Interview: Haunt The Woods

haunt-the-woodsWith their debut EP The Line, Cornish quartet Haunt The Woods made it immediately apparent that they are one of the most exciting new acts in the country. Combining rustic folk, imposing prog proficiency, and the raw, unbridled passion of artists such as Jeff Buckley, I’d struggle to conceive of a better combination of sounds if I tried! With a panache for pastoral vibes, an ear for detail, and a simply spine-tingling delivery, naturally I just had to chat with them about their new release: 

Thanks for your time! You’ve recently released your debut EP The Line and it certainly makes one hell of a first impression. Are you pleased with the way it turned out?
We are really pleased with the way the EP has turned out, we worked so hard on it, and its a condensed 35 minute experience of about 3 years worth of playing together and building up towards releasing this – and we couldn’t be happier with it. We owe a huge amount to Pete Miles at Middle Farm Studios for producing the record, he is an utter genius, and a total professor of sound, he added so much to the process and really helped us find the sound we wanted on this record, which has always been an attempt to replicate the energy of our live show, and we all feel we have come very close to doing that! We really do feel this is just a drop in the ocean of our what we know we want to do in the future, and we have so many new ideas on the go at the moment, now its just a case of getting this on record in the right way again – people can definitely expect a lot more music and hopefully a lot more development from us in the future.

How did the four of you come together and what made you decide to form Haunt The Woods?
We all just played music and drifted quite naturally together really. We are all pretty local to each other, Alex and Jonathan had known each other for about 6 years before we started playing together, and we all had mutual friends. I suppose we just naturally drifted together through people we knew and a mutual love for music, and then just became 4 really good friends who absolutely love making music together – its all happened really naturally. I don’t think any of us really knew or planned for us to do well, I’m not even sure if any of us do now – we just know that playing music and playing together is what we love doing and the more people that can enjoy our music and connect to it along the way, the better!

Your music plays around with a great mix of styles. Would you say that’s down to each of you having a different set of influences, or more a case of you all having eclectic tastes?
We all have artists that we love, and thats a real wide range of music between us – from Olly’s eastern percussion and woodwind based music, to Phoenix’s roots in guitar driven Metal. We have mutual artists that we all love such as Pink Floyd, Dry the River, Jeff Buckley and many more. But we all agree that the mix of styles within our music comes primarily from an inherent need and wish to play music that means something on an emotional level to all of us, that is written for ourselves and that we all enjoy playing, and of course the artists we listen to have an effect on how this comes to fruition.

Some of your songs, such as ‘Twisted’, can be rather complex at times. When writing songs do you go in with a big picture in mind, or does it grow and develop more over time?
The initial creation of an idea is more Jonathan’s kind of thing, but this process has recently developed into a really solid creative process. An idea for a song is very rarely premeditated or that thought out, it comes from a place of raw emotion, all of our songs are about something that has happened or about a feeling/situation that has been experienced, the song just kind of comes out, with us being more of a catalyst for the song than consciously deciding what we are writing. After the initial process, Phoenix normally spends some time with the song, and really develops the direction in which we are going to take it, with us all jamming it and writing our own parts shortly afterwards. It really has developed into a collective process, were we all inject a bit of ourselves into each song.

How would you describe your local music scene? Do you have a favourite venue?
There seems to be a variety of opinions in the local area in regards to our local scene, but i think we all feel its growing stronger all the time. We have some amazing promoters really trying hard to develop the scene in Plymouth into something special. One thing there is no doubt about is that the southwest seems to be one of those places that is separate from the rest of the country, untapped in to – and there is such a concentrated amount of insanely talented bands and solo artists, it really is amazing the amount of incredible musicians, particularly in Plymouth – which is most local to us. In terms of venues, we are limited on where we can play live, but we have had some amazing responses through places like the B Bar and Barbican Theatre which is a hub for us – at one point we did a gig every month with different local acts joining us to show our followers that there is great local talent on our doorstep.

Looking ahead, who would you most like to go on tour with and why?
We just love to tour full stop, give us a room with some people in and we are good to go. Of course we have artists that we love, I know we’ve chatted about how cool it would be to tour with artists like Half Moon Run, Ben Howard, Mumford and Sons, Matthew and the Atlas – i mean who wouldn’t want to tour with them! But in all honesty we have had 2 amazing experiences already supporting Dry the River and Sunset Sons for a few shows, it would be hard to have picked two better artists to play with.

What do you have planned for the rest of 2017?
Its shaping up to be a really exciting year for us. We have a really special show planned in Cornwall on May 6th which we are announcing soon, as well as a lot of touring in April/May – we also have a load of festivals lined up for this summer, a few we’ve played before, and a load of new experiences which we’re all excited about. We are working with Steve Zapp at ITB now who is booking for us, we are excited to be working with such an experienced guy, and we’re planning some exciting shows with him too. We want to record some live videos of our songs in really interesting places, but as for our recorded material, we don’t want to release music non stop that we have rushed, we only want to release recorded material that we have spent time on perfecting, that we are really proud of and we enjoy playing – then hopefully others will enjoy it too! But you can definitely expect another EP or an Album from us at some point in the not too distant future.

Massive thanks to the lads from Haunt The Woods. Their debut EP The Line is out now. The band have also announced a truly unique gig at Carnglaze Caverns on 6th May which is sure to be an event to remember!