Show Preview + Interview / WHY?


WHY? + Sarah Jaffe
Mr. Small’s / 06.22 / 7:00 Doors / $15

Yoni Wolf started performing as WHY? in the mid 90s in Ohio, and later used the name for the new band he formed in 2004. Since then, the band has explored and expanded the boundaries between indie rock and hip-hop while Wolf has rapped rather openly and prolifically about his life as a musician, his emotions, and modern culture. As a combination, it’s remarkably listenable and engaging, and stands out as a unique point in the current indie music landscape. WHY? released an EP, Sod In The Seed, last August and an LP, Mumps, etc., last October and are now back to touring, with a stop in Pittsburgh on Saturday night. They also just announced yesterday a Kickstarter project to finish making a documentary about the recording process behind Mumps, etc..

In looking forward to this show, we exchanged emails with frontman Yoni Wolf and asked him a few questions. Read on for his answers! Their stop at Mr. Small’s in two days’ time will be with Denton, TX singer-songwriter Sarah Jaffe. She’ll play some innovative pop tunes with a folksy bent to them. Just check out her awesomely beautiful tune “Clementine” for a preview. In the meantime, you can buy tickets online for this show, and RSVP at Opus One’s Facebook event.

DUL: What’s in the works for WHY? these days? Working on a new album? Touring? Anything new to share?

Yoni Wolf (YW): We are currently on tour. When we were home, we were building out a room in my brother’s basement in which to record. Hopefully we will be working on some new material soon. I have also been working on a podcast called THE WANDERING WOLF.

DUL: How do you write lyrics? Do you strive to convey ideas, or do you search for phrases that “sound cool”, or both? And how do you keep track of them? Do you have a “lyrics notebook” or is it more of a mental memory thing?

YW: Lately I have just been jotting things down in ‘notepad’ on my phone. In the past I would write on little scraps of paper and end up with bags full of them. I write what The Universe would have me write. I follow the gut, not the head.

DUL: What would be your ideal touring lineup of bands to play with?

YW: Bob Dylan in 1965 (with The Band) (headlining)
Dirty Projectors (middleing)
Joanna Newsom solo (opening)

[Ed. note: Awesome choices.]

DUL: What inspired the fan submission music video contest? How do you think it all turned out? How did you pick the winner? [See above.]

YW: The contest was inspired by a video our cousin made for one of our songs. There were a whole lot of really great videos submitted but the one that won was unanimously chosen by all.

DUL: Any recent books read/movies seen/albums listened to that you really dig and people should know about?

YW: Just started reading Tai Pai by Tao Lin. Pretty good so far. My favorite newish movie would have to be The Master. It is amazing! Also like the documentary about Rodriguez and Rodriguez’s album, Cold Facts.

[Ed. note: Check out our other post from today which ties into this nicely.]

DUL: What can we expect at a WHY? live show? What do you hope to achieve?

YW: We hope everyone has a great time and also comes away from the show feeling inspired and invigorated. Hopefully we will achieve this.

DUL: Any thoughts/experiences of Pittsburgh? Anything you’re looking forward to? Want any recommendations?

YW: We always appreciate healthy, farm-to-table style restaurant suggestions.


Thanks for “chatting” with us! Looking forward to the show and to being inspired and invigorated! Very much with you on the Rodriguez recommendation, too.

WHY? on the web: Website / Facebook / Twitter / YouTube / Merch / Insound

Sarah Jaffe on the web: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Merch / Insound


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