BeatCrave brings you artist, The Sweet Hurt, as part of our Know Your LA Bands series. The Sweet Hurt is Wendy Wang, a multi-instrumentalist with intimate lush vocals to accompany her many talents. She first began writing and recording her own music in high school and now, Wang has become an essential asset to many local bands in LA.
Yet, as a member of multiple projects, Wang still manages to create her own work. Her latest EP, In The Shade of Dreams, is a surreal work of dreamy folk pop songs that are genuinely endearing as herself. If you haven’t picked it up yet, you are missing out on works that impressively and simultaneously echo Nick Drake, The Weepies, and Jenny Lewis. On December 8th, she will playing a show at Pehrspace along with local bands such as The Karabal Nighlight, The Monolators and more.
After arriving back in Los Angeles from NYC with Obi Best, Wang was nice enough to take time and chat with BeatCrave about everything she’s still involved in as she also begins to write material for her new album. Check out our exclusive interview with the demure Wendy Wang below.
The name, The Sweet Hurt, is an interesting combination of words. How did you choose this name for yourself?
A former guitarist in the band helped me name the band. He got it from a Spanish poem. A lot of my songs are about making a seemingly negative thing something to grow from.
Along with Correatown, you were – and still are – in many other bands. Isn’t that hard to keep up? How does it work?
Actually, I’m not in Correatown anymore. I am playing with Obi Best, I Make This Sound, The Bird & The Bee, and The Californian.
It gets tricky sometimes. Scheduling is probably the most difficult since everyone’s got various side projects to balance. We just all compare calendars and try to be as accommodating as possible. I try to be as prepared as I can before I go into rehearsals too. Then when we practice it’s really efficient.
Why do you think so many musicians play in multiple bands?
I’ve found that people in our little scene are truly fans of each other, so they are excited to collaborate and play with each other. Also, a lot of bands have one main songwriter. Then that songwriter gets his/her friends together to back him/her up. So if you’ve got 4 musicians in your band, you’ve also probably got 4 songwriters. And everyone is so supportive it’s easy to find yourself in 4 bands that have essentially the same members! It’s also a lot of fun to play different styles of music.
Aside from being solo, how is The Sweet Hurt’s music different from Correatown?
Well, Correatown is Angela Correa’s project and she fleshes it out with a band. She plays really beautiful solo live shows. That’s how I first became a fan of hers, by seeing her solo shows.
I’d say we have some different influences. She’s a lot more well-versed in folk and country music history. I guess I’m more of a pop person and I grew up listening to a lot of guitar wall-of-sound stuff.
In the Shade of Dreams has a very soothing yet surreal tone to it. How did the concept for this album come about?
Thanks! That was the goal. I had writer’s block and was searching for sources of inspiration. One of my good friends is an amazing illustrator and I’ve always loved his work. I asked if I could write a song based on one of his illustrations. He graciously gave me permission and that’s how the title track and ultimately the title of the EP “In The Shade Of Dreams” came about. The illustrations are on the front and back of the CD.
Also, before I decided what the EP was going to sound like, I recorded “Where Would You Go?” with Dan Long and loved how it was so dreamy and lush it sounded, so I used that as an aural guide.
Who did the artwork for the album?
The amazingly gifted and generous Josh Cochran.
Are you currently working on a new solo album?
I’m totally working on a new album! I try to constantly write.
How many instruments do you play?
Hmm, well it’s been a while since I’ve played some of them, but including those I’d say about 10? Some instruments are so similar and I wouldn’t say that I’m really great at them. For example, I played clarinet and saxophone when I was in elementary school. If you asked me to play those instruments now, I’d remember the fingerings, but my tone wouldn’t be solid.
Is your family musical?
We love singing together. My sisters and I all played piano too.
You mentioned you were in New York with Obi Best. Do you feel a difference between the music scene there (NYC) compared to LA?
I don’t know too much about the scene in NYC. I always feel like there are a lot more experimental bands out there and that the LA bands are more into harmony and melody and making music in a more traditional way. I’d probably have to spend more time there to give a better answer.
Who would be your guilty pleasure music?
Justin Timberlake – but he’s so hip! I don’t even feel like it’s a guilty pleasure.
What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you on stage?
I tripped and fell really hard into a huge bass rig.
Where’s your favorite place to see a show in LA?
What is your favorite drink?
Coke Zero (Does that count?)
Tell us one thing about yourself we probably don’t already know.
I love playing sports!
Photography courtesy of Paul Sun and Jeff Koga