Wendyfix M/F / Clarion
In the earliest days of Wendyfix, extended, minimalist winter jams were the order of the day, partly out of necessity. These were not virtuosic players; Chicago’s cold turned band practice into hibernation. Their first live set consisted entirely of a single twenty-minute cover of New Order’s Temptation.
Here, that approach serves both sides of the original lineup’s early personality: the tense, terse, arm’s-length side (“M/F”) and the optimistic-enough-to-switch-on-the-chorus-pedal side (“Clarion”).
This is the quiet, raw sound of three teenagers placing bets on what they thought was supposed to come next.
In the early to mid 90s I was attending university in Chicago and consuming music voraciously. My friends and I all djed at our college’s (Northwestern) radio station WNUR. My freshman year I was doing a jazz, rock and freeform show. I remember one day a week worked out where I was doing shows from 5am to 10am, and then again from 1-4pm and then 7-10pm! Not sure how I did it.
By sophomore year I wanted to contribute more. My two flatmates and I decided to form a band. It was named wendyfix after a local high school tennis star. I played drums….with the children’s drum kit I got when I was around 10 years old. I had started taking drum lessons when I was 8 after banging on the couch one too many times listening to my brother’s lp copy of Rush “Permanent Waves”.
Wendyfix existed for about 3 years until graduation. My junior year I also started playing drums in a band called Remy with two other WNUR music obsessives. And by my senior year I was also drumming in a band with my girlfriend at the time called Not Without My Daughter. Busy times!
After graduation I wandered around trying to figure out what to do. I lived in New York and Chicago each for a year. I worked in record shops (Reckless in Chicago, Kim’s West in New York). I PA’ed on TV commercials. I obtained a post graduate degree studying popular music with Simon Frith in Glasgow in the late 90s.
The idea of starting a record label periodically would enter my mind. But I kept telling myself that my tastes were always changing too fast to do that. I thought record labels had to have a “sound”. And I didn’t want my brain to feel stuck in a certain genre.
That changed when I moved back to New York from Glasgow in late 1998 though. I was working at the now defunct shop Etherea in the East Village. A bunch of us who worked there created an experimental electronic night at Brownies called Invisible Cities. We had Wednesday nights from 11-4am.
At first we thought we’d just be djing, but there were so many folks looking to play that couldn’t find a spot, we eventually started having a “live” laptop set every week. This was at a time when performing with a laptop computer was becoming possible for the first time.
I met so many interesting musicians through this experience that I decided that it was finally a good time to start a record label. And Carpark was born!
Experimental electronic music seems a far cry from the introspective indie rock of Wendyfix and Remy but it all made sense to me. Anyway one of the things I learned running Carpark was that I didn’t have to stick with a certain sound. So after doing the electronic thing with Carpark for a few years I started branching out and now just put out whatever I think sounds good/interesting etc.
A year or two ago I thought it would be a good idea to dust off the half inch tapes and make this music available again. Hope you enjoy!