Kenny Choi (Daphne Loves Derby/Wolftron) -...
|Hello Kenny – thank you for taking the time out to talk to us. How are things going right now with your life in general? |
Kenny: Thank you for the interview. Life is very pleasant right now! I have my Sunshine, Wall.E comes out today, and a camping trip is in the works. Things can't get any betterrrr!
You have just recently released your new solo album under the Wolftron moniker – are you happy with the response that you have gotten so far?
Kenny: In the back of my head, I was very anxious to find out what people would think of the songs. I have always had this feeling of falling short of my expectations whenever I write... so it was only natural to doubt the album near the end. (especially after ceaselessly hearing the songs) I feel so fulfilled and fortunate knowing that people are enjoying Flesh & Fears. I don't care if a review give me zero stars... I just want people to enjoy it. For the love of music!!!!!
Your online bio for Wolftron compares you to One AM Radio, Sigur Ros, and Iron & Wine. That's pretty heavy stuff. Do you make any efforts to channel those influences, or is that just PR speak?
Kenny: I have most likely clocked more hours listening to Iron and Wine than anything else on my ipod. Even if I try to wander away, I feel that those bands will always guide my hand in some way. If I can make songs half as beautiful as them, I will die happy. It's a very tall mountain to climb though.
It seems like some people are enjoying Wolftron that might not have been able to get into Daphne Loves Derby. Did you think there would be a lot of crossover appeal between fans of the two bands, or was Wolftron expected to reach a different audience entirely?
Kenny: It was a surprise to see so many new people showing interest in Wolftron. To be honest, I know I did not rise to the occasion at times with Daphne. Maybe I always tried too hard... With Flesh & Fears, I was in my element. I got to work on the songs in the very room I wrote them. No need to show it to anyone... no distractions. I think that was the only difference. There was no master plan to try and draw new people in.
Do you consider Wolftron a one-off at this point, or do you want to continue the project? Any plans for future touring strictly as Wolftron, or will you always piggyback dates with DLD if at all?
Kenny: Once the next Daphne album is done, I plan on making a very stripped down album for Wolftron. Songs you can play with one guitar, and one voice. I also have plans to make another side project that sounds like a blend of choral music, 80's pop, Sigur Ros, and those huge movie compositions. Just try to imagine epic stadium drums over the Jurassic Park theme song... Maybe you should just trust the idea for now. Don't judge. I don't have any plans for Wolftron shows right now. I would love to play some acoustic shows in the future though.
How did you end up working with Eyeball for the release of Flesh and Fears? Who are your favorite acts on the label?
Kenny: I have been friends with Eyeball for a while; and everyone always seemed smart and genuinely friendly. I would not have been able to make this album without them.. I feel very lucky that they gave me this opportunity. Thursday used to be on Eyeball. Everyone has had a Thursday phase! Man Without Wax are my hometown friends and label-mates. I wish them the best.
Have you incorporated any of the sonic elements from Wolftron as an influence into new Daphne Loves Derby material? What can we expect future offerings to sound like and do you have a timeframe for a next release?
Kenny: I feel that the coming Daphne album will be better than Wolftron. I am more satisfied than ever with some of the new songs we have written. The new songs are very dynamic and colorful. Hopefully the album will be out sometime this year. We might just record it ourselves.
What is the status of DLD's lineup? Are Jason and Spencer done for good?
Kenny: We are a three piece now; and it will always stay that way. Having less instruments and minds being involved in the writing process has helped us stay more focused and honest with the songs. All we need are those crazy mic stands that Korn used to use. Daphne will be a legitimate band then.
What was it like working with Matt Squire on Good Night, Witness Light? Does it surprise you to see how huge of a producer he has become over the years?
Kenny: Being in the studio with Matt was a very good experience. He is very good at what he does... so it's no surprise to see him doing well. I'm sure the good karma from being a wonderful people has helped him out too. We were lucky to have worked with both Casey Bates and Matt Squire. I learned so much about recording from both of them. I would not have been able to make the Wolftron album without their help in the past.
A lot of our users wanted to know when we might see a full version of "Ergo Propter" surface somewhere – do you have any comment on that?
Kenny: It's very hard to find the motivation to work on older stuff. I feel bad, but I don't think that song will ever live again. Maybe if the president asks me to do it...
Can you talk about the influence of The Truman Show on the song titles of Good Night, Witness Light? Was it sort of arbitrary or did it influence you deeper than that?
Kenny: The message in that movie really stirred my soul. I actually saw it for the first time while in the studio; and connected with it so much. The movie was a visual manifestation of the emotions I was trying to capture in a lot of my lyrics.
You guys were really one of the first "internet success stories" where tons of plays on purevolume got you noticed by tons of listeners and industry folk. How does it make you feel now to see bands inflating their myspace play counts through shady means? Do you think you would have broken through just the same if you were competing in today's environment?
Kenny: There is no way we would have been successful right now. So many opportunities in life are driven by timing alone. The internet was growing so fast. There was still a lot of space to fill back then. I don't care at all if bands are creating fake plays. What is wrong with people just trying everything they can to share their music? Bands are too serious about the wrong things. I hate how some people become bitter when bands they find "bad" gaining success. Even if you think it's the most cheese-ball songs in the world, doesn't it still mean someone out there is enjoying it? What else does music need to be? (ps.... everyone thinks Daphne cheated, but I swear on everything good we didntttttt)
Sort of a random question here – what sort of gear do you use to play and did you use anything special to record the Wolftron record? Was it really just done on a ProTools setup?
Kenny: The drums were recorded on a Digi 002, but everything else was on my Mbox. The most expensive mic I used was a 200 dollar M-Audio Luna I bought from Casey a few years ago. I mixed everything with headphones and the car stereo. I think I went through the process of burning a song, and listening to it in the car over a 150 times. I know that the album doesn't sound amazing, but I am still proud of it. Anyone can do this at home if they buy an Mbox. Don't waste your money on expensive gear.
Last question – what are you listening to and/or reading right now? Any new favorites we should be checking out?
Kenny: The new Reign Of Kindo album is beautiful. I can't wait until everyone can hear it. New Coldplay, Sigur Ros, and My Morning Jacket... oh goodness I love it!! I've been listening to M. Ward a lot again. "Transfigurations of Vincent" is my favorite album of his. If you like piano music... listen to the "Solo Piano" album by Gonzales, and "Back to Basics" by Ryuichi Sakamoto. Their compositions make me dizzy.
Thanks for your time!
Kenny: Take care man! Thanks again for the interview.
11:53 AM on 07/02/08
Big ups to Lonny and Kenny for making this happen - thanks guys :)
12:11 PM on 07/02/08
Nice interview... wish it was longer though!
12:18 PM on 07/02/08
good interview... i saw them play a few months back and they were just amazing (the simplicity was great)... and they were all super nice guys!
12:19 PM on 07/02/08
good interview, the Wolftron album is amazing, he has a crazy good ear for arrangements, and I think that the recording sound quite impressive
12:22 PM on 07/02/08
great interview, Kenny seems like a really awesome guy.
12:26 PM on 07/02/08
life in the greenhouse effect
Anyone who likes The Reign Of Kindo is good enough for me
12:31 PM on 07/02/08
nice interview. im stoked to see the side project he mentioned combining jurassic park with epic stadium drums... seems interesting, long way off, but interesting nonetheless.
12:44 PM on 07/02/08
Blue moon, where are you today?
01:01 PM on 07/02/08
good interview. Kenny seems like a really down to earth guy.
01:22 PM on 07/02/08
the jurrasic park songs sounds intense
definitely excited for that
02:16 PM on 07/02/08
I have the Lefevre Fever. Catch it!
gahhhh! i love the new wolftron album, and anything DLD! i wish i could at least hear a full version of the old "ergo propter" at least. that thirty second or so clip i have sticks into my head so much. oh well, i guess.
03:22 PM on 07/02/08
Wolftron far surpassed Daphne Loves Derby in my mind, but I think if the new DLD is as simple and honest as he says it is, it will be fantastic. Not saying I don't like DLD, but I think a simpler DLD will be a better DLD.