Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Paradise De-Fragmented: An Interview with Christina Willatt of Wormwood

by Andrew Doty

Wormwood is a dream-inducing IDM duo from London, Ontario. They released their debut album in 2013 before signing with Austin-based label punctum records in preparation for their upcoming Microdot EP. Vocalist Christina Willatt and I swapped a few emails to talk about her lyric-writing process and Wormwood's compositional approach.



Andrew Doty: How did Wormwood form? How did you meet Andrew [Wenaus]?
Christina Willatt: Andrew and I met in high school and started experimenting with home recording, electronics, and songwriting. None of these experiments were intended for public release, but over time, as these experiments started to sound good, we decided to release Sunfloating, an album of material we had worked on from 2009–2013 (though "Utopia" was 2007). Originally, we wanted to combine our love of instrumental electronic music and musique concrète textures with poetry/lyrics. We were and are always fascinated with the idea of playing with song form. Typically, we approach each song in its own terms, so some may have a freer or through-composed nature ("Sunfloating"), while others resemble more conventional pop song forms ("Jawbone"). Most of the poems are written before we start working on the music. Then I sculpt them to fit our formal plans and the feel of a song as it begins to take shape. I tend to write a lot of poetry in fragments and short forms, so often one song will be an amalgam of pre-existing texts. "Leaves Like Lemons," for example, was made from two poems. The longer makes up the verses, while the shorter is the chorus. In "Jawbone," the text is comprised of fragments from three poems, combined with a list of words, all of which relate to the word "carry;" this process was inspired by British writer Jeff Noon's Metamorphiction (a writing technique that remixes text). Usually I am trying to create a unified whole out of fragments.

Friday, April 18, 2014

"Know Your Onion!" by The Shins

by Emalie Whan

Americans coined the term “know your onions” in Harper’s Bazaar in 1922. To put it simply, it means you know your shit. The Shins’ 2001 single "Know Your Onion!" is an interesting tale of a person peeling their layers away and coming to a conclusion about theirself.

This song is an ode to everyone who’s not quite sure where they are and where they want to be. I’m not going to sit here and analyze every word in this song, but I want to focus on one part I love:
The trick is just making yourself
But when they’re parking their cars on your chest
You’ve still got a view of the summer sky
To make it hurt twice when your restless body
Caves to its whims
And suddenly struggles to take flight
Even though this is my favorite verse in this song, I get such a feeling of anxiety and sadness whenever I hear it. That feeling where your heart jumps into your throat and you realize that you’re alone in this world and you need to depend on yourself before others.

Mercer’s imagery of the weight we put on ourselves is so subtle yet means everything. Who hasn’t had a moment like this in their life? I know I struggle with it every day. It seems that we get kicked when we’re already down, but that’s when you have to cave in and pick yourself back up.

I can go on forever about the lyrics of this song and on this album, as well as (gulp!) feelings; instead I’ll leave you with the official video for "Know Your Onion!" and this link to SongMeanings for a great explanation of the lyrics.

In the official video, Mercer is playing God (er—a higher being) in these scenarios and helping the humans (dregs) get through the stressful parts of their day. Watching Mercer dispatch a Dog (aka The Voice of God) to help the humans out in their everyday struggles and helping them succeed is pretty hilarious! As we know, God (er—a higher being) would be too great to meet in the flesh, and we would explode, so he hires a cute dog. Amazing!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Open Call for Submissions & Contributors

Lyricism is now looking for submissions and contributors for reviews, reports, interviews, critiques, news, or any other content related to lyrics. For more information on what we will accept, see our About page.