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INTERVIEW: The mystery of Ben Woods

11 September 2018

It’s hard to know what to expect from Ben Woods Group.

So far the only Ben Woods release is one song called “Lozenge” on Melted Icecream’s awesome new compilation of Ōtautahi music, Sickest Smashes from Arson City: Legacy Edition. It’s a sort of fuzzy lo-fi indie-pop type thing which feels just right as it slides down your earholes. I wouldn’t mind a few more of those.

Other than that Ben previously played guitar in trio of awesome bands: Wurld Series, Salad Boys and Fran. And now he’s doing an eight-date NZ tour as himself with Motte (another Christchurch musician who also had a track on Sickest Smashes) which will place him at The Cook this Friday.

I got him on the phone while he was buying noodles to find out more.

“I guess I just want to have complete control over everything essentially, and be able to do it with my own time, at my own pace. When my other band, Fran, stopped I was writing songs for that but I was kind of like I hadn’t done it before and I felt curious about what it would look like just having everything be me you know?”

Part of doing everything as himself was picking a name to release music under, which ended up just being his own name.

“Initially I was like I could never do that, like I don’t feel like I have a flash name I’ve got a pretty, you know, standard one. But then the other thing is I’m just like really bad at naming bands or songs or anything so I was just kind of like that’ll do.”

“I kind of like the fact that my name is kind of a little bit I dunno, there’s something a little bit dorky about it which I think is kind of funny.

So for the past year he’s been banging out demos by himself. Recently he re-recorded them as a proper album with Steven John Marr at Radio 1 which should be out in a month or so, and while it might not slide down quite as easily as the track on Sickest Smashes, it should taste pretty similar.

“I’m trying to be pretty intuitive and quick about it and allow myself to do what’s comfortable, which is why as well I think I felt good about putting that song out on its own despite the fact that it’s quite misrepresentative, I dunno I just felt like it’s just such a cosy pop song, the rest don’t really sound like that.”

“I think they all have a kind of like, the way they flow is kind of similar you know, they kind of have that all kind of constant movement to them that feels quite natural but the others are much slower and more, I guess, somber.”

About a month ago another Christchurch band Wurld Series played an awesome gig at The Cook to an audience which had been decimated by two other simultaneous gigs. Killer local bands Sheep and Milpool are doing a joint EP release on the same night as Ben Woods Group’s Dunedin gig, so it could happen again.

I voiced this concern to Ben but he seemed more interested in looking at the bigger picture.

“First tour you know, so if no-one comes I’m still going to have a good time.”

“Pretty much I’m at a point where I just want to do this as much as I possible can from now on like, I dunno, I just want to work for my friends and do music as much as I can, and if I can equal it out so I don’t have to buy noodles while I’m talking to you… I think the only way to do it is to keep going. So I’m just going to try make this a regular thing.”


Obscure and unofficial media from gigs in Dunedin, New Zealand since 2014. More Info

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