Interview: The Wooden Sky
Published on March 11th, 2012 | Jonny Abrams
Rocksucker was really rather taken with The Wooden Sky’s latest album Every Child a Daughter, Every Moon a Sun, describing it in our recent review as “graceful, comforting, ambitious yet understated and light of touch…frequently beautiful”, so we fired over some questions to the Toronto country/folk-rockers’ camp and received back the following set of answers from front man Gavin Gardiner.
First, though, a taster of their delicious new long-player…
What is the inspiration/meaning behind the album title?
The title came to me in a flash; it just sort of appeared in my mind while we were driving through the States to do some shows in and around New York. I sat with it and the more I thought about it the more I thought it really embodied what I had been writing about on this record. This idea that everything means something different to someone else, a feeling of empathy and suddenly realizing that each person is on their own journey and has experienced a lifetime of happiness and sorrow. It’s a simple idea, but overwhelming at the same time. Understanding that we each exist in our universe and we may never really get to know what exists inside.
“Child of the Valley”
It’s such a confident, lush-sounding record. Did you have an idea of what you wanted the album to sound like before recording it, or did it gradually become clear how it should turn out the more you put down?
We had a pretty clear vision of where we wanted the record to go and what we wanted it to sound like. That being said, it certainly expanded and revealed itself more clearly as we progressed. One idea would lead you to another and before long you’d find yourself on a new journey.
Watching The Wooden Sky – A Documentary in Pieces, it looks as if there’s a special kind of ‘zone’ you guys enter when you’re performing together. Do you see it as a sacred thing?
It’s great that you can pick up on that; I sometimes forget just how lucky we are to have that bond with one another. When you break music down into its parts it seems fairly simple, however when you add all the pieces together it certainly amounts to something greater then just the sum. I guess that’s a roundabout way of saying that we really enjoy playing music together and are able to really push one another to rise to a given occasion.
“It Gets Old to Be Alone”
How do you go about working out your vocal harmonies?
We do a lot of singing together; there’s something nice about voices raised up as one, so it’s not as if working on harmonies together is a chore. Sometimes I’ll come with some harmony ideas that I’ve worked out by singing along with myself, making demos. But inevitably they are changed and adapted for the better once the band gets ahold of them.
Do you guys settle everything with rock-paper-scissors, as you do at one point in the documentary? Speaking of which, do you have many in-band disputes?
I don’t think anything in this band has ever been settled with anything less than a fifteen-minute discussion. Yes we have our disputes, but at the end of the day it’s important to sit back and remind yourself that those disputes are happening because everyone is passionate and has the band’s best interests at heart.
Any plans to come to the UK in the near future?
I believe we are scheduled to come back in early fall. Excited to get back again!
Are there any obscure and/or up-and-coming artists that you’d like to recommend or give a shout-out to?
Finally, if you were forced to spend the rest of your days in solitary confinement, but were allowed to bring the entire works of five different artists along to tide you over, whose would you choose?
Jonathan Richman, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Raymond Carver and Mordecai Richler.
The Wooden Sky, thank you.