Posts Tagged ‘Woods of Ypres’
All metal (almost Indian) list this time around
Skyharbor – Guiding Lights
The sophomore release of the international progressive metal group is their first as a band. The album continue with the melodic elements first heard on “Aurora” from their debut album “Blinding White Noise: Illusion & Chaos”. Forrester Savell bolsters the songwriting with great production. Progressive metal fans will not be disappointed.
Gutslit – Skewered in the Sewer
The first album from Gutslit, death grind band from India is miles ahead of their split with Pulmonary Fibrosis and I have been listening to it a lot lately. The slam parts might put off grind purists. After a short tour of Europe earlier this year including a set at Obscene Extreme, things are looking promising for the band.
Pangea – This is NG, taking
Instrumental progressive metal band Pangea are one of the underrated bands from India. Their new single “This is NG, taking” has some trippy riffs. Keep an eye out for more awesome music from this band in the coming year.
Bhayanak Maut – Man
‘Man’ is one of the few concept albums released by an Indian metal band. Bhayanak Maut take a very different approach to the concept of serial killers.The band are a twisted lot; reading the journal that accompanies the album will send chills down your spine. Easily their best release yet.
Woods of Ypres – Against the Seasons
As the days get shorter and winter sets in, this is my go to album. The debut album of Canadian band Woods of Ypres is one of my favourite black metal releases. Here is my favourite track from it
The second release by Woods of Ypres “Pursuit Of The Sun & Allure Of The Earth” is now available for pre-order on Earache Records. The album is a special on for me as it is the first Woods of Ypres album I heard. In March 2005, just over six months after the release of the album I did an interview with front man David Gold. It appeared in The Frequency, a publication of Fusion Radio which is the internet radio station for the Scarborough campus of University of Toronto.
How did you come up with the name Woods of Ypres??
The original Woods of Ypres was formed in May of 2002 as a 3 piece in Windsor. The name came from a song title from another Windsor band called “Fact of Death”. We heard about it at the same time we were searching for a name and they gave us permission to use it. It meant a lot of things at the time, having reference to the park on Ypres Rd. in Windsor (when we all lived in Windsor), the battle of Ypres in WWI which had significant Canadian involvement (making reference to us as Canadians and our history), and the “Woods” part of it having reference to traditional ‘black metal’ themes (of being inspired by nature, etc…).To my knowledge, Woods of Ypres is the first black metal band to ever originate in Windsor.
Describe the band and its music
I like to describe Woods of Ypres ongoing style as Black & Doom metal, because we are both, and not completely one or the other. “Pursuit of the Sun…”, the latest CD is in more of a doom vein than the “Against the Seasons” demo which was more “cold” and black. It comes across as comparable to the band Opeth to a lot of people with the frequent use of the acoustic guitar and the light to heavy dynamics, but the Opeth style is only a reference point.”Pursuit…” was more of an experiment on how the same themes of black metal would be expressed in a summer setting as opposed to winter, which is more traditional for black metal. For example, whereas it’s easy to find comfort and collect your thoughts in the darkness of the winter, it can be an agonizing experience if you find yourself miserable in the summer when the sun is shining and there’s nowhere to hide from it, and everyone can see you suffer. It is the soundtrack for those emotionally heavy, hot and humid, sad summer days.
The next CD (due out by the end of 2005) will be a full return to our “cold” black metal sound, similar to the “Against the Seasons” demo, but more developed by experience. We have 12 new songs that we’re working on right now and I can already say that it will be the best Woods yet!
Tell me about your first album “Against the seasons”. Is it going to be re-released??
Our 1st album “Against the Seasons: Cold Winter Songs from the Dead Summer Heat” will be officially released for the 1st time ever this summer! It has only been available in CD-r/Demo format up until now. The whole album has been re-mixed and re-mastered and it now sounds HUGE! Way bigger than it ever did! It will be available direct from us at http://www.woodsofypres.ca, at any CD retail store in Canada and at The End Records Mailorder (www.theendrecords.com). We are very excited to finally have it released properly, almost 3 years later after it was recorded.
Are you signed with any label??
Woods of Ypres is being released by the new upcomming music label “Krankenhaus Records” here in Mississauga. This label will do big things this year!
How would you come up with the lyrics in your songs?
The lyrics are always inspired from coping with terrible stuff. They are a mix of sadness, frustration, disappointment and hope. They are definitely not your typical ‘heavy metal lyrics’ but they are true to us, and have become a big part of the reason why we bother to make music.
How has the Response been to you music in Toronto?
I interpret the overall the response as good from the way that so many people feel inclined to spread the word about Woods of Ypres after they hear us. They recognize what we do as something special, because the can see that the music is also very special and meaningful to us. I also like the fact that people who bother really analyze our music realize that there is much more to this band than what can be said with comparisons to Opeth or Ulver. I appreciate that because thought there may be a few similarities on the surface, we are inspired from very different places and the end results are in fact very different. We never went out to be anyone else but ourselves, Canadian kids raised on metal who are now Canadians who make metal.
An old friend of mine used to have a theory that because there are so many bands in the world that you’ll probably never hear the band you and your brain would like the most (based on your own unique characteristics).From the reaction we have been getting, I think it’s okay for me to say that we have found some of “our people” because we hear from a lot of listeners who just “get it” and can immediately identify with it. The music, the themes, they effortlessly get it. It’s as if their brains were craving something specific, that didn’t yet exists and we fulfilled the demand. To them, “Pursuit of the Sun…” is more than just “Weekend Heavy Metal Purchase #666” and we really like that. Though surely, we realise that WOY is not for everyone, but it seems that the people who like it, really like it!
Are you going to be playing live soon??
We were set to play at the Northern Lights Festival but it was recently canceled, apparently due to slow ticket sales and the fact that a corporate metal tour booked their Toronto date on the same weekend as our festival. Woods of Ypres doesn’t have any shows currently scheduled.
What are the future plans for the band?
Dan Hulse (bass/recording engineer), Jessica Rose (keys) and I will be concentrating on developing songs for the new album right up until recording begins this summer. We are planning to do some serious gigging once Woods: III is released. 2005 will be another ‘writing year’ but we plan to make 2006 a ‘working year’ and play a whole lot more live shows. We don’t plan on doing an album next year, but who knows. We are always writing so something may come up anyway. But for right now, our focus is making the next album as good as we possibly can. “Against the Seasons: III – “The Deepest Roots & Darkest Blues” will be out at the end of this year.
Any final words??
Check out http://www.woodsofypres.ca for news and updates. + Visit the forum!
Last week, Earache Records announced that they would be re-issuing ‘Against the Seasons: III – The Deepest Roots & Darkest Blues’ the 3rd release by Canadian Black/Doom metal band Woods of Ypres.
They describe the album as “ the band at their most aggressive, with the harsh black metal sound reflecting the predominant personal lyrical approach. The doomier style that the band subsequently adopted is also hinted at here, particularly on the haunting “Your Ontario Town Is A Burial Ground”.
I had spoken to the Woods of Ypres frontman, David Gold after the release of the album in 2008. He answered my questions with a lot of detail. Below is the transcript of my interview with David.
(Left to Right) Jessica Rose, Dan Husle and David Gold
Hails David!! How are you? It has been 3 years in the making, how does it feel now that your 3rd album “Woods 3: Deepest Roots and Darkest Blues” is finally released?
David: Relieved! I had already been working on “Woods 3” ideas since the writing of “Woods 2: Pursuit of the Sun & Allure of the Earth” and there are even a few riff arrangements that I’ve had since shortly after the recording of “Woods 1: Against the Seasons: Cold Winter Songs from the Dead Summer Heat” so I’ve been carrying the weight of some of these ideas for a very long time. It took me about a year to compose all the songs and write and rehearse my drum parts. We recorded the drums in February 2006, the finished all the guitars in May, it’s just everything else that took so long to do and delayed the release. The main problem was time. Through the three years of “Woods 3”, like most metal bands we’ve all worked full time day jobs that could often be very demanding. We would work all week while making time to write and rehearse at night but recording would be restricted to the weekends. That might not seem too bad to some people reading this but the cycle is horrendous because in order to fulfil all your obligations, you work your heart out and never get a break. It’s all work, studio, binge drink, repeat.Then of course there are always logistical hassles and scheduling conflicts and the unfortunate and unexpected massive, tragic drama that always somehow shatters our progress while trying to finish recording a Woods album (another vulnerability of a long process is the length of your vulnerability). We have been plagued by the kind of life changing event stuff that you hope never happens, that you wouldn’t even wish on your enemies (well maybe your worst enemy) and that happens at the worst possible time to derail our focus and hands us a serious setback, at least for a while. It happened during Woods 1, Woods 2 and now especially Woods 3. I won’t go into details, but it sure set my soul on fire this time around and made anything I’ve ever gone through before seem so minor. Peace. I’ve now come to expect it, but have also decided to become a superstitious person about these kind of things, fingers crossed. Let’s hope that Woods 4 goes smoothly enough and without incident. We sure have some new things to write about.
Tell us a bit about the recording process.
David: To get in shape to write and rehearse the drums, I lived in the rodent infested jamspace known as the “Rehearsal Factory” on Front St. in Toronto for about a year. It was expensive as fuck and I had to deal with all kinds of disrespectful asshole, bullshit hip hop producer neighbours who insisted on making beats at club volumes at all hours of the night (not cool when you have to wake at 6 am for work). I would basically come home after work, play our click track pre-production CD through our PA and play along, trying out different ideas. My place was basically a one room jamspace with a bed so that year wasn’t too comfortable. I resorted to living like this after our last jamspace in Scarborough was condemned for whatever reason. We had just moved in, paid and out of nowhere they just told us to move out our shit because the building was being torn down. They answered our requests for our deposit back with “We are so far in debt, good luck getting your $300 deposit back. In fact, we dare you to sue us for $300” etc… What a nightmare. That building was full of scumbag assholes and it was a pain in the ass to drive out there all the time anyway so we were happy to leave but frustrated not to have a jamspace again. Making music has never been a problem for WoY, but I could give you details of about a dozen jamspaces that the band has occupied in the last five years, in four cities. In my opinion, they were all shitholes and wickedly overpriced for what we paid, but it seems that’s what you always have to suffer in order to ‘keep the ball rolling’ as we used to say.
After Dan and I had recorded a couple full album drum demos in the Front St. jampspace, we bought two days at Chemical Sound in Toronto (do you know that “Death From Above 1979” band/album? That was recorded there.). We set up on Saturday morning, tuned and miced the drums and were tracking by mid afternoon. I managed to get half the album done by the end of Saturday. A couple oven pizzas and a shitty sleep later, we finished the second half on the drums on Sunday and gorged ourselves with Indian Roti while the dude mixed down the tracks. I did at least three useable takes of each song, except for “Distractions of Living Alone” which was the last track I did, 9 times! I was exhausted and I just couldn’t find the right feel that I wanted right away, so it took some practise. Overall, it was a lot of drums to record in just a little over 24 hours (73 useable minutes). I was wrecked for a few days. I actually went to see Devin Townsend live on the Monday night and I remember drinking beers while leaning up against the wall because I could barely stand from so much blasting, over and over again. We did what we had to do, but I would love the luxury of having a few more days to track drums on any future WoY albums, or better yet, have someone else perform them and leave me to focus on guitar and vocals.
Next, we recorded the guitars at Dan’s cottage studio near Bobcaygeon. I used my brown Gibson SG and my Marshall Mode 4 on the left side guitars (the main riffs) and my B.C. Rich Warlock with Hetfield EMGs through a borrowed Marshall JCM 800 on the right (the thrash and power chord rhythm parts). Again, I remember Dan and I finishing up our work weeks on Friday, getting some ‘recording groceries’ (beer and spicy food) driving up to the cottage listening to Behemoth or whatever it was at the time, enthusiastically talking about metal and W3. We’d load in Friday night, crash, make breakfast, track guitars all day over multiple pots of coffee until we were shitting out pants and then eat BBQ, watch hockey on illegal satellite and get trashed at night. Sunday would be similar but with a hangover. Then Sunday night we’d tear down, load out and drive home, usually in complete silence (haha!). I think it took about 4 weekends to record all the electric guitar parts and then one more weekend to do the acoustic parts. By then it was nearing summer time and getting pretty warm. On the acoustic tracking weekend I remember sitting on a chair with my guitar in hand in front of a couple microphones, facing the window of the sliding door to the outside, looking at the trees, hungover, sweating my balls off thinking “ah, it’s almost done, only a few more songs”…fingers shaking.
That summer was full of work and personal life conflicts (as is the deal with summer in our case it seems) and we didn’t get much done. Plus, I hate summer. Once everything had cooled down, we resumed tracking at the cottage in the fall, doing the first of the keys, vocals and bass. When winter had finally set in and it became too cold to record at the cottage ( we all have limits, even black metallers, Abbath would have backed us up on this one) we moved our process to our (then) new jamspace in Oshawa. Tracking here came with a catch. The building had a noise curfew from 12 noon to 12 midnight which meant you could play at full volume during those times but the place was to be quiet otherwise. So, tracking sometimes began in the frosty ‘see your breathe’ dark of winter mornings as early as 7 am so we could record in a quiet environment before other scumbag bands woke up and started jamming at noon. There would of course be pressure of the looming deadline each day before other bands in the building started making noise as we would be wanting to get as much accomplished as possible in our dirty window of opportunity. Again, not a comfortable thing at the end of a work week, but it’s what we had to do. Vocals, keys and bass all wrapped up in late spring / early summer and it had been mix, mix, mix ever since, rediscovering layers we had recorded and nearly forgot about. By the fall, W3 was being sent to be mastered and pressed. This album would have exhausted a full band that actually had time and resources, so for ‘half’ a band such as ours with so, so very much less, I’ll admit it nearly killed us, but we finished it and it’s now out. Please enjoy our painful labour, and if you do enjoy it, please buy a copy.
How different was it recording this album as compared to your last album “Pursuit Of The Sun & Allure Of The Earth” especially since you had a couple more members in the band?
David: Well Jessica has been with me since 2004, so she is now the only other member other than me to have recorded on at least two consecutive Woods albums. Having Dan Hulse join the band as bass player and recording engineer came at a great time. Though convenient, we did have our challenges as it was a huge commitment and simply just a lot for one person to take on as bass player and engineer, especially for a guy who worked as much as he did and also had a life , etc… We would always talk about the ‘wearing of too many hats’, and having too much to do, which was the predominant theme of the W3 process, with Dan being the recording engineer and me doing all the writing and managing all aspects of the band, operating our mailorder, etc… In the future, I would much rather have 1) a drummer other than myself, 2) a producer 3) a label to handle some of our administration. These three things would allow Dan and I to free up a little more time and brainpower to work on the songs themselves and ultimately make better music. I always dream of the albums we will make with more time and some peace of mind. I basically wrote the arrangements, the drum parts and then the guitar riffs. Dan and Jessica both wrote their complimenting bass and keyboard parts, I sang over top of all of it and then Dan mixed it and had it mastered.
Having lived in Ontario, Canada for a few years I can understand the sentiment behind “Your Ontario Town is a Burial Ground”. How much of that song was about Woods of Ypres?
David: Really? I’d be curious to hear your take on it as well. I won’t deny that the main inspiration for this song was from my time growing up in Sault Ste. Marie, in Northern Ontario. I lived there all my life and had never seen much else so by 18 I was dying to get the fuck out of there. Of course the list of pros and cons are endless when comparing big city life to small city life, but I was frustrated having spent so much time there and felt pressured to make up for lost time, to catch up on the world. Once I got out there, I felt so underexposed to life. I mean, I could write a book about the stupid shit we would do to pass time, growing up, up north (playing in a band being the most exciting in a list of going coffee, drinking beers, driving around, throwing shit at other shit, taking shits where you’re not supposed to take shits, breaking things, being hillbillies etc…). It’s now been 8 years since I left and it’s sometimes hard for me to believe that I ever used to live there, it sometimes seems like a lifetime ago. Maybe I’m out of touch and just don’t realize that it’s the same life for kids growing up anywhere, but maybe not. It’s funny for me to think that I didn’t see my first concert until I was 19 and in University when I went to see Megadeth and Static-X at the State Theatre in Detroit (haha! Btw – I’m not at all a Megadeth fan really but somehow I’ve seen then live 4-5 times since then. I am however still a huge Static-X fan! Seriously!). Since leaving the north, I grew to resent it even more as I lost touch with friends, either intentionally or inadvertently, from either side. In retrospect, I ask myself, “who the fuck am I to judge anyone else’s life” but I guess I felt that there was too big of a world out there for good friends of mine to spend it doing the same shit in the same shitty city every year of their lives, driving around, doing nothing. I wanted more for myself and them, but it was because it ended up being me alone on my own so much that led to some pretty lonely, isolated periods of identity crisis and questioning of my choices, searching for purpose (enter WoY). I guess I also felt that many people who I knew ‘gave up’ or who didn’t take those important chances in order to do what they wanted to do with their lives but instead chose to stay put where things were dark, boring but yet familiar and comfortable. SSM can be comfy, but not exciting or rewarding. But anyways, again, who the fuck am I to judge? I wrote that song a few years ago when I still really felt passionately resentful towards that scene but have since ‘relaxed’ and changed my focus. I do believe that people will relate to that song, get their own angst out and appreciate the fact that I wrote it, but really I realise that it’s no business of mine to try to tell people what they should do with their lives. I may visit, very rarely, but I just know I don’t want to live my life there. What anyone else does is up there is up to them. “Brutal north, bring me down!”.
Jessica Rose makes another appearance and plays a “key” part of it. How did she become part of the band?
David: The story: While still I Windsor, fall 2003, I submitted the Woods 1 song “Shams of Optimism” to a guy named Kyle from Toronto who was releasing an indy metal compilation on his label. Fast forward to living in Toronto January 2004, I had posted an announcement on the braveboard (www.bravewords.com/braveboard) entertaining the idea of possibly adding a keyboard player to the band. Jessica was the only reply and the only keyboardist we’ve heard from since. We met for coffee and Kyle (then boyfriend, now husband) came with her. Jessica has stuck with me and the WoY even since, through hell and success. Her role in the band increases with every album so please enjoy and appreciate the greatness she gave to Woods 3 and look forward what she contributes on Woods 4.
What are your thoughts on those who feel that there is no place for keyboards in black metal?
David: Well, people on the Internet sure seem to feel a lot of things about what there’s place for in black metal now don’t they? There’s probably more discussion about these things in black metal than any other genre ever. Btw – have you ever had a conversation about black metal with someone in person, or do these things only ever happen online? Joking of course (poorly). I think it’s obvious that we are simply doing our thing with (laughs out loud as I type this) very little regard to what else is happening out there or what people think about what’s allowed in BM. You’ll poison your brain getting caught up in the rules or listening to anonymous opinions. We are obviously not a pure black metal band for many, many reasons and I think it’s clear to people that we’re not aspiring to be a part of all that. Even though we can enjoy that stuff, be fans and appreciate it ourselves at the same time, it’s just not us. Our style is black and doom, which means riff, blast, blast, blast, blast, fill, fill, fill, fill, DOOOOOOOOM! Hell-fast to slow as hell, sometimes hot, sometimes ice cold. That is the WoY sound. We like atmosphere and keyboards only contribute to that atmosphere, so they are cool with us. One of our goals in making music is to evoke emotions just as much as we want to blast your head off, and piano and strings are great tools to grab someone by the heart, via the ears and mind. Not all bands need a keyboardist, but Woods is a band that is better with one. + Jessica is a character and as much part of WoY as anything or anyone. She has also recently started a gothic clothing business: http://www.corpseknit.com
Dan Hulse (Ex-Blood of Christ) is responsible for the production on the album and also handles the bass duties. How did he become a part of the band?
David: Dan and I met on a very unfortunate mini tour with BoC and an early version of WoY in early 2004, which ironically included a show in Sault Ste. Marie and the old WoY stomping grounds on Windsor, Ontario. We seemed to have hit it off and kept in touch, talking about metal and future band aspirations. A time came when he left BoC and decided to join WoY fulltime. We’ve been working on W3 and trying to find a way for everything else to work out ever since. We’ve definitely paid our dues and put our time in on this album. Having this awful and disgusting process behind us, I feel as if the possibilities are endless going forward into the next era.
A week or so before the album release you put it online for free. What was the motive behind that?
David: Very simply, a few people in the press had already been sent a copy and as soon as one person has a copy you might as well just put it up for download. The link I posted was limited to 100 downloads and that got eaten up within about a day. Since then I’ve seen it pop up at all the major torrent sites. We of course would appreciate for people to still purchase a copy of a CD (the “physical representation” as I call it now) in exchange for making the music. It seems that’s what CD sale means these days, when people enjoy the music they’ve downloaded enough to send a band money in exchange for a booklet and a plastic disc, to say “Thanks!”. That’s cool with with us. I have an i-pod, I understand. Whatever works and keeps us going.
Is this album the last in the “Against the Seasons” series? What is the next album gonna be like?
David: Yes, Woods 3 is the third of three in the “Against the Seasons” trillogy series.
The next album (Woods 4) will be one of new growth and renewal. Expect the warm, green, organic sound of progressive black metal in major chords as well as some heavy ballads. I already have new riffs written for half an album. It will be ‘spring’ a la WoY!
Since you also run Krankenhaus Records, any new releases this coming year other than the Woods of Ypres album?
David: I don’t have any plans to work with any other bands other than ones that I am in. My focus is and always will be Woods of Ypres, so I am going to continue to focus on that and make plans for our next move (Woods 4, + maybe a few surprises). We are also planning to finally re-release Woods 2: “Pursuit of the Sun & Allure of the Earth” sometime in 2008, hopefully before the summer. We’ve also been talking to some artists about doing new and extensive artwork for “Woods 2” which may include a new graphic image for each song from that album, sure to make a good booklet and some killer t-shirts! Can you imagine a visual for “Allure of the Earth” or “Dragged Across a Forest Floor”? I sure as fuck can.
I can hear a variety of influences in your music. What is the main influence to your music?
David: The WoY sound of the full “Against the Seasons” ara (Woods 1,2,3) was influenced by a lot of that early 2000’s euro black metal such as Borkngar, Vintersorg, Arcturus, Solefald, that whole scene, as well as doomier bands such as Katatonia (and my personal favourites) Agalloch and Amorphis. Add to that the lyrical styles and riffs of Crowbar, Sentenced, and the darkness of Type O Negative and Danzig. Lately, I (half) jokingly compare the WoY sound to HIM meeting Darkthrone halfway, but with heavy drums. Basically, WoY mixes black and doom, the two styles of metal I enjoyed the most that were kept separate amongst the bands I listened to. We have both of those extreme moods, plus the ballads, so there’s really three sides to WoY.
Growing up what were the Canadian bands you looked up to?
David: FaceDown (SSM). They were a thrash/Pantera influenced “crash metal” (buzz word expression at the time) four piece, pusing their early 20’s. They released one 8 song tape called “Self Muder”. I bought it for $5 off the guitarist in my high school intro to business class. Other than that, pre-Internet, I didn’t even know of any Canadian metal bands that existed. The world was just Metallica, Pantera, Slayer, Megadeth…oh and Type O and Crowbar!
One of the things I really like about the music is the honesty in it. How much of your personal experiences go into the music?
David: Lots. Every WoY song is at least originally inspired from something that happened in real life, and then I build around it to complete the idea of what the theme is about. I guess if you live a Dungeons and Dragons kind of life, that’s what you might think to write your metal about, but we sure as fuck didn’t and so we don’t. I believe that ‘life’ is the reason I found metal and why I’ve been inspired to make some of my own. With each new song I feel I make something good out of something terrible and it allows me to smile and move on. For example, “A Meeting Place and Time” is about terrible stuff that once thought would haunt me forever but now that’s so far from the truth. Now, I often think about that song without even remembering what actually inspired it. I’m always fascinated with the idea that you could be so intimately close with someone for years, only to eventually hate that person more than you thought you could ever hate a person. I wish it didn’t happen like that, but love and life is always like playing with fire. What’s funny to me is that I know my tendencies socially and the connections to my writing. Now sometimes I laugh when I meet someone know and think “this person will be a song” haha! I know I say this every album, and I probably always will, but Woods 4 will be the best WoY album yet. Hahaha! With each album Woods is older, wiser, tougher and better at expressing ourselves. In the wake of some fresh life changing personal experiences in my life, expect a new level of depth and intensity from DG and the crew on the next album.
Woods of Ypres has a strong following online. What are your thoughts on the internet and also networking sites like myspace.com and others and its effects on the music industry? Has the Internet been beneficial to your band?
David: Absolutely! Woods of Ypres has been built on the Internet. In this day and age, if we’ve ever had a choice, we’ve always focused on recordings rather than playing live (again, if we had to choose one). A live show can only be shared with a few hundred people at our level (if we’re lucky, in Toronto!) but because of the Internet, our recordings can resonate thousands of times throughout the world to be enjoyed (and loathed) by so many. Fuck man, we have a .ca, a myspace, a facebook profile, a facebook group, a forum, a guestbook, a garageband, a lastfm profile, etc… People are tuned in and listening to the Internet and I don’t think there’s a better medium right now. The Internet also allows a band such as ours to get out there and get on with achieving our goals without waiting for our music to be legitimised by a label. WoY has been 100% indie since the founding in 2002 and with the help of paypal and supporters sending us well hidden cash in the mail, we’ve run a successful mailorder distro ever since. I did a lot of networking through all areas of the band and have nurtured the interest of our listener base and rewarded them whenever we could. We now see that work paying off. Because of downloading and torrents, we have no idea how wide-spread our albums have gone but I’m willing to bet it would be a seriously impressive number to know how many people have those first two (soon to be three) WoY albums on their computer. We’re definitely out there.
Now that you have a full-band together, any plans for touring yet?
David:Some serious touring is definitely a dream and an interest of ours, but I’ll admit that the future of WoY is very much undefined at this time. A lot depends on time, money, scheduling, and demand based on how well “Woods 3” is received. Basically, we would love to. We’ll see what happens.
What are your plans for 2008?
David:For me, promoting “Woods 3” and finally visiting long lost family in Finland for the first time next summer.
Thank you for taking time out to answer my questions. Do you have any final words or comments?
David:Yeah, here are the two best ways to order a copy of “Woods 3”:
Direct from the band (preferred):
From The End Records:
+ Please check out the W3 e-card, in two versions: http://www.eyesickle.com/woodsecard/3/
Thanks for the interview Peter! Be well out there!
David Gold & the Wood… \w/
Check out the video for ‘Norther Cold’ from the album
I’ve been thinking about doing a mixtape for a while now since my work schedule leaves me not much time to work on the podcast. The first mixtape consisting of some of the bands that I have featured here in the past 4 months:
Anuryzm – Sintax of Trinity (Progressive metal from Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Read my interview with them here
Odyssey – The Reckoning (Progressive metal from Lahore, Pakistan)
Read my interview with them here
Woods of Ypres – Silver (Black and doom metal from Canada)
Read my interview with them here
Billy Bobs Blood Drenched Brew – Timepass Membrane (Death metal from Dubai)
Read my interview with them here
Nephelium – Hellborne (Brutal death metal from Toronto, Canada)
Read my interview with them here
Creative Waste – Cradle to Grave (Grindcore from Saudi Arabia)
Read my review and interview with them here
Stay tuned for another mixtape next month.
As I mentioned in my Tribute to David Gold, I would try and get in contact with Joel Violette for an interview regarding the latest Woods of Ypres album, “Grey Skies and Electric Light”. Well I did manage to and he was gracious to reply to all my questions.
Find out more about his thoughts on the final album by Woods of Ypres in my interview below.
Your first album as a “signed band” has just released under some of the toughest circumstances. Your thoughts on the same?
It is indeed a tough time, for everyone David knew. But, you’re right, doubly so for his family and me because of the impending release of Woods 5. But Earache has been very understanding and respectful. David’s family is going through a very tough time, but they are nevertheless committed to making sure Woods 5 receives the press, attention, and reception it deserves. We are all working together with Earache to ensure this!
“Grey Skies and Electric Light” was your second release as full time member of the band. What was the song writing process like? Did being a signed band have any effect on it?
The song writing process for Woods 5 was a blast. For Woods 4.5: Home, David wrote all the songs, and I contributed solos and lead guitar on three of five songs we recorded. That was a good experience, and started off my writing relationship with David. Woods 5 was different in that I ended up writing half the songs the album, musically at least. David still wrote all the lyrics. But I sent him a few demos that he really liked, and told me to keep pounding them out, and that we would use the best 10-12 songs we came up with between the two of us. It happened to be six and six. There will only be 11 tracks on the final album because “Kiss My Ashes (Goodbye)” is one spliced into one massive song rather than two regular-length ones.
The “signed band” aspect of it did two things. First, it provided us with some money up front to cover recording costs, which takes a big stress off. And second, it provided a sort of “legitimacy” behind the decision to quit work and dedicate two months of one’s life to writing and recording an album. We treated it like a job. We got up each day to a pot of coffee, then worked away all day.
The album was recorded with producer Siegfried Meier at Beach Road Studios. How different was the recording process this time around?
We had excellent chemistry with Sig, and David, Sig and I were all on fire. Sig really knows his stuff, and can make magic happen. The biggest difference between Woods 5 and the other albums is something that David kept mentioning: we finished everything we wanted to finish, and did so with an entire day to spare. The other four (and a half) Woods albums were a case of recording to the last minute, and seeing how long the recording engineer would let them go! With Woods 5 we finished the bulk of it after 10-11 days, and the last few days were only spent touching things up. This was partly because we had 85-90% of the album written before the studio, were very well-rehearsed, and partly thanks to Siegfried’s skill and expertise.
(Left to Right) Joel Violette, Siegfried Meier, David Gold
It was produced by John Fryer (Depeche Mode, NIN, White Zombie, HIM). What was it like working with him?
We were in awe of John and his discography, and were honoured to work with him. But we never actually worked with him face-to-face. It was all after the recording process, and we only communicated with him via email, commenting on his mixes, which we really liked. He was impressed with Woods 5, and wanted to work with us on our next record, which would have been amazing. It’s sad it will never happen.
David did not chronicle the recording process through either blogs or photos as he did with the previously released albums. Was there any reason behind it?
It’s true that not much footage was released, but we did actually chronicle the recording process. We took loads of videos in studio, loads of videos during the writing process. The plan was for us to create a video chronicling each song on the album, from the beginning riffs in Sault Ste Marie to the finished product at Beach Road Studios. And we each wrote a studio diary, to be released as a sort of hype-up to the release of Woods 5, but we actually don’t have David’s diary. He never submitted it.
Woods of Ypres has recently transformed from an Ontario black metal band to a North American Black and Doom metal band. What were the reasons behind the change?
I think David was always pushing Woods of Ypres forward, and always changing the sound to suit. He reached many goals with his Ontario ‘trilogy’ of Woods 1-3, and from there the only logical way forward was beyond Ontario. Woods 4, the album that would break these boundaries, happened to be a doom album, and really cemented that tag for David and Woods. Woods 5, in turn, definitely pushes this boundary of “North American Black and Doom”. It certainly includes some black metal, and some doom, but its songs are by no means confined to these genres.
Where does the future lie for Woods of Ypres?
Sadly, David was Woods of Ypres. His voice and his lyrics are irreplaceable, as was his vision of what Woods was, and what Woods would become. Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Lights will indeed be released as planned, on February 27th, but after that, I’m afraid there won’t be any Woods 6.
You have another band, Thrawsunblat which featured David on Drums. What are you plans for the band?
I actually have all of “Thrawsunblat II” written and demoed. I’d sent it all to David, and he was rehearsing it on the drums. Plans were to record in 2012. David was an incredible drummer, both in skill and creativity, and is a massive loss to Thrawsunblat. He will be difficult to replace. Nevertheless, I’ll soldier on, and try to find someone suitable. The next album is raw folk and black metal, like the first, but it’s much more focused, more complex, and more coherent thematically. It deals much more with Atlantic Canada and North America, yet still in a very folk-ish way. And though I don’t have the personnel selected yet, the next Thrawsunblat album will still be recorded in 2012.
Thanks a lot Joel for answering all my questions during this tough time. Do you have any final words?
Thank you, Peter! It’s been a pleasure. Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light is available from Earache Records February 27th, 2012!
I have the promo copy of the album and I feel its best album by Woods of Ypres. Pick up a copy of “Grey Skies and Electric Light” from the Earache Web store.
Update: Woods of Ypres won the Juno award for best Metal/Hard Music album of the year. Joel Violette and Esther Gold (David’s mother) accepted the award, check out the video below
This is one of the toughest piece I’ve written as yet, been working on it for over 2 weeks and yet I am not sure of the right words to express myself.
Last week I lost a friend, David Gold. David was the front man of the Canadian black and doom metal band Woods of Ypres. I first heard Woods of Ypres when I was a radio jockey back in 2005 at a internet radio station (Fusion Radio) at University of Toronto. I got in contact with David to do an interview for the magazine that the station published. We staying in contact after the interview as I started buying Woods of Ypres cds and merchandise from him.
The only time I met David was at a Katatonia concert in Toronto in 2006. He was really appreciative of me covering Woods of Ypres on the radio as well as the zine and bought me a beer to say thank you. I’ve always enjoyed interviewing David upon the release of a new Woods of Ypres album as he never held back and always spoke his mind (something i really admired about him).
The future of the band is uncertain. I will try to get in contact with Joel Violette for an interview about the new WOY release, Woods V: Grey Skies & Electric Light, until tell here are all the interviews I had done with David Gold since 2005.
The first interview I did with David Gold in March 2005. It appeared in The Frequency, a publication of Fusion Radio. Read it here
My second interview with David was for the planned Trendcrusher Zine # 3. Read it here.
The most recent interview I did with David earlier this year in April 2011 for theunderground.in.
Hi David, congrats on the signing with Earache Records and also the re release of “The Green Album”. How do you feel about both?
We’re excited about it and we’re working harder than ever. W4: The Green Album gets released on CD and double vinyl via Earache Records on March 22nd and we’ve put together a Green Album tour that will have us on the road in Canada and the USA throughout the month of March. The timing is rather perfect, actually. The Green Album was always intended to be a “spring” themed album, though originally released in November 2009, and here we are preparing to have it re-released in March 2011, spring, coinciding with the release of our video for “I Was Buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery” and a tour of the East Coast of Canada and the USA. We’ll finally get to do the photo shoot where we’re having pints of beer on a patio somewhere, in March, with a total brick wall downpour of rain coming down on us. That’s WOODS OF YPRES. Lastly, of course, we’re excited to finally see how a wider audience will respond to the band with the help of the Earache Records promotion. Even though we’ve been around since 2002, we’re well aware that most of the metal listening world doesn’t even know we’ve existed. It’ll be interesting to see what happens to us.
In an interview a couple of years ago you have described this album as “one of new growth and renewal.” Is that how you would describe the album now??
Yeah, somewhat at least. It was at least the beginning of new growth and renewal. True recovery can be a long and slow process. It’s still a work in progress. It was certainly the only album I knew how to make at the time and the album that I needed to make. I needed to get The Green Album out of my system before writing anything else. I didn’t really feel that I had any choice. It was either make that album as it came to mind or spend the rest of my days in denial and avoidance of it. Nearly two years later, I’m proud of what we made The Green Album to be, we’ve started to regain some new perspective and we’ve moved on to new ideas. It worked. We’ve survived.
The album features more doom elements, is this new direction for Woods of Ypres? Will future albums feature more of it?
Yeah, I can’t imagine that we’ll ever go backwards and start writing black metal again. WOODS OF YPRES have always had doom elements in our music since the first album but the first three albums were still primarily based in black metal sounds. W4 was certainly a shift to more of a pure doom sound but we also wanted to flex muscle in other genres in order to tell the different moods of The Green Album story. Some journalists have suggested that W4 is a story told in 3-4 “acts” or that the album is 8 “pairs” of songs that covers doom, ballads, rock, sludge, prog and other. In the long run, it pays off for having been honest, artistically.
We’ll always write albums that sound like the way we feel and at the time, we felt mostly like doom. Historically, what’s bad for our personal lives is usually good for the songs and vice versa. I can imagine what kind of music we might make if our outlook eventually became sunnier for some reason but until then, we’re a quite the authentic true doom band.
“The Green album” is the best produced Woods of Ypres album even though it was recorded faster pace when compared to previous albums. What was the difference in the recording process this time around?
The recording processes of the previous three albums were unavoidably longer because I used to have a day job back then and therefore we could only record on the weekends. W4 was recorded in about four weeks in the summer of 2009. We would record during the working hours of the weekdays and relax and prepare for the next day in the evenings and on weekends. It really is a better and easier process to record an album in a more focused, shorter period of time, like we did with W4, but in the early days we always felt that we simply had to make it work with the situation we had, which would consist of working all week, recording all weekend and repeat until the album was finished. Looking back, I’m impressed with how much we were willing to tolerate in order to make this music. I am hopeful that things will never be as bad as they once were because I certainly don’t have that kind of patience anymore.
You recently released the video for “I was buried in Mouth Pleasant Cemetery”. Will there be a video for another track off this album?
There might be. We’d like there to be. I can say that it’s in discussion right now. We’re hopeful, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens. A video for “Wet Leather” would be fun to shoot as that song is all about binge living and self abuse therapy. Of course with a great “Wet Leather” video there’s the risk that we’d become the “Pain and Piss” band which I think would misrepresent what WOODS OF YPRES is all about to a wider audience. That song is catchy and uncharacteristically more sarcastically depressing than our usual more genuine tone. That’s also the reason why we chose “Buried” to be the first video which I think shows our sincerity and our serious side a little better, which is closer to who we really are. If “Wet Leather” is us selling out, I hope we make some money from it.
Woods of Ypres now has a stable line up after many changes in the past couple of years. Tell us a bit about the new band members.
Evan Madden, drums, has been with us since the fall of 2008, his brother Shane Madden, bass, has been with us since summer 2009 and Joel Violette, lead guitar, joined us for touring in summer 2010. These guys are part of the first real touring lineup for the band. In the last two years, we’ve toured Eastern Canada twice, Western Canada twice, all of the USA once, various one-off shows and we’ve done two recordings. The current band is the best band we’ve ever had. I’m hopeful that we’ll become better and more focused with time in order to deliver the best albums as well as the best live shows yet. When you finally have the right people, you can prioritize the music itself again.
Prior to leaving for Kuwait you recorded an EP “You were the Light”, will that be released any time soon?
We did record an e.p. in August before I moved to Kuwait which was also before we signed to Earache Records. Those songs will be released eventually in some way I’m sure, though I’m not sure how yet. We’ve been discussing different ways we could repackage and release them but we haven’t come to a decision yet. In the meantime, we’re working on a completely separate full length WOODS OF YPRES album for Earache Records.
Has writing for Woods V begun? Will it feature any Kuwaiti/Arab music influences?
I’ve only just begun writing music for the “Earache Woods 5”, but there won’t be any room for middle-eastern influences on this one. At least one of the songs we recorded last August actually did have a few Arabic scale guitar riffs that I wrote as I was preparing to move to Kuwait, but the new album is intended to be completely separate from those influences. However, maybe some darkness from the middle-east will somehow find its way into the new songs after all. I didn’t do any writing when I was in Kuwait, as I was rather preoccupied with my job and didn’t have much brainpower leftover for anything else. I just worked, ate, slept and soaked up the sun and the brutal experience that it was. It was a life changing trip, but I‘m not exactly sure how yet. I don’t quite understand how to articulate how I feel about it all yet. It’s still happening to me now, though the whole thing already feels like a dream, as if it might not have even happened at all.
“The Green Album” is the first Woods of Ypres album to be released on vinyl. Will the past releases also be available on Vinyl in the future?
I hope! Yeah, W4: The Green Album is getting a pretty cool vinyl treatment, being released on double-gatefold vinyl in four colours. My next vinyl goal would be to release Woods I: “Against the Seasons” on vinyl, maybe for the 10th anniversary of that album and the band itself in 2012. In time, I hope that all WOODS OF YPRES albums will get released on vinyl. I look to the listeners to make demands for such things online so Earache Records and other investors can see the potential.
Now that you are signed to Earache records will there be Woods of Ypres tours in other parts of the world like Europe, Asia, and maybe India?
We hope! Europe is certainly a possibility as Earache has their head office in London, England and they’re well connected over there. Having dome some traveling on my own, I’d love to bring WOODS OF YPRES to Asia and India. A dream of mine is to have WOODS OF YPRES play a show in Seoul, South Korea, specifically at the venue called “Sapien’s”, where I played many shows drumming for the Korean metal band NECRAMYTH in 2007-2008 when living and working in Seoul. Interestingly, we’ve recently been approached by two promoters in India who’re wanting to do some business with us, so of course we’re investigating to see where it might go. We’d love to play India of course! We keep hearing good things about the exploding metal scene out there.
After being an independent band for 8 years you signed to Earache Records, do you an advice for Indian bands that are looking to get signed?
My overall advice is to do whatever makes you happy creatively, first and foremost. Even if you don’t get signed, at least you can be proud of the music you made and for knowing that you made it for the right reasons instead of trying to follow trends, writing to please an audience or a record label. This business of art is certainly tricky because what might make you happy artistically might not sell records and vice versa. Also, each band’s path is different and shaped by literally thousands of factors. The bands who are dedicated enough to learn to tolerate the bad sides of the business are the ones who’ve earned the chance to enjoy the good sides of it. Basically, giving and receiving advice is also tricky in this business. Any band who wants to make it work has to get out there, get in there, dig, give it all they have and try to find a way to survive and sustain themselves. It’s a constant struggle with endless challenges. If you can handle that and are willing to accept the way the music business is run, you might have a fighting chance.
What are your plans for the rest of 2011?
We’ll be touring Canada and the USA in March, writing and rehearsing in April, back on the road in Canada and the USA in May and June, recording in July, then back on the road for the rest of the year. Wish us luck!
Thanks for answering all our questions. Do you have any Final words?
Visit http://www.earache.com and order a copy of W4: The Green Album on CD and/or double vinyl, available in four colours! See our new video at http://www.youtube.com/DavidYpres, follow us on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/DavidYpres and “like” us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/woodsofypres
Lastly, help spread the word out there and help bring us to India! Indian food is my favourite, having acquired a taste for it while living in Toronto and also while living in Seoul, Korea, so now I want to influence India with the Canadian blackened doom of a WOODS OF YPRES show! E-mail me:firstname.lastname@example.org
Woods of Ypres, one of my favourite bands are back with some new music. They have just released a new EP, Woods IV.5 “Home” on limited edition VINYL (500 copies only).
The songs were recorded last summer prior to David Gold moving to Kuwait. He spoke about it briefly in the interview I did with him a few months ago. They continue in the doomy direction of Woods IV “The Green Album“. Joel sounds great on lead guitars and Raphael Weinroth-Browne plays the Cello on both tracks. Check them out…
Side A: Falling Apart
Side B : You were the Light
I’m really looking forward to Woods 5 now. For those who don’t have a record player, the vinyl comes along with MP3 download cards.
Get in contact with David @ davidypres (AT) gmail.com to get a copy of the EP.