Wiser Time

If you’re a regular reader of PEV XXQ’s, you probably know that I’m a big fan of bands like Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers – bands that still represent  good ol’ fashioned rock n’ roll flavor in line with legends like Tom Petty… but with a modern twist. It’s with this in mind that I introduce you to the Jersey-based band Wiser Time, and the words of leader Carmen Sclafani: “Our sound is rooted in American blues but heavily influenced by the British take on it from classic rock n roll bands of the late 60s/early 70s. I just love the vibration of that period in music… if you want to see a band in their prime that fits that genre in today's music culture; I think that we're high on the list of bands.” Boom – instant like.

Wiser Time released their latest record last year, a collection titled “Beggars and Thieves”. Slafani gets into it: “It's a celebration. A coming of age of sorts… These are stories from the road, and some deeply personal moments. I think the songs are gonna make people feel like they're sitting right there next to me or the band in the truck or motel." If you like Petty or Kellogg, “Beggars and Thieves” is an album you can’t not pick up. While you’re listening to the tracks, keep an eye out for a live record… and perhaps even a novel from the band. There’s a lot more to get into, so keep reading for all the answers to the XXQ’s.

XXQs: Wiser Time

PEV:  How would you describe your sound and what do you feel makes you stand out over the others in your genre?

WT: Our sound is rooted in American blues but heavily influenced by the British take on it from classic rock n roll bands of the late 60s/early 70s.  I just love the vibration of that period in music. That's the greatest period of rock n roll, so to stand out is difficult when comparing.  But if you want to see a band in their prime that fits that genre in today's music culture, I think that we're high on the list of bands.

PEV:  How did you first get started in music?

WT: My parents had a Hammond organ when I was 9.  I started getting heavily into music at around that time and then found the guitar when I was sixteen.

PEV: Tell us how you developed your musical journey.   Why did you decide to run with this?

WT: Music has been a part of my entire life and I've written and performed since I was a child.  I decided to make music my priority and start a record label in 2005 because I believe that we're in a renaissance. Great art is often inspired by the times, and I think that it's an incredible period that we're living in.  Music and writing can be very powerful mediums.


PEV: What can fans expect from a live show?

WT: I think that we're a band that's at our best when we're live.  There's an energy in being there live that I don't think I've been able to capture on recording yet.  There's a real improvisational and powerful feeling to the live experience.

PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you write a song?

WT: It's not just one thing or another.  It could be some spontaneous feeling or something I read in the news.  Or it could just be some silly thing.  I try to never focus on following a specific order or method.  My method is to go with what I'm feeling in the moment.

PEV:  Describe your creative process like?

WT: It depends on what I'm creating really.  I'm very spontaneous in that I have ideas all the time.  I can't always be in the songwriting mode, so my process is to capture as much as possible when I'm in the moment in whatever method I can.  I've done everything from leave myself voice mails to writing lyrics on gas receipts while I'm driving.  I'll carve out periods of time to set a mood and get comfortable, and then sort it all out.

PEV: What was the underlining inspiration for you?

WT: I think it starts out as a means of self-expression.  In all though, I really am into "the art" of making records and songwriting and albums.

PEV: Thinking back to when you first started out, do you ever look back at your career and think about your earlier days and how you’ve arrived where you are today?

WT: Almost every day!  I've been blessed to be living a wonderfully fulfilling career.  The beauty is that I feel like it's just beginning in away.

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about you?

WT: That I've been working on a novel for some time now.

PEV:  Was there a certain point in your life when you knew that music was going to be a career for you?

WT:  I've known and made music a huge part of my life since I was a child, but "career" is a word that encompasses many things.  Music is just one part of my career and work, but I've always known that it would have a huge role in my life.

PEV:   What one word best describes you?

WT: Honest.

PEV:  How is life for you in the music world? Best and worst parts?

WT: It's a constant challenge but very fulfilling.  The hardest part is not being in a position to be able to focus completely on the music side of things and having to deal with the business side of things.  The best parts are in the day-to-day accomplishments and in meeting some wonderful people that I meet along the way.

PEV:  Is there one area you wish you could travel around and play?

WT: I love traveling and taking in different places.  I've yet to hit Amsterdam though.

PEV:  How have all your friends and family reacted to your career?

WT: It's been a really odd and mixed reaction really.  While I've always written and performed music, it wasn't really my "career" so-to-speak. I made a living on art, and used music as more of a creative outlet. It's been a complete transformation in some ways since I started the label.  Some people who have known me my entire life as something other than a musician are shocked when they see me perform.

PEV:  What can we find you doing in your spare time?

WT:I love to be creative and I find all sorts of ways to stay in that space, but I make time to get together with other people and support the arts.  I'm always at shows or taking in some spot or watching films.

PEV:  Name one present and past artist or group that would be your dream collaboration? Why?

WT: Ben Harper meets Led Zeppelin.  I really dig where Ben comes from and how he does what he does.  Led Zeppelin are simply gods in my book.

PEV: Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?

WT: There's a lot of good acts out there that you should keep an eye out for.  I'll keep it close to home and tell you to check out Parlor Mob.

PEV: If you weren’t playing music now what do you think would be your career?

WT: I'll always be involved in the arts.

PEV: So, what is next for you?

WT: This project has evolved so much from when I started it, and has really evolved into a band that I've always wanted.  The next step is to capture it live, so that's what's on the agenda.

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