Interview: The return of Slow Loris with Pictures of Everything

Wes Doyle of Slow Loris has been a busy guy over the last five years. As an East Coast transplant to Madison, he put out two albums and an EP from 2010 to 2011, even challenging Zola Jesus at times for the local lo-fi recording crown. Utilizing a DIY bedroom studio technique that became a Slow Loris trademark, Wes has a knack for layered guitars and fuzz-induced hysteria.

The album Routine Glow was one of my favorites and made Rock of the Arts top ten local releases in 2011. The psych-infused diary of a solo artist seemed both personal and accessable, but never boring. A side-project with his wife Elsa called Treefort came out in early 2012 and then life got in the way. Wes kept his music making low profile and enjoyed the professional opportunities and culture that Madison has to offer. No new released material for years.

We thought Wes was one of the thousands of people who temporarily call Madison home before exiting Wisconsin for new adventures. It came as a surprise when the familiar low-fi textured ambience and airy vocals of Slow Loris emerged once again on Bandcamp in December with the new EP
Pictures of Everything. We caught up with Wes to see  what he's been doing.

It's been over three years since the last Slow Loris album. Besides the side project Treefort, what have you been up to?
It feels like a lot has happened since that time.  I've gotten married, and spent a few months away from work to hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail with my wife. I've spent a lot of free time exploring some other interests. I really got into chess around the time the last album was released.
How long have you been working on Pictures of Everything?
It's hard to say; after completing the Treefort album with my wife, I felt a little bit exhausted in terms of making music. That said, I've never stopped recording ideas, and bits and pieces of songs always sit around and languish on my computer. The recorded ideas have a bit of a shelf-life, and after a certain amount of time I can't bring myself to complete them.

Making an album on your own is like going to the grocery store with some ideas for 10 to 12 dishes, buying a bunch of nice ingredients and then trying to cook them all before everything goes rotten. It almost always turns out better with more time spent planning and practicing and quick execution of those ideas, rather than trying to work out your ideas or improve technical aspects during the recording process. It's a challenge for me to get into that mindset, though.
Is "Dear Andie" about somebody you know or just a fictional character?
"Dear Andie" is mostly fictional. I imagined it as a letter written to myself, by the hypothetical self that didn't move to the Midwest five years ago, wondering about how things have turned out. Luckily, they've so far turned out pretty great, but I don't know if that hypothetical self would have believed it. When I moved out here, it was for work. Before that, I was working at the office on the weekdays and spending the weekends putting out a local arts monthly web zine. It was the first thing I'd found myself doing where there was real passion involved. It started to take off a bit, and I was meeting a lot of talented visual artists and musicians, and when the option came to move, it was a tough decision to leave that behind.
Can we expect to see an album and live gigs soon?

As far as gigs go, it's difficult to say.  I love the creative aspect of making music, but performance is a different animal. Playing live can be a lot of fun, but it's tough to pull together a group of people and get the practice in, especially working full-time. Then, you book shows, carry around your guitar and amp and drums and stay out and just play to a few of your friends. It's all worth it if there is love on both sides of the stage. I'd love to help foster more interest in creative rock music in Madison. That's pretty squarely the responsibility of the music-makers, as far as I'm concerned.  So, I've got to get to work writing better songs. We'll see how things are going when warmer weather rolls around.

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