Wand focuses on ‘noises and textures’ on new record “Golem”

Laura Rostad, Staff Reporter

Psych-rock band Wand released its new record “Golem” on Wednesday, following up its debut release of “Ganglion Reef” last spring.

“Golem” features nine raucous tracks with heavy electric guitar, slamming drums, and deep synths, accompanied by Hanson’s hypnotic vocals. The idea behind “Golem” was an album that would closely resemble the band’s live sound. The Los Angeles based outfit includes vocalist, guitarist and synth player Cory Hanson, drummer Evan Burrows, guitarist Daniel Martens and bassist Lee Landey.

“We wanted to make a live-oriented record where we were performing all the songs pretty much the way they were going to sound in the end, with a couple added things,” Hanson said. “In the end we added a lot of stuff, like little noises and textures. ‘Golem’ was more about preserving the performances, whereas I think ‘Ganglion Reef’ was more of studio record in terms of there being a lot of melodies and sounds.”

These “noises and textures” really highlight the psychedelic aspect Wand’s psych-rock ambiance. The intricate layerings of sounds are audible throughout “Golem.” The band combined a series of field recordings, analog equipment and studio effects to achieve these sounds.

“I like to use both worlds because at a certain point they connect harmoniously in this weird way,” Hanson said. “You can make a really nice sounding analog record and you use processing from your computer to make it. It doesn’t have to be one or the other, that’s for sure.”

Hanson said he brings most of his song ideas to the band so they can collaborate as a group. During the creating and song writing process of “Ganglion Reef,” Wand was not officially a band yet; however, the whole group was much more involved with the mixing process for “Golem.”

“Usually we talk a lot,” Hanson said. “I’ll write a whole song and come in and be like ‘I got this song, but I don’t know if it’s any good.’ Then I’ll play it for everybody and we’ll learn it and then stop and go ‘Now what just happened?’ and talk about the experience of the playing the song and what could be different. It’s a pretty dialogue-driven song writing relationship that we all have. We have a lot of talking and sorting the finer details out. For the most part I’ll come up with an idea on the way to practice and be like what if we did this? And a lot of times it doesn’t work out, and sometimes it does.”

The members of Wand started playing together during the time they attended California Institute of the Arts, which is located in Valencia, not too far from Los Angeles. Prior to that, Hanson and Landey, both grew up amidst the Los Angeles music scene.

“We’ve seen and been super influenced by a lot of the bands that have come out of the Los Angeles scene, especially the early Smell days and bands like No Age,” Hanson said. “I used to play shows in LA when I was 15 or 16. That was around the time that Ty [Segall] was playing in Epsilons and they were a crazy Orange County band.”

The amorphous music scene of Los Angeles is coated with punk, rock and psychedelic influences. Like many of the bands that are born in Los Angeles, Wand can’t be neatly tucked away in any single scene or genre.

“Los Angeles is constantly folding onto itself all the time; scenes will pop up and things will happen and in an instance they’re gone,” Hanson said. “There isn’t a scene that I can say Wand is apart of. We’re affiliated with some things, but I don’t know if I can say those are really scenes either.” 

Wand will take the stage at 10 p.m. on Sunday at Siberia. Opening acts feature local swamp rock group Babes and garage rock band Mystery Lights.

“Last time I played in New Orleans my guitar got smashed in half,” Hanson said, “so we’ll see what happens this time.”