On April 24 will be releassed vía Kozmik Artifactz, «SPANK THE WORLD», the fourth studio album by the Germans WIGHT, will be released. We talked to the band to tell us all the details of an album in which we will find the incorporation of Steffen Kirchpfening doubling on percussion and keyboards and involved in songwriting from the first minute, adding sounds and textures to the album that haven’t been previously heard from WIGHT. But that’s not the only thing that’s different – drummer Thomas Kurek dabbling in synthesizers as well, guitarist/vocalist René Hofmann recording all types of crazy instrumentations well outside of his classic role, bassist Peter-Philipp Schierhorn ditching his signature Flying V for a fretless bass more often than not.
«SPANK THE WORLD» smells like rhythm, it smells like fusion, it smells like funk.
DenpaFuzz: It’s been four years since your last studio album. How as WIGHT changed since then?
Wight (René): I think the biggest change is that nobody is a student anymore and I built the studio to create a playground for all my ideas. The whole band’s workflow just changed completely from jamming together two times a week (2015-2017), building the studio (2017-2018) and being a producing band in the last two years (2018-2019). It wasn’t planned, it was somehow a natural change like it was always in the last 12 years and I think the strength of the group is to always welcome change and deal with variation.
«I think some will love it, some will hate it, and it will confuse the hell out of a lot of people – which it should, music can be anything but boring».
DenpaFuzz: Everyone fell in love with Wight in the past with the heavy, psychedelic sound on your debut album, “Wight weed wight”. How do you think this new album will be received?
Wight (René): I really don’t care so much. I am doing all this as an emotional „work off“ – A musical expression of the daily output of my life. How could anyone judge this? People can only react on it because it hits them emotionally or it doesn’t. If you always listen to the same style of music and you don’t like other moods, that’s ok for me. I have a wide range of feelings that goes into and out of my person.
Wight (Peter): I think some will love it, some will hate it, and it will confuse the hell out of a lot of people – which it should, music can be anything but boring. And unpredictability is one of our unique selling propositions anyway.
DenpaFuzz: Having seen your shows live a couple of times-at Sonicblast five years ago, and in Krach am Bach three years ago, I saw that the hottest moments of your shows were precisely when you incorporated funk rock moments. The people went crazy! Now your new album is mostly a fusion of funk sounds and even «disco» in some moments. Why?
Wight (René): I think it has a lot to do with discovering dancing and moving the body freely, as another layer of music and rhythm. If I weren’t able to play an instrument, I am still able to jam along by dancing. So everybody can join and the audience and the band become one big unit.
«Yes. I don’t like seeing music in genres. There is always an overlap of genres which is mostly the interesting part».
DenpaFuzz: In your last studio album “Love Is Not Only What You Know”, you started to incorporate more of these funk sounds that I am talking about, but there were also high doses of psychedelia, and heavy hard rock sounds. Is «Spank the World» the step you took to renounce your pasts sounds; or at some point did you decide that the stoner or doom that inspired you in the beginning is something the past?
Wight (René): I never gave anything of your question a thought. Creativity mutates all the time, I give it all the space it needs and just decide if I feel comfortable with it. There is nothing bad in getting inspired by things you already had as an inspiration in the past. But life has only one direction. So I think, still if we would do heavier music again it will be different than a copy of the past.
Wight (Peter): I just had a conversation with Thomas about this yesterday, and we agreed that the one thing that connects everything is the blues. There’s blues in all of our albums, lots of it, just interpreted in very different ways.
DenpaFuzz: Is it just my perception, or apart from the fusion sounds, in the new album we also find electronic vibrations and “disco” music that you have never used before?
Wight (René): Yes. I don’t like seeing music in genres. There is always an overlap of genres which is mostly the interesting part.
DenpaFuzz: Parliament / Funkadelic seems to be a source of inspiration for you as evidenced by songs like «Nervous», which other bands have influenced the songs on the new album?
Wight (René): I think first to mention is Phunk M.O.B., which was a local band from the mid 90s to mid 2000s. We listened to their live album so many times in the tour bus in the past years and they did a mix of Acid Jazz, Psychedelic Rock and Funk already 20 years ago. The Band fitted so good in my musical taste because I loved 70s fusion Jazz at that Time like Herbie Hancock, Weather Report, Billy Cobham, all the guys who met at Miles Davis Sessions in the Late 60s early 70s, next to Stevie Wonder and horn bands like Average White Band, Chicago, World music from Fela Kuti to Ali Farka Touré, Buena Vista Social Club and also selected Prog Rock Albums like Steve Hillage‘s Green. I think I could Name more and more here, 90s Hip Hop as well… and yes Disco, too. Also every song of the album deserves a detailed explanation how it was created by what influences.
DenpaFuzz: The sound of «Spank the world» seems to be influenced mainly by the music that was made in the late seventies. Is there a contemporary band that inspires you now, or that you listen to more often than others? What bands do you listen to currently when you are at home?
Wight (René): I have a huge LP collection from the 1960d to let’s say the mid 80s. I am listening to this the most. Contemporary music is too often either a copy of this era or a copy of each other. I have the impression that the world is to shy to be open for innovations when it comes to music. People need to put it in categories. If it does not fit I. Their safety zone it’s hard to make the curious about „new“ sounds. On the other hand I like that a teenager girl Billie Eilish and her Brother produce fragile vocal pop music with completely distorted effects and kind of honest lyrics (for a teenager). Same with Jamie Lidell, who made it being known with his big variation of style every Time he releases something. Artists should show that everybody takes a shit and stinks sometimes and pulls boogers out of his nose and I really think that a big part of the people have the tendency to be fed up with the glitter clean larger than life pop stars. That is my wish in the end. Honestly I don’t discover contemporary music by myself. Due to my job working with musicians all the time, music is shown to me constantly. I think that’s enough discovery.
DenpaFuzz: Continuing with the changes that I notice in your sound, as well as some electronic elements and drum machines, there are songs where I hear wind instruments, who plays these?
Wight (René): Our friends, we have a big local and international network of musicians.
«I have the impression that the world is to shy to be open for innovations when it comes to music. People need to put it in categories. If it does not fit I. Their safety zone it’s hard to make the curious about „new“ sounds»
DenpaFuzz: To me, ¨Motorgroove» seems to be the song that can consolidate Wight’s new sound. A hundred percent melting sounds, isn’t it? The mix of styles and elements makes the song one of the highlights of the entire album, in my opinion.
Wight (René): Could be. It’s funky, it’s prog, psychedelic and electronic somehow.
Wight (Peter): That’s quite interesting, I have heard Motorgroove ranked at everything from the best to the worst song on the album. I guess it’s really a matter of taste. It’s also one of my favourite tracks.
DenpaFuzz: The album seems designed in an almost mathematical way. It begins with a brief introduction of just over a minute «intro», halfway through the album «interlude» with another minute and to close «Outro»-another minute long. After listening to thousands of works in my life, it has always been difficult for me to understand most of the brief songs like that. Could you shed some light on why this is done, at least in your case?
Wight (René): It was on purpose. The interlude are produced all spontaneously in the studio. We got some more left. The intro was written and spoken by our friend Joshua. I told him the story of the cover and the whole theme of the album. You should know that the cover and the topic was made parallel with the songwriting. It’s not that we make an album and call Ingo (artist Ingo Lohse) to draw something. We both talk about ideas and we influence each other, so the cover and the music is also one unit. We will continue this method also with our film maker friends in the future.
Wight (Peter): I think good interludes improve the flow of the album. I’m not a great fan of interludes myself, but the main reason for that is that most rock bands just throw some short acoustic guitar cling-clanging or a minute of cheesy “creepy” keyboards sounds between the songs. But I think ours make sense – if you listen to the entire album all the way through, that’s what they’re for.
DenpaFuzz: What’s your favorite song on the album and why?
Wight (René): Nervous makes me dance, I like the energy and the message. It will change in the next weeks like it changed in the last months already.
Wight (Peter): Tie between Motorgroove and Nervous at the moment.
Wight (Thomas): Motorgroove and Time’s Up as of today, but it also changes all the time for me.
Wight (Steffen): Definitely Nervous. It’s got the energy of a good metal track, but the sound aesthetics of funk. We’ve already played that one live, and I felt like I wanted to stagedive into a pit of ugly long haired metalheads, while playing a song that sounds more like James Brown.
«Working in the music business and earning 70% of my income with being a live sound engineer, means I will not earn much money this year. I have no idea if there will be concerts at all this year».
DenpaFuzz: The recording process of the album has also been different from how you did it on other occasions, as far as I understand it. This time you have focused more on pure and simple recording in the studio, haven’t you? At the same time, the album has been recorded in a studio owned by René, which has undergone some modifications to be able to do what you wanted. Tell us about that process.
Wight (René): I try to make it short – I rented a small mixing studio since 2012. too small to put a band inside. In 2016 a 48qm room got free to rent and a year later I started building a recording room. I spent all the band‘s money and my money and handcrafted everything by myself. One year later I wasn‘t finished but it was build enough to work with. I couldn’t continue because I became a father and I spent my time for the family and the music only. The plan in building the Studio it quite old and we were just patient and now we got it.
DenpaFuzz: I suppose that when all this Covid 19 madness is over, you will return to the stage. I have two questions regarding this. How are you dealing with the issue of confinement? Also, what are the plans for a return to live shows? How are your next shows going to be? Will we have a mix of your primitive sound with this new type of music? Will you focus on this new sound?
Wight (René): Working in the music business and earning 70% of my income with being a live sound engineer, means I will not earn much money this year. I have no idea if there will be concerts at all this year. We have no influence in this so we should make the best out of it an create new music. How the sound will be on a next album? I don’t know, there are so many directions and possibilities. Right now I can tell you that I wrote some simple bluesy songs because me and my family love listening to ZZ Top at home, also Janis Joplin and Bill Withers.
Wight (Peter): On the live side, we’re arranging the new songs into playable live versions at the moment. These may turn out a bit rawer and grittier than on the album – but maybe not all of them. But as soon as live activities can resume, you’ll find out…
DenpaFuzz: Thank you so much for your words and if anyone wants to add anything, feel free. One last question, will we see Wight playing in Spain soon?
Wight (René): We are a DIY band. If you want to see us down there, get in touch with a booker who wants to set up shows in Spain and someone in France and get in contact with us. I would love to come to Spain. I have been there a couple of times with My Sleeping Karma and I enjoyed it everytime.
Translation: Abigail Simpson