INTERVIEW: The Wood Demons

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

Hi Vents thanks for the interview! We are frustrated, like all the other musicians we know. Luckily, we’ve been able to do a few things by remote collaboration, though it’s not a patch on actually playing together. We are so glad we are able to still bring our latest album ‘Angels of Peckham Rye’ to people this winter though.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Interminable Beige Thing”?

It’s a mixture of ambient electronica and classical violin, with the two parts feeding off each other to create a serene yet romantic and emotional atmosphere.

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

Rick our keyboardist was dabbling with the idea of creating an ambient and minimalist mood using synthesiser with a built in arpeggiator. While experimenting he discovered that if he used an external sequencer rather than the arpeggiator it created a delightfully hypnotic pattern.

Then in one band rehearsal he was jamming with violinist Naomi and together they created this wonderful melodic yet ambient sound world that was truly cinematic. We really felt we had to capture this in the album.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

We’re very interested in the magic that can happen when music and film combine. We often use library footage in our videos to create a mood, and for the Interminable Beige Thing film it was about finding images that captured the feeling in the music.

The single comes off your new album The Angels of Peckham Rye – what’s the story behind the title?

William Blake wrote this when he was eight years old, he saw a vision of angels in a tree on London’s Peckham Rye (the place is still there, not sure about the tree).

How was the recording and writing process?

The writing process behind the songs has always been varied. Some are brought to the band by Simon, John and Rick almost fully formed, others have been jammed and reworked over years, emerging organically.

Recording has always been fairly lengthy and sometimes all consuming. This is because we write and record fairly complex music, and it’s taken us a lot of iterations to get to something the whole band is happy with in the studio – there’s always some aspect of the composition, the instrumentation, the performance or the mix that could be tweaked further. The trick is knowing when to stop!

What role does the UK play in your music?

Although our collective DNA encompasses other parts of the world, we all grew up here and the influence of the UK and its musical heritage is always around us and inside us. We’ve taken inspiration from British musical traditions – from Vaughan Williams to UK progressive rock, even to John Barry’s film music. At the same time, there are elements of Celtic music, and we love playing in non-Western musical modes, too: the album’s title track’s a good example of that.

How has the likes of Caravan and King Crimson influenced your writing?

King Crimson have influenced pretty much every progressive rock band you care to name – they did it all before anybody else, and never stood still after that. Caravan also have a particularly appealing dreamlike English whimsy to them and their music is always melodically strong and memorable, which is something we aim for as well.

How did you go on balancing all your different influences together?

With every song, we jam and play together developing its structure and feel. That might involve an unusual time signature, a mellotron backdrop and floaty violin. Or a bass line with delay. Or a Middle Eastern mode.

It’s not always easy: sometimes at our early gigs we were asked why we sounded like a different band on each song! Our tastes are highly eclectic and blending them all into a coherent and organic sound is a constant challenge. On this album, we really feel that we’re starting to bring this all together with a signature band sound.

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

The album delves into the worlds of deranged composers, the last moments of earth viewed from space, the loss of innocence, the desire for transcendence … and a man morphing into a giant frog! These ideas come from literature, poetry, personal experiences and our imagination. So really from anywhere and everywhere!

What else is happening next in The Wood Demons’ world?

We have already got more than half the material we need for another album, so a follow up in 2021 is a possibility as well as maybe a chance to go out and gig this album. We hope so!

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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