Saturday, April 21, 2012

Local Spotlight - Yarn Wallows - April 2012 - Pittsburgh

Our local spotlight this month is an incarnation of one of our previous favorite local acts The Slant. The new spin off, Yarn Wallows, just began this past year. It features former Slant members Zach Dow and Brad Austin along with Zach's brother Adam. The group has already played out a few times around the city including at Club Cafe and the Shadow Lounge. Zach was kind enough to answer our normal local spotlight questions about their sound, their view of the city's benefit and their ties to the community.

How did the band come together? Were you all friends that went to school? or?

YW: We’re all from Coudersport, PA in Potter County. Adam and I are brothers and Brad and I have been playing music together since we were 14. Adam started playing with us as The Slant was on its way out and after all of that took place we started trying to figure out the next step. After some discussion the three of us realized we wanted the same things out of being in a band and the logistics worked out. We're all great friends and Yarn Wallows turned out to be what the three of us were after.

How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard you?

YW: The ongoing joke during the recording process was to refer to the sound as ‘bombastic folk.’ Truthfully, we just focus on making songs we like, using sounds we like. If you enjoy things a little out of the ordinary, this might be for you.

Are you all originally from the Pittsburgh area? Families here as well?

YW: We don’t really have any family here unless you count Adam and I being brothers (which I do). We have some friends in the area, though.

Do you all create music full time or is this more of a part time venture?

YW: This band and this music are really important to us. I’m not sure what we’d call it in terms of the time we spend doing it. We’ve never really taken a conventional approach to being in a band. The best I can say is we care a lot about this and that we would love for it to be a full-time venture.

Do you have day jobs?

YW: I have a full-time job, Brad is working on his Ph.D. at Kent State, and Adam is working on his undergrad at Pitt. We’re pretty busy all the time with that, the music, and everything else.

How do you create your music? What is the song writing process?

YW: There’s no formula to how we make music. For each song on this project there was a different approach to getting it finished. One of us will come up with a part he really likes, he’ll play it for the other two, then we all get drawn into it. After that, we explore all the possibilities we can think of for the part; but from there it always ends up happening differently in terms of getting the final product. It’s important to say that without everyone’s contribution, none of the songs would have turned out as well as we feel they did. Everyone is important to the process.

What are your goals for the band? What would you like to accomplish? Are you trying to get signed to a label?

YW: The only goals we have for the band at this point are to keep it going and to try to get a lot of people into it. We really like this music and would be happy to find out other people feel the same. There’s no specific goal to get signed or anything like that; especially in a world where the music industry is changing as rapidly as we’re seeing it happen now. Sustaining the process is our goal.

What advice would you give to local acts trying to make it?

YW: Try to get in touch will a local band that has ‘made it’ and see how they did it. Then let us know.

Have you all toured nationally? Or do you usually stay more regionally?

YW: We haven’t appeared live as Yarn Wallows yet. We just released our first project a few weeks ago and are in the rehearsal process. Our first show will be April 14, 2012 at Club CafĂ© with our friend Mark.

Being in the Pgh area, do you find it more difficult to try and succeed?

YW: I think our mindset has changed about how an area can play a role in success. Though Yarn Wallows is a new thing, we’ve been doing this for a while. Success has taken on a much more personal meaning than getting signed, etc. Just making ourselves/other people happy with music we’re making is a big deal to us. If that happens, we’ll move on from there.

What are some of the obstacles you face trying to create some 'success' in Pgh?

YW: If you’re doing something a little out of the ordinary, but aren’t trying to pull one over on people with a gimmicky approach, it’s kind of difficult to get people’s attention. That has nothing to do with the area, though. Pittsburgh is just like any other place except maybe a lack in cultural demand for the kind of thing we do. I think we’re starting to see that take place in the area, though, and hopefully we’ll have a place in it.

What are the positive benefits of being in the area?
YW: A lot of venues are accessible and we can get to and from them pretty easily. There seems to be an upswing in people who have an interest in independent music. In our collective mind, that’s always a good thing.
Is there a venue you have enjoyed playing more than others in the area?

YW: As Yarn Wallows, no. We’ll have to let you know in the future once we see how this thing pans out.

You can find more information about the band here:

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