Amerikanska Woe kommer med nytt album snart: Withdrawal. Jag har lyssnat på det, och gillar det – I consil you because is very good. Bandet består av flera medlemmar med fötter även i andra band, men mest ansvarig för Woe och Woes musik är Chris Grigg. Därför fick han svara på Bara Metals frågor.
Your last album Quietly, Undramatically was remixed in 2011 – why? What was wrong?
– My lack of experience was what was wrong. My big complaints with the CD version were a muddy, messy guitar tone, brittle drums, and a generally unpolished, unfinished mix.
– The remix fixed those things – guitar is right up front, everything is shinier and has more air – and sucked out all the low end and punch from the drums and everything else, made the kick drum all click, and sucked out all dynamics. My fault, again. I think some of the material was better for it and it’s closer to what I heard in my head, but I wish I could justify doing it once more.
Will you do the same thing with Withdrawal within a year?
– I fucking hope not, or at least not by me. Jens Bogren is my favorite producer. As soon as he decides he wants to improve it, it’s all his.
So in 2013 – is Woe a band or a one man solo project?
– It’s sort of hard to say. I moved two hours away from the other guys in September of 2011 so it’s made things difficult. We don’t do a lot of the things that normal bands do, like… rehearse regularly or hang out the way we did before I left. But we talk a lot, we’re always in communication and I see them as much as I can.
– As for why it’s like that, I like it being a group project, I think it’s stronger for it. The music is all written with live performance in mind. We drew heavily from the time spent supporting Quietly to figure out what we did well and what we didn’t and built the album with a stronger grasp on our limitations in mind.
– So, basically ”did well” means play fast, play hard. And ”did not” means play self-indulgent borderline-progressive stuff like the second half of the last album’s title track.
I read on your bandcamp page that you ”eschews the pitfalls and cliches of modern black metal to create something far more personal, human” – what is you mission with your music, if there is any?
– I wouldn’t say there’s really a mission. I want to create, I want to express myself, I want to feel like I’m investing time in something tangible so I don’t waste away. That statement came from a lot of frustration with the black metal scene, which I saw as very focused on living up to other people’s standards.
– These days, I’m way more interested in what I and my bandmates want to do and be. I still have a bone to pick with bands, especially black metal bands, who think that they represent some sort of ideal or have something to offer other than perspective, experience, or maybe art if they want to look at it in such a serious way. But anything beyond that is for the listener to decide. Woe still has intense personal meaning to me and I like to think that others can derive meaning from it, but my mission… is to fucking rock.
Not having read the lyrics, but only the song titles like All Bridges Burned, the albums seems dark – what is it about lyrically?
– Each song is different but they all deal with the typical Woe themes: isolation, confusion, frustration, desire to change, compulsion, depression, anger. All Bridges Burned is about being paralyzed by the unknown, be it death or giving up and moving away, withdrawing from who you are and what you know. It’s about trying to know the unknowable.
– This is the End of the Story is a very blunt statement about giving up, seeing things for what they are, recognizing failure, and embracing it as a vehicle for drastic change.
Carried by Waves… is the first officially released track, it is also the most direct song with a lot of melodic riffing – the ending sounds even NWOBHM – how was that song put together?
– That song actually came together easier than almost anything else on the record. It felt like it wrote itself over a night or two. It was built around that first riff, which I originally thought of trying to give to Krieg.
– There was a story to tell, loosely described in the lyrics, and I just let it flow and went with what felt natural. I wanted it to build in tension, and have some sleazy hard rock qualities. The lyrics mix direct sexual innuendos with a vague story of violence and desperation to express the idea that all human interaction is exploitation, all innocence is eventually taken away, and even our own actions are subject to primal forces that we can’t always control.
In your music I hear many different approaches to metal – how important is it to you to keep Woe’s music broad and diverse like this?
– It’s not so important to me that Woe’s music is broad and diverse, but it is important that it develops and flows logically. In the case of Withdrawal, this meant a combination of our fastest material and our slowest. It said what we wanted to say, it’s a snapshot of a human experience, it’s what we want to hear.
– The bands we look up to the most are bands that play the music they want to play, regardless of who they upset along the way for bending or breaking or just stepping around the rules. It’s important that Woe continues to do what it wants, just as we always have. Who knows? Maybe the next album will be all blast beats if that’s what feels right. Sherman Division Woe. For now, this is who we are and what we are doing.