Interview with Woodhands, part one

The following news story was originally published on Exclaim.ca. Stay tuned for more of my interview with Woodhands.

Exclusive: Woodhands Talk Remorsecapade, Side-Projects and Gettin’ ‘Er Done
1/7/2010 By Jessica Lewis

Woodhands may have released their much-praised Heart Attack two years ago, but the Toronto-based dance-rock duo started working on new material when their last album came out. Still, their upcoming Remorsecapade took longer to assemble than the band would have liked.

“There was a lot of working around because we were touring basically the whole time,” said front-man Dan Werb in a recent interview with Exclaim! “When we weren’t touring, [drummer] Paul [Banwatt] was touring with the Rural Alberta Advantage.”

Banwatt added: “We were lucky we had times to track the album.”

Also getting in the way of the band’s Remorsecapade, which is due out January 26 on Paper Bag Records, was the pair’s recently erected side-projects. When Banwatt was busy with the Rural Alberta Advantage, Werb recorded a solo album, as well as began working with Gentleman Reg last year. As for Banwatt, he has a project named We’re Scared with Amy Cole, also from Rural Alberta Advantage, that he says “never gets to see the light of day.”

But as the Rural Alberta Advantage was Woodhands’ main obstacle in 2009, the rough beginning soon turned into smooth sailing. The two groups now share management and booking agents, making it almost impossible to double-book live dates.

“We’re all friends and we’ve been doing as much as we can to make everything work together,” said Banwatt. “Everyone’s very conscious of everyone else’s successes. It’s definitely a challenge… but now I think we’re in a really healthy place.”

The impressive thing is that through all of those projects, Werb and Banwatt still found enough time to delve into Remorsecapade. Some of the songs were written on Heart Attack tours (“way back play backs”), or even just parts of songs. They would use them in their live show and then work on the rest later in the studio. For instance, the Remorsecapade track “CP24” has a beat and bass line that was written as an annex to Heart Attack‘s “I Wasn’t Made for Fighting,” and a breakdown was moved into “I Should Have Gone with My Friends.”

In the coming weeks before the release of Remorsecapade, Werb and Banwatt will release a few more singles and remixes digitally. They will also be recording a video for “Dissembler” and releasing it with a stripped-down piano version from Werb’s solo album. As for remixes, previous tour-mates Junior Boys and musician/producer Steve Singh have already finished their contributions, and more artists are lined up.

On top of all this, Woodhands are preparing to launch a North American tour. Expect those dates to be announced shortly.

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