Tracker Pixel for Entry

​Wizard Rifle packs plenty of ammo

by Sabrina Hornung | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Music | September 11th, 2019

Wizard Rifle

When asked to describe their sound, Max Dameron guitarist and vocalist of the Portland, Oregon based two piece Wizard Rifle replied: “People call us a doom band sometimes which I think is funny because we are pretty spazzy.”

On multiple platforms their sound has been categorized as psychedelic, sludge or thrash metal topped off with impressive vocal harmonies. Though they don’t just stop with their uncategorizable sonic landscapes, drummer/vocalist Sam Ford is a working visual artist as well. We had a chance to speak with the duo about their art, their music and their latest self-titled album which was mixed by Portland based producer and metal guru Billy Anderson.

High Plains Reader: I just read an interview with http://zapbangmagazine.com that Sam is a visual artist as well as a musician. What came first for you--visual art or music? In the article Max mentioned that you often introduce sci-fi and fantasy imagery within your lyrics. Do you ever find one art form informing the other?

Sam: Probably music: My parents have always had music playing at home all the time since I was born, so I've been listening very literally from the crib, it was wonderful and I still listen to so many of the records they play. I don't remember when I first started drawing, but I remember watching my mom draw things for me so I could see how she did it, and me doodling the monsters I saw in the Ray Harryhausen movies we'd watch--'”Clash Of The Titans” was my favorite. That probably explains some of the dorky shit I like writing lyrics about! (laughs) A lot of it is my own original ideas written in esoteric word-salad but sometimes I like to write lyrics based--unplagiarized-- on books. My part of "Organ Donor Song" is about Gene Wolfe's "Book of the new sun" series, "Funeral of the sun" follows William Hope Hodgson's epic "The House On The Borderland," and "Frazetta" is exactly what you'd expect from the title.

HPR: Sam, I saw that you apprenticed under Paul Chadwick, who's a veteran of the comic industry what was that like?

Sam: It was amazing and changed the course of my life . Paul is one of the sweetest and most generous people I've ever met, to mention nothing of his talent and legendary portfolio. He taught me virtually everything I know about the visual arts, and introduced me to a wide range of art history, music, film-- things that changed my whole aesthetic and creative outlook. A big part of the reason I never made the leap from traditional to digital art is because I place so much value and derive so much pleasure from the techniques and processes he taught me, it was a great opportunity that I'm very grateful for.

HPR: Sam also designed some of one Wizard Rifle’s album covers, did you two collaborate on the concept--What was that process like?

Max: Sometimes I come up with the concept and Sam makes it happen. For all the art on this record Sam just told me what he was planning and did it. We like doing sculptures for our covers, and he said he was going to paint a pane of glass and make a sculpture out of trash around it and I was down.

HPR: How did Wizard Rifle come to be, I see that you two met in college... Was Wizard Rifle always a two piece?

Max: Initially me and some buddies recruited Sam into a 4-piece incarnation of WR. Then we kicked Sam out of the band so that my friend's friend could join on drums. Then it turned out that guy wasn't a very good drummer. (laughs)

That ensemble fell apart because of too many cooks and too many schedules to coordinate. Then me and Sam ran into each other and decided to just go for it and released our first album as a duo. Then we had a bass player and recorded our second album with him. Then he left and we were happy to have it back to just the two of us. We've had offers sure. Only a couple of them would have had the chops to keep up, and those individuals were too busy in bigger bands to commit, so we are two. Makes it very easy to play one-offs and such, not having to buy five plane tickets etc.

HPR: How did the name Wizard Rifle come about?

Max: I was playing Super Mario World on SNES and a wizard kept killing me over and over again. My friend Noah was watching and said I need a wizard rifle to take that fool out, and we were both like "that's a band name".

HPR: Can you tell us a bit about your new album like the writing or recording process?

Max: This album was a very long and meticulous process. We wrote most of the songs in New York, and that took us two-years. We were just pulling apart every detail endlessly and bickering over every note. We went into the studio with Billy Anderson and knocked out the basic tracking in five days. The songs were very tightly arranged/rehearsed at that point and I knew precisely how I wanted it to sound so it wasn't too much messing about. Billy nailed the sound, it's exactly what we wanted.

IF YOU GO:

Wizard Rifle at the Aquarium

Friday, September 13, 9 p.m.

The Aquarium, 226 N Broadway, Fargo

Recently in:

News

Birds of a Feather

by Jim Fuglie

It’s time for an update on Meridian Energy Group and the Davis Refinery. You probably remember them, although it’s been a while since I last wrote about them. Meridian is the California/Texas company that wants to build an oil…

by Taylor Markel taylormarkel@cableone.netWhat began as a single weekend of wintry activities, has now, for the first time in its history, snowballed into a multi-week celebration of all things winter! With countless, exhilarating…

Thursday, January 30, 7- 10 pmThe Fargo Theatre, 314 N Broadway, FargoKevin Smith is coming to town to show his latest and greatest motion picture, “Jay and Silent Bob Reboot.” Followed by a Q&A. Can you believe Jay and Silent…

by Erin Thostensonphoto by Erin Thostenson, Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne.ErinAT@far.midco.net I've lived most of my life in Fargo, but I attended La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia last year to finish my degree in…

Whatta Deal! A Heart Transplant Only Runs $1,698,831.13!Ten years ago our life expectancy plateaued—and then we started to lose years of life. Every other industrialized country has gained years. A study claims this has happened…

To say that this year’s Bartenders Battle was the best display of talent in the six years since its creation would be an understatement and a disservice to not only the bartenders who made it into the competition, but also the…

by Jill Finkelsonjsfinkelson99@gmail.comHave any good stories from Ralph’s Corner Bar? The Historical Society of Clay County wants to bring us back in time to the Moorhead favorite and they need the local’s help. Musicians,…

Music

Here’s to the ladies

by HPR Contributor

by Jill Finkelsonjsfinkelson99@gmail.comDeb Jenkins returns for a 23rd year of celebrating Fargo’s Women- and their music. The story is old news now, Deb tells me over the phone as I ask her- how did this start? 23 years ago, she…

Nearly one year ago, Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov’s stunning documentary “Honeyland” collected a trio of awards following its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. Those accolades, including special jury…

“Surrealism permeates--there’s a legacy there with contemporary art where they’re still trying to capture or convey something that can’t quite be fully understood without the existence of that thing that you can’t fully…

by Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comHigh Plains Reader spoke to Act Up Theatre board member Jackie Shaw, about the fundraiser "Kabaret for Kaleidoscope" at the TAK Music Venue.High Plains Reader: How did the idea for this show come…

Stand-up comedy is traditionally a one-way exchange. Outside of the odd question addressed to a random audience member, the limit of the spectators’ contribution to the conversation is their laughter at the comedy stylings being…

Even though it didn’t officially open until February 1st of last year, Moorhead bar Harold’s on Main had been under discussion for several years beforehand by its owners. Longtime friends and musicians Eric Odness, Rob Pope,…

Wellness

Yoga on the Farm

by Ryan Janke

Every Thursday evening during the month of June, Mara Solberg is inviting people to come out and try Yoga on the Farm. It is a unique yoga experience that was born from an idea that was proposed to Solberg.“I’ve been with Red…

by Devin Joubertdevinlillianjoubert@gmail.comIt’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the…

by Karen Andersonkartcone@gmail.comCongratulations to the Fargo School District for opening up a discussion regarding today’s students as covered in the January 7, Barry Amundson article “Social, emotional learning a forefront…