Tuesday 24 March 2009


Tuesday 24 March 2009

I remember squinting like a newborn as i chatted to Sydney musician Dustin Bookatz outside the sunny Sydney Uni quadrangle in mid-2007. Pressed into a bench cradling his bass guitar, he told me about his new band's upcoming gigs. I asked him to invite me to one.

Skip to September 2008 and Dustin asked me to catch his beaming glam-rock band WIM at Manning Bar. They played alongside Cloud Control in front of a small student crowd. I stood near the foot of the stage to get a good view of their set. I marveled at both the band's silky psychedelic melodies and vocalist Martin Solomon's Robert Plantesque mannerisms. Martin had also generously applied facial glitter. Nice, i thought.

I studied the other band members - lead guitarist Saul Wodak, guitarist and pianist Simon Jankelson and drummer Harry Thynne - decanting their small repertoire of tracks that included "Diamond" and "Milk With My Tea". The tasty five-piece lathered the audience in crystalline harmonies and milky folk-pop riffs. Honestly, they could sell their music as shampoo.

WIM released an EP last year and have played the Sydney circuit ever since, promoting free love and facial arts and craft.

The lads have garnered a fair amount of publicity in the past 12 months. Music Feeds writer Michael Carr recently said Dustin looked like an "Adonis" and a "sculpture carved of red stone". I can see why though - watching the man on stage you'll instantly recognise the chiseled jaw and wranger beard. Not that i've been checking him out, or attending WIM gigs pre-lubed or anything.

I had a chat to Dustin through what i'll assume is one of the first ever Facebook music interviews. Here's what the Adonis had to say.

1. How did you lads join forces?

"It seems like we've always secretly known each other, in one capacity or another, through limited degrees of separation. But one version is that Saul, Simon and myself were in a band called Dead In Two Weeks (which split). Then Simon and Martin met up following overseas living and started writing songs together...Harry joined on drums (he'd known both Simon and Martin and myself), and Saul and I completed the arrangement. But its all a bit more inbred than that, in between high school bands, under 10's basketball and even pre-school classmates... this answer is too long already though, so let's leave it at 'destiny'?"

2. Does WIM stand for anything?

"WIM stands for anything you want it to. The name just seemed to emerge, though it's pronounced like 'whim' or even 'vim' rather than an acronym. People have thought it an acronym though, which is great! (eg. What Is Music?) We have our own interpretation of what it means, but it's more about what it could mean that I find exciting."

3. What are the band’s musical inspirations?

"For a start we are five different musicians with very different tastes. So we don't all sit around listening to the same records, which I think is a very great and important thing. It means our stuff sounds really different from song to song and we can draw inspiration from anywhere...today I will say Leonard Cohen, Nina Simone, Bjork, African music, umm essentially anything that's really good and even things that aren't."

(nb. in between answer 3 and 4, Dustin journeyed to Darlo Bar for 'meetings' wherein a beverage dalliance or two may have taken place...please be advised of this when considering his answers to the last two questions....)

4. Why do you guys love glitter so much?

"We love glitter because it is shiny and ends up EVERYWHERE. You go on stage, wake up the next day...glitter...you shower, go to the beach, shower again...still glitter. You wake up a week later and catch a shiny gold speck buried deep in your stylish fashionable facial man-growth...you guessed it. But seriously, I think we're entering the post-glitter period of WIM. Picasso had periods, and I think this is the obvious succession to our 'glitter' phase. But don't worry, we're still likely to unleash the glitter again, don't start writing in your complaint letters just yet!"

5. Got any pre-Oxford Arts backstage preparation techniques?

"To be honest, we like to hang out before each show. We rehearse backing harmonies, do some yoga-esque stretches, and spend an obscene amount of time working out what we want to wear. The whole mess usually ends up seeing us arrive at the venue 5 minutes before we're meant to be on stage.
As to Oxford Arts this Friday, we have extra concerns in that we plan on doing something a little special and out of the ordinary...no secrets revealed prior!! You'll have to come and see. Rest assured, we've been spending a lot of time honing the craft for this show, so we're reasonably prepared, though we are hoping to fit in a massage beforehand and probably some sushi. Where it goes from there once we hit the stage, however, is anyone's guess...(nb. giant gargantuan tectonic earth movement goes without saying)."

WIM will play Adventure Club at Oxford Art Factory this Friday with The Dolly Rocker Movement and Deep Sea Arcade in "their biggest gig to date".

Doors open at 8pm and tix are available here or $12 on the door.

Also catch WIM at the Hopetoun on Friday, April 3 from 8pm.

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