When it comes to music, the sounds that have resonated the most with me have always been the kind with plenty of melody to spare. Maybe it’s because I’m a child of the 80’s and nu-wave music always seemed to have those catchy “pop” hooks, but I think it’s just our innate need to have something we can hum or sing, something memorable that separates a song from the pack. Nick Warren and Jody Wisternoff know this better than anyone and for over a decade they have entranced me with their Way Out West project. It was in 1997 that their self-titled debut blew my 17-year-old mind, but it’s on the new album, We Love Machine, that they may have made their magnum opus.
“That’s fantastic to hear you say that because we’re really happy with it,” Nick told us. “I think our fans have matured with us as well. What we chose to do on this album was to stay away from the sort of floaty, female vocals that we’ve done before because we’ve done all that and we just wanted to concentrate on both what Jody and I love, which is stealing a few samples, using the machines in the studio and just making the music we love.”
The Way Out West sound has become synonymous with quality and unlike a lot of new producers, they never flood the market with their productions. Instead, they take the time to craft cohesive long-players that will last, which is no small feat in this iTunes age of singles.
“I think it would be very hard for us to make music that didn’t sound like us. So, luckily, it comes quite naturally,” Jody said. Then he laughed, adding, “If that doesn’t sound arrogant, I hope.”
Trends come and go relatively quickly in dance music, but Way Out West has continued to evolve without abandoning the sound that helped get them to where they are today. Just one listen to We Love Machine is evidence to that.
“The one thing that we’re still doing that gives us a recognizable sound as Way Out West is the fact that we layer a lot,” Jody explained. “I think it just gives the listener more, so you can pick up more.”
We tried to write stripped down music but we always end up putting layers of stuff in there, that’s just the way it is!
It’s this attention to detail that puts Way Out West in a class all by themselves. Jody and Nick both enjoy successful solo careers as well, including Nick’s current gig heading up Hope Recordings, but it’s in coming together that they bring out the best in one another.
“On this album and the last one, it’s worked really well,” Nick mused. “On the second album, we’d have days and days where nothing really worked. I think the samples didn’t really click. But now, everytime we go into the studio together it just seems to click. We got on that same wave.” Jody then added, “The ESP classes we’ve been taking have really been paying off.”
With tracks such as the lead single, “Only Love,” which features the incredibly talented Jonathan Mendelsohn, along with instant Ibiza anthem, “Future Perfect,” and my personal pick, “Pleasure Control,” this an album that’s a stone-cold classic from top to bottom.
“It’s funny that on some of the message boards, people have been complaining that the tracks aren’t sequenced together. I think that’s such a dated idea,” Nick said.
It’s not a DJ mix, it’s an album and all the tracks are separate pieces of art that we spent months and months working on separately.
Jody agreed with Nick and added in his thoughts on the painstaking process of putting an album tracklist together.
“In some ways it would have been more logical to start with the last track and sort of just drift in, but I think the way we just come in with “We Love Machine” and it’s like BAM! We wanted to come in with power, we didn’t want to flow in with three minutes of filmic stuff. You can end with that shit but you don’t want to start with it, you know? We really spent quite a bit of time working out the sequence and we’re happy with it anyway.”
The Way Out West soundsystem recently gave the US a taste of what’s to come in 2010 when Nick and Jody played together on stage, giving a proper live experience for the fans. While Los Angeles wasn’t part of this current go around, we did get Jody for an exclusive set at Playhouse for the long-running Monday Night Social club night.
“LA is one of my favorite cities,” Jody stated. Then Nick revealed, “But that’s the plan, I think it’s going to be somewhere around WMC (The Winter Music Conference in March), that we’ll start to really kick in with some US shows.”
It would be a real treat to have these guys take over for a night or maybe even the main stage at one of our many music festivals. For now though, we’ll more than settle for seeing their sizzling solo shows and dive into the divine Way Out West mixes that both Nick and Jody put together for Sinning in LA. In an exclusive first, each has lovingly put together their own separate installment in our mix series, giving you two looks into the minds and backstory of one of the greatest electronic acts around.