‘Weird and wonderful’ is a phrase that perfectly encapsulates WOVOKA GENTLE. The three piece – hailing from London – infuse intricate folk melodies with lush psychedelic tones to create a sound that is splendidly unique. In the past year they have steadily spreading their creativity with their Red/Blue/Yellow compilation of EPs (check out the artwork) and are set to unveil their debut album in the imminent future. If their recent output is anything to go by, it is sure to garner them many a new fan to go along with the old.
Their most recent track ‘Branscombe’ is delicately unerring, the hazy harmonies lulling listeners into an intimate atmosphere, but it is their comeback single – the expansive ‘The Mostly Come at Night Mostly’ – which sees Wovoka Gentle challenge themselves and raise their own bar to new heights. Dive in and discover its buoyant riffing, choral vocal melodies and its unprecedented deluge of psychedelic synths (oh, and be sure to check out their video for the track, complete with rubber gloves and face-pulling – you’ll see what we mean!) Below the band lift the veil on their latest output and made us a playlist of songs that influenced ‘They Mostly Came at Night Mostly’. How kind!
You’ve recently revealed your recent track ‘They Mostly Come at Night Mostly’! First of all, can you tell us what inspired the song title?
It’s a quote from ‘Aliens’, Newt telling Ripley that it’ll be getting dark soon. We left out any punctuation as a tribute to how awkwardly delivered the line is.
The track has quite an epic and atmospheric sound underpinned by psychedelia and synths. Can you tell us a little about how you brought the track to life?
The track actually began as two disparate sections from different songs that we liked independently of one another, and so fused them together… One was very poly synth-driven and the other was vocal-led and almost hymnal. We brought a simple demo into the studio which we then built into with modular synth parts and textural sounds. We recorded some of the drums and vocals in a church, so quite a bit of the reverb you hear is the natural sound of that space.
Your more recent sound has changed quite a bit from that of last year’s self-titled EP. ‘They Mostly Come Out At Night Mostly’ feels bolder than your previous work. What has led you to your current sound?
I guess a deeper knowledge of our identity as a band and an increased confidence in our exploration of different soundscapes and instrumentation has led us to this point. We’ve developed a lot as a live band as well, and maybe with that comes an increased sense of craft. We don’t feel we’re on a linear trajectory though or that we’re searching for the quintessential ‘Wovoka Gentle sound’ – this set of recordings represents the current phase of our band just as future work will represent the phase we’re in then.
Alternately, your latest track ‘Branscombe’ showcases you at your most minimalist. Was it your intention to show the opposite side to your sound following the grand scale of ‘The Mostly Come Out At Night Mostly’?
Not consciously- we felt they paired well and perhaps that’s why! Branscombe is a song that we had been developing for a while and we felt it was right to release it at this time. In a way they’re not hugely different from one another; they’re both built around a combination of sequenced drums, synth sounds and guitars with choral sounding vocals, so maybe the two tracks showcase two different ways of using that palate.
You worked on your most recent music with Gareth Jones who described the experience as “Joy. Experimental Emotional Spiritual Psychedelic. A beautiful collaborative synthesis where everyone is listening.” Do you feel that his words accurately describe your writing process? Why?
Would we describe our own process as beautiful? Absolutely. Apart from anything else, we don’t have a lead singer or songwriter, so it’s always very collaborative and exciting.
We can only assume that you have a new EP or album headed our way in the near future! Is there anything that you can tell us about it to whet our appetite? What can we expect?
Imagine the boat scene in Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory. We are working towards our debut album at the moment which is really exciting.
The artwork to your releases is always very interesting and great to look at! Who has been involved this time around? Do you have any input in the piece?
We’ve been working with Olivia Norris since the beginning. She performs with us onstage as well as working with us on our live visuals, music videos and cover art. In terms of the artwork for these songs, we immediately liked the simplicity and boldness of the images and the dialogue that she’s created between them.
You’re set for a jam-packed summer with an extensive UK tour including pit stops at Blue Dot Festival, Kendall Calling and Sea Change. What can audiences expect from your live show and why should they pause to see you at a festival?
We’re really looking forward to it! People can expect three-part harmonies, some bleeps and bloops and possible nudity.
‘They Mostly Come At Night Mostly’ and ‘Branscombe’ are available now via Yucatan Records.