Wychazel being interviewed by Morgana, about his 2013 album – White Wolf Spirit
(Morgana) What attracted you to Wolves as a subject?
(Wychazel) It’s mostly about their high-standing in Native American mythology. The white wolf is especially enigmatic because of its legendary ability to roam freely between the physical world and the spiritual planes of existence. It is said to walk with us during times of need in the role of protective spirit, teacher and friend. Aside from such cultural traditions, the wolf is a creature who understands the need for mutual support in order to survive and never takes more from the environment than it needs. There are clear lessons for humankind here – at least for anyone who wants to listen. From a recording standpoint, the sound of the wolf is a true gift; one of those rare sounds that can add the kind of primal atmosphere to a track that can’t be achieved any other way. The howl of the wolf, either solitary or in a pack, is immediately recognizable and so beautifully expressive when you hear it. All kinds of environmental images and atmospheres are conjured up in the imagination that you simply don’t find in musical genres other than New Age.
(Morgana) With your success producing the SHAMAN trilogy, was the approach to making White Wolf Spirit different?
(Wychazel) Shaman was all about authentic drumming within some pretty strict rules. There were no synths except to provide some environmental elements to enhance the idea of Vision Quest. Shaman was aimed more at the purists. White Wolf Spirit retains the Native American feel but is aimed at a broader musical appreciation: more Native American flutes and nebulous synths to provide a relaxing musical backdrop. The drums take a far lesser role, just there to provide a hypnotic pulse really – a heartbeat. Atmospherics feature more prominently too – all intended to enhance the imagery, a sense of what it might be like to take a Shamnic journey through the realm of the white wolf.
(Morgana) What does the WILD series mean to you is it something you relate to in your own life?
(Wychazel) I’m looking forward to the WILD series because it is a great opportunity to re-visit some of the original sentiments that established the New Age music genre in the first place. New Age music started out as an alternative lifestyle thing – being all about atmospheres and environments. One of the strengths of the series is that it will involve most of the artists on the label, all giving our individual takes along a common set of themes. It will interesting to hear how it all comes together.
(Morgana) Is it difficult to record and perform on such authentic and ancient instruments such as Native American flutes and drums?
(Wychazel) It presents different challenges than those you come across with synth recording because you have to mess about with microphones. The trial and error that goes into deciding which mics to use and where best to place them in relation to the instruments can take a while. Most instruments have an acoustic “sweetspot” where you site the mic for the sound you want but it can take a while to find.
(Morgana) What are your top 2 favorite Wychazel CD’s so far and why?
(Wychazel) Tricky question – you’ll have to forgive me for cheating here (laughs) because one choice has to be Shaman, and there are 3 albums in the trilogy. A lot of research and recording challenges went into Shaman and it turned out to be my most popular work so far, even receiving validation from the Native American fraternity. This album has been key in establishing my Wychazel name (not to mention the award) so it has a special place in my heart. Less successful but my first choice for musical and atmospheric reasons is Walkabout.
(Morgana) What else do you plan or hope to produce soon?
(Wychazel) I am currently working on another album for the WILD series: “Ocean Life”. No percussion in this one – lots of slow synths with environmental atmospherics such as ocean waves (above and below) dolphins, whalesong and gulls. It sounds very wet and immersive so far Also to come later this year will be “Temptation”, a more rhythmical album with an eastern-ethnic feel. Both projects are very different.
(Morgana) Do you think the WILD series will raise some awareness and attention to endagered species and environments?
(Wychazel) It is a nice thought isn’t it – if only! There has been an increasing awareness and media comment during the last year or so about our fundamental need to reconnect with nature and I hope the WILD series helps the cause. At the very least, I hope people will find our brand of music offers some welcome respite from the hectic pace and issues of modern life, taking the listener to the kind of peaceful places and natural settings where they’d most like to be.