I talk to Paul A. Rosales aka Wonder wheel, you can hear a few of Wonder Wheel’s tracks below which are also featured on a recent compilation that you can download here.
s.o.t.r:Who are some of your influences musically?
W.W.:There are individuals like R. Stevie Moore who’s life purpose is to create and exhibit for the whole world to see and hear; that’s the kind of human I’m looking out for and the kind of human I hope to become. Film scenes and soundtracks, such as the introduction and score of Fellini’s Toby Dammit, also lend to influencing sound. I’ve been really digging deep on Neu and La Dusseldorf over the past year, never give up on the Motorik beat. Kevin Shields’ guitars are also another thing I’ve been trying to capture for years. R. Stevie said that I did a good job at it, so that must count for something.
s.o.t.r: Can you describe your typical process when making a song?
W.W.: Writing and recording a song can last between a few hours and a few days. I never know the overall outcome of the song, because it doesn’t really take shape until the addition of the fourth track on the recorder. I’ll come up with the general outline on guitar or synthesizer and build the song from there. The bass is added, then come the drums and maybe a supporting rhythm section (guitar or synth). After the instrumental is complete, I’ll listen to it a few times to find the right vocal melody and write the lyrics, or apparent lyrics. Vocal harmonies are added to conclude the song composition.From there I take the analog recording, import it to the computer, and add any necessary effects and cut/paste-ing to expand the song from the original version. Its a twenty-first century approach to combining the old and new world of recording techniques. After the process is complete the song is ready to be put into the order on the new album.
s.o.t.r: I like the drum sounds you record into your songs, they sound like they are being played from a keyboard, can you tell us more about your “tools of trade”?
W.W.: Now you’re getting into top-secret territory. There are several ways of recording Wonder Wheel drums, but the primary technique is through the Joe Meek method of using unconventional items for percussion, recorded by close-mic. The new drum is then amplified and effects are added to a reasonable and optional degree. I also use drum kits from my computer or off keyboards; occasionally I’ll use my barely-working Mattel Synsonics drum machine.
s.o.t.r:What bands do you like from within your scene?
W.W.:I love them all. I’ve been hanging around those Audacity boys ever since they were high school freshmen. Tan Dollar are obvious homies. Couldn’t have done a thing without the continual support of The When Mcgruff was King and Thickly Painted Walls. Splinter Cake is a good bud. Cosmonauts are rad. Elbis Rever and Ines Navarro keep the world spinning. Pearl Harbor knows what’s up. Cum Stain chose the best name ever. Pradada has you at the edge of your seat. Generifus and The Feathers keep Seattle real. Toro y Moi sounds great!
s.o.t.r: Tell us about “Tan dollar”?
W.W.:I think the story goes back to 2008 when I first met the Tan Dollar kids at a Halloween house party in Irvine. Chris Thorne was in Horse Head, which also consisted of brothers Jon and Mike Skehan. The Skehans were also in another band I was in, Spleen, and we drove to this party; the links were all ready to connect. About a month after our first encounter, I asked Tan Dollar to play an organic grocery store show in Claremont. We kept hanging out and performing together and the lovely relationship between Wonder Wheel and Tan Dollar sprouted in 2009.I produced their “Pink Sky” EP, Beko digital single, and their “Your Body as a Temple” LP. We’re set to record a whole lot more later this year, as well as continue performing side by side (we share some amps and equipment).
W.W.:Both are limited cassette releases. Hobo Cult is run by my good internet friend Francesco (Pradada) from Montreal. “Natural Selection” is a huge collection of songs from 12 albums and includes collaborations with Ines Navarro and R. Stevie Moore. The cassette will be available through Hobo Cult in Spring.Life’s Blood, run by my friend Sam, is releasing the latest Wonder Wheel recordings. Its the twenty-first Wonder Wheel album and my thirty-fourth since 2003. “Succotash Xs” was recorded during the fall of 2009. The new songs deliver a heavy Wonder Wheel out of the electro-muddy rut that was WW20: “Goldfish,” recorded over spring and summer 2009.There will also be a worldwide release from an independent UK label, Care in the Community. This will be another collection of songs from the 2006 to 2009 wonder-years. Unlike the Hobo Cult tape, the LP will feature a different track list with different selections and bonus songs. The label is expected to release this by summer 2010.Then there’s the new Wonder Wheel 22, which is already complete. I’m waiting to release that one though, it’ll be a free internet download. I’ll save the rest for later.