1. What have you been listening to lately?
I just browsed around bandcamp for like an hour just now and found this South Korean hardcore band called Slant. Probably gonna listen to this for the rest of the night, otherwise I’ve been listening to a lot of old favorites lately: Acetone, Meat Puppets, Richard Buckner, Swirlies. Coming back to old faves during winter usually helps my mental health kind of?
2. Y’all think I can pull off wearing doc martens? For reference, I look like Shrek after he takes that potion that turns him human in Shrek 2.
Sure! Definitely all for buying/wearing shit you’ll love forever. I’m a big shoe head. I actually think docs are overrated a bit cause they’re sooo painful initially. There’s a lot of smaller really innovative shoe brands around now as well I hope to invest in sometime. I really like this brand Grape, and I really want a crazy pair of Fluevogs. Not gonna lie I kinda want some Uggs for the winter too…. So comfy!!!
Congrats on the Shrek face.
3. I read that when you (Karly) were in highschool you’d skip class to go write and draw at a coffee shop. What was the coffee shop’s name, and what was your go to drink?
Hehe whooaaa ya thats where I started writing poems for the first times. At first I thought I was gonna be a poet cause I didn’t think it was possible for me to do music til like halfway through college.
Place is called Common Grounds. They had really intricate coffee drinks named after movie stars and I used to be really into the sugary sweet stuff so I’d get something crazy w chocolate and whatever the fuck. Now I keep it pretty simple coffee order wise.
4. I saw that you have a show in Dallas next March! During your set can you get the crowd to chant “Isaac Sucks! Isaac Sucks!”?
I’ll probably forget! March is very far away from now.
5. Hottest music take?
Hehe I have a lot of “controversial” music opinions and stuff I’m not into, but I decided a while ago I’d never share anything negative in an interview and stick to uplifting other bands. People should be able to like listen to whatever they want idk.
6. How many steam cleaners do you own collectively as a band?
I feel like im on Nardwuar wtf.
Ummm I think Margo got one? I’m not sure! If Margo didnt get one 0, if she did 1.
7. If I was to get your lyrics tattooed on my face, which lyrics would you recommend
Ummm… probably something from the unreleased shit we just recorded hehe. Cause the lyrics on there are much better than anything else I’ve written.
8. I just thrifted an old video camera. Are y’all down to film an unofficial Space Jam sequel?
Naur, there shoulda never been a revival. Why did they do that.
9. On a scale from 1-10 how well is this interview going so far?
8. Because my answers are kinda stupid.
10. Any local Asheville bands that you think we should check out?
The best… : MJ Lenderman
Colin Miller, Zach Romeo, Harsh Realm, Secret Shame, ummmmm there’s a lot! I cant think of anymore off the top tho.
Isaac Gutierrez for Born Loser Mag: To start things off, can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about how the band formed?
Karly Hartzman of Wednesday: Started as like a synth pop project cause I couldnt play guitar, and then gradually got louder and closer to the music I actually wanted to be playing. Added more and more members over the years, first Alan on the drums then Xandy on the steel Margo on bass and finally I bullied Jake into playing guitar a few years ago.
Were you writing/recording music before then?
Kinda? I was in this other band before Wednesday but I wasnt writing any of those songs really. So Wednesday was the first project where I could truly express myself/make the kind of music I was into.
Was there anything in particular that motivated you to start putting out music?
I just loved going to shows, and I involved music in every aspect of my life I could fit it in. I wanted it to become my entire life eventually, and now it sort of is which is cool. I feel like I had shit to say and needed an outlet for it pretty desperately.
You were on Audiotree live a few months ago! What was that like?
Good, I thought we did well considering we had one of the worst shows we have ever played the night right before it. Our spirits were pretty broken that day.
Also, what do you see from the band’s pov? I’ve always wondered what bands look at while they’re playing. (Besides cameras I’m assuming)
Nothin, I pretty much black out on stage and really focus on trying to channel the memories I’m singing about. Which hurts pretty bad, but is also very therapeutic.
You released your LP “Twin Plagues” a few months ago, and it’s flawless. I’ve been listening to it nonstop. What were the inspirations behind the album and what was the writing/recording/production process like?
Thank u! Inspiration for that one was definitely bands like Swirlies, Unwound, Smashing Pumpkins and Yo La Tengo and stuff. I was also really into noise records during the pandemic cause life was so chaotic.
It's funny cause my inspiration changes album to album pretty drastically now. The inspiration for our new album is all these bands still but also like Drive By Truckers, Tom T Hall and Lucinda Williams and more like song writery song writers.
We recorded Twin Plagues at Drop of Sun in Asheville when it was still in a basement of a house. Now they got a big fancy studio.
When you imagined the songs for this album, how much did the idea that you had in your head resemble the final recording version?
I dont remember tbh! We recorded Twin Plagues so long ago that I can’t remember any preconceptions or whatever. Alex (who recorded it) just simply did an amazing job with it. Couldn’t ask for better recordings.
The first song off of the EP that I heard was “Twin Plagues”. Can you give us some background on what inspired the song?
Yeah I actually wrote about this at length somewhere in an old google doc lemme find it:
“This song is about my unsettling relationship with karma. I’ve been told by a few people that often they know me as someone that bad stuff happens to.
When I tried to make sense of why bad things happened I ended up for a long time convincing myself I just deserved it. The scales were tipped against my favor and life was trying to get even with me.
At its worst there was a time when I believed that if a small moment of happiness happened (ex. A song I liked played in the grocery store), life would get even with me to even the scales (ex. I would get hit by a car walking home). Rarely did anything happen to prove this was how my life worked but thinking this way has transformed me into a very pessimistic/anxious person.”
Is there a track that really resonates with you or has your favorite backstory?
Haha tbh they all resonate with me cause they’re all songs recounting memories from my life or whatever (most of em bad mems)
But the cover at the end “Ghost of A Dog” is real sweet to me cause my parents sang it all the time when I was a kid, They still sing it a lot.
Can you tell us the story behind the album cover?
I took that photo myself on a self timer with a tri pod. I was going to a river cause I was feelin really bad and then saw that pile of cars so I was like idk ya lets take this pic. Its kinda funny cause I was going to swim or whatever so I didn’t have on make up or an outfit that I particularly liked and I was in a terrible mood. But I took that picture and was immediately like thats the cover.
Something that stands out to me is the detail and imagery in your lyrics. It really feels like more than just lyrics, you’re sharing memories. For example in Cliff the lyrics
“And my Dad picked a Dallas cowboys urn to put your ashes in” feel super personal. Do you feel like you’re trusting your listeners with those memories? Is it even something you think about once a song is released out into the world?
I love the idea of giving as much as I can possibly give to our audience. I really treasure sharing those memories through these songs. I’m so thankful that shit isn’t just stuck in a vat in my brain. I like to think that if I’ve written a song about a memory, I’ve taken back control over how my brain processes it.
I have a list of memories I wanna write about. The one in “Birthday Song” was on that list for a long time, I’m really glad I’ve written that song. “Cliff” was written in that way for my mom, cause that song is about her parents.
I think that being personal in songwriting makes it easier for us as listeners to connect to an artist’s music. I’m interested in your perspective since you’re both an artist and a listener. Is there a similar connection from the artist’s perspective?
I think one of the most important things a songwriter can do is write about the details of their own life. That’s the most original/special shit in the world.
I noticed a little bit of country influence in your music! What did you listen to growing up?
All sorts of shit. My parents listened to everything and anything in the house. Like lots of like popular indie at the time like Counting Crows and Regina Spektor but like also Dixie Chicks and Shania Twain. They also played rock music of course, my mom always talks about how much she likes Yes. My Dad also has a really eclectic music taste. Its super fun.
The country music is defintely just embedded deeply into me because of growing up in the south.
I’m from Texas, so I grew up on old school country. Mostly like 60s-70’s. Do you have a favorite decade for country music?
Nah, I just like good songs. I think stuff like Townes, Louden Wainwright III, Tom T Hall and Lucinda Williams and really lyric driven stuff is my fave. But I like the 90s alt country too.
One of my favorite things is to hear steel guitar in a song that isn’t necessarily country. Is that something that Xandy had played before or something that they picked up for the album?
Xandy played steel in Jakes band and then I was like “I need that in my band immediately”. And then he adapted it to our music by adding the distortion and shit. He’s the most innovative fucker in the world!!!
I saw that you mentioned that your next album is already written. Without giving away too much, how would you describe that album in 5 words?
More Realized Rats Better Songs
Do you have a set of van rules when you're out on tour?
Not really. Mostly just give ppl wearing headphones some alone time.
Also make an animal sound when you cross state lines. Point out when you see a boat. Look for cheap gas. Stop for a bathroom break like every 45 min. Xandy drives in NYC Karly drives in Philly. Stop for weird location specific food for dinner if we have time.
Who farts the most in the van?
Is there anything that you like to do before every show, like any pre show rituals?
Me and Margo do a vocal warm up together before every show now which has become totally crucial. It seems obvious and simple but its 100% necessary.
Do you have a most memorable onstage moment so far?
I cried on stage in Boston cause I was having the worst mental health day ever. It was embarrassing cause the show was sold out and I wanted to just be happy/grateful but my brain wouldn’t let me. I tried to like… incorporate it into the music but really i was just like “dag, wish I wasn’t crying!!!”
Theres probably like a more funny memorable moment I just cant think of it cause that was on our most recent tour.
Is there anything that you want for everyone to know?
To wrap things up, do you have any questions for me?
Idk you!!!!!!!!! Jk thanks for the thoughtful questions.
Why do you like our band so much?
I think it goes back to what we were talking about earlier. I love how much detail you include in your songwriting. As a listener it doesn't just feel like you're telling us a story, it feels like you're including us in it.