Tell us your real names, country of birth, date of birth and childhood experience.

(Alex) Alex Minier, USA, July 17th 1987, born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. I grew up playing football, taking piano lessons from my cousin, and singing in church choirs. I switched from cello to bass thinking that it would be more fun in orchestra. Anyone who has played in an orchestra at any level will know this was a foolish mistake. I feel like I won out in the long run, though.

 

(Elizagrace) Elizagrace Madrone, USA, January 21 1987.  Born in a bathtub in Northern California under a bunch of Douglas fir trees. I came up through poetry and theatre, rather than music – which means my early poetry was exactly as embarrassing as you’re imagining.

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Tell us about your music career, your band name, musical background, experience and skills.

(Alex) I’ve been a sideman for a number of years and have been lucky enough to find a great community of musicians, songwriters, and other artists that made this transition to bandleader much easier than it might have been.

Wool Sucker comes from our cat, Max. When he was a kitten he was infatuated with a fuzzy robe of mine and would always chew it and knead it. I later found this was called “wool sucking” – it’s such a gross and obscene-sounding term for something cute and harmless. I think those juxtapositions are rich and interesting. Also we want to horn in on the cat-obsessed culture of the internet and ride that wave to stardom!

All the musicians in the band have traditional training but grew up listening to popular music. In my house we listened to oldies radio and NPR exclusively until I was in middle school. Somewhere in there I discovered grunge and rap and, later, indie and jazz. I never stopped loving The Beatles, though. The rest of the guys have their own stories of discovery and obsession and I think we’ve worked so well because we have enough overlap to have a shared language but enough distinct experience that we can still give each other listening assignments (how is it that I missed Morphine until Cody told me to check them out?!).

 

(Elizagrace) My music career is – you’re listening to it. Like I said, I’m mostly a poet/ playwright/performer and just occasionally a lyricist. When Alex and I started writing together it was with the intention of building this strange world we wanted to create and that was really just the two of us scribbling with a guitar for a long time. The first time we brought a set of tunes into the room and I got to hear Cody ,Jeff and Andrew breathe life into the music it was – literally breathtaking. I still feel so lucky that I get to write for this incredible group of musicians.

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Tell us about your genre, concept and idea behind your music video and the song.

(Alex) We finally landed on  “supernatural art rock.” We don’t know what it means and we like it that way.

This song is from the perspective of a rusalka–a water spirit from Russian folklore who seduces and drowns her victims, usually in stagnant water. The video is our modernized version of that with its own parallels and implications. It’s also gender-swapped which I always think is interesting even if it doesn’t lead you to any deep discovery about the piece.

 

(Elizagrace) I think I probably have to take the blame for this one – and my slight obsession with fairy-tales and myth and especially Russian stories. Russian stories have a dark and delicate sort of detailed richness that I can’t get enough of. I’m also really, really interested in flipping stories around and looking at them through the point of view of the silent characters – who are so often women. I’m also pretty fond of having Alex to sing songs written from the point of view of female characters. I always want more of those.

The video allowed us to play with those ideas without getting too lost in this fantasy world – we do like to keep those “ghostly” pieces thoroughly grounded in a concrete-and-dirty-streets kind of reality. Also, it was just fun to make – we got lucky in having a good friend take on the entire direction and filmmaking for us and she really got into the flavor of it all.

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Tell us everything that we need to know about you as a musician and the ups and downs you have faced in the music business.

(Alex) I wouldn’t describe it as ups and downs so much as a slow grind. While it can be frustrating, there’s a certain peace and clarity that comes from simply knowing that you need to work and that there’s no easy answer or shortcut, that you just have to keep moving forward.

All you need to know about me as a musician is that I’m always looking for a way to the simple truths. In songwriting, in a melody, in a solo, whatever it is, find the point and get to it as quickly and honestly as possible. You can tell the best lies if you do it honestly.

 

(Elizagrace) As someone who’s only peripherally in the music business, outside of this band, I’m actually very lucky – I’ve gotten to work with some amazing composers and musicians on really out-there projects, because that’s what people seek me out for. That said – yeah. I’m still in the arts and I occasionally dream about having the luxury to turn down work, which is just not an option right now if I also want to pay rent. The best projects so often pay the least, too.

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Tell us about other members of your band, music producer, crew or music video director, how the song was recorded and how the music video was shot.

(Alex) Elizagrace and I usually bounce things back and forth a lot which was not the case with Rusalka. I had a melody and chords sketched out, she had some lyrics already written, and we fleshed out the rest of the song pretty quickly–would they were all so easy. After that we brought it to the guys and what I had imagined as a small, nervous, fidgety tune became this ominous behemoth of a song that quickly became a fan favorite as well as one of ours. Recording was pretty straightforward, too; we set up in Kevin Salem’s barn in Woodstock and played it down. Some of the weirder sounds were overlaid later, including the cymbal squeaks and the less-identifiable pitch-shifted kitchen bowls (everything is a percussion instrument if you want it enough). This is also one of a few tracks on the album that has live vocals.

As for the video, all credit goes to Mallory Kinney. She has been working with us for a while as a sort of unofficial director, helping to shape our live shows and the weird things we do with them. Nobody outside of the band knows our dogma and the mythology of the world we play in better than she does, so it’s absolutely perfect that she was able to direct our first music video.  She and Elizagrace worked out the concept and the story while I chimed in unhelpfully. From there to coaching me through scenes to the last shred of editing was all her. It’s because of her immense talent and hard work that we’re able to understand this deeply strange and supernatural story in the span of just a few minutes. Plus as a little easter egg all of the band members find their way into the video at some point.

 

(Elizagrace) I’m just going to repeat how much of the credit goes to Mallory Kinney for the music video, and also what a pleasure it was for me to watch Kevin work with the band in the studio.

And again, from my point of view as the resident writer – while Alex and I are the songwriters and leading weirdnesses of Wool Sucker, there’s no world in which this band exists without Jeff, Cody and Andrew. Every tune is an ensemble creation. I’m using theatre language again. But honestly – they’re irreplaceable.

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Tell us how long you have been in the music industry, your experience and your future goal.

(Alex) I moved to New York a little over six years ago which is when I really mark my introduction into the industry. I’ve been fortunate enough to play with a ton of amazing people and I plan to continue doing that. My only goal is to make a living playing great music with great people so… I guess two out of three is okay.

 

(Elizagrace) I got into the music industry by moving to New York about five years ago and falling into bad company – which is where I met Alex. It turns out that if you write odd arrhythmic poetry and you hang out with jazz musicians, you end up making strange things together.

I’m lucky enough as both a songwriter and a playwright to work with a lot of people who blend music and theatre and poetry in about ten thousand different ways, so I’m already living a lot of my dreams. With any luck we’ll simultaneously put out multiple platinum records and stage a few sold-out plays based on the music of Wool Sucker – hence achieving the “making a living” part. Small goals, right?

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Tell us what inspires you to write, compose and sing.

(Alex)

The other artists doing great work around us. The world coming apart at the seams. The small gestures that stitch it all back together.

 

(Elizagrace)

The power of creating the world you see through your eyes, which isn’t the same world anyone else sees and that incredible ability of music to drag other people into that world with you. Also it’s probably a compulsion. I think we’re maybe both a little compulsive.

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Tell us the secret behind making a hit song.

(Alex) A working knowledge of common tone diminished sevenths. And luck. Mostly luck.

 

(Elizagrace) Oh, we’re not allowed to tell you that. We know. We definitely know. We can’t say it out loud, is all. But if anyone out there thinks they know and wants to check – just text us your secret to how to write a hit song and we’ll tell you if you’re right.

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Tell us the message you will like to pass to your fans out there.

(Elizagrace & Alex) We know you’re out there. We’re coming for you.

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Tell the kind of advice you will give to an upcoming artist.

(Alex) Learn everything. Do everything. Expect to do it all yourself and be excited when someone wants to give you a hand.

 

(Elizagrace) Just – be excited. Be excited to work hard, be excited to meet other artists, be excited about your own work, be excited about other people’s work. And, you know, meet us for commiseration drinks at the Up And Coming Artist Bar.

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Elaborate on your music careers, albums, songs, tours, recognition or awards you might have obtained.

We’re positive the accolades will start flowing in as soon as Plastic Wings is released but in the meantime – our music been publically paired with Ryemageddon Rye Whiskey by a true connoisseur (shoutout to Rachna Hukmani, resident whiskey genius).

We can imagine no higher honor.

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List Radio or TV Stations that are airing your songs and blogs that have featured you as well and send message to them via this platform.

http://playlists.net/new-indie-monthly-tracks

https://www.midtnmusic.com/wool-sucker-rusalka-drown-with-me/

http://welovethat.de/2017/wool-sucker-rusalka/

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Tell us how you write your lyrics, compose, sing and record in the studio.

(Elizagrace) The writing is definitely different for every song. Sometimes Alex comes to me with a seed of melody or melody and text; sometimes I sort of throw some free verse at him to see what rhythms come up; sometimes we have a sense of what we want and try to work towards it together; and then they can either be really clear and easy (like Rusalka was, which is just a great feeling of clicking into the same piece and having it flowed) or it can take months of us sending bits and pieces back and forth until we feel like we’ve got something. It’s been a lot of building the vocabulary of collaboration, too – I don’t think anyone starts out with a shared language, it’s something you have to build up together.

And then every tune changes (and always for the better!) when it actually hits the band.

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Name five biggest artists that you like.

It’s always fluid but I can tell you that recent obsessive listening habits have featured St. Vincent, Jason Isbell, Chance the Rapper, Bjork and Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska. So take from that what you will.

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Name the artists you have collaborated with before in your songs or artists you are willing to collaborate with in the future if you have the chance to do so.

We haven’t really collaborated with anyone as a band but we’re close to a lot of great folks we’d love to work with:

Echo Bloom, Aly Tadros and Elsa Nilsson just to name a few.

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Give us the links to your website and your entire social network.

https://woolsucker.com/

https://www.facebook.com/woollymusic/

https://www.instagram.com/woolsucker/

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Give us the links to your various stores for fans to buy your music.

https://woolsucker.com/store/

https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/wool-sucker/1300977275

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Tell us about your happiest day and saddest day.

(Alex) I don’t know about that, but I’ll tell you about our first show. It was at midnight in the middle of the week. There was an equipment malfunction on the venue’s part so I wasn’t able to use one of my instruments. During Rusalka the mic stand had loosened up just enough to collapse in the middle of the tune. The microphone was then pointed squarely at my navel and I could either spend the rest of the song on my knees or stop playing to fix it (I chose the later). It was a mess. But I was incredibly proud of how everything came together. That show remains one of my greatest achievements, even if there were only a handful of people–including the staff–to see it.

 

(Elizagrace)

Oh, I think I’ve entirely blocked that out. Horrifying. For our first show, though, I was still offstage – I wasn’t part of the show yet, that came later – and so I got just this incredible high from hearing all of our tunes full force for the first time – this strange world we’d come up with sitting in a room alone suddenly in full color and full volume for other people. And, probably, that combined with some whiskey on an empty stomach from the stress of getting it all there! I’m not sure anything will ever beat that feeling.

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Tell us how you will spend a million dollars.

(Alex) Pay for the next album. Pay everyone what they deserve instead of what we have. Pay off student loans. Set up college funds for our nieces and nephews. I guess we should probably invest some. Then charity and a vacation. Oh, and finally see Hamilton.

 

(Elizagrace) All of that, especially the part where we pay everyone we work with what they deserve. It’s really such a horrifying market for artists, who are never paid nearly enough for their time and their stunning skill! And after that, maybe cut it down to three jobs instead of five, and spend the rest of our time making even more music and even more theatre. And finally make Alex write an entirely impossible-to-produce musical with me.


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