When it comes to freak folk singer songwriters, Mike Wexler cultivates a sound like no other. His psychedelic and nasally vocals create a completely otherworldly experience. With a busy agenda as of late, the Brooklyn-based musician released his sophomore album this month before stopping by Austin for SXSW. Wexler spoke with The Daily Texan about his artistic community, his musical influences and his s new record, Dispossession.
Daily Texan: Do you feel like you’ve gotten more press because of SXSW?
Mike Wexler: It’s hard for me to say, there’s been quite a bit of press with the new record. I hope that going down there will generate some more interest
DT: What’s it like to be an upcoming artist from Brooklyn?
Wexler: It feels pretty normal; I’ve been a lot busier in the past month. I’m happy to have that stuff to do.
DT: Do you feel the Brooklyn scene aids you in any way to emerge as a musician?
Wexler: I think the scene is a very nurturing environment. There are aspects that make it hard to live here, like having to scrape by and still have time to do this sort of thing than elsewhere where the rents are cheaper. I like the energy here; there are so many different things going on and different circles. What people do is really cutting edge in all different genres, so it’s inspiring to be around that for sure.
DT: What musical artists made you want to start a band?
Wexler: When I was a kid it was probably Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen. It’s hard to say. Ever since I could remember I picked up a guitar and I never had the intention of learning other people’s songs, I always used it as a tool to write my own material. I don’t know if I can think of an artist who would be directly responsible for my music. I just like writing songs.
DT: Was it a conscious decision to go solo?
Wexler: It’s the way I’ve always operated. I’ve been in bands but I never felt I’ve met anyone who’s an ideal match for my music. It’s easier to write the songs myself so I can put a band together based on what I feel like I need in terms of instruments. I know a lot of musicians and I thought long and hard about the band for this record. It seemed like a no brainer for me that they should be involved in a project together to make that happen.
DT: As a solo artist, do you feel it’s more difficult to rouse a crowd when you perform?
Wexler: It’s hard to make a definitive statement because every show is so different. Depending on the venue and the crowd and some kind of unquantifiable something in the atmosphere, there’s so many things happening at any given performance. You feel lucky when the stars align and everything goes right. It’s interesting how things pan out.
DT: You said through a Word Press blog that when someone writes something about you feel the need to set the record straight. Would you like to set anything straight for now?
Wexler: I feel that everyone who I’ve seen write about this record has been more in line with how I was thinking about it. When you have something in mind that you’re hoping to come across and see people get out of it what you think you’ve put into it, it makes you feel like you’ve succeeded on some level.