This week, I caught up with Dan Werb of the Canadian duo, Woodhands. Don’t try to pigeonhold these guy’s sound. Drawing their influences from everywhere imaginable, they prove not to be a one trick electro indie group. Only a few weeks away from releasing their third album, Remorsecapade(Paper Bag), Werb is more excited than anything. And he has reason to be. This is truly a brilliant record filled with tunes that will have your ass out of the seat in no time. Here’s what Werb had to say:
MM: How did you come up with the name for the new record, Remorsecapade? Is there any specific meaning behind it?
WERB: For us, Paul and I, when you’re a band of two pieces, you do things to pass the time. We like to make portmanteaus which is putting together two words to form one. I like ‘Disastery,’ which I came up with when we were eating unwieldy tacos at the same time. We’re really excited about them. We wanted the new album title to be hilarious. I like to think of it as a remorsing ice capade or a strange ride you’d take at a shitty theme park. It can also be heartbreaking, serious and somber, that also links to the record.
The two of you met in Henry Faberge and the Adorables. What made you decide to start a collaboration on your own?
We met in that band, but we were both into our solo stuff. We passed each other on stage and just mutually expressed our admiration for each other as musicians. Then we started jamming, and we didn’t really know each other. It was like the first day jitters the first time.
What is the main inspiration of the songs on the new album?
Obviously relationships. You know break up, get back together, break up again. We tend to write music first and then fill in the blanks with lyrics and melodies. With lyrics, I’m inspired by the way the song sounds. We’re going for a darker and lush sound on the record, more provocative lyrics. Evoke a certain mood. It’s a very specific feeling you get in a place about relationships kind of. That feeling, that’s on the sidelines of a main event. It could be you having an amazing night, with a small moment, and then you’re alone. It’s fascinating.
When it comes to songwriting, do you write together, or bring in different ideas?For this album, songs started as kernels from things on the road. Piano songs, soft, slow ballads, and then turning into bangers. A lot of songs were jams tested on the audience live….the heart of the song live. If you can mix up how you write songs, you get all different sounds.
Does it bother you when people refer to you as an Indietronica band? Do you think you can be defined in one genre?
YEAH! Paul and I have totally diverse musical interests. We’re not part of a genre, we’re a genre of band. Like we engage with our crowds, get a ton of sound to get people moving. We move far away from electro. Our influences differ. I love hip hop and how MCs can own a room, hip hop producers….we take pianos, composers, etc. into our little empire.
How did you end up having Maylee Todd helping out with vocals, “Dissembler”?We both were in (Henry Faberge and) the Adorables. She also appeared on Iour last album, Heartattack, and is a good friend of ours.
What is your favorite song on the record and why?I really like that one with Maylee. It’s great. It’s a really personal song to me. I think we effectively achieved that song.
What do you like most about being in the recording process?
I love it all. I love being in studio with a million synths and drum machines. I’ll hear something and think “That’s amazing!” I don’t care if it’s of time. It’s an exploration for us. It’s exciting not knowing. I know what it took to make it, what it felt like, and when it’s done, I get to rediscover it.
What do you like most about playing in front of a live audience?
For us, we’re really about creating an immediate connection to an audience. They give us support. It doesn’t fucking matter what happens or is going to happen. If my voice gets destroyed or Paul breaks a snare drum, it doesn’t matter. It’s a shared beautiful experience in a room of vibes like that. It’s fucking incredible. It’s amazing.
Are you more nervous or excited about releasing the new album?
Excited! Definitely. Nerves, well we’re releasing our baby to the world. We’ve had a break since December, which really isn’t long. We’re excited about how this is going to do. We have a new live setup with lasers too. We’re crazy for lasers!