The State Of Music: Part 47: Hawaii - Welwing
The end is nigh. This State of Music train is rapidly approaching its final destination and will come to its final stop this Sunday (29th April 2012) when I finally post the 50th interview. Between now and then there will be one article posted per day. Its a rather funny feeling. Hawaii was always going to be a tricky state to cover, detached from the mainland by some 2000 miles its music scene is naturally very insular. Of course I found the usual Ukulele music, but in my eyes no one plays the Uke as wonderfully as Elsa Rae. I also found a lot of hip hop, reggae, a little bit of indie and of course my Hawaii representative Welwing.
The first and only instrumental entry into the State Of Music project, Welwing is a one man show headed by Matthew McVickar, a mainland exile doing his thing in the Pacific Ocean.
CMM: Welcome to Choose My Music. I suppose the first question is - who are Welwing and where in the world would we find you?
My name is Matthew McVickar and Welwing is my moniker for my solo electronic music. I am from Massachusetts, but currently live in Manoa on Oahu, Hawaii. I've been here for five years; I moved after finishing college to start a web development company, and I am currently a freelance web developer working on and playing music at night.
CMM: How long have you been performing as Wellwing and how did it all start?
I've been performing for about two years. It started as an offshoot of the band I play in, Clones of the Queen (http://clonesofthequeen.com). I had never made music before joining the band about two and a half years ago, but after I joined I started working on it a lot and eventually began creating tracks to play solo.
CMM: How best would you describe your music?
Electronic music with an emphasis on layering, intricate rhythms, and homespun sounds. It's bright and danceable but with nontraditional structures.
CMM: As expected Hawaii was a very difficult find for this project, how is the music scene out there right now?
Hawaii's music scene is very small, but it's quite lively. The rock scene in particular is thriving and exciting, and there are a lot of hip-hop crews as well. The electronic music scene has yet to really coalesce, but I hope it takes shape over the next year. Among musicians and fans and friends, the sense of community is very strong, so it's a great thing to be a part of.
CMM: One thing I am hoping to find in this series is some kind of link between where a band is based and their music. Do you feel as an artist you are influenced by your surroundings and the scene around you?
I am certainly influenced by the beautiful climate here--I love nature and live in a valley next to a park, so the birds and the rain and mountains all factor into my work. Other local bands, too, are incredibly inspiring and I try to learn from them as much as I can.
CMM: What other influences do you have, musical or otherwise?
My musical pantheon is: Four Tet, Caribou, Animal Collective, The Books, and Prefuse 73. They are my favorite artists of all time and the ones who have had and continue to have the most influence over my music.
I also read a ton of music writing and listen to a lot of different music. I try to learn something from all of it, whether musical or extra-musical. I like to make maps of my favorite songs and dissect them to find out how they work, and apply the same principles to my music.
CMM: Could you perhaps give a run down of the music you have released so far?
August 2011: 'Live Start' EP, a 15-minute collection of remixes and original material. (http://welwing.bandcamp.com)
January 2012: Beats for Beatroot Qualifier, seven beats created for a local producer battle that I won. (http://soundcloud.com/welwing/sets/beats-for-beatroot-qualifier)
April 2012: Beats for Beatroot Championships, four beats created for the producer battle championships. (http://soundcloud.com/welwing/sets/beats-for-beatroot-championships)
CMM: Are you able to get out an play live much?. Where are your favourite places to play both in and out of state?
Yes, I play about once a month or so. There are a lot of clubs in downtown Honolulu that have regular events and opportunities to play. My band COTQ plays even more frequently, almost once a week. Neither I nor the band has ever played outside Hawaii--it's very expensive and difficult to get off-island and set up shows!
My favorite venues here are Mercury Bar, thirtyninehotel, and Manifest. And Hawaii Theater!
CMM: What's next in the pipeline for you?
I'm going to keep working on music with my band (we're putting out an LP in a few months) and work on my own music as well with the hopes of putting together a beat tape at the end of the year with my best stuff.
I also just applied to the Red Bull Music Academy to be held in NYC this fall, so I hope to get accepted!
CMM: And finally, where can people reach out to you online and where can they get hold of your stuff?
SoundCloud has one-off tracks and other collections, and Bandcamp has the 'official' stuff.
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