Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner doesn’t want to talk about specifics of the “really tumultuous time” that inspired the songs on the Maryland duo’s new album, “Civilian.” But she does say she feels better for having written them.
“The reason why I write songs is to be understood and to understand myself,” explains Wasner, 24, who formed Wye Oak with drummer Andy Stack five years ago in Baltimore. “That process helps to heal me. It’s definitely cathartic.
“A lot of people are able to write and remove themselves from the emotional pull of a song, but I’ve always been very emotional in my creative process, and instinctive. You have to kind of step back and observe yourself and your brain objectively in this strange, detached way, and in that process I start to understand myself, and my motivations.”
Wasner says “Civilian” “represents something of a coming-of-age phase in my life, a coming of independence,” and it was the title track that put that particular train of thought in motion.
“ ‘Civilian’ was the first song I wrote, and thematically that was the song that had to happen before any of the other songs could happen,” she says. “It’s about becoming less dependent on others and more self-sufficient for happiness and being at peace without relying on others, or one other person. It’s obviously a breakup song, but there’s a little more to it than that, too.
“The rest of the songs on the record are kind of about what happened after that realization, that I had to break free and be more independent and self-sufficient. After that, the rest of the album just flowed out.”
Wye Oak, Slothtop and Jura perform Friday, April 8, at the Magic Stick Lounge, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12. Call 313-833-9700 or visit www.majesticdetroit.com.
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