08. 02. 15
Knitting Factory -- New York, New York
PHOTOS + WORDS BY: Mia Min Yen
Los Angeles-based singer-song writer Henry Wolfe retuned with his sophomore album “Asilomar” in July. The name of the new album is a portmanteau of two Spanish words, which translates into “asylum by the sea.” Asilomar is also the name of a beach and surf break in California that the singer visited often.
Wolfe recently played a spectacular show at New York’s Knitting Factory. I had the chance to photograph the show and to chat with him about the making of Asilomar as well as what he misses the most about New York City.
Set list –
- Your debut LP Linda Vista was released in 2011. It’s been almost four years for your sophomore album Asilomar to come out, what have you been up to? Tell us about the theme of the new album and some of your inspirations behind it. What scene/story did you have in mind when you were making Asilomar?
Yeah, the recording process for Asilomar took a long time. The producer Thom Monahan and I are both very meticulous. I finished it about a year ago (2014). The album builds on the sound of my first LP Linda Vista (2011) and continues to explore some of the same lyrical themes, namely the meaning of romance, the nature of loss, the fear and thrill of the unknown. The setting for the songs has also expanded: from the grey suburban sprawl of the San Fernando Valley to the sublime and desolate expanses of the California coast.
- The title tracks of your two albums, Linda Vista and Asilomar are both instrumental tunes; did you do that on purpose? So the album has its own theme song?
Yes, even though the two records sound different I think there's continuity there. I think of them as a thematically linked. Like different seasons of a TV series. I'm not sure what direction I'll go with my next release but eventually there will be a third installment.
- The last bit of Asilomar included some sound of the waves, kids and birds, where was that soundscape recorded?
When we weren't working on the album in LA, I was spending a lot of time in Big Sur and Monterey. Asilomar is the name of beach and surf break that I visited often. The word is portmanteau of two Spanish words and means "asylum by the sea." I recorded those sounds with my iPhone one day. That was the last song we did.
- This new album also has a beautiful and eye-catching album cover. I believed you participated in the design as well. How did you come up with the idea of the artwork?
Thank you! The album art was inspired by the landscape of the California coast. Looking at the ocean from a high vantage point. There are two planes, water and sky. But in this case it is an interior landscape, the picture was taken indoors. And the neon reminds me of the city life.
- Who are you listening to at the moment? Any new acts that caught your ears recently?
One of my favorite records of the past year is by a New York band called Bing & Ruth. The new Unknown Mortal Orchestra record is really cool too.
- Tell us about your dream collaboration(s)?
For my next record I’d love to have David Hockney design original images.
- You haven’t played in New York for a while, what do you miss the most about the city?
The bagels! And the audiences here are always awesome.