Finding Direction: Wieuca Focuses Its Sound

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Wieuca will play at the Caledonia Lounge this Friday at 9 p.m.

Since its inception over three years ago, Athens four-piece Wieuca has remained dedicated to doing things its own way. Blending southern garage rock with a strong dose of psych pop, the group’s distinct musical approach has helped carve it a niche in the Classic City.

Wieuca first got its start in Fall 2012 when the band’s original members found themselves together in Athens for school. Equal parts personal and playful, the group initially got its name from a street frontman Will Ingram worked on.

“I worked for three years at this art center in north Atlanta. It was on West Wieuca,” Ingram says. “Basically, I wanted people to be scrolling through their phones, thinking it was a Wilco song and accidentally start listening to us instead.”

The group has put out several releases since its genesis, the most recent of which is a single called “Pressure Head.” 

The track opens with an odd soundscape of overlapping noises that the band says came out of months of home studio experimentation. Straying from the typical ambient technique of using fewer sounds, “Pressure Head” is something of an attempt to create ambience through sensory overload.

“With ‘Pressure Head,’ we decided that we could make ambient/noise sections that are less about letting one particular sound ring out for a long time and instead having it be kind of this complex texture of layers of non-heavy reverb sounds,” Ingram says.

Although the band’s members don’t brand themselves as perfectionists by any means, the lengthy amount of time Wieuca spent gestating “Pressure Head” is nothing new. The group generally does all of its own production, an approach that allows it to put as much time into a song as it needs to.

“It’s good to do everything kind of on our own time and leave a lot of room for studio experimentation,” Ingram says.

That said, even Wieuca’s members will admit that this process can get a bit lengthy. Without record label deadlines or the cost of extra studio time, being able to just call it a day is key to avoiding perpetual work on one song.

“Sometimes it’s good to have a deadline, and sometimes it’s not,” says Sam Kempe, the group’s bassist. “I’m notorious for having something sounding good and not being able to leave it.”

Despite the band’s previous time spent tweaking tracks recorded in kitchens and bathrooms, Wieuca doesn’t go out of its way to claim some DIY-only status. Better equipment often makes for a better sound, and the group’s members say they aren’t opposed to recording in more official facilities.

“We enjoy doing everything DIY, but as far as getting better sounds, doing things in less janky ways, we’re all for that,” Kempe says.

Wieuca is currently working on its next album, a release it hopes will be its most consistent. Although the group is still handling its own production, the members hope to make their recordings more cohesive by tracking them all similarly with better equipment.

“You can have nine songs recorded, and, if you did them all in different places and different circumstances, the production quality is going to be all over the place,” Kempe says. “A big focus of our newer recordings has been doing them all in one location and just making the production quality way more consistent all the way through.”

This dedication to consistency won’t just apply to production quality, though. Combining unlikely sounds has always been important to Wieuca, and the group hopes that its next release will more successfully forge disparate parts into a unified whole.

“I guess [with] all the styles we try to mix in a song, a certain song would always focus towards one of them, so they’d all be kind of contrasting in a way,” Kempe says. “These newer songs are definitely a lot more consistent.”

Stylistically, Wieuca fans can expect much of the band’s next album to be heavier than its previous offerings. Inspired in part by seeing Dead Confederate live, Ingram says he wanted the group’s new material to make for a more energetic performance.

In fact, many of the songs Wieuca has in the works have already been played live at some point. The band is always looking for ways to keep its show fresh, and testing new songs live seems like a win-win for Wieuca and its fans.

“It’s fun playing this high-energy stuff, kind of confronting the crowd,” Ingram says. “People have been reacting positively to it.”

Wieuca also works to keep its performances interesting by adding a visual aspect when possible. Recently, the band has used projected video to give its presence on stage a disorienting, psychedelic vibe.

These live projections aren’t Wieuca’s only foray into visual art, though. Several of the group’s members are artists themselves, and Ingram’s work especially has served to create something of a brand for the band.

“For me, personally, I was drawing before I knew how to play guitar, so it’s really just another outlet for me to do what I’ve always done,” Ingram says.

This passion for visual art often extends to the group’s physical releases, as well. Colorful art litters the inside of Wieuca CD cases, and goodies like a free poster or sticker are not unheard of.

“If someone’s gonna hold it in their hands, then it might as well be a physical piece of art and not just a vehicle for you to put it in your car and listen to it,” Ingram says.

While Wieuca’s next release probably won’t be finished until June, fans of the group should rest assured that there’s plenty more where that came from. Graduations continue to free up more and more of the band’s time from schoolwork, and this extra time is something Wieuca is excited to put into its artistry.

“Whatever we’ve done up to this point, we really haven’t even started as far as I’m concerned,” Ingram says.

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