By Jonas Broom and Joseph Mazzola

Wednesday is an alternative rock quintet from Asheville, North Carolina, known for their blending of country, shoegaze, noise rock, and their semi-autobiographical songwriting. “A Wednesday song is a quilt,” reads their Bandcamp page. “A short story collection, a half-memory, a patchwork of portraits of the American south, disparate moments that somehow make sense as a whole.” Two of our DJs got to meet with drummer Alan Miller and lap/pedal steel player Xandy Chelmis on Wednesday’s stop in Athens, Georgia last month during their tour with Hotline TNT, and talked about songs off of 2023’s album Rat Saw God, touring, and the Southern U.S.

Jonas: All right. Hi. 90.5FM is WUOG Athens. This is DJ Evil with,

Joseph: Hi, it’s Joseph!

Alan: Are y’all gonna air this?

Joseph: I always speak as if I am going to, so . . .

Alan: So maybe we should be a little bit less profane?

Joseph: Oh! Don’t worry about that, we can edit that out.

Jonas: I thought you were talking about my DJ name!

Alan: No!

Jonas: Like, “Don’t say DJ Evil!”

Alan:  That’s a little bit profane.

Jonas: I thought that’s what you were saying, DJ Evil.

Xandy: DJ Evil? Have you thought of calling yourself DJ Moral?

Alan: DJ Kindness!

Joseph: DJ Friendship.

Xandy: Do you have a DJ Name?

Joseph: DJ Lavender Ghost.

Xandy: Yoooo.

Joseph: That one was a good one.

Jonas: So I guess we’ll just get right into it. This is my first interview, by the way.

Xandy: Oohh alright!

Alan: Nice. Two of us don’t do a ton of interviews. It might be bad.

Jonas: So, I guess to start off, what are your guys’ thoughts on Athens? I guess we’re pretty big in terms of music.

Alan: Punches above its weight, for sure.

Xandy: Definitely. Coming from a place that is similar—

Alan: Same, honestly.

Xandy: Well, not same. I mean, Elephant 6, by itself, kind of legendary.

Alan: But Chapel Hill has Superchunk, the Merge Records crew, and stuff.

Xandy: I don’t identify with them—I’m from Asheville.

Alan: Okay, well that’s me.

Xandy: But we love Athens a lot.

Alan: Yeah, it’s great.

Xandy: It definitely feels like it’s our neck of the woods. It’s a little mountainous. It’s the South. We’ve got tons of friends here.

Alan: We feel pretty at home at this venue now.

Xandy: Really psyched. Yeah. We played Flicker Theatre too, a couple times next door. So we’re just pretty much stoked whenever we have the chance to be here. You know, get World Famous wings after the show and whatever else is going on. We love Athens a lot.

Jonas: Shout out Athens.

Joseph: Shout out Athens!

Jonas: So, this is towards the end of the tour. How’s the tour been so far?

Alan: It’s been really good. I think it was—it started really strong. I think we hit like a little bit of an energy lull once we headed back down South, sort of through Alabama, Florida—nothing to really do with the shows or anything. We were just like, getting tired. But I think we’re on the up and up now. Well, we get to be home for like 3 days and then we’re going to New Zealand, Australia, and Japan, which is going to be really intense. But also like, something new. So that’s really exciting also. But the tour’s been really good overall, I would say.

Xandy: Yeah, I mean it’s been one of our best yet for sure. Most of the shows, almost every single one of them was sold out, and we get to hit Florida, which is a big first for us. I mean, talk about Australia, New Zealand, we’ve never played Florida either!

Alan: That’s a completely new frontier also.

Xandy: Yeah. And we’ve also had a merch person traveling with us for the first time. Makes everything a lot easier.

Alan: Waiting on merch to get loaded out at the end of the night is like, heinous, if you don’t have someone doing it specifically.

Xandy: And it’s also like our first tour with a TM, basically. Well, real tour.

Alan: Our first real tour with a TM sound person.

Xandy: And it’s also our first tour with our new-ish, like you know, 10 year old—but not 20 year old—van!

Alan: Yes.

Joseph: Nice!

Alan: We got a new van!

Xandy: Which is really sick too!

Alan: We’re working the kinks out.

Xandy: Yeah, we’re working the kinks out. 

Alan: We actually had to get a lot of stuff fixed on it. But it’s overall pretty nice.

Xandy: So this is one of my favorite tours yet.

Alan: Yeah, definitely. It felt really nice paced. Like the pacing was great. Played some of our craziest headlining shows ever. Definitely. In some really big venues and it was just like, kind of mind blowing when you see all these people come out and they’re like—they’re here to hear this music? That’s insane!

Xandy: We also got a handful of new songs in our rotation.

Alan: Yeah!

Xandy: It’s the first time in like a year or two, maybe a year and a half that we’ve had new songs to play. So that’s really awesome.

Alan: Big morale booster. And we, I feel like everybody’s got like, energy to experiment and play new songs in sound check for the first time in a long time. We’re goofing around and practicing new stuff.

Xandy: Short answer, it’s been great!

Joseph: What’s the biggest venue that you guys have played on this tour?

Xandy & Alan: Brooklyn Steel.

Alan: In New York. Yeah, 1,800 people.

Joseph: Sweet!

Alan: Close to 2,000. I think that they let a bunch of people in on the guest list. But, it felt, yeah, it felt just absolutely nuts looking out and seeing that huge room, just to the back with people.

Xandy: It’s our biggest headlining show ever.

Alan: It was a really good show, too. I didn’t feel too nervous or anything, it was just really good synergy vibes with the crowd, great supporting bands, too.

Jonas: This is something I’m sort of more interested in, whether playing live or actually recording the album—this is in reference to Rat Saw God—what was the most difficult song for y’all to play? I guess, technically, or emotionally?

Xandy: That’s a good question.

Alan: I bet there’s a song that’s hard to figure out. I’m curious what it would have been.

Xandy: I think “TV in the Gas Pump,” in a way. Sort of our simplest, but it’s also like, really hard to figure out. I mean, “Bull Believer” is probably the easiest answer, just because it took the most time to work out, it’s long . . . 

Alan: It’s got tempo changes.

Xandy: Yeah, weird tempo changes, lot of parts . . .

Alan: But it felt like we knew that it was gonna be awesome the whole time.

Xandy: It was the first one we did.

Alan: Yeah.

Xandy: So we started the album with that song. So it feels like the one we have the most in our back pocket. But it’s also the hardest.

Alan: I feel like the hardest when you’re recording is one that you kind of are not able to figure out exactly what’s going to happen with it. When you kind of start questioning yourself, sort of. And I don’t remember particularly . . . Maybe “TV in the Gas Pump” or something.

Xandy: It’s tough. Those songs have been in our back pockets for so long. And I can play them with my eyes closed.

Alan: Also, the recording process for drums is so different because it’s like, typically you just kind of bang all those out once you know what the drums are going to do. And then a lot of the times still so much hasn’t been decided about this song yet. “TV in the Gas Pump” is an example of that, where I was playing and I was like, “What is this song even going to be like? It’s so simple right now.” And then now there’s all these like cool layers over it and stuff. But I remember kind of being confused doing that one I suppose.

Xandy: I’m going to stick with “Bull Believer.” Because I think also like playing it and listening to it for like the first like several months, like made me really emotional. And that is also difficult.

Alan:  It’s also kind of hard to play on drums too.

Jonas: I watched that one thing y’all put on YouTube about Haw Creek and I wanted to ask you guys again. You guys sort of already talked about this in the video, but I wanted to ask you again, how sort of like an ending of an era like at Haw Creek, how did that I guess affect making the project?

Alan: Well, it hasn’t quite ended yet. Karly still lives there, but she’s about to move away. Karly and Jake are going to move to Greensboro in like 2 months or something.

Xandy: Yeah, just three hours east. It’s not like, crazy distance. But yeah, I think that’s hard to answer yet because they’re still living there, and we still go there. But it’s gonna be super, super, super different, over the course of this year, and I don’t know, it’s gonna be weird.

Alan: Yeah, we’re all kind of going to different places. Because, I’ve lived in Durham for, basically the whole time anyone has ever heard of Wednesday. And everybody else has been in Asheville now. Xandy’s a little bit outside of Asheville, Karly and Jake are gonna be in Greensboro. We’re going to be kind of smattered across the state . . . but all within like 3.5 hours of each other.

Xandy: Yeah, some bands like, split between, like, New York and L.A. That’s, that’s really f*cked up. It won’t be that bad.

Alan: I would say immoral.

Xandy: Evil.

Joseph: Unkind. Unfriendshiply.

Alan: Definitely unfriendshiply! But I understand that that’s how it works sometimes.

Jonas: Another thing I want to ask was, I saw in an interview, Karly said that she pretty much had the majority of this album written before y’all even started producing it.

Alan: Rat Saw God?

Jonas: Yeah.

Alan: Oh okay. She did.

Xandy: There’s not another album after that.

Alan: Well no, I know. But Karly’s probably also already talked about how she’s written a bunch of new songs in interviews. You know what I mean?

Jonas: What was the process like, basically building around the lyrics?

Xandy: Yeah.

Alan: It’s pretty much it.

Xandy: That’s pretty much it. I mean, we just, Karly shoots out some demos of her playing a song on usually, like an unamped electric guitar.

Alan: Like, iPhone speaker.

Xandy: Yeah. And then when we all get together, we just sort of start playing it. And we play it again and again and again. And each time we do, we tweak our own parts that we’re doing. And we kind of figured those out ourselves. We’ll give each other feedback.

Alan: And change the entire. . . I mean, I guess if the songs are iPhone demos, there kind of is only one aesthetic for them. But yeah, change the entire idea behind it, potentially.

Xandy: Yeah. Sometimes bridge cords are like, weird. Or sometimes a verse feels too long. And we’re like, “Well, what if we did it like this?” Blah, blah, blah. A lot of trial and error.

Alan: “What if this one was really heavy?” “What if it was super minimal? Just you?”

Xandy: Yeah. So all together we sort of set the tone for songs and work out the arrangement and our parts and tweak them, but it’s really nice to have the bones finished by the time we get to the studio.

Jonas: So the music videos for this album are really cool. I really liked all of them. And I wanted to know, which one was the most fun to film?

Alan: Which ones are there?

Xandy: I mean, “Quarry” is the one we filmed in Kansas City.

Alan: That was pretty fun in hindsight, I think, but at the time it was a little bit tough because it was like, actually really, really cold that day.

Xandy: That one was fun because that was our first music video shoot with a budget. Where we like, we drove out to Kansas City for whatever reason—flew, sure. And there was a camera crew and a script. So that was cool. We’ve never done that before.

Alan: It felt pretty legit.

Xandy: It felt really legit. And so it was fun in that way. But I think maybe my favorite is the one that Lewis, our friend Lewis, made for us, which is the animated one. It’s got like PS2 graphics.

Alan: That’s “TV in the Gas Pump.”

Xandy: We really didn’t have anything much to do with that other than like we took pictures of like our faces and like our side profiles.

Alan: Map them to the models.

Xandy: Yeah, but it’s really delightful to be seeing us all in our, like, you know, polygon, 3D rendered selves.

Alan: Yeah, I agree.

Joseph: So earlier we were talking about Athens, how it’s kind of similar to bits of Asheville and Raleigh. I got some friends up at WKNC.

Alan: Oh yeah. Big radio.

Joseph: Big radio crew. They did some cool work with you guys.

Alan: Is that at UNC or is that NC State?

Joseph: North Carolina State.

Alan: They both have really good radio stations.

Joseph: Yeah! But we were talking a little bit about, you know, Athens music scene earlier. And one thing that I’m kind of curious about—last year you guys released Rat Saw God, Home Is Where released the Whaler, they both saw excellent critical and commercial success. And I’m wondering, do you guys think there’s kind of a wave of emo and punk and rock music coming out of the South right now? And if so, what do you make of that?

Xandy: I think yes. I think, cultural trends, you know, come back after 20 years. They, like, reinvent themselves in their vat.

Alan: And now they’re just like fusioning with these genres that have been sort of growing on their own.

Xandy: Yeah, exactly. And I think it’s also sort of culturally a moment for the South. Because for whatever reason, I think a lot of the greater U.S. and even a lot of the world maybe are like looking at Southern culture. Like, “That’s f*cking cool. I like that.” It’s like a lot of romanticizing, I think, because there’s a lot of downsides, you know? There’s reasons why it’s the way it is and it’s very complex. But, I definitely think it’s a moment. For, for really a lot of different artwork coming out of this region, but I think especially the grittier stuff is what people are excited about, so it sort of makes sense. It’s cool though. Yeah, we’re excited to be part of it.

Alan: And it’s cool that it’s kind of like completely coincidental that we just started making music when we did it, because I feel like it would have sounded like this no matter what, but it’s like people like it right now, which is really cool.

Jonas: These next questions I have are about specific tracks. This one is “Bull Believer.” So “Bull Believer” is pretty crazy. It’s pretty long and it’s pretty crazy. It’s one of my favorite songs on the album. I’m very excited to see that live. What was the thought process behind making that the second track? Such a heavy, grand track at pretty much the beginning of the album as opposed to being a send-off towards the end.

Alan: I don’t remember.

Xandy: We thought it was really emblematic of the style we were getting into, like moving towards, and it was our favorite composition, song from the album and like we were just like—we were listening to it back in the studio. We were like, “this is f*cking, this is so good. And we want everybody to know this is what we’re doing,” I guess. We also made it the single for the album too.

Alan: Yeah, I definitely remember deciding it being the single. And I was like, “Of course.” It’s kind of like a flex, you know?

Xandy: I guess the way most of us think about an album is that a lot of people—especially in streaming culture—are gonna start with like the first few songs and maybe not even get to the end. So we definitely wanted to frontload the album with bangers. I think that was the was the thought process.

Alan: I think it’s like you said, it’s just like a declaration. Hit them out the gate. “Hot Rotten Grass Smell” was the first song, and that’s only like a minute and 50 seconds or something. And then it’s like, this epic song after that. I think it’s kind of a cool way to introduce an album. It totally would have been a great album ender too. But I think I like the way we did the track listing with “TV in the Gas Pump” at the end of it.

Xandy: We usually end our sets with that.

Alan: “Bull Believer?”

Xandy: Yeah, yeah, that’s the catharsis moment.

Jonas: I want to ask about “TV in the Gas Pump” actually. Why did y’all put that last? Because I really—I’m a really big fan of when like the last song on an album isn’t some, like, grand huge thing. It’s sort of like an end-credits type feel.

Xandy: That’s exactly—yeah!

Alan: Yeah, that’s exactly the vibe. Yeah,

Xandy: That’s exactly the vibe.

Alan: I mean she literally—the last lyric that she kind of repeats literally fades into the night, I think. It’s a fade out, sort of. Yeah, there’s no actual fade out on it.

Xandy: But I remember we were thinking of that, too.

Alan: Yeah. I mean we basically have the same mindset. It would feel almost, like, too theatrical for me, for us, I think, to end on some explosive note. I don’t know. I feel like we’re a little bit averse to theatrics as a band, I think. And I think having that attitude is part of that a little bit.

Xandy: Damn. So true, actually.

Alan: Yeah, this is our first tour we’ve been walking on to music as a band. We’ve never done that before. [laugh] Usually we just kind of meander out and fiddle with our things until we all decide to play.

Xandy: Yeah. But also, that’s the only song on the record that’s about us, and like, not Karly’s life, or like the greater South. It’s also sort of a little reminder at the end there that’s like, “We’re just doing this!” I don’t know.

Alan: That’s a good way to think about it.

Jonas: I’m onto my last couple of questions. This one I just. I don’t know why I just threw in there. I saw a video of y’all eating Wendy’s. It made me think like, what is your favorite fast food place to eat on tour?

Xandy: Oh man, on tour?

Alan: On tour is a different question.

Xandy: I think there’s two answers. And one of them is Chick-fil-A. Because that is the fast food restaurant that like, hurts our bodies the least. And they have like a really good salad option. And so, when we’re in a pinch and need something quick, that’s so perfect. And it checks everybody’s boxes. But the other favorite is Bojangles.

Alan: But that’s regional. And also f*cks us up.

Xandy: Yeah. It’s regional and f*cks us up, but it’s definitely our favorite because, Bojangles is one we like because it’s like, we go everywhere, and then we come home, and when we see a Bojangles, we’re like “We’re home! We’re back! Thank God! Chicken filet biscuit! Please!”

Alan: Great. Great morning. You know, getting one of those biscuits. You can kind of like, sweat that out by the time you’re supposed to play. You know, it’s not going to annihilate your day necessarily, even though it might wreck your next like 3 hours. I think of the big three—Wendy’s, Burger King, and McDonalds—it would be Wendy’s then. If I had to go on record.

Xandy: Oh yeah, definitely. Yeah, we’re a Wendy’s band.

Jonas: And I guess last question, do you guys have future plans for Wednesday right now or is it just feeling the waters?

Alan: We’re just feeling the waters. Will, what’s your band’s favorite fast food chain?

Will [Hotline TNT]: Favorite fast food chain? Culver’s.

Alan and Xandy: Culver’s?

Joseph: Oh!

Will: No question.

Xandy: It’s ’cause you’re from Wisconsin?

Will: And it’s really good. I got everyone turned on to it. I also love Cook Out.

Joseph: Cook Out is the post-40-Watt, post-Flicker place. For a resident of Athens, that’s where we go.

Alan: I don’t think we’ve ever eaten it, like, during the day on tour.

Xandy: We don’t go there that often! But that’s like, I mean my personal favorite.

Alan: It definitely is. But it’s also even higher than Bojangles on the like, just wrecking my sh*t.

Xandy: Yeah, it wrecks my sh*t.

Jonas: Are you guys not fans of Taco Bell?

Alan: I’m lukewarm-to-positive on Taco Bell, personally.

Xandy: I’m off the charts on Taco Bell. The question being on tour versus at home.

Alan: Okay on tour, yes.

Xandy: That’s the big clincher. You’re in a van. You’re not getting f*cking tacos. That sh*t goes everywhere. It’s pretty bad for tour. We don’t usually hit that on tour.

Alan: We will. But yeah, I agree.

Jonas: Get a Baja Blast.

Alan: That’s true

Xandy: F*ck yeah.

Alan: What was that last question?

Xandy: Future plans.

Alan: Oh! Yeah, we’re recording an album right now. We haven’t recorded—like, solidly tracked anything. But, we were in the studio for 10 days, I think. Off and on, and just sort of fleshed out about 7 new songs I think. And then, we’ve been playing some of them on this tour, we’ll probably play a couple tonight, it’s gonna be fun.

Xandy: Then, New Zealand and Australia tour. That’s really big, looming.

Alan: And then after that, we’re going into the studio, actually. Try to get them for real.

Xandy: Yeah. So that’s gonna be a long way off, but we’re just getting started.

Alan: When that comes out. Not even worth talking about.

Joseph: Last question, where can listeners find you on social media, or streaming, or physical media?

Alan: Your local record store. Probably? I think. I think we’re at that point, right? Which is cool.

Xandy: They’ll get it for you, they can order it for you. Local record store, for sure.

Alan: And then, all the evil streaming services. YouTube.

Xandy: YouTube. Media Fire. I’m sure someone’s uploaded our sh*t.

Alan: Discogs. You can find some first editions for like $300 up there maybe.

Xandy: [laugh] Yeah! We’ll be throwing test pressings on, probably in 10-15 years [laugh].

Alan: Yeah. I don’t know our social media. Karly is @Wednesday_gurl.

Xandy: Most of us are on Instagram, unfortunately. We don’t love it. But like, that’s the best. And then a few of us are on Twitter, which is, you know . . .

Alan: X

Xandy: X, whatever.

Alan: This is, you know, we’re FCC. We gotta like, comply with the corporate—you know, X formerly known as Twitter. That’s what they’re known as. Associated Press rules.

Xandy: X formerly known as Twitter.

Alan: Yeah, that’s where you find us. Or at a show near you!

Xandy: There you go!

Alan: That’s if you’re on the West Coast this summer. Or in Australia, New Zealand, or Japan. And you’re listening to UGA Radio. Come check us out.

Rat Saw God (2023) by Wednesday, on Dead Oceans Records

Special thanks to Xandy & Alan from Wednesday. Wednesday is currently on tour in Australia and will be touring the West Coast later this year. Information about tours and music can be found on their website,

Read our review of the Wednesday & Hotline TNT show at the 40 Watt last month here.

Rat Saw God is out now on Dead Oceans Records.