To my detriment I can be a bit presumptuous at times, which means that quite often I assume that everyone will have heard of a band based purely on the fact that I have. Hence I almost feel like I should apologise for not giving Woodenbox an airing much much sooner.
Their debut album, ‘Home and the Wildhunt’ has pretty much been a mainstay on my CD player for the past few months. It’s even achieved the status of being Erin’s (Baby Peenko) favourite bath time tunes. My wee girl clearly has taste.
I first came across Woodenbox when I saw lead singer Ali playing a solo set in the 13th Note last year. Something about his voice just struck a chord with me at the time and having seen them quite a few times since I can vouch that they are even more impressive as a full ensemble.
There are touches of Americana mixed with Eastern European folk music, it’s music that just puts a big fuck off smile on my face, which is reason enough for you check this band out.
Would you care to introduce yourself?
I’m Ali and I play in the band Woodenbox………………
We are a six piece horn heavy experimental folk band who aim to satisfy the needs of an eclectic audience of music enjoyers.
How would you describe the music you make?
Interesting as its so hard to describe what you are doing, I like to think its quite experimental folk rock however the horns give an added texture to what we are doing, so laying out a shitload of harmonies to coincide with the horns is an attempt at a budgeted orchestration. That’s just me any of the other boys would probably give any other number of descriptions…
How did you come together as a band?
Myself and Nick played as a two piece for a few years playing around with acoustic tracks and drum beats, then slowly we began recording demo’s and adding more into the mix, it was around 2008 when i met Phil Cardwell and asked him to come and play trumpet on a track we had, little did we know that this would turn into such a huge part of the band, so with Phil and Sam Evans came a horn section which shaped the way for things to come. Fraser and Jordan entered the fold and completed the sound we were trying to achieve, now we are a happy family and have sussed each other out and the shoes fit well.
How did you start out making music?
Personally i grew up with my mother who taught piano, I was heavily influenced by her and amazed at her ability, I began playing piano and was not too into the formalities of theory and examinations, my mother spotted i had an ability to make up original compositions and nurtured that which i am really grateful for now.
What process goes into the way you write songs?
Generally an idea is brought to the table whatever it may be, for me it could be a big idea or just a little melody idea, anyway i like to play it and with nick on drums we generally structure the ideas into songs by trying to be inventive with time signatures and drum patterns.
Who are your big musical influences?
The Band, Beach Boys, Beatles, and other bands beginning with the letter B also Otis Redding, Dr Dog, Elliot Smith……………………………..
What kind of influence do you feel that where you come from has had on the music you create?
I think lyrically your surroundings play a huge part………for me my upbringing has had a big effect, both my sisters were very musical and both excellent trumpet players…. apart from that I feel Scotland is a good place to be in a band there is a positive competition , the greatest new bands are all here and that’s inspiring and causes a need to be more creative and diversify.
You are just about to head out on a tour of Scotland, so what can people coming to your gigs expect to see/hear from your live shows?
We pride ourselves on our live show, expect variations of the record lots of energy.. and a ukulele playing drummer….
Your debut album, ‘Home and the Wildhunt’, is one of my favourite albums to have been released this year. Are you happy with what you’ve achieved with it? And have you started to work on any new material?
Well thanks ….. we recorded the album ourselves on a tight budget and tight time frame so as for that I am proud of what we achieved, I always want the recordings to be better I think everyone would but I am pretty happy with it, as for new material we moved into our own studio a few months ago and are making loads of demo’s and experimenting with new ideas…
What are your plans for the rest of the year and beyond?
We are doing a wee tour in England for December and will be working away in our studio trying to get the next album ready for release in 2011.. we are also creating a Christmas single which we will probably do as a free download…
Woodenbox with a fistful of fivers – “Besides the point”
14 Oct – Mad Hatters, Inverness
15 Oct – The Arch Inn, Ullapool
16 Oct – The Jager Room, Stornaway
17 Oct – Cafe Drummonds, Aberdeen
Woodenbox With A Fistful debut album ‘Home And The Wildhunt’ is out now on Electric Honey, you can pick yourself a copy in all good record stores, or if you’re to lazy to get off the sofa, then Avalanche and Love Music have copies.
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Photo Credit: Musical Chairs