Som Alternativo

Interview with So Many Wizards (English Version)

Texto de Nuno André Silva.

Contributing with two fabulous EPs to the music world, they already are a “grown ups”. So Many Wizards was first elaborated as a solo project but it became more and more complex till it came out at this marvelous group that have been regarded as one of the bands that don’t stop climbing in this tough world. The californians bring back the pop music that marked the wonderful 50’s and 60’s and tracks like “Lose Your Mind” made our hearts and hears surrender to this magic band. But we’re not the only ones – the british BBC 1 highlighted the So Many Wizards among thousands of bands that they hear daily, and recently Stereogum premiered one of their singles giving them a special highlight. We went to know a little bit more about them in an interesting interview, where they even scheduled a visit to Portugal as principal target to the future.

Som Alternativo: So, we heard that So Many Wizards started thanks to you (Kazerouni). You always wanted in the first place to form a band ? You never thought about doing something solo?

So Many Wizards: I started this project for the very reason of wanting to do something solo but it was out of my power as to how the project evolved. It just happened naturally with friends and collaborators doing really great things and I am thankful for them. I never had any expectations. As far as solo projects go, I actually have a new project that i am very excited about called Crown Plaza. It’s airport infused electronic pop and again, who knows what this will turn into…

SA: Why do you choose Erik Felix, Geoff Geis and Frank Maston to join you? And how did that happened?

SMW: Erik was first to join. He’s a good friend of mine who helped out with shows in the early stages. Soon after when the project started to pick up, it just made sense to have him as a full time member since we work really well together. Frank was next to join. He filled in for us first at last years SXSW festival and it made good sense to bring him on board–very talented kid. Geoff Geis was the last piece of this puzzle. He led two bands called Pizza! and Big Whup and we used to play with them frequently. When his bands mates we’re going in different directions, we snagged him up as fast as we could. He’s never played bass before joining this band and this is what we love about his style. He’s wonderful.

SA: I also know that you travelled a lot in your childhood going to Europe, South America and Jamaica. Did that influenced you and your music ? If it did, how?

SMW: Traveling to all these places where we finally find ourselves at a detention facility on the border of Mexico and US had a huge effect on me because it was really quite traumatic. In my early childhood I started having terrible night terrors, anxiety and severe OCD. This spilled into my adolescent years and finally my 20’s. The music reflects my own personal struggle and eventual freedom from these psychological issues.

SA: Are you the only composer in the band?

SMW: I write the backbone of all the songs and bring it to the band where we flesh it out however it needs to be fleshed out. I guess this process comes from the solo origins of this project.

SA: What do you like to write about?

SMW: I like to write about everything but the common thread of this upcoming album is that feeling that comes from getting lost in the moment and appreciating and noticing things we normally don’t notice.

SA: What are your biggest influences?

SMW: Marine Girls, Beat Happening, The Bats. Syd Barrett. France Gall. Aislers Set. Stevie Wonder…. the list goes on.

SA: In the video of “Fly A Kite” we can clearly see that you are cinema lovers putting some pieces of great classics such as “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” and “Bande Á Part” of the legendary Godard. Did cinema also influence the way you make music? In which way?

SMW: Cinema has always had a deep impact on my music. I fell in love with French New Wave Cinema early in college and loved the escapist nature of the narratives. Very inspirational.

SA: You’re also a big lovers of the early years like the 60’s. Is that some kind of critique to the music that have been being made nowadays? What do you think about it?

SMW: No critique. I like music from every decade.
I actually really love some new music that is happening right now. Atlas Sound, Beach House, Moses Campbell, Michael Nhat, Jon Barba…

SA: The radio BBC 1 had highlighted you giving you an enormous airplay and you also started a tour in the UK. How have been doing? Do you still feel that you have to “conquer” the crowd every show or are you starting to see some people singing along with you?

SMW: The BBC was extremely good to us and playing to new crowds in the UK was wonderful. They were really receptive and the plan is to go back in the fall. In Los Angeles, we’ve definitely started to see people singing and dancing along while we play. This happened in particular at this past April Echo residency. We love when people can really get into the songs. But there’s always a hill to climb. If people don’t know the band, then it’s time to introduce them. If they love So Many Wizards already, then we want to become their favorite band. If we’re already their favorite band, then hopefully they’ll leave every show saying “that was the best one yet.”

SA: Do you have any future gigs in Portugal? Have you ever been here?

SMW: We’ve never played or been to Portugal but we would definitely love to come. I really want to learn Portuguese too since it’s such a beautiful language.
Maybe you can help us get there? Haha, just throwing it out there.

SA: Besides USA and UK, have you ever played any in other country?

SMW: Geoff once “played” in Mexico but it wasn’t musical and he almost got killed.

SA: Talking about future plans, you’re going to launch your full-length debut album, Warm Nothing, via Jaxart, where is included our favorite “Lose Your Mind”. What are you expecting that your fans will think about it ? Do you think that this album will give you your due recognition?

SMW: We’re hopeful that the world will love it, but we have no expectations. It’s a great album and we’re all proud of it, and we’ve got a great team of people to help us get it to the world. The experience has been wonderful so far, and we’re just grateful to have the opportunity. Whether the record is a mega hit, or whether it flops, I can guarantee that we’ll all still be just as busy making music this time next year.

SA: Any other plans for the future?

SMW: We plan on coming to Portugal. It’s been decided.

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About The Author

Crítico de música, cinéfilo e apaixonado pelas artes a viver os seus mais tenros anos. Português, com orgulho.

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