Wizard Smoke frontman James Halcrow and guitarist Dan Nadolny give their reaction to winning a Best of Atlanta award this year.
Chad Radford: Now that Creative Loafing has given you two enthusiastic thumbs up, what can we expect from Wizard Smoke over the coming year?
James Halcrow: We’re working on a split 12-inch with Hawks that we recorded with Kyle Spence from Harvey Milk. We’ll have one song on it that’s like 10 minutes long. There will probably be two Hawks songs on the other side.
Dan Nadolny: We’re writing more and actively pulling back on shows. We might go on a couple of spirit quests if we get some time; see what we can do with some chemical inspiration. I would also love to do a new album in 2012.
We’re playing Chomp and Stomp too, which will increase awareness for the band…
DN: Well the music will take a back seat and we’re presenting food this time. It’s kind of like a bake sale for a metal band. Sean Sawyer and me are going to make a vegetarian batch of chili. You have make five gallons to enter into the official thing, so Sean and Matt [Cherry] are making some chili as well. Then we’ll take a band trip to Cosco and buy some oyster crackers.
JH: Everybody knows that Richard Blais is going to win. Everybody in Atlanta loves that fucking retard.
DN: Which guy is that?
JH: The dipshit from the food show who owns Flip Burgers or whatever you call it. Now he’s got that hot dog place where every hot dog is going be made of marzipan and foi gras with pickled beets…
DN: The Chomp and Stomp is probably a one-time deal. It will build band morale, or chili morale.
JH: It will be a fun day of drinking and playing Van Halen covers.
CR: Do you have a synth player in the group now?
JH: Yeah, Joey O’Brien, Turbo.
DN: He comes from a hip-hop background and he just bought this insane analogue synth. He’s a big nerd with an electrical engineering degree and he builds pedals. When we finally get ready to have another record together hopefully there will be some cool tasteful things that are from his frequency range on the record; things that we don’t normally touch.
CR: James, I heard that you were working on a pair of laser beam contact lenses to wear during your shows — actual contacts that shoot the red cat toy lasers?
JH: I was going to... It’s like half of a Friday the 13th mask with a battery that connects to my belt. I had a guy who said he could do it, and I gave him a bunch of merch., and I paid for the stuff, but it didn’t happen. I should’ve just asked Turbo to do it.
DN: It would be cool to have more of a spectacle at our shows. Nobody liked the Nug Henge idea.
CR: What’s Nug Henge?
DN: It’s an iconic graphic of a gigantic chunk of weed set against Stone Henge. It’s purple and it’s glorious. Sean made that in like Microsoft Paint and it was kind of our inspiration for starting this band.
DN: Well, me and Matt and Sean had been playing in Cassavetes together. One day we were having practice and I had just bought this new fuzz pedal. Robbie [Horlick], the singer who’s in Book Club now, hadn’t shown up yet and we were playing way louder than usual and we were all like, “Fuck, dude, this sounds amazing! We should start a band that sounds like this and get that dude James to sing!”
Then Nug Henge came as a big inspiration after that. I had a guy who was going to print this 5’x7’ flag of it, and I went to the band and said “I’m about to pull the trigger on this, can we unfurl it during our last song?” Matt thought it would push us into the realm of parody, so we didn’t do it.
JH: We have a lot of ideas that will make us look stupid, so we don’t do them.
DN: The latest one is a cover of “Hot For Teacher,” and I think we should do it.
JH: I have no issue with it. We played it at practice the other night and it sounded pretty cool.
DN: It’s a hot button issue with the band right now. My boss saw a study that tracked the most used terms among white males on dating sites, and the most used term is “Van Halen.” If that makes us conformists, whatever.
CR: How will Wizard Smoke be affected by receiving a Best Of award from CL this year?
JH: As long as I get a plaque, or a piece of paper to hang up, it will be awesome, and it will make my mom proud. My parents won’t think I’m a useless piece of shit. … Well actually, that probably won’t change.
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