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Interview with Waylon Crase, American singer / songwriter, yoyo player and humanitarian

It's not often we feature news or interview yoyo players outside the African continent, but Waylon's story is so unique we couldn't pass up this opportunity.

In this interview, we chat to Waylon Crase about his new album, "Moving to Dismantle", yoyos, and.... Cambodia! You can listen to Waylon's music and make donations to his humanitarian efforts by visiting  wayloncrase.bandcamp.com

waylon crase moving to dismantle        waylon crase yoyo
Q: Waylon, how did you start playing yoyo?

"I was in a silly mood in a local drug store when I spotted a Duncan Profly on the counter. I had a sudden curiosity about the tricks I'd seen on TV as a kid. I bought the yoyo, fooled around with it a bit and then joined a forum. Three and a half years later and here I am, still playing!"

Q: So, after nearly four years, why do you still play, what do you like about yoyoing that keeps you playing?

"Yoyoing offers a large reward for the effort put into. I get a tremendous amount of satisfaction from landing a difficult trick for the first time. There's also the stress relief/zen side of it. Yoyoing requires a certain awareness in action, much like a martial art or dance. At the same time, I can find myself lost in it, throwing without being completely conscious of the act and only coming back as the yoyo returns to my hand. It's meditative.

"Aside from that, there's also an excellent community of people throughout the world who share my passion for this toy and make it feel a little less weird to be my age and hurrying home from work so I can throw. And it's just fun!

"I have other hobbies and passions, but yoyoing has been constant for me. I can say I am unequivocally addicted to it! Other hobbies, like chess, furniture reclamation, video games... just don't seem to hold my attention for as long. "

Q: What excites you about the international yoyo community?

"The broad influence brought to the design and development of yoyos and the innovation of tricks. I love it when i can see a player's culture come through in his or her style and trick creation.

"The mere fact that it is international is exciting! Worldwide, we share a basic understanding of something significant to all of us despite any language or cultural barriers. I see players all the time on forums do everything they can to help fellow yoyoers with advice and information, sometimes even gear, without borders or political bias slowing them down one bit."

Q: Apart from yoyos, what else are you passionate about?

"Music is my biggest passion. I've been writing and performing original songs since I was a teenager. It's something that has been so big a part of my life for so long, I find it difficult to articulate my thoughts and feelings about it. It's intrinsic to me. Like some people need to be around other people, I need to be around instruments, to create and express.

"I tend to listen mainly to varieties of rock music, though my taste in music is broad and ever changing... anything from The Killers, Foo Fighters to Dave Matthews and Tom Waits."

Q: You've played many live gigs, is there one performance that is particularly memorable?

"There are several that come to mind. In one instance, a friend invited me to play a set at a local outdoor park where there was a Halloween pumpkin lighting festival for children. I didn't anticipate much of a crowd or much of a response from the crowd considering the festival was meant for children and no alcohol would be served.

"We started playing and I was mostly just enjoying being outside, making music with good friends, getting lost in it. I looked up and saw that a large crowd had gathered. A few hundred people, at least. Many of them were dancing and clapping, cell phones out taking footage and photos. It caught me completely off guard. While it wasn't my 'best' show, it was one of the nicest surprises I've ever experienced during a performance;)"

waylon crase live gig        waylon crase singing live

Q: Tell me about your new record, how did it all come together?

"I hate recording. Or I used to. The last solo record I'd made prior to Moving To Dismantle was in 2005. My intention with Moving To Dismantle was to record a pretty basic album with primarily one guitar and one voice. My friend Nevin Poland and I started recording in late 2011 in the living room of my apartment.

" I had ideas for more complex arrangements on maybe two songs. Before I know it, we're chasing down all these ideas for three and four part harmonies, layered guitar tracks, percussion, even electronic drums and beatboxing. We were only able to record once every few weeks. That made the recording take a long time, but gave us ample time to play around and explore ideas.

"The idea for the backing vocals on Good Morning, Baby happened during a car ride while being silly listening to the rough original track. It was hard to record the backing vocals near the end of When I'm Free. We took turns singing and and messing around with this church choir type idea and laughing hysterically at one another. My kids and a few friends make up the drunken crowd vocals on Cry Out The Armies Of Your Eyes. The whole process was a lot of fun!

"I have a few more more albums worth of material rattling around in my head. Seven years is a long time between albums."

waylon crase cd        waylon crase live gig

Q: What do you hope to achieve with your record, Moving To Dismantle?

"The older I get, the deeper my passion for helping others goes. I've always been someone who enjoys helping others. I can't think of any time when I've turned down the opportunity to play a music benefit, which was often the only way I had available to me to help a cause. Now I find myself in a position to be more active in my pursuit of helping others. I'm connected to the global community in a way I never expected and thrilled at the chance to do some good.

"I don't have any illusions about being famous. If some incredible opportunity came along, I'd take it, but I have a career that allows me to live comfortably and do most of the things I like.

"All I want or intend to do with this album is entertain a few people and raise some money for and awareness about abolishing human trafficking in Cambodia. Even if people aren't interested in this cause, I hope to inspire a few to take up a cause of their own. We can all do something for someone. "

Q: Why this cause in particular?

"A long time friend of mine, Melody, gained an interest in it and started researching human trafficking in Cambodia. Then she became active and went to Cambodia, learnt a whole lot, did some great work and went again.

"As she told me about the cause and the work she was involved in, I recognized an opportunity to help people in a direct way. I knew when I was recording this album that I wanted to donate the proceeds to charity, but I couldn't decide on one. "

Q: How can we donate?

"Visiting  wayloncrase.bandcamp.com is the simplest way to donate. There, you can download a digital copy of my latest album, make donations using PayPal or a credit card, or order a hard copy. "

Q: Where do our donations go? How does it actively make a difference in Cambodia?

"I find it difficult to trust large, "non-profit" organizations with huge advertising budgets. So, I chose to raise money for Melody and the fantastic work she is doing in Cambodia, knowing the money would be spent directly on the cause at hand and nothing else.

"Donations are used to purchase food and clothing for the locals, pay for medics to visit villages, provide transportation and medical care, as well as education and job training for locals, among other things.

"My part is small and my hope is to be a larger source of support for her and the Cambodian people she works with."

Q: Final thoughts?

"This is a global community. No one can deny that any longer. We owe it to ourselves to help who we can, where we can. EVERYONE can help someone. Pick a cause, any cause, and try to improve a life other than your own. "

waylon crase yoyo        waylon crase music

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