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INTERVIEW: Great Woods

Hi Eric, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

I’ve been well, thanks. Excited about getting this record out! It’s been a long and satisfying process and I’m looking forward to seeing how people react to it.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Strange Times In The City”?

Like the whole record, I recorded this one at home on my own. That’s me playing everything. I’m still trying to figure out what other song this one reminds me of. It’s probably good that I can’t come up with an answer but it was one those songs that, when I wrote the opening chords I wasn’t sure if I was actually writing it or playing something I’d heard. I hope that anyone who hears it finds some sort of familiarity in it…but can’t quite place it either.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

“Strange Times In The City” is a song I wrote not too long after moving to Brooklyn. I think everyone who moves to NYC needs some time to adjust to the place and get their head around it. For me it was bit of a process and this song was part of that process. It’s a partially fictionalized version of what I was feeling at the time.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

Nope. I’m not big on music videos. I know it’s a thing people do but I’m not a visually inclined artist and I don’t think a video would have much meaning for me. I’m quite happy to let these songs stand on their own.

The single comes off your new album Strange Lives – what’s the story behind the title?

“Strange Lives” comes from the lyrics to “Strange Times In The City”. Naming an album can be tough but this came pretty easy. The time frame in which this record was written & recorded was a strange one for me. I experienced some serious loss, moved to NY from Boston where I grew up, started a new business, started a band, met a ton of new people. I fit a lot into a few years. I think all lives are strange in their way, especially when you examine a cross section of time like this record does for me.

How was the recording and writing process?

Writing is always the easy part and a constant thing in my life. It’s just something I do everyday. These songs on the record were written amongst about a dozen others that will be surfacing soon. The recording was a new process for me. I did this one entirely on my own at home. Having the freedom to make any decision without anyone else’s opinion was a great thing for me. I wouldn’t necessarily want to make every record that way but I really enjoyed it this time around. And playing all the instruments was a great challenge. I felt it made me a much better all around musician to have to take on the role of every instrument. Writing the WHOLE song is really a different experience than just coming up with chords and words. I’m already really looking forward to the next one I do on my own so I can try to get better at everything. And that’s the great thing about being a musician, you’re never done learning and improving.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

There’s no one answer to that. Chords and melodies, I write those every day, they’re always around and I’m always searching for new ones that interest me. Words come from life experience, books, movies, social situations, whatever. Generally speaking, my songs are usually a fictionalized version of my own thoughts, feelings or experiences. Sometimes they’re just fiction. I think adding a fictional aspect adds some flexibility and makes it easier to fit a full message into a small space.

Any plans to hit the road?

Not beyond the Northeast for the time being. I’m working with some new band members and operating with more of a rotating cast than I have in the past. So I’m getting a feel for that and playing solo a lot as well. I think touring isn’t too far away but not in my immediate future.

What else is happening next in Great Woods’ world?

I‘m releasing this record on June 23rd at The Footlight with The Big Drops & Sharkmuffin. I’ve also got another 4 song EP that’s currently being mixed that will come out around early fall, I think. That one was done with a full band live in the studio. So it’s gonna be a completely different feel than “Strange Lives”. Beyond that I’ve got about a dozen more songs written that I’ve JUST started recording at home. So it’s gonna be a busy year.

Listen here

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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