BIGSOUND 2016 — Woodes

With a brand new single to share and an EP due out in the next month, it’s an exciting time for Melbourne producer and singer songwriter Woodes (Elle Graham). We caught up with her on ground at BIGSOUND to talk about the creative process and the wonders of our local music community. 

You’ve lent your hand to a lot of collaborations lately. Anything you can let us in on?

I’m sitting on a lot. I was working with Mallrat on the weekend, which was good. I don’t know how much I’m allowed to say! (Laughs) But I’m sitting on quite a few.

What’s the collaborative process like for you?

It differs from person to person. For people like Lanks (Will), I’d met him quite a few times before we went into the session and we kind of met in the middle with a lot of things. ‘The Thaw’ happened quite quickly when we sat down and wrote that. With Golden Vessel, I’d met him at BIGSOUND last year and we’ve actually written 7 or so songs together – we really understand each other’s vibe. With that, we throw ideas at each other until something sticks. But with others, I’ll get a whole bed track to work on and I’ll sing on it, or you’ll start with a beat or some kind of guitar riff. Now that I’ve done quite a lot of writing sessions and collabs, it’s almost like speed dating. At the beginning you’re finding out what they like, what they don’t like, how they write? Then it’s like, ‘You do the chorus, I’ll do this.’

Can you tell us how your latest single ‘The Thaw’ came together?

Will (Lanks) and I met up and we were working out of his home studio. With Will, there’s always laksa involved. We always have a food break. He started playing this guitar riff and I straight away started thinking about snow. I’ve been trying to write something about snow for a while, but it’s always been kind of lame. It was nice. It felt like he was the right artist to help me tweak my words. It happened really quickly too, we had the song by the end of the day. Then it got premiered on his tour, we did Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne and it went really well with the audience. We weren’t sure how we were going to put it out, but we knew that we needed to do it. It was cool, it got to be my track as a result of the collab.

You just released to the video too, can you tell us a little bit about that?

Well, I really like planning. And the video was not planned, and it freaked me out! (Laughs).

Are you a spreadsheet fan like me?

I love spreadsheets. I love lists.

But yeah, the song was doing well, so we thought we should probably do something else. It’s good to cement the visual component in video, because the images are all kind of consistent – but to have that footage was nice. When we went to film, it was the warmest day in Melbourne in ages and all the snow was kind of melted. Which was really frustrating, because we wanted it to be a snow shoot. Everyone was like ‘it’s called The Thaw, it’s fine’ even though the snow was melting. We then went back the following week and got the drone footage, when it had actually just snowed. The first day was a bit dismal, we just filmed a lot of rocks and trees.

I got to dance as well. We ended up slowing down the dance, but originally it was really tight and to the beat. Which was fun, because I’m not a dancer.

You’ve got an EP coming in the not to distant future. Can you give us an insight into the process of putting it together?

It was one of those things where you had heaps of tracks, then through playing them live and showing a bunch of people you kind of figure out which ones below. It’s a representation of the last couple of years, a block of time. I don’t know if there’s a selection process, it’s just the ones I feel proud of and the ones that connect together. I’m defintely going to be thinking about the track listing – trying to make it into this nice little bundle. It’s coming out next month, which is really exciting because it’s been a long time coming.

You played a secret BIGSOUND warm up show last night. How has the whole experience been so far?

Last night was hectic, because they were like ‘you have 5 minutes to play.’ So we had to cut heaps. We ended up playing 3 songs. But they were good – we thought we may as well super-sing them and have fun. Fortunately, it wasn’t my official showcase, I’ll be playing my full set at that.

I think in the last 12 months I’ve met a lot of Australian musicians and people in the industry, so it’s just been really nice to run into someone every 100 metres. No one really has anything bad to say – everyone is just pushing each other forward. We have such a unique hub of supporters – the Australian music industry is really nice, from what I’ve experienced.

Further to that, do you feel like the Melbourne music community is in the same vein?

It’s so good. I just did the Dustin Tebbutt tour, and you come to Melbourne and everyone is super quiet and loves live music. Within your community everyone goes to each others shows and are collaborating with each other. Or just cheering each other on. I feel right at home in Melbourne.

Woodes’ EP is due next month. Listen to new single The Thaw.

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