WOODS OF YPRES Interview with David Gold
XM: Let’s start by getting our readers up to date on what the band has been up to so far this year.
David: I moved home to Toronto from Kuwait (where I was teaching since we finished tour until we got signed to Earache), I met with David Hall from Handshake Inc to edit the video clips we captured on a day off from tour last summer to create the "I Was Buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery" video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHDbmooAafw), we had our first rehearsals since hiatus in Philadelphia for a couple weeks where Evan (drums) and Shane Madden (bass) live, we headlined the "Heart of Winter" festival in Richmond, Virginia in February (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ts0yc2P450), we booked a March tour across the east coasts of Canada and the USA (http://www.ultimatemetal.com/forum/woods-ypres/656855-woods-ypres-live-shows-2011-a.html) and since then we've been preparing for tour, rehearsing, reflecting, resting when and while we still can.
XM: The new album “Woods 4: The Green Album” is awesome! What was the recording process like this time around?
David: I had been collecting ideas with which to create this album since 2007 and we initially didn't even plan to make W4: The Green Album until 2010. Things changed, as they often do, in the spring of 2009 and we sprung into action. I demoed tracks and sent them to the guys to work with. We then went on a tour of Eastern Canada in May 2009 and had a bass player quit immediately upon returning from that tour, two weeks away from the recording start date. We then recruited drummer Evan Madden's brother Shane Madden on bass. Recording began on schedule and was wrapped up in about four weeks of tracking and mixing. This was the first WOODS OF YPRES album to be recorded Monday through Friday during business hours, whereas all previous albums were recorded only on weekends, while we worked other jobs during the week. Being able to focus on making an album was a welcomed change and it resulted in getting the album completed much quicker and somewhat less painfully than previous albums.
XM: What can you tell me about the new record? How does it differ from your earlier releases, and can you trace your progression as a band from your early days up to this newest chapter in Woods Of Ypres’ history?
David: WOODS OF YPRES started as a raw black metal three-piece in Windsor, Ontario, back in spring of 2002 when we rather quickly wrote and recorded the debut album "Woods I - Against the Seasons: Cold Winter Songs from the Dead Summer Heat". The band experimented with warmer sounds on "Woods II - Pursuit of the Sun & Allure of the Earth" in 2004. We released "Woods III - Deepest Roots & Darkest Blues" which was both black and doom, grim and heavy. We think of those first three albums as the "Black Metal Trilogy" for all three albums being based in black metal ideas. 2009's W4: The Green Album has been the biggest departure from our past with an album which starts in pure doom and then flexes muscle in rock, heavy balladry, sludge prog and other. I'm currently working on the new album now, "Woods 5". I have a vision with which to work towards so I just need to spend enough quality time with my guitar and my lyrics to discover and select the most satisfying details. My goal is for the album to sound modern, fresh, sad and satisfying. It's doom, but sounds black, with soft edges.
XM: Earache Records is re-releasing your latest full-length. How did you hook up with the label and are you happy with what they’ve been doing for you so far?
David: Al Dawson from Earache came out to our show in New York City last summer and approached us when we stepped off stage. We gave him some CDs and some merch and a few weeks later we had an offer. After eight and a half years as an independent band, Earache Records is the first label we've ever worked with. We've had a busy first couple months of doing press and planning the year and we're about to let the plans rip with the worldwide re-release of W4: The Green Album on CD and double, coloured vinyl, March 22, and our month long tour. We're working harder than ever and we're hopeful that we'll be successful in satisfying ourselves, the fans and the label.
XM: I‘m loving the video and song for “I was buried in Mountain Pleasant Cemetery”. What inspired the lyrics?
David: Having lived in an apartment on the edge of Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto, I had developed a fondness for it from seeing it in the distance on a regular basis and also from a few visits inside the gates. There had come a period of time when I had been doing some soul searching of sorts and had made a habit of going jogging in the cemetery after work as a form of therapy. It was June, it was hot, the cemetery was beautiful and its beauty crushed me every time because everything hot and beautiful only reminded me of her, even more. It was during this cemetery jogging therapy that I realized that my old self no longer had a future. Upon that conclusion, I felt as though my previous self had been buried there and my new self would need to be reinvented somewhere else. The old me had to die so the new me could eventually, someday, maybe, actually thrive, again.
XM: Every time I think about you guys its back to 2005 when you played a Black Metal Xmas party at the Trinport and I also think of the guitar you donated at the memorial show for late Adrian Bromley (R.I.P.). When you think back on all of your shows which one stands out the most to you and why that one?
David: I'd rather quickly mention a few significant ones if you don't mind. We played the first ever black metal festival in North America, an Adrian Bromley production actually, in 2002, when I was still drumming for WoY. The first time I ever fronted the band in front of an audience was the show known as "The Day of the Equinox" also featuring Green Carnation, Agalloch, and Novembers Doom. There was the Noctis II Metalfest that we co-headlined with Korpiklaani and Ahab in Calgary, Alberta in 2008, which was the first live show of the new WOODS OF YPRES band, with Evan Madden on drums where the whole festival was kicked out of the downtown Calgary Sheraton hotel and into the street at 3 am after an after party. There was the Heathen Crusade 3 in St. Paul, Minnesota that we co-headlined with Moonsorrow, which was also the first WoY show in the USA. There was the Adrian Bromley memorial of course. And then there was our first ever show in Vancouver in 2009 at one of the last metal shows ever at The Cobalt, when a local, bitter Vancouver black metal band took cinderblocks and smashed the windows of our van parked right outside the venue while we were still performing on stage. After a CAA tow job, guarding the van overnight, finding an auto glass place to do the repair job on the side of a road, waiting about eight hours while they replaced all the windows and set the glue to dry, we finally got on the road to catch a ferry to Victoria where we showed up just in time, played a great "last show of the tour" set to a packed house and was still stiffed by the promoter who would only pay our ferry cost, citing that the show didn't make enough money to pay us. The next morning, we started driving back to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario from Victoria, BC which included a 30 straight hour drive from Victoria to Winnipeg, and a last 16 hour drive the next day from Winnipeg to Sault Ste. Marie. Totally brutal.
XM: I also can’t help but to remember back to when you sold your music for Canadian Tire money. Who came up with the idea, how much did you end up making and what did you end up buying with the money?
David: It was a short campaign from a sudden lightning bolt type idea while working on my laptop one day. We had about seven orders that came in right away, totalling about $100. You know a bunch of kids totally cashed in their Dad's 10 year savings of Canadian Tire money to buy one WoY CD. I know we got an oil change and put the rest towards repairs on our van. Our van always needs repairs and it seems we're always buying something for tour at Canadian tire, such as roof rack bags for our merch and laundry, bungee cords to help hold our van together, etc...
XM: Black metal is still a rather limited genre that does not attract large crowds; do you think this is the fate of extreme music for all future?
David: Black Metal is certainly a limited genre though I'm not able to offer any definitive conclusions about the rest. We'd have to define how large is a large crowd. I think most underground metal that's made these days is best heard in small club environments. Extreme music could start to get a whole lot bigger and even bigger than it ever was in Europe or the USA if India and or China got into it. Western world metal bands of the future could be doing month long tours of India and three month long tours of China, should those countries continue to open themselves up to the influences of the rest of the world, for much thanks to the Internet. It would be awesome for us. Instead of sales and perks and everything always shrinking and becoming shittier every year of our existence in this business, the metal band lifestyle could actually improve for a few years.
XM: What has been the greatest sacrifice you have made for your music career and how have you grown from that?
David: Everything else. Everything else has been sacrificed to do this. We have high highs, for our level, and certainly low lows, by any standard. To be great at anything, you need to dedicate yourself. WOODS OF YPRES is my one and only focus right now, for the first time in the nine year history of the band. Nine years later, even after all the hardships that bands face, I think of myself as lucky to even have the chance to take our band to the next level. I once tried to have everything and it didn't work out, but other failures have allowed me to be in this position now in which to make the most of this band and achieve its maximum potential. Other goals have come and gone over the years but the band is what I wanted since the very beginning. After all those bitter and brutal blessings in disguise, it's a dream come true, after all.
XM: If you could have been involved in the writing, recording or production of any album which would it be and why?
David: I wish I could have drummed on a CROWBAR album because I love CROWBAR, I respect the hell out of Kirk and I think I could have done a great job. Or, I wish Tom from WHILE HEAVEN WEPT would have chosen me back when he was still auditioning drummers to drum on their new album.
XM: Name your 5 favorite Canadian metal bands.
3. WOLVEN ANCESTRY
4. ECLIPSE ETERNAL
5. MARES OF THRACE
XM: When you hear X-PLOSIVE METAL what is the first thing that comes to mind?
David: The WOODS OF YPRES van with sparks and metal parts flying out on the highway.
XM: What does the band have on its agenda for the year 2011?
David: We're touring the East in Canada and the USA this March 10-23, playing 14 shows in support of the re-release of W4: The Green Album via Earache Records on March 22nd. Upon returning from tour in April we will write "Woods 5". We hit the road again in May, playing all of Western Canada, a full USA tour like we did last summer and ending with another tour of Eastern Canada in June. We plan to record the new album this summer and be back on the road in the fall.
XM: Any ‘Woods Of Ypres’ exclusives you can give us?
David: No, but save your money. There will soon be something new for you to buy.
XM: I would like to thank you personally on behalf of xplosivemetal.com for taking the time to answer some questions for our readers.
David: Thank YOU!