But live, Woods’ music springs to life, fleshed out with a full band that isn’t afraid to cut loose on a psychedelic excursion or two. With the band set to perform at the Rock & Roll Hotel on Saturday, Dec. 17, Click Track spoke with Earl about the band’s recent recording sessions and the benefits of small town living.
I read that you moved out of Brooklyn a while back and have been living in Warwick, New York.
I moved about three years ago now. I moved to Brooklyn after college and had been living there about five years. At that point the label that I run, Woodsist, started to take over the space and stuff. I grew up in the Warwick area and there were cheaper places up here.
I think it’s a really smart and interesting idea. People used to move to the city to live cheap and make art, but now, maybe small town and suburbs make more sense.
Yeah, especially a place like Warwick, where you’re really not that far away. It’ll only take an hour and a half to get into the city.
Watch: Woods, “To Clean”
Did the whole band move up there with you?
No, it’s just me and my girlfriend. I run the label out of our place up here -- there’s an office and storage in the basement. But we’ve started to record up here, too. Actually, we started working on our next record. Jarvis [Taveniere] brought down all of his recording equipment and everything.
Are people around the town on to what you’re doing with the band and label?
I don’t think so, no. I keep pretty mellow. It’s not like I’m going out socializing. There’s not much to do. I still go to Brooklyn and Manhattan to get my culture.
How long have you been working on the new record?
We just started recording a couple of weeks ago. We did two weeks of straight recording and then took a little break for Thanksgiving. Now we’ll go on the road for two weeks.
On your records, it’s frequently just you and Jarvis, rather than the full band. Have you ever thought about capturing the touring group on record?
Yeah, we did that a little this time. Out of everything that we recorded in the last couple of weeks, we did a couple of tracks that are full bands-style. But our writing process is just kinda, almost like four track bedroom recording maybe. I’ll start by myself and then we’ll flesh it out. Most of it is still...that’s the most comfortable way that we write.
Your last record, “Sun and Shade,” was a fairly somber collection of songs. Have things changed this time around, songwriting-wise?
Yeah, I think that if people are ever going to say that we had a ‘heavy’ record, I would say this is the one.
Heavy in what sense? Emotionally heavy or Black Sabbath heavy? Both?
Not emotionally heavy or black Sabbath. It’s more full band. More rocking. Less somber, I guess.
Lots of guitar solos?
There’s some. I can’t help myself.
If the band is split up geographically [between Warwick and Brooklyn], how do you guys manage to practice?
We usually try to do something one a week. I usually go to Brooklyn, since everybody else is there. Our bassist, Kevin Morby, is in another band called the Babies and they’ve been in Europe on tour. He gets back on the 5th, and then we’ll practice on the 6th, then we’ll leave for tour. We’ll be a little unrehearsed this time around. But a lot of the time I find the more unrehearsed we are with improv, the fresher it sounds. After playing, trying to improv the same piece for five weeks, you find yourself actually playing parts. At the beginning of tour, it’s the most exciting for me.
Warwick is cheaper, there’s more practice space, why can’t you get the whole band to move up there?
Well, Kevin, he’s young. He’s like, 24. So, he’s still into [living in the city]. When I left, I was kind of wanting to get away from the action. And Jarvis is doing a recording studio, so it’s more convenient for him to be more accessible [in Brooklyn]. But Lucas [Crane, Woods’ sound effects guru], who used to live at Silent Barn, he’s moving to Troy, New York, which is even further away. And he can’t drive a car. That’s just developing now.