Austin singer-songwriter Emily Wolfe has caused quite a stir in the music scene as of late, with national recognition on both NPR and MTV’s Buzzworthy in the past year. We had the distinct pleasure of being able to sit down and talk with Emily and her band including keyboardist Hannah Hagar, bassist Sam Pankey, and drummer Jeffery Olson, and chat about their experience at SXSW and what is next in store for the rocking quartet.
VM: You put out your EP Mechanical Hands last year. How was the experience of working with Mike McCarthy as producer?
Emily Wolfe: We love Mike. He is so cool but in the weirdest way. He always wears the same exact outfit, which so do I, so I get it. It’s just easy. He is really good at helping us explore our creativity.
Hannah Hagar: He makes us all feel very comfortable and brings out the best performance
EW: Yeah, exactly. And he knows what to say to get us in the zone, because I remember this one time I played this guitar part, and he said, ‘hey, you can do it better than that.’ And I was like, for some reason, that’s very motivating.
VM: You were just recently featured on MTV’s Buzzworthy for your new single”Swoon.” How does that feel?
EW: Man, I was at work on my computer on Microsoft Outlook – boring sh*t – and I got this Twitter notification that MTV followed me. And I wondered if that thing was up, because I knew it was going to happen. I saw it, and I texted everyone.
VM: “Swoon” seems to have more of an edgier rock ‘n’ roll feel than your earlier work. Why the change?
EW: I feel like, as a band, we have been evolving in that direction for a while, and “Swoon” had such a sass factor. I was just jonesin’ for some sexy rock plus roll.
Sam Pankey: It also reflects the musical aesthetic that we all kind of wanted. We listen to a lot of the same music now and really dig people like White Denim and White Rabbits, Jack White – all the ‘Whites.’
Jeffery Olson: I also feel that this has been the first song that we have recorded where we felt like this was a band, not just a song-writer with some hired guns. And we have been trying to get out of that and prove to people that we are a band. It’s the band that works hard together and creates the music.
VM: So you have already preformed at SXSW this year – how was that experience?
EW: Great, it was so fun, man. We have done two shows so far, and tonight we have our last one. The first one was really great and a lot of fun, and the crowd was really into it. It was super sunny; it was like beaming – almost like Satan was breathing on me – hot. Like I was inside a dog’s mouth, but it was a blast. And the second was awesome, although it was really early at like 6 a.m. for KGSR, but when we all get on stage together its like a party.
VM: Any bands that you are excited to see or have already seen at SXSW that have really impressed you?
EW: They’ve got a list.
HH: I really want to see Policia.
EW: Young the Giant.
HH: But then there are also the bands you kind of stumble upon accidentally that can also be amazing.
JO: We are going to see White Denim too. That’s a given.
VM: How is the song-writing process for you? Do you follow a routine, or does it vary?
EW: It has definitely started to vary. But normally, I’ll write the lyrics, the melody, and the guitar part as well and then we will jam it out in rehearsal and out it together that way and fill in the rest.
VM: Is there any particular venue that you would jump at the chance to play?
HH: I think Red Rocks in Colorado.
Sam Pankey: Anywhere in New York; we did Brooklyn Bowl, and that was awesome.
EW: Oh, ACL fest; that is like a dream.
VM: Any artist dead or alive that you would collaborate with if you could?
EW: Ryan Adams, Jack White, Dan Auerbach, Jeff Buckley, Prince.
VM: So where can your fans and soon to be fans expect to see you after SX?
HH: We have a couple of shows in Austin, and then this summer we are still planning a few shows outside of Texas, but nothing is set in stone yet.
VM: Any new music in the works?
HH: In April, we are recording five songs, and then in October we are going back to do another five or six.
EW: We are playing mostly new things at the show tonight.