photo by De Wook
When you first start out in photography, you need to brand yourself. Something that will make you unique and stand out from the rest. I had many choices, but I definitely wanted to keep my viewers focused on the images, not my name. I also wanted a name that had absolutely nothing to do with photography. The name DeWook came from my first and last name. Early on one of my Phish Phriends asked my what my last name was, I told him, “Yurkiewicz.” He immediately responded, “WOOKIEWICZ!” So my first name Derek made up the De. Wookiewicz was dubbed down to Wook. Abracadabra, the DeWook brand was created.
Early in 2015, a graphic design friend whipped up the first versions of the DeWook logo. But in 2019 when the website was updated to DeWook.com, the logo needed an update as well. I had to find a graphic designer. Thats when I met Sean Williamson. Right off the bat we hit it off. He told me he was a musician besides a graphic designer, and we went right to work. He updated my logos across the board and went on to create the DeWook Studios and DeWook Tour logos. Sean always made great work.
I was super excited when I heard he was putting out a new album. We got together and did some promo work and updated some images of the album for him.
When I spoke with Rokker, my publisher here at Maximum Ink Magazine, about Sean, aka Velocihamster, he told me Sean’s tracks from this debut album were in rotation on the Maximum Ink Radio. I immediately reached out to Sean to do an interview about him and his new album.
DeWook: How did you end up with Lap Steel guitar?
Sean Williamson: I worked in Walker Music in Wauwatosa when I was 17 - 19 or so. The store was changed over and that shop was a repair store since the early 50’s. When we cleaned that place out, sure enough there was a busted out Japanese ZimGar. My boss didn’t care what happened to it. So he let me have it. I had it repaired and that was my first lap steel and I learned all kinds of Pink Floyd tunes on it.
DeWook: And you still have it?
Sean Williamson: Yes, absolutely, I’ll never get rid of that.
DeWook: How many lap steel guitars do you have now? Two or three?
Sean Williamson: I have five or six.
DeWook: Wow, that’s quite a collection!
Sean Williamson: I have two of my own signature guitars by Morrell Music out of Bristol Tennessee.
DeWook: We have pictures of you with those don’t we?
Sean Williamson: Yes, yes we do!
DeWook: So Tell me about this album?
Sean Williamson: This is a follow up to the first album “Wheel Of Steel”. It was almost a joke at the beginning. I always played with EMG Pickups which are an active pickup company usually known for heavy metal or harder rock music. I always thought ”I wonder if I could put one of these in my Lap Steel. Or if I could play heavier music with my lap steel. I’m sure someone’s done this.” To find out there is some heavy steel playing and slide playing but not in the “palm muted” section of music. I released my first EP at 18 years old. It was a 5 song EP. And it was crudely done. This album is full fledged, no time spared as I had all the time in covid to do it. Just put all the hours and hours to get it done right.
DeWook: Are there a lot of differences between the last album and this album?
Sean Williamson: Yeah I’d say mostly the quality of it. The sonic overdubs.
DeWook: Everything sounded great on it. It was mixed very well and the engineering of it was fantastic!
Sean Williamson: Thank you. That was me too.
DeWook: Excellent Job! It sounded really good.
Sean Williamson: Everyone can record in their Living room and basement now. Sometimes it’s not a good idea.
DeWook: You had a lot of musicians on the lineup. Nine including yourself.
Sean Williamson: Yes, as everyone needed to work remotely I knew a lot of drummers. There were TJ Jeanes Jr, Eric Kummer, Sean Smith, Chris Oelke, and Matt Rhyner. Plus two bassists, Matt Turner and UK’s & fellow EMG endorser Alex Lofoco. These are players I have worked with in the past. Many had their own studio while some were inclined to doing things like this. I tried to get as many different players together that I thought could play some metal on the record.
DeWook: I had two favorite tracks: Fall and Safe. The last two tracks on side one. They had a very solid constructed feel to it.
Sean Williamson: I wrote the song Fall in vain off of a Shonn Hinton tunes. It’s a 6/8 kind of blues gospel feel and I wanted to take that and make it heavier. I really thought by having TJ (Terry Jeanes Jr.) on the track he’d be able to see my vision on it. He’d be able to take that gospel type feel and blues swing and put it in a heavier section. The second half of it goes to an odd timed meter.
DeWook: You put it on vinyl!
Sean Williamson: Yeah! Damned Straight!
DeWook: How long did that take you to put out? I heard it was a bit of a nightmare?
Sean Williamson: Yes. Apparently there is a shortage of plastic or something right now. Apparently, bands are being told it can be up to a year out to get their work pressed. The Great people at A to Z Media were great. It was supposed to be nine months. They pushed my project through for me. I appreciate that.
DeWook: The artwork for the album? Any words?
Sean Williamson: Yes, My good friend Steven Bossler. He owns Greenseed Studios in Sheboygan. A gallery for design as well as a tattoo studio in Sheboygan. He really helped the genesis of this project. His artwork is so good, it just makes sense. When we first met he kept drawing this piece of a beautiful woman with an animal skull. And it kind of inspired me to create the name Velocihamster. There’s the birth of the project there.
DeWook: Anything you would like to say about this to your fans?
Sean Williamson: There’s going to be another cover coming out. It will have the word thunder in it and there are even vocals in it as well!
Steel guitar metal. Being an avid Anthrax fan, Sean got my immediate attention. Velocihamster is definitely unique and the music reflects that.
Not to mention he is one hell of graphic designer!
Check out this video from his new album and give his page a follow!
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