A breakdown of all the band business.
Under construction as of December 2012. A quick bit of initial info is at the bottom and it will grow over the next few months as I figure out how to best present the explanations.
Links to the albums with brief summaries for now, MP3 format in .zip files:
[Feel free to listen to the three major albums for free on SoundCloud or just download any of them here if you don't mind unzipping a folder and adding it to your library.]
Wudun – The Wrecks (2005)
An odd, eclectic album. Mostly organ on top of drum and bass. The first version of the stories and characters.
wudun – Spitting Id, There Graze (2006)
An electronic album. Based on earliest memories as far as texture. Stories are further fleshing out of characters from first album. Almost a flashback.
Wudun – Fall Medals (2008)
A very spacey sounding album. Post-punk leaning. Second mutation of stories through band filter. Characters change perspective.
wudun – Lullag’byes (2009)
An “acoustic” minor album, though we cheat a good bit. Based on following inconsistent “human” rhythms. Features different perspectives within stories that occurred in first two major albums.
Wudun – See (2010)
A guitar rock album. Built on the ideas of conflict and decay, states familiar to rock/blues. Same stories retold once more but through the filter of a Micronesian cargo cult built around worshiping professional wrestling.
wudun – Pistol, Wooden Boots (2011)
The first in a second phase for us. A stand alone minor album introducing a “soundtrack” format we will be messing with more often in the future. Later works done this way will feature built in video narrative.
If you enjoy any of these feel free to donate using the link at the top of the page. If you do I can send you free WAV versions of the albums if you wish.
All donations go directly back into the band, the music and gear. We are constantly having amps break down and stuff just wears out when you do this for so long, so any small bit helps. Thanks!
Questions we are often asked by the curious among you:
This section will provide answers for the interested. Please refrain from reading the “expandable” or hidden text (labeled readmore/rabbits) unless you are already familiar with the band and the catalog of work… otherwise it may ruin the overall experience for you. Also it’s very rambling and will try your patience. Readmore is just a more elaborate answer usually. Rabbits means you are going to hear a long and winding story with too many details and too much emotional writing. Very little editing behind those tags so beware.
The Name – How to pronounce. What does it mean?
The name is “Wudun”. It is pronounced any way you feel sounds best. Pronounce it “Cadillac” if it makes you feel good.
It means many things but when it comes down to it, names just contain ideas. Whatever ideas the band puts forward the word means. It changes all the time, just as we do.
What is the project about? What is the music about? Why’s it sound so dark? Are you sad?
The project? Perspective, chance, circles/loops. The nature of music and people. Time and adaptation. Self-change. destruction>creation, etc…
The music? A naturally found sound bent and shaped over time. Retelling of stories. Situations where choices are not clear but one will still inevitably be made… and what that says about a person. Songs about types of people. Always stories drawn from a world I built, never songs about me or us directly. Sometimes in metaphor but rare.
Why so dark? Hmmm. I feel it’s more gray than many things and tries to incorporate all kinds of moods. I guess there is an overriding cloud, but that’s just things we might be exorcising from ourselves.
Are you sad? Hah! No but thanks for the concern. I’m like most people though maybe more inclined to “sad” than some. Always working on it though. The music helps. Maybe that’s why it sometimes sounds like that.
The project itself is mostly about perspective/perception, choices, chaos/chance, cycles of life, loops, gears. It’s almost Buddhist I’ve been told. It also somewhat resembles a Magickal “working” in that it tries to both undo itself, and the perspective of the listener. I say “virtual telephone game” sometimes… Other times I say “aural folk history”. The idea is to continually tell the same stories and play basically the same songs over and over, but to let them change naturally as we change over time. We retell them to ourselves. Remake them as we are gradually remade. They are not “product” they are living, changing songs. Intangible like all sound. Hey a record is different every-time you hear it anyway (though mainly because you are different) we just forget that sometimes… so we try to undermine the last album each time by retelling those stories from different views. It’s a long term type project and I’m lucky to have found Corey and Adam because they are willing to “go the distance” as some say. Without those dudes it’s impossible.
The music.. the actual words and sounds are generally about emotional experiences that some consider hopeless, but that I see amazing hope and beauty in. Songs about times when people make decisions not because of a need or a desire but simply because it’s part of who they are. When decisions aren’t. The old “sink or swim” question is a good example of these ideas. It can almost be considered a study of “imprinted behavior”. Stuff guys like Jung and Sagan and Wilson talk about. The stories the words come from all take place in a fictional dream world I call “somnium99″ which is really just a representation of my subconscious or perhaps my imagination. It’s also a very long multi-generational epic that I’ll probably be secretly writing forever.
Dark? I dunno if I agree. I’ve heard darker. I’ve heard more violent. I like to think it’s mostly neutral. Mostly grey. Sometimes I think people are obsessed with making things so overly positive that neutral things seem dark and scary to them. Sometimes I think my view leans a bit more dark than reality might warrant (looking over history I doubt it). Generally though I just find a lot of the sounds and progressions we use to be pretty and therapeutic. It’s a very natural “like”. An instinctual sound. We didn’t choose it, it chose us. Also since it’s a bit of a catharsis thing it does often take on anxious or haunted tones which I’ll admit read as “dark”. Gotta get ‘em out somehow. I guess over time we did kind of get into the idea of making a very “southeast-representative” type sound. Though a more honest way to put it is that a very “jacksonville swamp” type sound became emergent and we realized it and pushed it a little further at times. This is more evident in our live shows than anything yet recorded. A “live” type album is coming soon though.
The point of this whole preamble is to help explain the concept of the band. If I was to lay it out in black and brown without all the back-story it would sound like something we contrived beforehand. Like some artificial and random goal to aspire to… Something that bends the music in unnatural ways and creates high-horse-art or a niche market product instead of whatever else it can be… human expression I guess. That’s not how it happened. It was all a natural result of the odd situations that occurred around the album’s continual death and rebirth. Our observation and opportunism. It became it’s own thing and all that we did after flowed naturally from this state.
I had already re-interpreted the work so many times myself, through so many very formidable ages. In my early teens it originated. Retold again late in highschool. Retold again in early 20s. Finished after finding family and after a couple romantic losses. I had changed and shifted so much over time I no longer recognized where the work came from, didn’t relate to the me that wrote it. This became very interesting… really it was all I could think about for a week or so. How can this advance? What if I include others? What if this lone person who has lost track of their former self, enlists different yet similarly minded people to help retell these stories again. … and then what if they change as tellers over time and retell it all again… and again. Can we create our own oral folk history? Pass it down from ourselves to ourselves? Isn’t music the perfect format for that? A medium that is built on the idea that no two performances of a song are the same… The idea that a song is only for a moment and each time it is retold it is new… How far can we take that? Can we play different every show? Can we record the same stories and make them new each time? We can’t even capture music completely accurately, can we? Always a simulation. Approximation. At best, kabuki. Exaggeration. And every time you hear it you hear it differently. Listen to something and then listen to it again in a year. Isn’t that strange how different it is? What did you love then? Do you love it now?
So the band progressed. As we grew closer and the individual slowly became the collective new ideas emerged that fit neatly on top of the base. How does music function? With what does it deal best? Some say it strikes raw emotions more readily than any other form. So lets find the roots. Lets find the base. We dig down and want to slowly remove the individual voice. So we make the words malleable, we remove the content. The words only matter in their sound, their phonetics. The cadence and the timing and the feeling. The pictures the little glimpses of words build. You can guess what it’s about… but do you really know? But does that matter? We don’t really think so. You know how the song feels. The words might augment or fight that feeling in a small way, but they’re still the tits on the bull. Coin toss you hate me for saying this. I’m not implying this is the “one way”. I’m not saying the rest is completely useless. I love when people do it well, but those methods aren’t for this hunt. We are looking for something a bit different. We are shamans and scientists breaking down the parts of our work to find out what makes them tick. Then we remake them, always new but with the same core. To slowly destroy our own recordings. To remove them from the amber we’ve caught them in. That would be my favorite. That would be a best day. Maybe we’ll figure that part out too.
Whatever happened to the old Somnium story-line you had on the site? Or the whole “Brother” thing?
It was distracting, it wasn’t needed yet. Basically I jumped the gun. It’ll be back though when the timing is right.
Another version? The problem was I didn’t know what I was doing with presentation at the time so it only served to distract everyone. It was a shot in the dark and it did exactly the opposite of what I thought it would do. Any interview we did, any inquisitive audience member we talked to, all they really wanted to know was what the deal with the story was. It was too much, too much theater and too much mystery and it overpowered the focus of the actual story and music. I had to kill it. Eventually it comes back. It still ties into the core. It’s a part of it and there is a long standing plan and an agreement with one of my actual brothers that makes it all worthwhile… It’s just not important right now. We have to finish phase two and then the story will make sense again. Don’t worry guys. I know a few of you felt left out in the cold when we dropped that story line… it just wasn’t time, we had to learn to be a band together first and we decided documenting that process instead and letting it go where it needed to was the best idea. You really have to stay flexible when you do this kind of work, lest you miss out on better options and avenues you’d never see otherwise.
I suppose I should mention the story-line is still continuing intact within the work itself. It just isn’t an important part of the performance yet so it isn’t underlined or pointed out in a deliberate way. The words are mostly inaudible at this point as well so it’s really just an emotional map that I use for myself to remember the moods of the different song systems. There is a “Wudun&wudun” section of this site that will explain the story and relay the words and show the connections between albums if you are curious…. that’s over here. Oh it’s right here now? Okay then. Here.
So if it all started as an individual view filtered through many, how’d you find the many? In other words how did you all meet? How’d the band actually start?
They were old friends. We already had a rapport. Also, they were the only guys who called me up and agreed to help translate it to a live show. Hahaha.
Corey I had already worked with in a couple bands. We had even done a radio show together at UNF… though honestly I don’t think either of us actually attended the school at the time. He had at some point, but had left his anthropology courses either before or shortly after we started the radio show. I’m not sure how we managed to actually get access to the radio station and get a legit show on there considering all we really did was show up to the staffing day wearing suits – which no one else was – and acted like we were supposed to be there… but somehow we got it. I think we wrote our names into three or four days in two hour blocks right off the bat… Just taking up as much real estate as we could. Hobo Junction we called it. It was really dumb, but it had it’s moments. On air medical operations and time travel episodes. Staying up for three days straight just so we could go in and do the show in a heavily altered state. Instead we just put on war of the worlds and slept under the desk all night. Corey was the king and Roy was the second voice. Kirby was funny when he showed up and I was total shit. I had no confidence at the time. John O’Brien also featured on the radio show and did good stuff when he was around.
Ultimately though, they were the guys who called back, and they were the guys I originally wanted anyway… so it all worked out. The important part is that we are a unit now and they contribute – if not an equal amount – possibly more than I do at this point. I’m just director/editor/cheerleader these days.
The long romantic version (Be warned, I wax poetic and do things like say “we” when sometimes I mean “I” or “Corey and Myself”… just remember Adam is a mostly chill and peaceful dude): So two old buddies call me up after “The Wrecks” is pushed around to our little Jacksonville community. Corey and Adam. I may have posted up asking for people to call or I may have called them in the first round of requests… I really can’t remember. Either way, they got in touch.
Actually, to explain how far back we go I’ll tell a silly story. I used to live with this guy Roy in Riverside for a bit. A place called the Alcazar. Yeah that place, the faux-Spanish quad thing, the apartment below Danni’s… but even before we moved out there we would routinely take these trips to the defacto inheritor of the Einstein’s “late night discoteque” flag, the Art Bar. When we moved out that way it was right down the street so it became a slightly more frequent “haunt”. Say what you will about the bar, right away we discovered what was clearly the best part of the whole situation at the time. A huge captive audience, just waiting to be exploited. For a good portion of the bar’s life, nearly every Thursday night was packed. The lines would get so long they would stretch back past the Laundry mat and toward the mostly empty buildings in the strip along King towards Park. So myself and some friends (probably Kirby and Roy, maybe Ben) decided to make semi-frequent trips up to that laundry mat on Thursdays to mess around with the people waiting in line. At first we would just set up instruments and invite the captives to come in and show off… “Hey kid try and impress that lady you’re with, play a tune on the old drumarinos.” or we would set up a playstation or something with a fighting game or puzzle game on it and ask people to compete against us for money or bragging rights or pranks or something. At a certain point it turned into an actual show and we would perform little impromptu sets up there. Corey would often come by and Adam, on a couple occasions, joined in the session on drums (which led me to believe he could play them pretty competently and did so somewhat regularly… even though he was actually a classically trained guitarist and just winging it at the time) or he’d play whatever else was around. Sometimes we’d show up and other kids had already taken the spot… possibly inspired by our ideas or possibly some weird synchronicity occurring. Either way it was all fun and awesome. Much more entertaining than the bar next door.
Eventually, due to the laundry owner getting wise, we had to move it down the road to the electrical outlets outside of European Street… back when they just had a sidewalk and benches instead of a patio-deck thing out front… So it all kind of fizzled out. It was harder to get instruments to that spot and to get it to sound cool so we just started doing mostly puzzle/battle games instead. Anyway, it was a brief little thing and not much to go on but it created a small musical bond that grew over time.
So back in the future, they call up and volunteer and Alex K. agrees to play bass for us for a couple shows until we can find a less busy member. We do a really sloppy but kind of interesting performance at a place called 9th and Main in Springfield. I think, believe it or not, it’s one of the few shows we have captured on video. Seriously what are the chances? I never remember to document anything. Thanks Mikey (Julius archivist)! I’ll upload that at some point. That version of the band doesn’t hold up though. It was trying much to hard to stick to the album. We decide, screw this, we don’t need no stinking bass. We need something fast and light, something that can exist in this city. A city that, to this day, still does not have even one genuinely good sounding and decently run venue designed specifically for new live music. A city with like… three or four good live sound engineers willing to do that kind of work. So we designed a band setup as minimal as possible. The least amount of parts to move. The least amount of sources in need of mic-ing. One synth keytar built with duct tape, one downtuned bass/guitar hybrid, one tom, one snare, one ride, once voice on a pedal. Generally we played on the floor of whatever venue we were booked at, mixed ourselves on the fly, and only ever needed one DI for our vocal fx box. Sometimes no mic at all. Occasionally we’d try it the “old fashioned” way and get our equipment fully mic-ed up and use monitors but it seldom went as well. It worked better when we had the control. We knew what we wanted and how we were supposed to sound. We knew we could make that work in any room with the setup we’d purchased. It was very carefully chosen at the time to do just this. Control.
Really the whole first version of the live band was a kind of “fuck you” note to the rest of the music culture in the city at the time(early 2000s). Or in less violent terms a “show and prove” type challenge. We wanted to build a band from the beginning starting from no idea… as if we’d never heard of it. I’m not defending that stance or motivation method or saying “we were right they were wrong” or “everyone should do this” because there really is no right or wrong in this stuff… no “true way”… but for this quest to work we needed an enemy. To find this mythical “purity” in music we had to define the dross. We had to boil the whole thing… another way to say it is that the idea came more from frustration than anything. We had all been in bands. We had seen live music in the city since we were way too young to be snuck out of our houses at night by our friend’s older sisters. We had gotten tired of bands with 38 guitar players and 69 marshal stacks and an svt cab playing in a shoe box through a behringer four channel. A million rappers and one DJ on a karaoke machine. Massive pedal boards that still sounded boring the entire time. Another goddamn eclectic acoustic act. (hyperbole). Nothing wrong with any of that. People should do whatever makes them happy, but in this moment we were sick of all that. It just didn’t seem effective. A perfectly poor waste of good musical effort. Why weigh yourself down with all the excess because it’s par? Beyond just efficiency and lean operation a side hope was that perhaps some people would see it working well and if they didn’t get excited they could at least say, “Pffff… This stuff’s simple. We can do better than that. They don’t even have a full setup.” So go and do it then. Good. It’s working. Do more with less. Do more with whatever you have. Another echo of the punk DIY idea… no extra parts. To never do something just because “that’s the way it’s done”. Don’t wait for that last item. Go do now. There is no recording. The songs begin with the skeletons. Build on them. Show your work.
Talking to myself. Always…
I’m not saying we did any of that… that we accomplished any of the hopes… issued any real challenges… Who the hell knows how people perceived those shows. I’m sure it was unimpressive or gross to most. Curious to others. Many probably thought it was aping something older. I’m sure in many ways it was. “Back to basics” -Reid. We really enjoyed the shows though, and they began shifting everything in the realm of music for us. Our perspectives mostly… The frustration fell off and gave way to a sense of freedom and possibility. There were suddenly many more options. Marching band shows. Shows under “brooklyn” bridges and in the basements of libraries. Shows under trees in the dark, in graveyards, in the woods. The light and mobile setup. The guerrilla show.
Play any mood. Play any space.
And so we did… then things changed some more…
More progress to come. Updates to history in near future. Breakdown of albums/transitions.
If you are interested at all you are invited to watch, follow, or argue back.
… and if you aren’t…. well I imagine you’ll take care of yourself.