Knowing more than you should about almost strangers has become a regular part of most people’s lives. You probably know what your cousin’s boyfriend thought about the last episode of “Breaking Bad” and what your college roommate ate for lunch, all before you’ve had your first cup of coffee.
WHY? is releasing an album that pays homage to the act of Internet stalking, accidental or not.
“It originally wasn’t made as an album, each song was done separately as some kind of thing that we would release on the Internet first,” Yoni Wolf, WHY? frontman, said.
WHY? had just created a new merchandise website, as each month they would place a golden ticket in someone’s purchase and that person would have a song written about them, from information found out about them online, as their prize.
“I’m not that great at the Internet, I would use whatever I could find out about them,” Wolf said. “And sometimes if that person had a significant other or something, I would try and talk to them to learn more information out.”
One of the tracks off of WHY?’s latest EP “Golden Tickets,” out on Tuesday, Sept. 17, is called “Murmerer” and is about a young man still longing for his former love.
“It’s one of the ones that might be my favorite,” Wolf said. “This guy was just obviously still in love with his ex-girlfriend and was just trying too hard to talk about how he felt, and I felt like I could really relate to him.”
The song exists as an insightful look at someone else’s assumed struggle from the view of nothing else but what the Internet provides. Which
these days, is actually quite a bit.
“Golden Tickets” is available in mp3 format, CD, and in the form of 700 limited edition golden colored 12” records, one of which will have an actual golden ticket in it, affording the winner a handcrafted theme song about themselves. Made up from facts found online, of course.
“Most of the album is song, and isn’t really rappy, although one of the songs is mostly talking, it’s pretty funny actually,” Wolf said. “We held a silent video contest and this one, by far was the most lackluster—it was just this guy with his shirt off, talking to the camera, but there was no sound of course, and at one point his cat walks by, and it’s just funny, so I thought I’d dub my voice over it to make up what he was saying.”
In addition to the album and updates on the band, Wolf updates the WHY? site, whywithaquestionmark.com, with podcasts of random interviews that he conducts and edits. Some are with other famous artists or just with random people willing to have a good conversation recorded to tape.
“It’s kind of my thing,” Wolf said. “I was in California last week and I did a lot of interviews out there. I was fortunate enough to interview a bunch of comedians, and Phil Elverum from Mount Eerie and the Microphones. I got to talk with a lot of really cool people.”
Wolf puts out a new podcast interview every Wednesday.
“I did one with my dad a couple weeks ago, and I don’t ever really have actual conversations with him I guess, but it was really cool to interview someone you kind of already think you know,” Wolf said.
Wolf has enough interviews saved up to do one every week until December.
“I don’t want to stop doing the interviews, it’s something I just really enjoy,” Wolf said.
The interviews usually have a little snippet of music in them, or other interesting sound bites that are relevant to the conversation.
In the meantime, Wolf will be touring the country playing music and waiting patiently for one lucky winner to announce they’ve found the golden ticket so he can once again scavenge the Internet for a deep enough glimpse of someone’s life to make up a little song about.
WHAT: WHY? with Astronautalis and Sylvan Esso
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 23
WHERE: Vinyl Music Hall, 2 S. Palafox