Woodes (Elle Graham), a 24-year-old producer, singer/songwriter from Townsville, Queensland, manages to exemplify how experiences and influences shape a person, but more specifically the musician you are and are yet to become. “Daggers and Knives,” her debut single was extremely well received, but it’s the second single, “The Thaw” which has really captivated audiences internationally. Its refreshing innocence breathes life back into the chaotic and hectic rush that has become the norm.
Listen: “The Thaw” – Woodes
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Fully immersing yourself in a sound or experience is the aim of the game. As relaxing as watching snow fall is, “The Thaw” channels this wonder and serenity. Whether it’s the delicate, peppy vibe, or the metaphor of finding someone that melts your soul, this track becomes instantly addictive. The upbeat ambiance of “The Thaw” is the main distinctive element that provides an opportunity for instant connection. Woodes’ subtle vocals combine with a defined beat, and melodic rhythmic elements help to weave a multi-layered and textured soundscape.
The production incorporated into this track should also not be understated. The whole track from start to finish is full of carefully crafted elements that exemplify what electronic music stands for: Tasteful sonic manipulation that create a naturally beautiful emergence of sound.
“The Thaw” not only has helped to launch a career, but also highlights the exquisite chemistry that Woodes has with music.
A CONVERSATION WITH WOODES
Atwood Magazine: What was your first childhood experience of music and subsequent musical endeavors?
Woodes: I grew up in Townsville, Northern Queensland, and my parents were very musical and every child in my family has always played a musical instrument in primary school. I started piano around the age of 8, and then I moved towards mallet percussion. This gave me opportunities to work outside of Queensland, and in orchestra pits because there weren’t many percussionists around. I kept doing classical studies and writing on the side in primary school, and then in high school it become more of an outlet.
What was the pivotal, light bulb moment that you realized music was all that you wanted to do?
Woodes: When you’re in a regional area it can sometimes be a little difficult to see how you can break out of that, or how to reach people. I remember listening to Imogen Heap, and thinking that I want to make music that makes me feel like that, or (that) I was to produce music and figure out how she’s creating that. There were also artists like The Middle East, who were a North Queensland band that showed that you could have that reach if you just worked hard and kept creating.
Takes me back
Deeper and deeper
Fresh coat of snow, broken sheet of ice
We move further & further apart
Longest time waiting for the light
Shortest time drifting
A sudden night
It’s early evening and I’m…
Who was your number one supporter, or someone that gave you the opportunity or saw potential in you that you didn’t see?
Woodes: My parents are amazing, they are wholeheartedly supportive. I’m currently on the Dustin Tebbutt tour, and my dad drove down from Townsville to Brisbane to be my tour manager on that leg of the tour. It would be kind of scary as a parent to have your child do something in the creative arts… you just have to do what you love.
You’ve done a lot of collaborative work. What is the driving force that motivates you to collaborate?
Woodes: I love working with people that I love, with friends especially, and when I did my composition degree you learn what everyone’s strong points are, whether it’s organic sounds or whatever – the things that you’re known for. I just love going to the studio and bringing in someone who is really good at a particular skill; I just feel without collaboration, you get stagnant in your approach to songwriting and this challenges you to think about things differently. I found it really refreshing, and it’s a big part of what I do, even as a writer, because writing for other people is kind of like problem solving, and you have to meet people and figure out how they create, with different references.
Considering your interest in fashion, how are you integrating the two artistic disciplines?
Woodes: I think the visual component of music is very important, and I have a lot of designer friends and I can understand how they are working with texture and layers. Designing for the human body is such a beautiful thing. I have also worked in the fashion industry for the last 4.5 years with different stylists and teams, and that side of things. I love the idea of creating different worlds and always thinking ahead just really interests me.
Watching it fall, each flake
I watch it fall, should we walk away…
The words I can’t say
You hold me close
and I melt away
What was your inspiration behind “The Thaw”?
Woodes: I went into a writing session with my friend Will (Cuming, AKA LANKS), and we had always talked about writing together, we are both based in Melbourne. Will started playing some loops on the guitar, and we kind of built it up. I have wanted to write a song about winter but they have all been kind of lame, but I felt like this was a good opportunity. It happened really quickly, we pretty much wrote the song in a day, and came back and wrote the bridge. He’s an improviser, so we weren’t afraid to throw in more organic moments, and definitely I pushed myself into my lowest and highest register. With collaborating, it’s so key to have someone to that pushes you, otherwise I would have stayed in my comfort zone.
With your debut EP coming up, have you learnt a lot about yourself and the industry?
Woodes: Oh definitely, there are huge things that I’ve learnt. I guess there is the whole side of PR with music, and you’re always learning and shifting towards different platforms for releasing. With collaborations there are different sides, like the business side. You’re constantly learning, and even when I put the EP out there will be things that I wish I’ve done better. It’s a strange landscape releasing music, and I feel that everyone is trying to work that out.
Flakes of snow fall on my nose
I mistook you for my love
Ghostly as your figure glows
Watch me as I turn and run…
“The Thaw” has been received really well. Did you expect that reaction?
Woodes: With “Daggers and Knives,” it was my debut single, so I was watching where it was going and who was listening. I was a little bit more scared about it and the fact that I was about to start rolling all this music out that we’d been working on for ages. For “The Thaw,” it was more collaborative and there’s a safety in that, you’re not so alone. I worked not only with LANKS, but also with Elkkle and Simon Lam to get it to its final place. When you have such a great team of people working on a song you can kind of step back and feel good about the track.
:: Woodes Tour 2016 ::
** supporting Dustin Tebbutt’s First Light Album Tour
8/11 – NORTHCOTE SOCIAL CLUB, MELBOURNE**
8/12 – NORTHCOTE SOCIAL CLUB, MELBOURNE**
8/13 – WORKERS CLUB, GEELONG**
8/18 – NEWTOWN SOCIAL CLUB, SYDNEY**
8/19 – NEWTOWN SOCIAL CLUB, SYDNEY**
8/20 – TRANSIT BAR, CANBERRA**
8/25 – SACRED HEART CHURCH, ST. KILDA
8/26 – JACK RABBIT SLIMS, PERTH**
8/27 – JIVE, ADELAIDE**