WOOM is a little treasure made up of Sara Magenheimer and Eben Portnoy. I got to see them play recently; they had a brilliant energy to their live show and I’d really recommend catching them when they’re back here. Their record is called ‘Muu’s Way’ and is out very soon. Check them out! Hear their songs! Sara and Eben are off traversing Europe but still found time to kindly answer some questions…
Hello. Your London show with Xiu Xiu was brilliant. Did you have a nice time on tour?
Sara: Yes, we’ve had an amazing tour and we’re still on it! Yesterday we played on a raft in the river in Leiria, Portugal.
I like writing things in shouty caps, and thus I like your band name. Why are you called WOOM?
Sara: Symmetry, birth, roundness, sharpness, and the sound.
Eben: We like how the sound can be warm and enveloping and also fast and explosive.
How did the two of you meet?
Eben: Through a series of accidents.
Do you have day jobs?
Sara: Yes, when not on tour. We have to be creative about how we live in order to have time to do our creative work. We’re also both visual artists as well, which is not incredibly lucrative.
How would you describe your album to someone who hasn’t heard it?
Eben: Your summer jam!
I really loved the album. Are you enjoying playing the songs live and do you have a favourite song to play?
Sara: Thanks! Yes, it’s fun to play live, especially when people dance and respond. There’s nothing better. For us playing out is really about connecting with the audience and making a new experience together every night, so it works best when people are open to being a part of the music. When that happens it’s transcendent, and we’ve been lucky to get some amazing audiences on this tour. Muu’s Way was partly inspired by other artists who’s performance work is directly engaging- Judith Malina and The Living Theater, Jerome Rothenberg, Lygia Clark, and Brigitte Fontaine.
Eben: “Backwards Beach” is really fun to play live, and we usually open our set with it. Lately we’ve been playing a cover of Elizabeth Cotton’s “Freight Train”, which has been fun to experiment with while on the road.
What have you been listening to lately?
Eben: All the bands we’ve been playing with on tour! Xiu Xiu were amazing to hear live, and we also met many great bands like I Camillas, Father Murphy, Comaneci, and Bob Corn.
Do you ever do any covers?
Eben: Sometimes, yes! The Elizabeth Cotton song, and once in a while one by Arthur Russell.
What is your opinion on the Kate Bush song ‘Wuthering Heights’?
Sara: I like it. I’m no rabid Kate Bush fan, but I find her virtuosity really amazing.
Eben: I love the chorus melody. The song is really strange. All the instruments seem to be in the same range so it all meshes together into one plane like bird chatter.
Sara, if you could give Eben a super power, what would it be and why?
Sara: The power to speak any language! It would make touring foreign countries so much nicer. (When on tour for this long all our longings get very practical.)
Eben, if you could give Sara a super power, what would it be and why?
Eben: The ability to burrow like a mole and super-human strength, so that she could pull us to all our destinations, beneath traffic jams and road blocks, and also so that we would have nice quiet, dark burrows to sleep in every night.
What are some of your plans for the rest of 2010?
Sara: Moving to LA, playing more music, recording, working on a textile project with Alula Editions, a few other secret projects…
Eben: I’m moving to Hollywood to be in the movies.