Woods Of Ypres interview (06/2011)
|With:||David Gold, Shane Madden, Joel Violette|
|Conducted by:||alkonost x (in person)|
Woods Of Ypres
After 1 Demo, 1 EP, and 3 albums, Woods Of Ypres finally seem to be making a well deserved impact on the global metal community. It's been 2 years since their most recent album "Woods IV: The Green Album", and the Woods are still touring it. A nice retrospective of all the events that have transpired thus far on the Pain & Piss tour, as well as things to come.
Emily: Why did you call this tour "Pain and Piss"?
David: That's a tour for us. We're going into our sixth independently booked North American tour and then "Pain and Piss" references the chorus to our song "Wet Leather" off of Woods 4: The Green Album. We briefly looked at a couple other possible names for the tour and unanimously agreed that pain and piss was the most appropriate.
Emily: How many gigs do you have on this tour?
Joel: It's thirty-four.
David: We did a similar tour last summer I think it was 26 dates in about 30 some odd days, and this one here is 34 dates in about 37 days. So there's three days off basically and otherwise a show every night. We spent two of them in a row which we used productively; we edited some video, put some stuff online and wrote the blog.
Emily: What has been the best show you have played on this tour so far?
Shane: That's easy.
Joel: The best one was St. Paul Minnesota. The mood was awesome tons of people came out, we had a great response and the bands we played with were great so overall just a great show. It's a big metal town. We were there before, a couple of years ago.
David: This is us going back to St. Paul for the second time. We played the Heathen Crusade Festival three years ago. Station 4 has a load in crew, a monitor guy, a mixing guy, a stage crew and the Promoter takes care of us it's a real professional show environment and makes us feel really good about what we're doing.
Emily: And the worst show?
Shane: Worst show is Des Moines, Iowa. Not only was it the worst show of the tour, it was the worst show...
Shane: Ever. It was a fill in date, you've got to get from one town to another and I mean there were a lot of reasons why it was bad.
David: The stats were six people were there and two peopled paid. That means we got ten bucks at five dollars each and we sold no merch at all, which is the first time that's happened at a Woods show ever. Had we known it would be like that we would have just driven through, had a day off and something nice to eat. But we played St. Paul the next day which was a night and day difference.
Emily: What's the weirdest thing that's ever happened to you on tour?
Joel: Probably the windshield thing. Last summer we went out for a tour, we were two hours on the road and then all of a sudden our hood came up and smashed the windshield out of nowhere.
David: We immediately thought "we have to get it fixed" and it was on a Friday afternoon in the middle of nowhere in northern Ontario. We called about thirty places and nobody would do the job. The whole thing was spider webbed except about ten percent on the driver side window, which was lucky. You can't wait for that kind of thing on tour so we drove and played three shows like that and eventually got it fixed in Saskatoon.
Another time was a couple of years ago in Vancouver, it was Shane's first tour with us and we were playing the Cobalt. There was some black metal band that smashed the windshield and all of the windows on one side of our van while we were on stage.
Emily: Any specific reason they would do that to you?
David: Metal insanity out of them. Black metal guys who think it's real, take it seriously, and didn't like us or what we were doing. It's hard to believe they would do that to another band considering we're from Ontario and we are on the other side of the country. We're at their club and they still have the nerve to do that. So many other people said "Oh we'll boycott that band, black list them and they'll never play anywhere," but the truth is those guys were so messed up they were never going to leave their own city anyway, so it doesn't matter.
Emily: Why make a Video Blog?
David: We had a couple of video cameras and we started filming. Last summer Shane just decided to cut it up, make something and put it online.
Joel: I think it was originally the windshield thing, wasn't it? When we thought we should put this all together.
Shane: We had the cameras but we weren't doing much with them. We had the live shows for YouTube, but we were filming everything and ended up with a lot of good stuff so we went with it.
David: We've had the cameras rolling for probably three years now and have only been doing the YouTube Vlog since last year. Two examples of why are:
We grew up on the Pantera home video things, which as a teenager watching those after they were done, I didn't know whether I wanted to practice guitar, practice drums, lift weights, break shit or drink. You were just so pumped up. The show was a part of it, but the show was probably only ten per cent of the footage, the rest of it was the guys hanging out, pulling stunts and doing "cool stuff."
Similar thing with that Type-O Negative DVD Symphony for the Devil, with the commentary they are all sitting there, watching themselves goofing off and hanging out on the road. Every time it goes back to the scene with a live show they're like "aw, jeez it's so boring..."
Emily: What will you do with your footage?
David: We'll cut some white hot, really good ten to fifteen seconds of a show, a really exciting moment next to a thirty second clip of us on the road; The rain on the highway or us going into a motel carrying those huge bags of merch.
Emily: Why did you originally say that Woods of Ypres was disbanding?
David: It was half true and half for dramatic effect. We thought that if things didn't work the way we wanted, well it would have been completely true. If things flipped and worked out how we wanted, then it would have been a cool promotional stunt.
Emily: What happened?
David: When we finished our tour last summer and we had done our recording, there was a chance that the band would have continued in some form, but for the time being we were certainly on hiatus in numerous ways. We were even living separately in different cities and doing our own thing. Then we got this offer from Earache, talked about it for a couple of months and decided we would go for it. Now a few months later we find ourselves back at it.
Emily: What is it like being signed to Earache Records after being independent for such a long time?
David: Woods of Ypres was an independent band for eight and a half years, but so far but we're still a young band with them. In the bigger broader world we're still a new band. There are people that are just discovering us now because of Earache. We were able to do a lot of good things on our own, but we did come to a point where we were an independent band for maybe a year and a half too long.
Emily: What do you mean?
David: We weren't really gaining ground as fast as we used to, so the most logical thing for us to do was to sign to them. We're doing this tour just like we've done any other tour, they appreciate that we're doing it. We're not on probation with Earache, but on probation with the world a little bit in terms of if everybody gets into it and buys it, then Earache will see it's working. If they put it out, and we tried it out and things are slow then they might just leave it be. It's similar to some other bands; I'll admit that I didn't get into Opeth until maybe Blackwater Park. Wow this band's been around for ten years and they have four other albums for you to investigate...
Emily: What is your favourite Woods of Ypres song?
Shane: "Distractions of Living Alone" is in my top, I like "End of August". For newer stuff, I like a lot off of Woods 4. There's so much material, just as were saying, with four albums of background. When we get together for a tour we end up with about two hours of stuff that we want to try and we end up with only an hour that we actually get to do.
Joel: Woods 2 to 4 was before I met these guys, so "The Sun Was In My Eyes Part One" and "Part Doom", and pretty much everything off Woods 2.
David: Current favourite is falling apart which is off of what we recorded last summer. The difference is when we were doing other records as more concept records, you had your cornerstone songs and then you had your transitional songs. Live we play cornerstone songs, but what we recorded last summer wasn't a concept record. Instead of doing albums that have all the elements we do songs that have all of the elements.
Emily: What inspires the lyrics for your music?
David: In the very beginning I was inspired to write five songs and bad things kept happening and 46 other songs later here we are. We didn't start with the intention of being the band we became it really happened organically and naturally where we just started with those 5 songs and then it just spiralled out of control.
The music industry is really intelligently designed if you want to write negative music. You might write a few negative songs in the beginning but the longer you are in the music biz, the more challenges you have. It's really hard to break free from that life, you're always in that life so there's always going to be inspirations for new songs.
Emily: What makes your music "Canadian" aside from the fact that you're from Canada?
David: When I think about Woods 1, it was very much a Sue St. Marie Ontario record a lot of those songs were inspired by Sue St. Marie things. Woods 2 was like a Windsor inspired record there's references to it, and it was written and recorded in Windsor. Woods 3 was kind of like an Ontario record with a lot of references to Ontario as a whole, and Woods 4 is what made us broader and less focused on Canadian themes. On the next record, that is going to be eliminated entirely. We're at a point where we not really doing Canadiana, but are doing records for more of a global perspective.
Emily: Describe Woods 5 (The Next Album)
David: If there's a colour it's black, if there's a time of day it's at night, if there's a season at all its winter. It will be sad, classy, dark and heavy. I like storytelling and lyrical based songs because that's what I get in to. I'm almost 30 years old I've heard a lot of blast beats and a lot of guitar wanking but at this age I like a good song writing. I think people get into the music and connect with it because of that.
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