Sometimes it’s quite hard to be objective when forming an opinion on a band when you are friends with the members (writes Andy Wood). In the case of Wozniak my friendship with half of the band goes back a long way, probably more years than I (or they) would care to mention. It does need reminding though that we first came to know one another through music as the pair played in the Dundee based band Ffitch for a few years. Ffitch were a lovely band, a bit fragile, delicate and nervy but beautiful with it. After a number of years of not playing beyond the living room they announced a new project Wozniak. I was a bit anxious that I wouldn’t be so keen on them but having seen them live twice and heard their debut single I have to say that I love them immensely.
Fragile and delicate are possibly two words I wouldn’t instantly use in describing Wozniak. The sound is, on initial contact, very intense and very loud. However, having been quite taken aback by that aspect, I soon found myself being taken in by the complex, emotional power of the songs. Largely instrumental, although Sarah takes vocals for a few songs including the single track, the gothic swirl of ‘New Hampshire’, Wozniak could loosely be described as post-rock or ‘shoegaze’ but there is so much more going on than those rather blunt terms suggest. Wozniak are not about sterile experiments or excessive pedal use (although they do love a good pedal) but have a great ear for a tune and approach things through a pop aesthetic. The last song in their set in particular approaches an almost dance music feel building in ebbs and waves with a crunching, momentous rhythm and splashes of keyboards that left quite a few people in the audience at their debut gig simultaneously smiling and astounded at the immensity of it all.
Having finished recording their debut single ‘MFMB’ / ‘New Hampshire’ Wozniak will be playing their first gigs outside their home town of Edinburgh. I’d thoroughly recommend that you catch them live and give the single a listen.
Who are Wozniak and how did you come to be a band?
Wozniak are James, John, Sarah and Simon – we got together to make a racket and bust amps wherever we could. Sarah and Simon had the initial idea, John brought the pounding foundation and became our sonic architect and once James was finished climbing every Munro in Scotland he added the fundamentals, not to mention an evil distorted bass tone.
Why Wozniak? Where did the name come from?
Here – www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Wozniak and in honour of the man for whom the term was coined.
Why be in a band? Isn’t it just lots of grief and hard work for little reward?
The biggest pain is carrying all our gear around – we’ve so far managed to avoid any major problems, and the fact that we’re all otherwise engaged from 9 to 5 (ish) means that we can use Wozniak as a way to expel some creative energy and make a whole lot of noise.
What are your influences, musical or otherwise?
It’s a bit of a cliche, but a whole bunch of different kinds of music, from shoegaze, post rock, hard rock, no-wave – you start off with one idea and once everyone has brought their own ideas to it, it’s something different and much better than it started out. Plus, 70s public information films and Japanese cartoons from the 1980s. And the occasional checked shirt.
You’ve only played a handful of gigs to date but was has been the most memorable moment to date?
The last one, where we had a bad case of missing drum kit and our Japanese band arrived in the Cowgate on the back of an AA lorry, complete with flashing lights…
I believe that you are in the process of finishing your debut recordings for release as a single/E.P. Would you care to divulge a little more information on this?
We’ve recorded two tracks which will melt faces right off. We’re planning an October release – more details soon!
What does the title ‘MFMB’ mean or stand for?
The meaning of MFMB is a closely guarded secret! At some point in the future we will give away something awesome to anyone who correctly guesses the meaning..
Is your song ‘Columbo’s Car’ about the Columbo?
‘Columbo’s Car’ is indeed named for the Columbo. On our way to rehearsal we pass my friend Joanna’s car, and when James pointed out that it looked exactly like Columbo’s car, well that’s a song title right there!
How would you describe Wozniak to someone who has yet to hear you?
Jet engines, hurricanes, dinosaurs, black holes – loud, mainly! Driving bass, pummelling drums, droney guitars, swamps of reverb, delay and feedback – and loud…
If you could organise and play your ideal gig who would play and where would it be held?
Do we have to organise it? We could resurrect the 1991 Rollercoaster Tour line-up, plus Wozniak instead of Blur. That’d be pretty sweet. It would be held somewhere beautiful and warm, possibly Rio or Rome.
If you could ask yourselves any question what would it be? Feel free to answer your own question as well.
Why didn’t we provide our own drum kit at the last gig?!
Wozniak play two nights at The Cool Cat Club:
- Friday 16 August – Beat Generator Live! Dundee
- Saturday 17 August – 3th Note, Glasgow.