Wudun

Jacksonville band Wudun describes themselves as “a virtual telephone game.” With their southern take on shoe-gaze, the band experiments with what it means to relay stories through the mediums of music and performance. Wudun’s Jeremiah Johnson was able to answer a few questions about the bluesy low-fi trio. BY FAITH BENNETT

For starters, he tackles why they create music in the first place. He says, “I think it’s often a coping mechanism or a self-help thing. It’s a way to express something and get it outside of yourself, so you can look at it a bit more objectively.” Thus the plots in their narratives often come from real experiences. But not always. “Sometimes you just see pictures and hear things and have to get them out,” he says.
They also create music for the pleasure of working with each other. “There’s a mutual respect, and we are all very empathic,” he says. “If we took a Myers-Briggs, we’d probably all lean heavily into the intuitive and emotional sides of things. So we all communicate on a level that a lot of people don’t trust or understand, so it bonds us together a bit more.”
They have recently regrouped and begun playing shows after an unintentional two year hiatus. During it they did not lose their bond with each other. He calls their hiatus “inevitable,” and went on the describe why, noting that he had gone on tour with Ben Cooper, and Wudun member Adam Mills had temporarily moved to L.A. to do sound engineering work. Furthermore, there was the quest for personal growth. “We had finished this initial cycle and grown the band into the thing we wanted. We could play any song in an assortment of styles and just change it up each show based on mood or desire. We had become much more of a unit than a collection of individuals, so it seemed time to move into the next area of exploration,” he explained.
Johnson is clear in stating that, for the band, live performances and digital recordings are very different to work with. Their recorded sound touches most heavily on the 2010s reincarnation of shoe-gaze but with both surfy and swampy touches. It also doesn’t stray far from a newer genre called “doom folk”. Live, however, Wudun is more about the experience. Johnson says, “I don’t quite understand telling stories with music personally, just relaying emotional experiences,” which explains why the band is so interested in combining their music with projections and images. “Adding the images allows it to function in narrative form–makes it all click.” But Johnson is emphatic that the stories told are ultimately subjective: “In the end, I have no idea what we have to offer, because it’s currently locked away somewhere in the invisible.”
Although Wudun recently uploaded the entirety of their first album to Soundcloud for free streaming, they still don’t put too much emphasis on the availability of their music online. They don’t really feel the need to connect with bigger companies such as iTunes and Spotify. “If you are just trying to let people hear your stuff and maybe take donations from the work, and want to remain independent, then there is no method that is lower cost and higher penetration than the online systems we already have in place,” says Johnson.
Johnson also has an interesting take on the music industry. “In the future, it may very well be that all art and music is shared and supported through systems like these. There may not even be a true ‘industry’ any more. Just a loose collection of ‘tribal’ music cultures, all bound by a love of a mood or sound or feeling, rather than any genre definitions that existed in the time of commercial work. That’d be fun, huh?”
The band has certainly gone through their share of changes and earned their share of respect locally. Furthering their reach once more, they are planning on taking part in Sun Ray Cinema’s Push Play series. On December 15, they will be performing in the theater before a special screening of the classic film Naked Lunch. It will be a unique experience involving a unique band, surely an event to mark on your calendar.

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