Photo by Annie Fleming (left to right – Bob Thayer, Sterling Schlegel, Danny Gotimer, Billy Rosser, Wilmer Laufman)

Interview by Jaime Boddorff

 

Who are the band members in Assateague and where are you from?
The current band is Wilmer Laufman, Sean Olmstead, Annie Fleming, Sterling Schelgel, Bobby Thayer and Myself.  Sean and Bob are from Northern California but the rest of us are from Maryland originally.

How did Assateague start, and how did you all come to play together?
I’ve been friends with Wiley and Sterling since high school.  Wilmer and I recorded some songs with our friend Adam and made an album.  Then we went on tour with our friend Zack and had a lot of fun.   Wilmer moved out to San Francisco and we started playing with Bob and Sean who’s bands we were into and Annie started singing and then Sterling moved out to California and joined in.

Have you ever tried to pet a wild horse on the island of Assateague?
No but we’ve hung out with them while camping there.  They where really nice.

Your last album was Good Morning Blues, are you working any new songs or albums?
We have some new songs that we have been playing for so long that they seem like old songs. We are recording them now and tinkering with different ways to record them.

What is your songwriting process? 

I fast for a week then go into a cave so I can absorb the earth’s energy.   Then I just kind of play different chords and sing non-sense words until something starts to sound coherent.

Your last album you released on your own. Do you have more freedom self-releasing than trying to get a label to release an album?
I’ve only ever done it one way so I couldn’t really compare it to anything else.  We did have help from Epiphysis.  I can say I liked finding out about the whole process and had fun making the record jackets and the labels with Wilmer.  Its nice to be able to do it the way that you really want to do it.  All of my most prized records and music related items are things that are one of a kind or make me feel like someone took the time and care to make something special.

 

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Photo by Morgan Peirce

 

You’ve toured all over the United States; do you find that your music resonates better with people in some areas than others?

 

One of the coolest things about touring across the country and being in so many different towns night after night is realizing that there are really awesome things happening everywhere.   There are little communities of cool people all over.  We’ve been lucky enough for people to have us play in their homes and I think those are the best shows. Some of the nicest and most welcoming people we’ve met have been in the last places we would expect.  It’s definitely easier to set up shows in larger cities, but there are, of course, music enthusiasts everywhere.

 

Do you have a favorite place to play shows?
Amnesia here in San Francisco is the best place to play.  They have really helped to foster a pretty amazing community of musicians and have been supportive of us and so many of the bands that we like. 

 

What are some of your first memories playing music?
I got an old drum kit from my grandfather when I was young and I would try to play that.

What was your first concert?

Wilmer saw the Beat Farmers at the old 9:30 Club.

Any strong musical influences? What do you listen to the most?

I think we are influenced mostly by our friends and the other bands here in and around San Francisco that we get to see play all the time. I love Jean Ritchie and Little Wings.  I think Brendon Massei (Viking Moses) has been an influence not just in his music but his attitude towards performing and touring.


Do you have any favorite up-and-coming bands you recommend we check out?
There really are so many that its hard to pick only a few:  Sandy’s, Bob Thayer, Graves, Remy LBO, fpodbpod, Sparrows Gate, JJAAXXNN, Farallons, Range of Light Wilderness, Indianna Hale, Michael Musika, Shay Roselip, Viking Moses, Ash Reiter, The Woolly Moon and all Epiphysis friends, Eric and Erica, and Rustangs.


Where are the best places to get burritos, books, and records in San Francisco?
The best place to get books is Adobe, there is a burrito place for everyone, and for records there are several rad places: Grooves, Explorist International, and 101 music

 

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Danny Gotimer and Wilmer Laufman

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