Trick Candles

Trick Candles

 Brooklyn, New York, USA
BandPopDisco

"A well crafted balance of melodies and colorful synth... Wolkoff's voice lend's a charm that will certainly appeal to anyone who hears it."-Nylon

Band Press

Premiere: Wolkoff - I Keep This Heart(beat) + Who Wouldn’t Fall EP – Dummy Mag UK

A surprise double release from the prolific artist.

Fresh off the heels of her collaborative EP Yours In the Dark as ALUM (out now via GODMODE), Canadian musician Wolkoff has shocked us all with a sneak peek of her brand spanking new EP, Who Wouldn't Fall (out everywhere November 15th).

Accompanying the project is a grippingly strange and fierce music video for the cut 'I Keep This Heart(beat)', a candid slice of pop-meets-performance art that captures the ethos of the album: no matter who you may have to startle or confront, there's nothing to do but keep rolling forward.

Speaking to Dummy about the surprise release, Wolkoff said: "Who Wouldn't Fall was recorded, mixed and engineered in Brooklyn with producer John Cleary, who also composed the track "Ideaville" on the EP. We DIY'd the entire album in one night! Just kidding, it took over a year, during which time we saw the threat of nuclear war ebb and flow, the rise and fall of the fidget spinner and a series of appalling international-scale choices made to be dealt with for generations to come.

"We talked a lot about how lousy the news has gotten, and in the face of this global climate, asked ourselves "who wouldn't fall?" Hence the title. Anyway, by the time Cleary and I wrapped production it seemed like a lifetime had passed, but once you're done listening to it, it'll feel like a good dream you woke up from too soon."

Check out both the video for 'I Keep This Heart)beat' and Wolkoff's Who Wouldn't Fall EP in full, below.

FM Official Video Premiere- Alum's Yours In the Dark 2017 – Fringe Music Fix

Alum is the collaboration of Brooklyn based vocalist/songwriter Wolkoff and producer/musician Tyler McCauley. Today we are absolutely honored to premiere their music video for ‘yours in the dark’, which was co-written by the duo. You should find it’s eerie visual is very fitting with Halloween creeping just around the corner. The clip was edited by Tyler from old film footage . ‘yours in the dark’ is from the recently released EP of the same name which was released on GODMODE on September 29th.

Chatterbox: An Interview With Wolkoff & Atropolis – Purple Melon

Hey, could you tell us a bit about yourself?

Atropolis: I have a high respect for those who master the craft of the bacon egg and cheese. I am currently exploring the world of analog compressors, some bad ass audio equipment handmade in the USA, I tell you that much. Only if Trump knew, maybe they’d become more affordable.

Wolkoff: I live in a tree fort and drink from a tea set made of mud and twigs. This lifestyle is funded though my music, teaching and journalism in NYC.

Where did the new single come from?

Atropolis: Joanie (Wolkoff) is the mastermind behind this single. She sent me an Ableton live sketch, and that was the foundation of this single. Her entire sketch inspired every single sound in the production, it was brilliant! The other place is deeply rooted in my interest, love and respect for dem bow and dancehall rhythms.

Wolkoff: I’m pretty sure it came from science fiction.

Is there more content in the pipeline?

Atropolis: Yes Joanie and I have another track to come, at least.

Wolkoff: Definitely more magic coming your way from Team Atropolis-Wolkoff. You’ve been warned.

What’s on the horizon for you?

Atropolis: A couple original collaborations, one with Zuzuka Poderosa that will be coming out soon, as well as another track with Slavic Soul Party. Sketching out some new idea’s with Lido Pimienta. I also got some remixes to come out, one is for Cut Chemist’s, Colombian bootleg remix compilation. As well as remixes for, Gizmo Varialls and Matteo Kingmans. BOOM!

Wolkoff: Stay tuned for my forthcoming album “Who Wouldn’t Fall” produced by John Cleary, live performances this spring at Savannah Stopover Festival and Canadian Music Week, my first novel and maybe archery lessons.

ARMED WITH AN N64 AND LOINCLOTH-CLAD PALS, WOLKOFF IS OUT FOR YOUR IMAGINATION – The VIllage Voice

In the midst of last year’s brutal winter, Joanie Wolkoff developed a weekly habit: She would bundle up and take the PATH train to Jersey City, where she’d meet with her friend Nathan Milla. Over frozen pizza, they worked tirelessly on what would become her debut EP, Talismans. Though the project officially bears her last name alone, her creative partnership with Milla — otherwise known as Icarus Moth — has come to define Wolkoff’s sound, perfectly framing her clever lyrics, quirky spirit, and warm, playful vocals. When Wolkoff sings of staying "lost together” on Talismans’ opening track, “Curve Appeal,” it feels more like an invitation than a demand — and it is indeed very easy to get lost with her. She’s playing a CMJ show at the Delancey on October 16, and although she doesn’t have to travel far from her home base in Brooklyn to get there, she’s already come a long way.

'We were really interested in N64 soundtracks, horror movie scores, medieval folk from the early Seventies, deep house, Central Asian dance music.'
Wolkoff arrived in New York from Toronto when she was still a teenager. “I moved to New York right before September 11,” she remembers. “I was at NYU, which I totally couldn’t afford; I took jobs working in a millinery, repairing and selling vintage hats for a very talented and eccentric woman whose name shall go unmentioned, and assembling and cleaning chandeliers in a lighting store in Chinatown.” These days, she teaches English as a second language and tutors youngsters in French, which she says helps her pare lyrics down to their most meaningful distillation. She ended up paying much of her tuition through modeling gigs. But she was also interested in music from an early age, captivated by Toronto’s DIY scene. “We had this incredible spectrum of different music genres when I was growing up in Toronto,” she says. “You could go to a reggae night and dance to Seventies dancehall stuff, and then go to a goth night in the same night, wearing the same clothes, and nobody would sneer at you. If there was, like, a mom-and-pop Ethiopian restaurant and they were ready to rent it out, someone would throw a soul music night there. You learned about everything because there were posters wheat-pasted onto mailboxes all over town, or someone would hand you a flyer.”

Her curiosity and pan-cultural influences are sown deep within her work on Talismans. “I compose music with the intention of getting people to dance and to stimulate people’s imaginations. Talismans is basically a collection of electronic dance songs inspired by an assortment of unlikely sources,” she says. “We culled a bunch of resources together at the outset. We were really interested in N64 soundtracks, horror movie scores, medieval folk from the early Seventies, deep house, Central Asian dance music. Lots of former Soviet countries created really interesting electropop fifteen years ago that we really took a shining to. I guess it’s kind of like a rarified assortment of sources of inspiration.” The synths on Talismans, sparkling all throughout the EP, sound as though they’re dreaming of past lives as harpsichords. The pep of “Too Quiet,” meanwhile, suggests hip lounges and runway shows, not quite bombastic enough for the club but evocative of a similar flash-lit glamour.

Wolkoff's debut EP, Talismans, produced by Icarus Moth, is out now.
Wolkoff's debut EP, Talismans, produced by Icarus Moth, is out now.
Photo by David Gillespie
It’s a mood that lends itself well to the equally eccentric live show Wolkoff has put together with a host of dancers. The inspiration for the visual direction of her sets comes from Nicholas Roerich’s vibrant, unsettling landscape paintings. She and a choreographer friend who helmed the creative direction of her shows asked themselves what types of creatures might populate those spaces.

“From there, we started to develop a dance narrative where [the dancers] would basically be like feral imps in a constant tug-of-war between good and evil. And in the midst of all that we decided that I would spend the duration of the show performing the songs and being sort of pushed and pulled back and forth between these two forces in this mystical choreographic landscape of light and darkness,” Wolkoff says, laughing as though she realizes how off-the-wall it sounds. “I’m lucky to belong to a community of creative people who were ready to work collectively to flesh out a narrative around the show so that we could bring the audience along with us on a journey.” Sadly, Wolkoff's usual crew won't join her at the Delancey, because, as she explains, "You cant put a six-foot-five, fabulous, queer, bronzed man from New Jersey in a loincloth in a tiny room and expect him not to kick someone by accident." Icarus Moth will contribute to the musical backdrop, but other than that, it’s Joanie Wolkoff’s show: a singer-songwriter at heart, sharing her eclectic songs.

She's excited to meet other artists she hopes to one day collaborate with; she's reached out to a few but knows the value of face-to-face interaction. "It can feel at moments like it's just a numbers game. I’ve been asked by I can’t tell you how many industry folks what my ‘numbers’ are — what’s my draw, how many people are following me — and you know, the answer is modest," she says. "I haven’t been operating under this moniker for all that long, [but] I've got a handful of great people who like the music.”

Using her family name for the project, she says, has given her a lot of agency to explore and take ownership of her work. “It’s sort of like when you know the only way you’re gonna clean up your apartment is to invite friends over for dinner,” she says, laughing again. It’s also a name steeped in history; her Polish-Jewish grandfather changed it after arriving in Canada from the labor camps of World War II. “I chose that name because it has a little story about my family, but attaching your name to something strips away any anonymity that you might be able to hide behind or use to excuse yourself from blundering or laziness. I was ready to hold myself to my highest standard.”

Wolkoff plays the Delancey on October 16. For performance information, click here.

DIVE INTO WOLKOFF'S NEW TUNE "HAND IT TO THE BANDIT" PREMIERES – Noisey

Magical Ms. Wolkoff returns! OK, it wasn't that long ago that we premiered her collaboration with The Hood Internet, but below is her latest tune—the fourth track of hers to escape into the world—and another springy pop gem brought to life with help of producer Icarus Moth. These songs came about during a particularly fertile period where Wolkoff was splitting her time between her day job and teaching herself the particulars of production so that she could stand up as an awesome autonomous creative force. And then she met Icarus Moth and the final brick fell into place. It's still early days for the singer in this current guise, but she's got Kate Bush-ian synth songs flowing from the many tips of her very long, lustrous hair.

Addiontionally her live show involves painted people. See here for evidence.

In the meantime listen to "Hand it to the Bandit," premiering below, which tips its hat to the 80s, Scandi-pop, and urges the listener to shimmy shake from the first play. "I could really go for a cold one now…" she sings sweetly. Feel you girl, feel you.

Stream: Wolkoff's Glittering Electropo Debut Without Shame – Consequence of Sound

Good luck trying to pin down electropop artist Wolkoff. On her full-length debut Without Shame, the Brooklyn-based Canadian crafts sounds that slip and slide through electronic genres and songs that freely alternate between sparse and symphonic. The eight-track album is danceable without trying too hard; none of these songs ever suffocates under the weight of its own beat, thanks to Wolkoff’s uncommon focus on narrative and melody. Her voice takes the spotlight on tracks such as the shimmering opener “While You Still Can” and the infectious “Fur Rabbit”, which features a playful succession of “heys!” to hype up the chorus.

To hear Wolkoff tell it, this is electropop that takes itself seriously despite its conspicuous free spirit. The artist describes her debut as “dance music that wants to know what happens when we stack up all that shame takes from us, against how it creates new possibilities. It delves into situations I’ve cycled through in order to flee from judgement. More importantly, the album explores what I believe people can accomplish by flying in the face of shame.”

That’s the thing about Without Shame: It takes you into the heart of darkness but always ends up showing you the light. The emotions of these eight songs spin and fluctuate almost at random, but like a rollercoaster car, they always find their way back home.

Without Shame is due out April 15th. Listen in to the full album stream below, and scroll down to check out Wolkoff’s upcoming tour dates.

MUSIC DISCOVERY: WOLKOFF By HALEY WEISS Published 04/05/16 – Interview Magazine

With her forthcoming debut album, Toronto-born singer/songwriter Joanie Wolkoff, who performs under her surname, occupies the territory between electro-pop dance-ability and lyrical sincerity. Without Shame, due April 15, features production by Icarus Moth, Wolkoff's friend, frequent collaborator, and co-performer, and here we're pleased to premiere "While You Still Can," the third single from the LP.

Wolkoff began her musical career following a slightly clichéd North American childhood: singing in her Anglican elementary school choir and learning to play a plastic recorder ("I want to know who decided to give children the most shrill instrument and set them loose," she says). She then took piano lessons and learned how to play Nirvana on the trumpet, before discovering Canada's rave scene, modeling for a summer in New York City, and attending The American University of Paris. During all of this, she consistently created music with small bands, but in early 2015, she quit Her Habits (a yearlong collaboration with producer Sanford Livingston) in favor of working alone. For Wolkoff, it was important to have "creative control over one's own image, sound, and paperwork," so she enrolled in an intensive production program, began composing by herself, changed her name, and released an EP, Talismans, in August 2015.

"For a split second, I felt like the carpet had been ripped out from underneath me and I was in free fall, [asking myself] ‘Oh my god, can I write music on my own?,'" she tells us. "It took about five minutes for me to snap out of it and say to myself, ‘You've always written music on your own, you just haven't shared it.'"

When we sat down over breakfast in Brooklyn, Wolkoff (who, by day, works with recent immigrants, teaching English and tutoring French) was forthcoming and non-judgmental of her past. We spoke about shame, writing, and the story behind "While You Still Can."



NAME: Joanie Wolkoff

HOMETOWN: Toronto, Canada

CURRENTLY BASED: Brooklyn, New York

WHAT'S IN A SURNAME: Essentially, I wanted to plant my flag creatively. I thought, "What's wrong with my last name?" It's the name that my grandfather chose to Anglicize his Polish last name in the '50s. He was a Wolkovich but wanted to hide his Jewish identity after the war. He was still shell-shocked and had spent time in a Gulag. He changed it to Wolkoff, which sounds no more American than Wolkovich. I like that it resonates with anyone who has gone through any kind of upheaval, micro or macro, when you consider what it is to change your name.

"WHILE YOU STILL CAN": Forgive me dad, I love you... When I was 17, my stepmom "invited" me to leave home. I carried immense shame about it for so many years. That event informed many choices I made and even more choices that I didn't make, out of a sense of inhibition, embarrassment, or worthlessness. While we're always being told not to give up and to keep on keeping on, it's also important to recognize when you're fighting an uphill battle that's not going to change, or to choose your battles. If you're surrounded by people who don't understand you or encourage you, or you find yourself in a really unhealthy cycle, "Get away, start over while you still can."

WITHOUT SHAME: I was exploring ideas around what shame gives to us and what it can take from us. In our modern day culture of extravagance and shame-shaming we've become accustomed to using shame as a negative buzzword, which is probably by and large a good thing because it's freeing for people who have been long marginalized or whose ideas have been cut off at the knees before they had a chance to share them. However, I also think that shame can act interestingly as a kind of impetus. Shame can be a motor behind some incredible and beautiful things because it's your superego—sometimes that's all it is, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. So I guess the name, Without Shame, is an exploration of two sides of an ideological coin, both of which fascinate me and inform large areas of my life.

The name bubbled up to the surface when I was visiting my dad for a couple of days in Canada during our annual pilgrimage to the Royal Canadian Fair, which is a Torontonian agricultural show. We take huge pride and delight in knowing that Toronto still brings the goods and is a mighty purveyor of freshly blow-dried cows that are being groomed to win beauty contests for livestock [laughs], and maple fudge, all things plaid, and hay-smelling. So, we were in the car listening to a Canadian talk program that was covering Dolly Parton's biography. It was a really well done exposé on the choices she was forced to make, or the choices that she made, in spite of shame. While the show wasn't "The Dolly Parton Shame Show," it was definitely touching upon things people choose to do because of, or in spite of, pressure, embarrassment, or fear of embarrassment. A radio journalist must have said something about shamelessness in passing and I said to my dad, "What do you think of ‘shameless' as an album title?" He said, "‘Without shame' makes more sense to me than shameless," and I said, "Thanks, dad."

FINDING HER GENRE: I'm caught in a bind with electronic music because, as it goes with anything that you study closely and develop a relationship with, it becomes both alluring and repugnant. I don't unilaterally listen to electronic music. In fact, the only time I listen to electronic music actively is when I go out running. While we gain something from listening to electronic music, we also miss out on the immediacy, or the physical rapport, that you can experience from music created on a material instrument. I try to write in such a way that any given song could hold up if it were performed on live instruments, [but] there's something about [electronic music] that is really accessible to me. I'm not an instrumentalist; I love writing lyrics and like composing using a grand piano preset. I would have a whole new set of challenges and degrees of alienation if I took up a physical instrument and tried to use that to write an entire album. The day will come.

UNDER THE TURNTABLE NEEDLE: Vinyl was alive and well in my household, even when it was sort of outmoded. My parents split when I was two and painstakingly had to divide their record collection, so my earliest memories of music are connected to my parents' collection and lying on the carpeted floor in, maybe, '84. I don't know whose it was, but we had this ceramic Chinese dragon statue, which in my child mind was enormous, like a big dog or pony, but was probably no larger than this table. It was a coiling dragon with a long, serpentine body and I remember wrapping my body through and under the rungs of this scaly, red ceramic dragon while my mother played what might've been Gordon Lightfoot or Engelbert Humperdinck; it was some kind of '60s or '70s folk classic. My father loved, and loves, the blues. He's a big B.B. King, Muddy Waters fan, and we listened to a lot of Third World, Taj Mahal, and The Police. They were both really active in their love of popular culture and their own instrumentalism, because they both played guitar. My mom played folk guitar and my dad still plays blues and rock guitar. They were always singing or turning the radio on in the car. My dad played Paul Simon's Graceland non-stop in his car for a whole winter the year it came out, so anytime I hear this really summery music inspired by all of these incredible African musicians I think of Toronto covered in snow.

PEN TO PAGE: I wrote songs as a kid for fun and the pleasure of showing them to my folks. I was an only child until I was 10, so I was left to my own devices a lot. If I wasn't drawing, reading, or listening to music, I was inventing creepily detailed inner-universes. The first time I wrote music in collaboration with others and recording it, I was probably 15 or 16 with a buddy who became a performance artist. The last time I saw him he was covered in Vaseline and dumping a bag of uncooked rice over his face and screaming, but there was a time where we would just sit together in his basement with a four track recorder, and write and record songs about worms or French exchange students. It was fun and playful and a good way to get my feet wet.

TIME WARP: I have often felt, when I'm composing music, like I stretch or contract time. Of course, this is only how I'm feeling—I'm not cuckoo—but I really get the sense sometimes when I've finished composing that I stepped out for a quick minute. I look at the clock and it strikes me that I've been in the zone for many hours. I started doing that with more intention, threw a candle or two into the mix, and faced myself toward the window with my keyboard, computer, and interface. Instead of treating it like work, I found myself treating it like—I'm going to embarrass myself and sound so new age—a transcendental activity. On this [album], I really tried to pay mind to how I approach the act of writing, and treat it with a lot of reverence and allow for it to be mystical. When you create something, whether it's a song, an article, an automobile you handcrafted, or a cake, you should give that activity the primacy it deserves. When you're on your deathbed, you're not going to look back and say, "I'm glad that I rushed myself through that process and then went and did sit-ups, called auntie so-and-so, and picked up the laundry." You're going to say, "I should've spent more time channeling the muses into what I was doing."


WITHOUT SHAME WILL BE RELEASED APRIL 15. FOR MORE ON WOLKOFF, VISIT HER FACEBOOK.