04 November 2013
Fresh Meat Monday - The Great Albatross
Would you care to introduce yourself?
I am Wesley Chung of The Great Albatross.
How would you describe the music you make?
Indie/pop or maybe Indie/folk/pop, I suppose those would be the tag-lines. The songs usually revolve around my voice and an acoustic guitar, so there is a strong element of the “singer/songwriter” genre as well.
How did you start out making music?
I started playing saxophone and piano early on but fell in love with guitar at 13. I started writing music at 15 in a terrible band called “Funk Crusaders,” then moved on to my high school pop-punk/ska band “Bangarang” (later called “Adam the Brave”). Then from 2004-2011, I led a band called “Boris Smile.” Towards the end of Boris Smile I began writing songs for my solo project “The Great Albatross,” which I am continuing with the help of some friends and contributors.
What process goes into the way you write songs?
Typically it all starts with music; I’ll be playing something and I hear two chords that sound great together, and I start building the song from there. After I have an idea of the verses and chorus, I then begin the hard work of writing lyrics. Song writing has become a much slower process for me in the last few years because I’m putting more time into crafting my words. I usually start lyric writing with either an idea or narrative that resonates with me. From there I’ll write the lyrics in tandem with the music. I also try to consider certain themes associated with the album or EP the song will be apart of; I’ll be more thematically intentional in writing a song for a concept record than for an album that deals with a few themes. All in all, I’ve been putting much more thought, care, and time into my songwriting over the past few years and I think it is paying off (suppose the critics will be the judge of that).
What can people expect from your live shows?
Well, the only thing people can definitely expect from our live shows is that I’ll be there with my guitar. Outside of that, my pal Malcolm Black is the only consistent “member.” Sometimes we do full band, other times it will be just me and Malcolm, or just me. Sometimes this is out of necessity, but it is mostly because I like to switch it up and I enjoy hearing how the songs are interpreted with different instrumentation. My hope for every show is that the performance would communicate the essence of the songs in an authentic way (most easily done when performed acoustic), though the different instrumentation and arrangements of full band bring out subtle nuances within the music which keep the songs fresh and a bit more vibrant. I really enjoy performing acoustic and full band, and think the music should be heard both ways.
What are you all listening to at the moment?
At the moment I’ve been listening to Frightened Rabbit, LAKE, Into It. Over It., Vampire Weekend, Sucre, and Chvrches (mixed in with a bit of 90’s R&B, Emo, and some singer/songwriters).
What can we expect to see/hear from you in the future?
We just released a split 7” picture disc with the incredibly talented Evan Weiss of Into It. Over It. on Struggletown Records (UK). And soon we’ll release our first 7” entitled “Roots” on Count Your Lucky Stars Records in the US. Then the rest of next year will be continuing to work on our full length record and playing some more shows (and hopefully some festivals as well).