The Wiyos stay busy on the touring road

Although New York-based band The Wiyos live in modern times, their sound is very much all about the past. From tours opening for Bob Dylan to their own prolific tour schedule, The Wiyos take their inspiration from the early 20th century which helps to create a timeless sound.

The Wiyos are slated to perform at the Riverview Arts Centre on tomorrow evening starting at 7:30 p.m.

The Wiyos’ Michael Farkas says that life on the road has become the norm for the group, a comment highlighted by the fact that we reached him while the group is on tour in Europe.

He estimates that the group has routinely played approximately 200 shows per year over the last eight years. Life on the road is not always an easy one though, a fact driven home when he says the group is trying to become more selective about where they perform and how often they embark on tours.

“Touring does get in your blood for better and for worse in much the same way a sailor enjoys some shore leave, yet soon looks toward the horizon and anticipating his next trip. Finding a balance is important, but not always easy.”

Farkas credits The Wiyos gravitation towards performing music from the early 20th century as more to do with the fact that the lines between musical genres tended to be blurred back then.

“There were not genre distinctions back then,” he says. “Musicians played all kinds of music whether it was blues, country, swing or ragtime. If the music was good, it was good and they played it.”

Farkas says that his band has been fortunate that their chosen style of music has allowed them to connect with a broad range of people in many different regions around the world, affording them the opportunity to tour places like Europe and Canada.

Farkas admits that such wide-eyed aspirations are not for every band and says that he would be the last to fault bands who wish to build a regional fan base before or instead of reaching out to international territories.

“I think that it really depends on the band, what they want to do and what works for them,” he says. “I know many Texan bands for example, that never leave the state of Texas! It is such a big area and if you are making it work, so be it. That wouldn’t be for me personally, but to stay more regionally focused is smart business on many levels. Certainly with the price of fuel going up, it is an economic one.

“We have been enjoying touring in the UK and wish to continue touring there. The audiences are great and knowledgeable. As a band, I think it is important to go where the love is, but also important to tour places that inspire you as well.”

Article published in April 29, 2011 edition of the Times & Transcript