Interview: Alec Coiro
Wing Vilma is the nom de tune of Miles Coleman, the Michigan native and presumably recent highschool graduate. I mention his age only because it comes as such a surprise after listening to an album that has clearly been assembled with such care and patience. Ambient textures are assembled over slyly assembled beats, and the overall effect is chill, not in the new sense of the word but a throwback to a pre-EDM era of chillout rooms and electronic innovation. This distinction of eras brought to mind our conversation with another electronic composer, Kodomo, who also employs field recordings in his music to a similar effect. But what Wing Vilma creates is very much its own thing, personal and unique.
Below are Wing Vilma’s undoctored stream of consciousness answers to our questions.
I think the first thing I’m curious about is where you get your sounds from and what your process is for collecting them?
The sounds I use come from these moments in my day to day life where I’m especially excited about the sound I heard a certain object make. I’ll usually try and use that object to recreate the sound and in the process end up with a whole bundle of sounds I could manipulate. Doors, bowls, windows, cars, magazines… I wish I the way sunlight makes me feel. Some of these sounds are maybe more significant to me than others. I think especially the sounds I recorded in China feel overwhelming to think about sometimes.
Considering that your work with a lot of field recordings, to what extent do your surrounding in Michigan influence the songs you create?
Michigan definitely has the most influence on the sounds I use. I spend most of my time here. But it’s like, I spend so much of my time in like one house or one car or one workplace that the sounds I use are in a completely different world to me all together. The source becomes so hyper-localized sometimes that when I hear these sounds that immediately inspire a new groove in me it’s like stepping into another dimension for a second. I have so much audio to go through sometimes that I just leave it to chance and drop in on my files in random parts to let the luck do the work. It’s a fun way to randomize your Self as the source when creating I think.
I’ve seen you described as a “sound manipulator.” Is that a title you embrace, and if so, what does it mean to you?
Sound manipulator is a cool term. Sometimes I feel like I’m making beats. Sometimes I feel like I’m writing poems or even just pop songs, but it all comes from a source of sound cataloging I think. It probably means I’m doing exactly what I meant to be doing. If people can’t pin me down to a genre I think I’m approaching the process freely enough. I kind of just want my music to sound defined by knowing, as listener, that I am the source.
I wish I was the way sunlight makes me feel.
Of course there’s a lot more going on on the album than just sound collaging. What type of gear did you use to create the music and the beats?
I have a MacBook with Logic that I use to write and assemble songs. I do all my producing and instrument tracking in the program. I have a Roland Juno-106 that my grandmother gave me. I guess she used to use it in church back in the day. I get majority of my synthesizers from that, but I also have just a few smaller handmade synths and a whole lot of percussion instruments I’ve accumulated throughout my life. I use vintage B&W bookshelf speakers as monitors which I think influences the way my mixes come out a great deal. I like to sit at desk where the sunlight can hit my back.
Do you ever work with vocalists
I’ve worked with a few vocalists. I’ll probably do that more now that I’ve done something to establish my direction. I honestly just need more confidence in my own voice I think. Mostly I feel like it’s not very unique and I think that makes me nervous to present to people in the context of a song, but that being said I have pretty extensive voice training and understanding of how to sing well in the context of a vocal ensemble.
Hopefully I can throw my voice a little further this year.