Overthinking can ruin a beautiful thing.
That’s why Washington D.C.-based band Fang Wizard goes with the flow. They don’t plan out what they’re going to play. They just get together for a few hours twice a year or so and create some of the most unusual music you’ll ever hear.
When the duo combines their creative juices and hits record, they don’t know what to expect. So far, the results have mixed of old school melodies with futuristic beats and bizarre, fractured howls. Their sound takes advantage of simple strums of the guitar, but also applies contemporary tools like drum machines and sound effects. Mixed to perfection, it’s a wonder to think this sound was done within just a few hours of messing around.
It’s hard for these tunes not to get stuck in your head. Tracks like “Jerky Fruits,” “Ha Ha Crackers” and “Shrunken Donuts” paint a clear picture without lyrics. The peculiar track titles set the tone early and the odd clicking noises, random whistles and breaths reinforce the mood.
Trevor Kampmann (guitar/ bass/ drums/ vocals) and Mark Robinson (guitar/ bass/ drums/ vocals/ synthesizer/ miscellaneous) are the perfect musical partnership.
“There is no writing process,” Robinson tells BTRtoday. “We hit the record button and see what happens—it’s true spontaneity and true collaboration.”
Read the full interview with Fang Wizard about their music and dog below.
BTRtoday (BTR): First thing first; whose cute doggo is that in that picture? What’s his or her name? Is he/she a good boy/girl? I love her/him–tell me everything about this cutie.
Trevor Kampmann (TK): That is Zooey, my three-year-old Vizsla. She’s been an invaluable member of Fang Wizard since 2014. She is an amazingly sweet dog and quite a talented pointer/retriever.
Mark Robinson (MR): Zooey is the best. Each Fang Wizard recording session includes at least one excursion with Zooey into nearby Rock Creek Park. Zooey usually goes for a swim. She also has a Teen-Beat Records catalog number. She’s Teen-Beat 520.
BTR: Where did the name Fang Wizard come from? Is there a meaning behind it?
TK: I believe Mark came up with it. I remember liking how sort of “unpopular” it sounded.
MR: I tried to think of a name that would be memorable. Trevor said that we’d have to wear leather pants and platform shoes if we named ourselves Fang Wizard. We still haven’t gotten around to buying that stuff.
BTR: What has Fang Wizard been up to lately?
TK: We generally work in fits and starts. We try to work as quickly as possible, not a lot of reflection or self-editing, just get as much on disk as quickly as we can.
MR: Last time we got together we finished mixing the 40 songs that we’ve recorded since we released the first album. Hopefully those will see the light of day in some form sometime soon.
BTR: What got you guys into playing this kind of music?
TK: We worked together for years on various Teen-Beat (Mark’s label) projects and through that process started noticing we had similar ideas on song structure and sounds. Or it’s possible that through years of collaborating we moved towards each other’s sensibilities. Either way, we tried to make music one day and it was effortless fun. I think that process informed how the music sounded.
MR: Trevor and I have pretty similar tastes. Or at least we have a lot of taste overlap. That’s what you hear when you listen to Fang Wizard.
BTR: How does the writing process usually go down?
TK: We get together twice a year for two or three days in a row. One of us will pick up an instrument and commit something and then it’s passed to the other person. We’ll go back and forth a few times. It’s very equitable.
MR: There is no writing process. We hit the “record” button and see what happens. It’s true spontaneity and true collaboration. We’ll record five or six tracks in each session and each session usually only lasts two or three hours.
BTR: What’s the D.C.music scene like?
TK: There are things happening: Coup Savauge and The Snips, Priests, Ex Hex—all great. I always wonder if there’s a more subversive, underground thing happening. Have yet to hear about it if it exists.
MR: Any place that has produced both Butch Willis & the Rocks and the Jonny Cohen Love Machine is top on my list.
BTR: Wow! So what’s in store for Fang Wizard?
TK: I’ll do it as long as Mark is willing. It’s been a pleasure to work with him. He has melodic sensibilities that are always surprising and an amazing voice. At some point it might be nice to prepare songs ahead of time… But that wouldn’t be Fang Wizard, I suppose.
MR: More recording and hopefully some more video/film from Trevor. He put together a pretty amazing short film for our hit single “Hostage Cakes.”