Vibrant and unpredictable describes Canadian singer/songwriter, Joanie Wolkoff's musical endeavors and personal travels. She's studied in Paris, modeled in Tokyo and tattooed pigs in rural China. Formerly of Foxe Basin and currently of Gemology she's taken a chance on Brooklyn and started making self-aware pop under band, Her Habits.
Her debut EP released January 27, Northerner melts electric waves and bouncing beats into liquid and responsive melodies. It's also accompanied with an illustrated manual (done by Wolkoff herself) that compiles observations of feminine rituals like, "She assembles weird costumes at night" as illustrated depictions.
We talked to Wolkoff about rubbing socks on carpet and honeymooning with snacks.
What did you take from your travels and what were you listening to during them?
The greatest thing my experiences have afforded me is a broader perspective. You have to take your lumps like everybody else. All the while, no matter where on the planet I was, I never stopped listening to FM radio oldies stations.
How is this project different than your other previous groups?
This project was groundbreaking for me because I stopped being avoidant and went toe to toe with questions and fears I'd spent years willfully ignoring.
WHERE DID THE OBSERVATIONS IN THE MANUAL COME FROM? DO ANY OF THESE COME WITH A STORY?
Each of the habits featured in the booklet has it's own story- if not my own, then a friend's, colleague's or a stranger's. I asked around a bunch. The tendency to go through that 'honeymoon' period with a given snack is me all the way.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO BRING ATTENTION TO FEMININE HABITS?
It's important for men and women alike to know their habits- they give us a direct peephole into our strengths and deficits.
WHAT ARE YOUR HABITS?
I only use felt tip pens to write. Show me a ball point pen and I'll show you a waste paper basket. If I'm in a car for more than half an hour I weed though my hair in a trance and pull apart the split ends. When I'm wearing socks on a carpeted surface I like to rub the bottoms of my feet on the ground until I can't feel them anymore. Years ago I discovered that my father, unbeknownst to me, had always done the exact same thing.
What about Brooklyn inspires your sound?
Buildings and language.
I love the hodgepodge of Brooklyn's architecture and the experience of moving through it on foot. Verrazano Bridge's engineering knocks my socks off. I'm also enticed by how anonymous life can be here in spite of the borough's high population density. Besides all that, Brooklyn syntax is deliciously lyrical. Where else can you hear "Well excuse the fuck outta YOU!" "Are you eating over?" (staying for dinner) or, upon inspection of a pilled acrylic sweater, "What're them there little bawls?" Magic.
How has producer Sanford Livingston developed the project's sounds?
Sanford is a tall, bearded North Carolinian in a baseball cap with a pale blue two-thousand-yard stare and the kind of ear that can't be taught or bought. His production, instrumentation and co-writing give the EP unmistakable cohesion and color. Sanford did what any good producer should do at some point and catapulted me out of my comfort zone. He taught me not to shy away from grit or largess when it comes to crafting a track. He also taught me about patience and reconciliation. I doubt he realizes how much I admire his artistry or creative instinct. The man runs deep.
What are you observations of being a woman in the music and Fashion industry?
I haven't tried being a male musician yet but when I was a male
model my penis was so awesome.
Where do you want to explore musically with Her Habits? What's next?
I'm fixing to make as much good music with as many great musicians as possible. I want to build songs for other singers and write with a team of songwriters, too, be it in NYC, Nashville, LA, London, Stockholm or beyond. Any takers?
Watch Her Habits video for Faster Than Sound as a modern reinterpretation of Homer's The Odyssey. (Pizza may or may not be the meaning of life).