Call & Response: Woodhands
I've been waiting a long time for this. My first attempt at a Q&A with electro funk duo Woodhands was foiled by the cancellation of their second annual pool party, which was supposed to happen last summer.
A hell of a lot has happened to Dan Werb (vocals, synths, key-tar) and Paul Banwatt (drums, vocals) since then. Lots of sweaty shows, great press, and one very promising record deal.
Their debut album Heart Attack was released this week on Paper Bag Records and they're celebrating that with a "magical night" at Wrongbar tomorrow. I spoke with the boys about their album, the release party, and selling fried chicken.
Keep reading for the complete interview.
blogTO: Why are you called Woodhands?
Dan Werb: Well, it used to be because I wanted to let everyone know that there was an organic element to the ambient electronic music I was making.
I know Dan is originally from the West Coast. What brought you to Toronto?
DW: In a word: music. I had good friends (Henry Fletcher, Jose Lourenco) who invited me to play in their awesome band (Spitfires & Mayflowers) and who basically plugged me directly into the indie scene here. It's been a love affair ever since.
You've also lived in Europe, right? What city have you enjoyed living in the most?
DW: Yup, that's right. Every city I've lived in I've loved for different reasons. I would like to move back to Europe at some point for sure. Without a doubt I can say that the city that has shown me the most love and made me feel most at home has been...wait for it...Toronto. And I'm not just saying that!
What do you like best about living here?
DW: People care about the stuff I do here and I know an amazing group of people who have great ideas and the will to follow through on them. Also, it's close to New York, Montreal, Europe, and not too far from Vancouver, my hometown.
What do you like least?
DW: That there are so few nice old buildings and streets. Also, I think people could afford to be slightly more friendly when approached by strangers.
How great was your CMW show at the Drake? Were you nervous with all the hype leading up to it?
DW: Umm...pretty great? I was a little nervous, to be honest. Then we started playing and it was awesome.
Paul Banwatt: Home is always friendly, so having an even warmer reception felt completely amazing. I'm happy it seems like we lived up to people's expectations.
How did your SXSW sets go? What's the craziest thing that happened to you guys down there or on the road?
DW: SXSW was awesome! I think we acquitted ourselves quite well, thank you. The craziest thing was the amount of fried chicken I consumed.
You've said that you're all about the "hard sell" when it comes to your music and performances. If you couldn't be musicians any longer, what product or service do you think you'd be best at selling?
DW: Southern fried chicken, because I love it so much.
Why is your record called Heart Attack?
DW: I think if you've seen us play live it becomes immediately obvious.
What can we expect at your CD release party?
DW: The most heart attacks per second ever recorded. Also, a dance party and magicians.
PB: Plus, a brand new band called Machetes is playing their first show ever. We're really excited about that.
Woodhands "Heart Attack" CD Release Party
Feat. Machetes, wandering magicians (real ones - not a band)
Thursday, April 3
1279 Queen Street West
9pm, $5 cover
Call & Response is a series of Q&A's with bands from or playing in Toronto. Photo: Joe Fuda.