Interview with Wyatt Funderburk
In light of power-pop deity Wyatt Funderburk’s debut solo album “Novel and Profane” taking the top slot on my 2013 Top Ten, I decided to reach out to Wyatt to dig a little bit deeper into whatever happened to his original band — power-pop legends Second Saturday — and of course, talk about the new album.
1) What happened to Second Saturday? You teased fans with “In the End,” and then radio silence. Are you still on good terms with the former members of the band?
We are still great friends but unfortunately we don’t all live in the same place anymore and it became difficult with everyone starting families and careers to maintain playing and recording as Second Saturday. The album is about half way finished and I do plan on one day completing it but I’m not sure when that will be. It was always a labor of love and hopefully others will think so when it’s finally released.
2) Are the subjects of either “The Fox” or “Arianna” real people? Who are they? Have any of your songs ever been licensed? “The Fox” sounds like the ultimate Saturday morning cartoon theme song, in the very best way possible.
First of all, thanks. Secondly, all of my songs are about real people. “Arianna” is about an old crush that never materialized back in my late teens. “The Fox” is about my friend Camille’s little sister who would always come to our shows and one day she shows up and is all grown up and it really blew my mind when I realized it was her.
3) Tell us a little bit about what you’ve been up to musically since releasing “Greetings from Mt. Rockmore.”
That’s about 10 years now. We were working on the as-of-yet unreleased Second Saturday album for a few years there. I produced two records for Karmella’s Game from Baltimore in 2005 and 2008. I also played and recorded with bands like The Parasites, The Loblaws, The Backseat Virgins and more recently The Kurt Baker Band. When I started working with Kurt it became a much more full time gig than I expected. I’ve also mixed and mastered tons of releases for artists such as The Connection and The Wellingtons.
4) You’ve become a highly sought-after producer — what are some of your proudest accomplishments behind the boards? What are some tunes you have co-written that people may not be aware of?
I really love the EP by the Future Strikes called “Secondary.” That’s Todd from Second Saturday’s new band and they are fantastic. I also love the Kurt Baker album “Brand New Beat.”
5) I read that “Wondering” was originally composed during the Second Saturday days. How much material for “Novel & Profane” has been collected from your years of songwriting? Which songs are more recent compositions?
Yeah, “Wondering” was written in 2003. “Feeling Good Tonight” and “North on 65” were from 2002. Most everything else was 2008 or later. The most recent ones are “Nights Like This” and “Never Seen the Sun.” I still have a few songs from the early Second Saturday days that have yet to see a proper release but maybe I’ll do a demos compilation in the future.
6) What are your favorite tracks off of “Novel & Profane”? They’re all fantastic, but if I had to narrow it down I’d go “Summer,” “Nights Like This” and “Try to Be.”
Awesome, thanks very much. I love “You Know What to Do” and “Try To Be” personally, they are very close to my heart and I just love the way they came out sounding.
7) Can you take us into your songwriting process? Do you start with the music or the lyrics? Do your songs tend to be autobiographical? And how on earth do you have a seemingly limitless repository of hooks in your brain?
I typically start out with a lyrical idea or a hook and build the song around that idea. Sometimes it starts with a melody and sometimes with a guitar riff but usually with a lyrical hook. I am constantly singing to myself when I’m walking around Nashville and jotting down ideas on my phone either on notepad or with audio clips.
8) What are some other 2013 releases that have blown your mind? Please list at least five, as I am constantly in need of new music that will ideally be in somewhat close proximity to what you are doing.
I did a top ten of 2013 blog post which can be found here.
9) Since not everyone releases new albums every year, who are some of your other favorite (non-Funderburk-produced) artists? These days my white whale of musicians is probably Josh Fix, whose “Free At Last” (2008) was mind-blowingly good, but aside from a few scattered tracks here and there has more or less vanished off the face of the earth.
I really don’t listen to a ton of current artists but I really love Surfer Blood, Giuda, and Radio Days.
10) “Novel & Profane” is the epitome of what I think a power-pop record should be. Please tell us it won’t be another nine years between official Wyatt Funderburk releases.
I’m already working on a new solo album as well as collaborating on a few other projects for 2014.
11) What are your musical plans for 2014?
Like I just said, a new solo album. I’m also producing an album for Nashville band Sad Baxter and collaborating on a new album with Kurt Baker. I’m fortunate to have so many great opportunities and my heart is full.