Artist: Wood & Wire
Hometown: Austin, Texas
Latest album: No Matter Where It Goes From Here
Answers by Tony Kamel and Billy Bright
Which elements of nature do you spend the most time with and how do those impact your work?
Water, for sure. I mean there’s so many metaphors available there. When writing I tend to lean towards the rivers, but it’s all the same water. We are all just part of the water cycle. — BB
Growing up on the Gulf Coast, the ocean has always been a consistent theme in my writing. I essentially learned to swim in the Gulf of Mexico. A lot of unique characters down there that are easy to tell stories about and put them into song. “John” on the new record is about a friend of mine that split time in Galveston as an artist and Alaska as a salmon fisherman. — TK
What other art forms — literature, film, dance, painting, etc. — inform your music?
Stand-up comedians and the way they work material out on stage. Maybe they don’t inform the music itself, but certainly the idea of putting your art out there, trying things out, adjusting to the audience, making yourself vulnerable, and developing swagger and confidence (especially) when things are going south. Being comfortable being uncomfortable is quite the asset and the best stand-up comedians have that mastered. Recently I’ve listened to all of Tig Notaro’s recorded material. She’s absolutely brilliant. There’s a video of her on Conan where she just pushes around a stool because it makes a funny noise… sounds ridiculous. It is. You should watch it. — TK
Since food and music go so well together, what is your dream pairing of a meal and a musician?
Music and food do pair well. Like if you’re eating a meal and there’s music in the background, or a band, that can be dreamy. Musicians and meals, not as dreamy. Too frequently, they’ll disappear when the bill comes, or are checking their Instagram page the whole meal. All that aside, Trevor has been talking about Sonoran Dogs in Tucson and we have never been able to check that box. So I’d have to say Sonoran Dogs with Trevor Smith. — BB
Definitely Sonoran Dogs in Tucson with Trevor Smith… or maybe Machaca at Lucy’s Cafe in Kings X in El Paso, Texas, with Billy Bright. Oh wait…..I’ve checked that box and it was every bit as dreamy as I could have imagined. (see “My Hometown” on the new record for El Paso references). — TK
What was the first moment that you knew you wanted to be a musician?
I knew from about 10 years old I wanted to create. I didn’t know I wanted to make it the way I (tried to) make a living until I was working a sales job and it came down to doing one or the other full-time. At this point, no matter what I do for living, it’ll have to be on my own terms. Like my bandmates, I’ve never been good at doing what I’m told — and that certainly isn’t getting better with age. — TK
My first band ‘practice’ ca. 1987. But those moments happen all the time. I still want to be a musician someday. I fell down the acoustic music hole for good when I saw The Bad Livers live in 1992. First time I ever saw a banjo played in real life, or ever, like that. — BB
How often do you hide behind a character in a song or use “you” when it’s actually “I”?
I’m not an intentional songwriter, they just come out sometimes and sometimes end up being recorded. I can’t think of a single song I’ve written where I doesn’t mean I. I should try that though. So should you…. — BB
Agreed. I’m not super intentional either. Kinda speaks to the relationship I have with songwriting. I don’t always enjoy it — it’s not always fun. For me personally, if I’m not feeling creative, or I’m not inspired, I don’t even try. It comes in waves. When the wave comes, I really buckle down, let it flow however it comes out, and ride it to the bitter end. And by I, I mean you. — TK
Photo credit: Alison Narro