Tim Woulfe Interviewed by Tim Woulfe (11/22/2015)
TW: How old are you ?
TW: How would you describe your music?
TW: This is something I always struggle with…I usually get very flustered and say something dumb like “it’s kind of like folk music, but also nothing like folk music at all.” People are usually confused. Once after I said something like that this woman in the post office just said “it’s eclectic” and I wanted to hire her to be my publicist haha. She got it better than I did!
TW: Where does this struggle come from?
TW: Jeez…uh probably from the general dysphoria that I experience in my day to day, but also because I try to pull together a lot of different music that I love into one big blob of sound. So, it’s hard to succinctly describe to anyone what I’m trying to do when I’m influenced by like…4AD in the 80’s, the Providence noise scene, Prince, Crass, a million other things.
TW: Where does this magpie shtick come from? Why can’t you just pick one influence?
TW: Because what I love about these musicians that influence me is that they sound like no one else, and the main inspiration I take from that is that I’m only interested in making “new” music. Or, at least, my own unique strain of an already existing type of music. I think right now my influences are still showing, that’s something that I’m working to overcome.
TW: Do you have any other goals when creating your music?
TW: My ultimate goal is to make music that’s personal and human. I spend most of my days alone and thinking, deep inside my own dome you know. I also deal with a heavy sadness that always comes unexpectedly and can unfortunately be debilitating in it’s own awful way. Recording and writing is my way of overcoming these feelings, though, and in general it’s an amazing help in understanding my own self and keeping me sane/positive. My songs, then, are inherently and intensely personal, often attempting to capture a feeling or memory from a certain time or reminding myself of the things that are most important.
The humanity comes from the way I record, which is messy and imperfect. If I record a good take and realize the fan was on in the background, I use that take. If the chair squeaks or I miss a note I leave that in because that is the best reflection of who I am. I also use a large amount of non-musical sounds, like recordings of people reading their poems or field recordings I made with my phone. I want to make music that feels warm and lived in.
TW: How did you settle on those two attributes as most important?
TW: It took a long, long time. I’ve been recording at home since I was 11, but I could never stick with a certain sound or name for more than two songs. I just recorded and recorded and tried so many different things. Rock, dub, synth pop, blah blah blah. Then, when I was 18, I found myself at a school where a ton of other people were making music and releasing albums. I was seriously intimidated by it but wanted to participate, and so I decided that it was finally time to settle down and make an album.
At the same time, I was going into Brooklyn every week and meeting people and seeing shows and I saw alot of things that I really couldn’t relate to. People making music for very different reasons than myself, and I didn’t want to be lumped in with them. So I decided to make an album of music that embodied everything I held dear. It was a pretty tremendous learning experience, and was the first time I’d ever been able to stick with and build upon a certain idea.
TW: How do you write these songs?
TW: Typically, I pick at a certain idea for a month or so until everything comes together musically. Sometimes it’ll start on the guitar, other times it’ll start entirely by recording. Alot of the time it’ll start on guitar and then change drastically while I’m recording. It all depends on whether or not it’s capturing the tone or feeling I’m going for at that time.
TW: What kind of tones or feelings are the most desired?
TW: Sometimes they can be really specific, like running around the beach at night or walking around after a rainstorm. Alot of the times though, it’s very general. Something I’m always returning to is lying in bed around 8 PM and just watching headlights pass on the wall and listening to the cars approach and recede. That’s one of my most favorite feelings. There’s also the always present influence of trying to sound like the ocean, or at the very least a deep deep river.
TW: What’s up with you and water?
TW: I grew up on a river, and most of my childhood was spent swimming in or exploring around the river by myself. I probably was on the shore everyday, watching it change over the seasons and learning about everything that lived in and around it. Being the nostalgic human I am, this has translated into a very special kind of calm and comfort whenever I’m near water. I can, and have, sit and watch waves crash for hours. Just being around water lifts my spirits tremendously! It is everything I want to be like, so of course I try to write songs that move and sound like the way I perceive it to.
TW: OK cool, thanks.