Entertainment Magazine

A Ripple Conversation with Jay and Sarah-moore Lindsey of 'book of Wyrms'

Posted on the 07 May 2021 by Ripplemusic
Music ruled in my home in my Wonder Years. Dust, Buffalo, Black Sabbath, Hawkwind, Yes, King Crimson, Led Zeppelin, Blue Cheer.It was all great then and so diversified. Time portal to 2021.Jay and Sarah-Moor-Lindsey, bass and vocals/synths extraordinaires of Book of Wyrms brings their diverse music, talent and love of music to us here for a special conversation

By Mark Partin

A RIPPLE CONVERSATION WITH JAY AND SARAH-MOORE LINDSEY OF 'BOOK OF WYRMS'

Thanks for sharing the time with us folks. What music was an influence for you in your youth? Are you both from Richmond Va. originally?

Sarah: Thank you for taking the time to talk about us and our music. I was born in Richmond, yes. I have so many early music memories. My parents had this mix tape we called "50s Mix" that I would listen to all the time. It was called that despite featuring the Supremes' "Keep Me Hangin' On," which came out in the late 60s and which, for some reason, I dubbed it "the sexy song." It also featured Tennessee Ernie Ford's "16 Tons," "Chantilly Lace" by the Big Bopper, Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog" and more. I also remember rocking out to Michael Jackson with my older sister as early as 1984, being scared by "Thriller" and loving that sensation. My sister really did a great job schooling me in classic rock and introducing me to then-current 90s music that normally a sheltered person like me would never had access to. My parents hated "hippie music" haha.

Jay: Thanks for having us. I think of this question in stages. My earliest music was all classical, bluegrass, the Beatles, and Jewish melodies. Nirvana was my first loud band along with Alice in Chains and Metallica, and then I found Soundgarden, GWAR, and Black Sabbath. Those were the first bands I played bass along to, and those are the types of bands I wanted to be in. Later I got into 70s funk and soul - the Headhunters, WAR, Band of Gypsys, and the various P-Funk records, and I credit that for where I learned the importance of groove, accenting, and leaving space, and also just the joys of freaking. I think the final pieces of the puzzle for me were The Stooges and Hawkwind. I'm from nearby Virginia Beach, but I've been here in Richmond since 2000.

The band's debut 3 song demo in 2015...WOW. How did you get there from forming in 2014?

Jay: Thanks man, that feels like forever ago. We joke about listening to it but it's been so long I don't really know what to expect it to sound like! Sarah had been jamming with another band before that where they gave her some demos to sing on, for which I tracked the vocals. When that band fizzled, she and I had already worked together putting her vocals on there and I was kind of stoked to get to start something with her, even though I was bummed for her other thing fizzling. We started doing a little jamming, and got our friend Chris to come play drums. We worked with a few guitarists but nothing was working out on a permanent basis, and we needed a demo to get gigs. Garrett from Windhand had offered to record us and Kelsey Miller from my old band Bearstorm learned all the guitar parts and tracked the demo with us, just before moving out of state. That demo was huge for us - it got us a bunch of gigs and fans, and our first record with Twin Earth Records. So I just have to mention those two guys because they really got us on our feet before we knew what we were doing. The writing of that demo was really fun - it was just a series of hazy, smoky jams in the basement of the building in Richmond where everyone jammed. It was a constant party where other bands and musicians would just show up and watch you jam, and we would just be down there for hours jamming and drinking in the parking lot. It was really humid down there and I remember one time coming in and my entire bass strap and case were covered in mildew.

Sarah: The dehumidifier down there stopped working and no one bothered to replace it. I probably did all kinds of damage to my vocal chords by trying to sing over the mildew and band neighbors. The guys would jam on a riff and I would freestyle on top and come up with melodies as I listened. One weekend, Chris was out of town and his buddy Charlie filled in on drums for us. That practice was when we came up with "Sourwolf." Chris got back the next week and started adding his flair.

A RIPPLE CONVERSATION WITH JAY AND SARAH-MOORE LINDSEY OF 'BOOK OF WYRMS'

I hear the likes of Hawkwind, Pink Floyd, Uriah Heep. Tony Iommi at different times in your music but with your own sound. Were they some of your earliest influences?

Jay: Black Sabbath was definitely one of the first bands I really cared about, and I spent a lot of time playing along to Paranoid and Master of Reality when I was first learning bass.I wish I had known about Hawkwind and Uriah Heep earlier, but my early influences were more run of the mill for the 90s - my first bass teacher was some jazz badass and he wanted to teach me all about Yes and King Crimson but I just wanted to learn Sepultura and Rage Against the Machine songs, plus maybe Led Zeppelin and Motorhead.

After the demo the band released the debut lp "Sci-Fi / Fantasy" in 2017 in which you upped the ante with 2 guitars. What brought this about? Also the fantasy lyrics and songwriting?

Jay: Kelsey left the Commonwealth, so we were actually down to zero guitars, but we found Ben on Craigslist and he had previously played with Kyle and knew they had good chemistry. I've always been a sucker for the twin guitar harmony bands - specifically Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy, Metallica, and Judas Priest. The twin guitar lead is one of the most distinctive and righteous sounds in all of rock music. I don't care about rhythm guitar, and kind of feel like it just competes with me anyway. But with that record, we just went apeshit with the solos, like Ben soloing on the left speaker and Kyle on the right speaker, which is very Black Sabbath (except both solos are Tony Iommi). And then you add the synth on top and you have so many levels of dynamics and parts of the audio spectrum you can take advantage of. It was chaos but awesome, fun chaos, and then it could tighten up on a dime and they'd run a harmony. It was very satisfying and epic, and like you said it really went with the lyrics and offered another level for the peak of a song.

Sarah, so you use a mini Kaossilator and another synth in the music? Incredible atmospheric effects and you get a keyboard 70's psychedelic rock sound also ?

Sarah: Thank you! Jay really has an ear and the tenacity for finding the right sounds. He really is the one who researched which instruments would add the right touch. The mini Kaosillator is incredibly versatile, but lately I've also added a mini Yamaha DX which Jay has looped into a delay pedal and whatnot. Luckily, I took a few years of piano lessons and they really stuck with me. (Thank you, Lois B.!) This is a tiny version of the one Prince used, so there are totally sounds on there that everyone used in the late '80s. I use the "tubular bell" which you hear in Prince's "Purple Rain" and the Taco Bell commercials, too, haha. I use it in our song "Keinehora." Through the years I've tried a few other gizmos like the Korg Monotron, and I have a stylophone which I'd like to eventually incorporate.

Jay: Sabbath Bloody Sabbath is my favorite of their records and part of that is Rick Wakeman contributed with his synth work. We also love ELP and Yes, plus Hawkwind and Pink Floyd, so it was natural to want to add those feelings and texture to our music. We don't have the money or room for Moogs and ARPs, so we've had to be creative about how to get some of those prog tones on a punk budget.

Unlike so many other talented bands, there has only been a couple band member changes made in last 6 years.What do you attribute that to? Introduce your fellow band brothers please.

Jay: Some of that is absolutely luck. We lucked out with Kyle and Chris - a lot of rock musicians are flaky or basketcases, and these are two humble hardworking guys who have respect and gratitude, and think about other people. That shit's as important as talent, which they both obviously have. So you start with good people, and then you make sure to communicate with each other, a lack of which I've seen ruin other bands. If something bothers you or isn't working, you talk about it because it's not going away. And then the next part is that even though we work our asses off, we don't sweat everything. We learned that shit goes wrong, or takes more work than you thought, and it's more important to make sure we're all having a good time than it is to freak out about shit going wrong. You know, it sucks when a gig goes sideways or something, but lets all find some pizza and laugh about it instead of yelling at each other in a parking lot. And then finally, we play really well together and we all know it. You know when you're getting good chemistry and what it feels like to go out and kick ass together. We realize we need each other if we want to sound our best.

A RIPPLE CONVERSATION WITH JAY AND SARAH-MOORE LINDSEY OF 'BOOK OF WYRMS'

Sarah: What Jay said about honesty and communication is really important and true. Also, a true love for the music above everything else really helped us bond. We can put up with almost anything if it means that we get to play a few songs as a group on a different stage. We have had insanely good luck finding these right people. Kyle Lewis has been called a "Young Wino" but I believe he is his own man. Very influenced by UFO, Kyle knows a LOT about classic rock and everything. He famously does not use social media as he has a flip phone. Chris DeHaven, or the "Human Metronome" is expecting his first kid next month, and we are so excited for him and his lady, Sarah. His favorite band is probably Primus, and you can probably ask him anything about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles you would ever want to know. The band as a whole requires at least 6 bananas a day to function properly.

"Remythologizer" I mean Whoa. Your 2nd full releaseIt is for me a demonic fantasy infused masterpiece of atmospheric, psychedelic rock and doom metal that packs a hell of a punch. Tell us how it came about.

Jay: That was a wild time. We were on the road a bit while we were writing, so that was a little chaotic. I remember struggling with some of the arrangements for a while ... I had a notebook of all my riffs and where I wanted them to go but sometimes it felt like putting together a puzzle. There was a little bit of pressure to follow up on SciFi/Fantasy with something strong, and there's always the legend of the sophomore slump to think about. I think what that record did really well was to bring in a lot of the other feels and techniques from outside our original template. For example, on "Blacklight Warpriest" Chris does a variation of the famous Purdie Shuffle drum beat, which is more of an R&B or soul kind of beat, but we use the polyrhythms against my bassline in the verse to create tension, or on "Spirit Drifter" Sarah just takes an entire verse to do a synth solo. In other words, we stretched out a little bit and had a good time experimenting with sounds. We definitely put some thought and effort into making a consistent atmosphere across the record -starting and ending the album with the wind chimes, or letting one song bleed into the next. Atmosphere is always important, but it's almost paramount when you're trying to make an immersive LP, which is how we think about it. Individual songs are still the basic unit, but for our style of music, the feeling you get across an entire vinyl side is also something to think about. Fortunately, we had played the songs from the album out on tour a whole bunch so they were second nature and we had tweaked everything over time, so the raw tracks were pretty polished. The album's tracking coincided with Ben leaving the band, so that was stressful, but he put down his parts and then Kyle and Sarah stepped up and filled out whatever was missing, in terms of leads and textures. That was our first time recording with Jamie at Absolute Future, whereas the demo and first record were with Garrett.

Sarah: Thank you so much! My favorite song we've ever played is "Blacklight Warpriest," and I don't think I've ever performed this song and not had tears in my eyes by the end. All of our music has deep meaning to us, but this one stirs me the most. I think sometimes that punch can be the passion.

Now you have your newest release coming out May 7th 2021 called " Occult/New Age". Tell us about it and what it took to bring this to fruition.

Jay:First of all, I want to thank Brad Frye at Desert Records for giving us this opportunity. He's been really supportive and inspiring and made sure we knew he was confident that we'd give him something good to put out. The title is another bookstore pun, you know, the Occult/ New Age section of the bookstore, where it's all weird and creepy (or at least felt that way when I was a kid and the supernatural still felt possible), but also "occult" as in "obscured" and "new age" as in the modern era. I don't know how clever of a pun it is, but hey, at least we're trying. This record was really different from the other ones. We wrote it as a four piece and we haven't played most of the songs off of it live before recording. But with the shitshow that was everyone's 2020, when we had to cancel our gigs and stop booking tours, we just focused on writing and jamming the new material. It was probably about 2/3rds written when the covid shutdowns started, and not practicing a live set let us just really focus in on jamming and arranging what we had. Meanwhile I was writing the last two songs for the record, "Keinehora" and "Dracula Practice." One thing that was really awesome about this record was Kyle stepping up as a songwriter. He wrote two songs on here, "Colossal Yield" and "Speedball Sorcerer," both of which are pretty uptempo for us, and he also contributed the album's instrumental song. We knew he could write because he had done "Spirit Drifter" on the last record, and so I made sure he knew we wanted some Kyle songs this time. He took a lot of pressure off of me to come up with everything, and his songs are faster and more "big balls rock and roll" than mine, so I think he really helped make this record feel balanced and diverse. "Colossal Yield" was really cool because it was just a riff he was jamming with Chris while I was in the bathroom and when I got back I just stood outside for a while listening, and it wasn't even something he'd thought about for us, but I was like hey let's record that on my phone, and we originally just called that song "NWOBHM" because of the riff.

Everyone had to step up on this record, I would just tell Chris like "hey we need huger fills everywhere" and Sarah really went from sound effects and occasional leads to being like a fulltime keys player. She also did a lot of research into her lyrical themes. At the same time, I got more serious about my tone - it's totally different being the bassist in a one-guitar band versus two, so my whole gain and eq settings had to change. I started to realize my playing had to change too! I was really inspired by a Rush documentary where Neil Peart talks about taking drum lessons in the 90s and coming back better than ever. I had started to feel like I was in a playing rut and kind of repeating my old licks, so I figured "shit if someone like Neil Peart can admit they have more learn, who the fuck am I to sit on my ass" so I contacted Todd Herrington, a really good bassist in town, and we started doing weekly lessons on Zoom. He taught me some difficult warmups and focused on the basics of my technique (which nobody had done for me since the mid-90s, so I'd been picking up bad habits for a long time). Then we talked about what I felt I was missing, which was the ability to mix distinctive melodies into what I was playing without losing the groove. He had me transcribing Quincy Jones and Jimmy Smith basslines - learning from masters like Carol Kaye and Wilton Felder, and it kind of blew my mind how similar their lines were to those of my hero, Geezer Butler. Anyway, by the time we went into the studio, everyone had really upped their technique and philosophy. We were all better players, but less likely to show off just to do it. We took the time to question whether certain additions were needed, or extraneous, and if something wasn't missing we didn't add anything. We started pushing up against our release and distribution deadlines, but miraculously managed to get everything in under the gun.

Album art really represents a lot about what a band is trying to bring to people. Your album cover art has been simply stellar Who, what, and where does the art come from.

Sarah: I found Taralyn Phillips on Instagram (coffeellips) probably back in 2014 when we were first jamming. I was really enamored with getting to consider album art for the first time in my life. Taralyn had this really cool thing where she would take dried, used coffee filters, and use those stains to create super trippy, sometimes evil, colorful stuff. It just really meshes with our vibe because while doom is dark, I think our band embraces bright colors and fun color combos because it reflects who we are. We are always laughing, first of all. So we really like the absurd, and sometimes gross colors go with the territory. We like how Taralyn creates art that you can enjoy while listening to the music. We will tell her the song titles, and she comes up with a bunch of ideas. We hone those down and choose the best fit.

"Book of Wyrms" one of the better band names to come around. Group choice or after a good long party someone had inspiration?

A RIPPLE CONVERSATION WITH JAY AND SARAH-MOORE LINDSEY OF 'BOOK OF WYRMS'

Sarah: We are really nerdily into language; both Jay and I have big vocabularies, and we appreciate the sounds of syllables together. We are pretty big readers, too. Honestly, sometimes we are just burning one and we say words together that sound hilarious. Like, hey wouldn't that be a great band name? "Nightbong" was like that, and we thought about making that our name, but there are too many "nights." And then we considered King Mildew, one of the songs on our demo. Too many Kings. We kept coming back to the fact that we love to read. I said could we do something like "Book worms" and Jay was like, what if it was like Wyrms with a y, like a dragon? And we added a little "of" to make it more mysterious.

Frank Sinatra crooned in his anthem 'My Way' "Regrets, I've had a few, But then again to few to mention". Anything you might have done differently from what you know now?

Jay: Nothing major - I wish I hadn't fucked up my Honda trying to pull a trailer of gear through the mountains.

Sarah: Definitely regret ignoring my friend's specific warning that pulling a U-haul with a Honda Civic would not go well. I regret not always getting the chance to talk to everyone I want to talk to at shows. Sometimes I regret not starting a band with my husband until 3 years after we'd been married. But I can't spend any actual time doing that, or I miss out on living in the present and planning for the future. Hey, at least we REALLY learned about the limitations of a 4 door sedan.

Advice to the many artist's who yearns to be a part of the Underground scene who are just starting out?

Jay: Be patient and treat people right. Good things will happen for you but not if you're greedy or impatient or try to take shortcuts with people. You'll get more opportunities as you grow as a band, but in the meantime just try to make friends and have a good time. Don't bitch or gossip, and when you get onstage remember it's your job to kick everyone's ass, to be the most kickass band in the world.

Sarah: Stay true to yourself. Don't get hung up on other people's opinions. Stay focused on your craft. Be open to helping others. Be part of a community. Treat others as you wish others would treat you.

Book of Wyrms albums newestrelease "Occult New Age all music and merch can be found on bandcamp: https://bookofwyrms.bandcamp.com/album/occult-new-age

Youtube Blacklight Warpriest https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVoIg-tT8AI

FB: https://www.facebook.com/Bookofwyrms

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bookofwyrms/?hl=en


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