Electronic music pioneers Way Out West (AKA Nick Warren & Jody Wisternoff) are back – not only with a brand-new album ‘Tuesday Maybe’ recently released on Ajunadeep; a label renowned as a hotbed of talent, but now also with a much-demanded fresh UK Tour in 2018.
Way Out West’s flaring creative output seemingly never ceases – a style demonstrated by their recently released album ‘Tuesday Maybe’. Praised by Billboard for it’s “majestic and soothing” vibe, the album marks the end of an eight-year release hiatus that has done nothing but render the pair’s return as emphatic and as welcome as it could possibly be. Support for the new music has come thick and fast across the board from the likes of Pete Tong, Lee Burridge and John Digweed.
We catch up with the guys to discuss the making of the album and an insight into their highly anticipated UK tour.
Hi Nick & Jody, how’s it going with you two? To get right to it, there’s a certain kind of buzz around your upcoming UK tour in 2018, as Way Out West Live, you guys are slated to perform at cities such as Leeds, Manchester, Bristol to name some, was there a conscious decision to choose some cities over others, what factors if any were in play?
Jody – Hey mate, going very well thanks. Yep, we are extremely excited about this tour early next year as we feel the album has definitely connected with our UK fan base. The majority of our touring is abroad these days so it’s great to feel the support back home, and it will be nice to get to sleep in my own bed once or twice during a tour. The cities we have chosen are where we feel the demand is strongest.
Nick – We were contacted by a promoter who had these cities in mind and we were more than happy to go with his idea. Tickets are flying out and it’s going to be great doing an old-fashioned style of tour with us loading ourselves and our gear into a transit van and doing the tour in live venues rather than the more usual club environment.
Way Out West has just released the Tuesday Maybe album this summer, how did the ideas germinate for this offering, did you guys consciously decide to go in one direction and treat the tracks to keep to that vibe or aesthetics?
Jody – We’ve been working on this album on and off for years so many of the tracks went through multiple incarnations due to road-testing and taste change before reaching fruition, plus we have both been juggling solo careers and constant touring which all have an influence on creativity. So no, the album was definitely not written in a linear sense. However, we did work with a mix engineer for the first time so this could explain why there is a certain sonic coherence.
Nick – We worked into the way we always do to be honest, just get busy writing and see how the whole thing comes together, both of us write sketches and fire them back and forth, we always end up with too many tracks to choose from and pick the ones we feel fit the album.
Let’s talk about getting vocalists such as Liu Bei, Doe Paoro, Krister Linder for example to collaborate on some of the tracks, is that an important aspect that Way Out West likes to take in their strides?
Jody – Personally, I am a big fan of vocal tracks as you have probably noticed if you check my solo releases, and we were lucky enough to hook up with some really talented singers for this record who delivered amazing performances. Albums just feel like they need a certain amount of actual songs to keep the balance right, this is what distinguishes them from EP’s in my opinion.
Nick – We have always used vocalists in our tracks from day one really, a good mix of strong instrumental and sample based tracks alongside the vocal ones is our trademark sound.
Was it a conscious decision to keep things dance floor friendly, as opposed to going for down tempo pieces?
Jody – Not really, there are tons of unfinished downtempo tracks we started but as things came together the more clubby stuff took priority (possibly with the live show in mind). However, we do plan to release downtempo versions of certain album tracks alongside a few other new pieces.
Nick- As Jody has mentioned we are doing a selection of more chilled tracks from the album to release soon alongside some unreleased chill out tracks.
Also, why the 6-year break since your last album release, did you two decide to get away from producing stuff for any particular reason, other than your busy schedules?
Jody – We’ve actually been working on it together for all this time, alongside our solo production and touring schedules. There has never been a decision to stop working on wow material, since about 1993. The length of about 3 average marriages may I add.
Nick – Years just slip by really, we never decided to stop WOW for a while we just had so much on and both are very busy DJing constantly, but the Way Out West studio is still a joint partnership and we get in there whenever we can together.
To digress a bit, Nick you’ve had early influences from the likes of Depeche Mode, New Order, Underworld to name some, with Jody’s likeness for Hip Hop and Hardcore back in the day, do you think your music has strains of these styles, influenced your own music from when you two were starting out as Way Out West, and has it been easy to keep moving with the times, change things up, how’s that been working out for the brand?
Nick – From the early days I think you can hear that, especially in tracks like Domination and lots of the first album. These days our tastes are more aligned than they were back then.
How long did the entire spectrum of the album take you guys to finish?
Nick – Bloody ages, around 6 years as we did start some of the tracks straight after we finished the last one.
Jody – Roughly 70000 hours
Out of the eleven tracks, any favorite pieces in there for either of you?
Nick – Lullaby, Tuesday and Diamond Dust are my favorites.
Jody – Oceans and Tuesday Maybe are probably my 2 favourites, although I do love all my children equally.
How did the idea of getting Lost & Found’s main man Guy J to do a remix come about, did you want to make this piece as a highlight of the pack, by way of his reinterpretation?
Nick – Guy reached out to me asking for the parts some time ago, he is a huge fan of WOW as we are of him so it was a perfect fit, he rocked it with that remix.
Can you share about the rapport and relations with Anjunadeep label, is it a close bond you guys share spanning over several years?
Jody – I’ve been working closely with the label since 2011 for my solo releases, and from 2015 onwards mixing all the Anjunadeep compilations and taking care of A&R duties alongside James Grant. All things considered, this is a natural home for WOW.
Nick – Jody has been involved for a long time, from my perspective they are a rock-solid team with real enthusiasm for what they do and a belief in us with a really professional outlook.
Chasing solo careers for both of you, are there any downsides to sit down for collaborations between the two of you, or have you guys craved a method to the madness, like say taking time off for certain parts of the year where you dedicate it to the productions?
Jody – It’s not really feasible to take 3 to 6 months off to write an album like it was back in the day, and luckily a lot of work can be done on the road. Infant, its an extremely important part of the creative process. However, for mixing duties and analog synth sessions its all about sitting down in the studio. We always find the time to do this.
Nick – We have worked together for so long now and its the same fit and just as easy as it was at the beginning, a very natural process.
Tell us about the impending UK tour coming up in 2018, what are you doing this time around as opposed to your previous outings?
Jody – We are playing in band venues as opposed to clubs. Visually, things will be more involved and interactive as we will be touring with our VJ.
Nick – As I mentioned at the top we are out on the road as most bands do, no frills and demands like DJ’s do, pile the stuff in a van and get out there and rock it.
About your technical setup, what’s cooking there? Any additions, some things you may have found exciting to bring in?
Jody – Ableton Live based (no surprise there), APC40mk2, Roland SPD-SX, various efx and as we are not flying we may bring some precious analogue synths from the studio.
Do you guys share roles while playing live, something one or the other looks out to do during your time on stage?
Jody – Our roles are generally fixed, Nick triggering samples/keys and I’m on Ableton duties.
Are you guys planning to showcase unreleased music and or mix and match the old ones with the new, how’s that for an idea?
Jody – The show is a mixture of new material and a few classics brought up to date.
Nick – It’s a mix of old and new with some new remixes of classics from our catalogue.
Information on Way Out West’s 2018 Live UK Tour can be found here