WOODHAWK sounds like a mythological animal you’d find in the deep Canadian forests. And it might me. What do I know? I do know that this was done with Turner Midzain – Vocals/Guitar. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
How hard was it to come up with a band name and how does the name fit the music?
– For us, right from the beginning we knew we wanted it to be only one word. Mike and I are craft beer fans, and are big fans of the U.K brewery, Wychwood. So we toyed with the idea of calling the band Witchwood or something along those lines. And somehow, Woodhawk fell into our lap and we loved it. So we ran with it. In previous bands we’d be in, it can be hard to get everyone to agree on the same name sometimes. But with Woodhawk, it just felt right, right away. And we felt that name was going to fit the music we were playing.
As I am new to your band perhaps a short introduction might be in order?
-Woodhawk was founded by me (Turner Midzain) and bassist Mike Badmington. Mike and I have been playing in bands together since we were kids. We had toured Canada a lot as a punk band called Shotgun Dolls. By the end, we hated the name and hated the music, but loved playing in bands together. So when Shotgun Dolls disbanded, we knew we would do something heavier, more intricate and what we were more into. We started with a few friends filling in on drums to get us going until we met Kevin Nelson. He was a natural and fit in right away. Since then, we’ve made a record together at Rain City Recorders in Vancouver with Jesse Gander, toured Western Canada a few times and played some great shows alongside bands such as Truckfighters, The Shrine and Airbourne.
As I am no musician I have no idea how it works, but how do you make your own music based on what influences you? What parts do you pick?
-Every song we write starts with a riff. We’re all fans of riff rock and riff based music, so we like to make heavier music that focus on good big guitar parts with complimenting melody. We all come from different backgrounds in music, so what the ending product is, is a collection of what we love. Sometimes that plays homage to band before us who we like, and sometimes it’s something out of the ordinary. Nothing is forced; we just try to have fun with it.
When you are in a band does it feel like you are a part of a worldwide movement?
-I don’t think we’re there yet. But it feels pretty surreal when we send more and more records around the world. We live in an age where it is much easier to find new music and new bands. So it’s cool that we’re able to live in this time and be a part of that.
How important is it that you look the part in promo shots and stuff? How important is the graphic side of the band?
-Image has never been a focus for us. We don’t mind doing the promo shots and stuff. We’re lucky to have a few photographer friends who make it feel really normal. We do feel that the art that surrounds the music is important though. We always try to seek out our favorite illustrators to make us shirts, stickers or merch. Or even our album art. We sought out a very good friend named Mark Kowalchuck to do our album art. He’d made some shirts for us in the past that we loved, as well as doing art for bands like In Flames. We just knew that his illustration would depict perfectly what we felt our latest album was about.
What would you say influences your lyrics? How important are they?
-Lyrics for me change day to day. I never like to be too open with people. I like to kind of serve it through metaphors and fictional characters. But the lyrics themselves are very important to us. We really want to make sure we tell a story or get the theme across the whole song. It should sound as good as it reads on paper.
Is the album as relevant today as it was in the 70s and 80s? Is digital killing the album?
-No. While vinyl itself is making a comeback, it will still never be what it was. The idea of going out to a record store to by the latest release of a band is fading. We have the luxury of not having to leave our couch to get music. Lots of people discover bands through playlists online like Spotify, and only ever hear 1 or 2 songs by that band. But they may never go listen to the whole release by that artist. We personally like to sit and listen to an album from start to finish as we appreciate how much work went into it. Digital isn’t necessarily killing the album; it’s just giving it some friendly competition.
Where will the future of format end – digital verses physical verses whatever?
-Until we all have microchips in our heads that play music, who knows.
How much of a touring entity are you guys? What is a live experience with you like?
-Like most bands, we started playing live because that is the only way to get yourself out there. Even to make a few bucks to hopefully record an EP or something. Playing live is the bread butter. It’s what really makes being in a band so much fun. Good or bad show, I get to play with my best friends night after night. And I’m sure that shows in our live show. We’re all smiling ear to ear enjoying every second of it. We like to not take ourselves to seriously. We’re very high energy and loud. All of us very much feed off each other. We have fun and just hope the audience has as much fun as us.
What lies in the future?
-Right now, we’re going to continue to tour this new record. The response from Europe and U.K. has been overwhelming so we hope to be over there by early 2018, and hopefully the US as well. But that is just so expensive for an independent band. So for now we’ll focus on Canada as much as we can this year. Hopefully we’ll squeeze some time in over the next year to start writing more and hopefully put out another record. We’re very lucky to be able to do this, and have such a great response. And for that we’re thankful, so we’ll keep doing it until we stop smiling.