from the past. Where Shriek utilized new methods in how their songs were presented and performed, Tween takes the band to a new place where they come full circle with their sound while keeping true to their core. Because of the time between their Houston visits, Free Press Houston decided to sit down with co-founder Andy Stack, and talk about what they’ve been up to and what they have in store for us when they return on August ninth.
FPH: You guys have been at this over a decade, does it feel that long?
Andy Stack: Yes it does, I feel like when I look back it feels like another life. We’ve been through so many changes with the music and the approach that we’re taking. We’re so much better at this now than we were when we started.
FPH: Do you and Jenn (Wasner) still live far from one another? Does that affect how the two of you collaborate on music together?
Stack: We do. I was in Portland when we made Shriek, and I’ve been in Texas for the last couple of years. On the Civilian tour I found a place in West Texas, and Jenn has been in the Carolinas for the last year and a half. I’m sure it affects how we collaborate, not for the negative. At first we questioned it, but it’s not difficult to do now. Having our own separate worlds, I think it allows us to do our best work. For us, it’s been better to have the space.
FPH: The new album Tween is not necessarily new material, but reworked in a new way. Was there a reason that you decided to release these tracks as a separate album?
Stack: Well, the way this developed, we were surprised when this all came about. We thought we’d be touring with some new material, and we went through what we thought would be a small blip of extra songs to make like a tour EP. But when we got into the songs, the process took over and it became an album.
FPH: So much music today with heavy electronics can feel like it doesn’t have a human element, but your songs definitely have less of that “machines” feeling. Is that something that you’re aware of when you write or has it just worked out that way?
Stack: We’re very aware of that and when we started there wasn’t much of the electronic sound with our stuff. We kept the music organic and when the electronics came in, we went with the aesthetic to keep it human.
FPH: I read somewhere that you have been working on more guitar based music as of late. Do you two have any sort of idea about a release date for that material or will it just come when it comes?
Stack: We’re writing already with loose timelines for what will come next. We’ve looked at what we want the next album to be o it’s still in the early stages. The guitar never really left, just that with Shriek the sound we wanted presented new challenges, but the guitar was and is still there.
FPH: It’s been awhile since you two last played Houston, will you stick to the released material or have you been playing out any unreleased stuff on this tour?
Stack: It’s been something like six years I think. We don’t have any unreleased stuff and we’re sticking to Tween primarily. But we’ve also been pulling out back catalog songs as well. Part of doing it this long means that we’ve figured out how to do it better, which works out best for everyone I think.
The way in which these two play off of one another in a live setting is pretty amazing, while their new album Tween is nothing short of magical. You can catch Wye Oak prove that they’ve gotten better at doing all of this when they perform at Raven Tower on Tuesday August 9th. The all ages show has doors at 7 pm and tickets between $15 and $17.