copyright Josh Sisk 2011
Jen Wasner of Wye Oak and Flock of Dimes

We’re starting a new column here @ the G. We’ll be occasionally hooking up and sitting down with local creative luminaries and getting to the bottom of their stories.
First up, is Jennifer Wasner. Unless you’ve been living in a dark warehouse all alone except for your cat and a glowing RAZR phone for the past two years or so, you know Jen as a founding member of Wye Oak. She’s also expanded her guitar genuis to a new side project called Flock of Dimes. And damn. That shit is good.
But whatever, you didn’t click on this to read editorial diarrhea. Let’s yap with Jen.

Gutter: (Obligatory question alert) Can you give us a little background about yourself, education and your music history?

Jennifer Wasner: I’m a 25-year-old woman living and working primarily in Baltimore, although at the moment I spend most of my time almost everywhere else. I make songs and play instruments. I tour fairly constantly as the guitarist and singer in a band. In the past year, this has become my “job.” Lucky, yes? I also love: food, jokes, fun, games, driving, etc.

G: We would like to focus on your new endevour, Flock of Dimes for a sec. Can you tell us what separates this band’s style from Wye Oak? Who else is in Flock with you?

JW: Flock of Dimes! This is a brand new thing (which, in and of itself, is terribly exciting). I’m still figuring out exactly what this project is going to be. As of right now FoD is me, myself, and I, but I have to give enormous credit to Michael Freeland aka Mickey Free, my producer and all-around studio wonder.

G: Will you be touring with Flock? Or is it a literal side project when you’re not touring as Wye Oak?

JW: I would love to tour, and I plan on it, but it takes so long to release a record even after it’s finished, and mine isn’t even close. So I have no idea when this will be. Within the next year, if I’m diligent and lucky.

G: Are there any other genres of music you’d like to explore?

JW: Uh, of course?

G: You’re an incredible guitarist, (obvious question alert) can you tell us who your influences are? Cuz at such a young age, we’re curious to know who you heard growing up.

JW: I taught myself to play guitar, and I consider myself proficient but hardly incredible. (Thanks, though.) It’s amazing what you can accomplish just by playing with a little bit of confidence and force (even if you’re sloppy, which I am). Growing up, I pretty much listened to what my mom listened to: lots of classic rock, Zeppelin, the Who, Neil Young, uh, Steely Dan…In my later adolescent years I discovered bands like Pavement and Sonic Youth and Guided by Voices and My Bloody Valentine, the usual shit.
I could try to drop more impressive names but I’d be lying.

G: Are female guitarists any different from dudes style-wise?

JW: Depends on the female; depends on the dude.

G: You’ve been on the Bmore scene for awhile. We seem to be experiencing a “post Whamcity/Dan Deacon” scene. What are some of the new/younger bands you like?

JW: Loving new records by Holy Ghost Party and Other Colors, I was lucky enough to play with both of those bands fairly recently, listening over and over in the van to new releases by White Life, Moss of Aura, Co La…and of course our friends Lower Dens are pretty much one of my favorite bands ever, from any city.


copyright Josh Sisk 2011

G: Which venues do you like to play in the city?

JW: I’ve only played in Baltimore twice as Flock of Dimes, and both times have been at the Soft House, which is pretty much my favorite spot to play (and just be) in Baltimore city, hands down. It’s beautiful and so are its residents and so are its audiences.

G: What’s it like coming into an industry that’s in so much flux? Do you even need things like album companies anymore? What’s your opinion of the music industry landscape?

JW: I’m thrilled that bands and artists now have greater control over their own destinies. The internet is an enormously powerful tool, and there are those that understand its power and use it to their advantage and those who try to resist. Old business models are dying or dead. It’s never really been the case that “the cream rises to the top”, nor will it ever truly be, but I think we now live in a world where that’s more of a possibility than ever before. However, there are record labels that have adapted incredibly well to the shift and understand how to make what they do a commodity in an ever changing landscape: by focusing more on vinyl and tapes, providing the artifacts that fans of music still seek out and that the digital realm still cannot provide. I’m terribly excited by the direction of the music “industry” and modern music in general. I find it really short sighted and bothersome when people resist change and bemoan the passing of some bygone era of music and culture. Embracing and exploring and discovering the new: that’s what music (and art in general) is for!

G: Day job?

JW: Not at the moment. Almost certainly will wait tables again at some point in my life.

G: If you shook a magic eightball, what do you think would show up right now?

JW: Don’t eat that.

Ladies and gentlemen..Jennifer Wasner:

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