Published June 29, 2010
Folksy lo-fi four-piece Woods split their time between Brooklyn and, unsurprisingly, the woods of upstate New York. Jeremy Earl (who also founded Woodsist Records), Kevin Morby, G. Lucas Crane, and Jarvis Taveniere meld wonderfully strange, slightly off-kilter vocals with tape effects and noise to cozy, nostalgic effect. We spoke to Crane and Taverniere about the differences between the city and the country at the Woodsist showcase at Music Hall of Williamsburg last weekend.
REBECCA PATTIZ: It’s funny that the band is called Woods and there’s this woodsy feel to your music, but you live and make music in Brooklyn.
JAMES TAVENIERE: Half of it is. Jeremy doesn’t live in Brooklyn.
G. LUCAS CRANE: And he doesn’t like it.
TAVENIERE: He lives upstate, like three hours. He lived here for a few years because it was just functional. But a lot of the music gets made upstate in the woods. Me and Jeremy are from upstate, we both spent a lot of time in the woods. The woods is a magical place, especially when you’re a teenager. Everyone else isn’t in the woods; nobody owns it. You can make it your own.
CRANE: Even if you can’t. Like, the world is totally owned. But just standing amongst the trees—those iconic things, those living things, anything can happen. We get on Woods time, and that includes monolithic, long periods of time. In the city, everything’s really fast, and everybody’s running around. Time is dolloped out in little measures. You get in the quiet, you get in the woods, and suddenly you’re on this new scale of time.
PATTIZ: You both live in Brooklyn. What does the borough have to do with your woodsy mentality?
CRANE: When I was a kid, or like a teenager, it was a really big deal to leave your neighborhood. It was a really big deal to have a friend from a completely different part of the city. It’s easier now for teenagers to move around and get culture. When I was a kid, going to the Bronx for a show wasn’t really in the vocabulary. It was a lot more Manhattan-centric when I was a kid, and that was totally normal. And now, all those walls are completely broken, and kids are just running all over the city. Everything’s way safer, and that has a lot to do with it. The neighborhood, and the way that the city works now, is very conducive to culture production and people are just taking that and running with it.
PATTIZ: What are you listening to?
TAVENIERE: Since I record a lot of bands, I tend to just listen to the bands I’m recording most of the time. Which has been Real Estate. Other than that, Miles Davis, Fresh & Onlys.
CRANE: I’m listening to a giant bag of tapes that I found in a box. I don’t know who left them there, but it’s all these completely destroyed mix tapes. I got a whole tape shelf, it’s like a shelf that holds like 100 tapes or something. Someone was like, “Hey Lucas, do you want these?” It’s like someone else’s music collection. So I’ve been listening to a lot of Simon and Garfunkel, Dirty by Sonic Youth, Raekown. I’ve been listening to something called Dave and Sam’s Drunk Raps, which is totally literal. I’ve been listening to this tape called The Psychology of Dreaming, but the “D” has been scratched out, so it’s the Psychology of Reaming. And it’s just like mixed over each other. I’m listening to like total garbage music right now. And a lot of Mississippi Records stuff, like tapes, mix tapes.