Interview: The Willowz

The Willowz return to Columbus tonight to start their short December tour in support of the just-released CD, Everyone. I first caught onto to the Willowz a few years back after hearing “Cons and Tricks” which reminded me a lot of early Sparklehorse. I quickly realized that the Willowz have more in common (influence wise) with bands like the White Stripes than they do Sparklehorse and after Richie mentions the Strange Boys in the following interview, I see the similarities between the Willowz and those guys too. (Ooooh, how I’d LOVE to see a Willowz/Strange Boys show!).

These questions were sent at the last minute and answered at the last minute so I didn’t take time to do any editing with Richie’s answers (ie – capitalization, punctuation, etc.). But, the answers Richie provided make me love this band even more.

Since it will all come out eventually, how many of you had illicit relations with Tiger Woods?
jessica is the only willow to engage in illicit relations with mr.woods…personally, i was extremely turned off by his arrogant manner

If my math is correct, you’ve released at least 35 songs this year between your solo album, Barracks, and the new Willowz full length (I may be missing singles, b-sides, contributions to compilations, etc.). How is that possible? You can’t tell me that all the songs were written this year, can you?
No, i cant…i had sketches of the songs for years and decided to sort them out so the new willowz record would be more cohesive and focused

If you could put one Willowz song on a USB Flash drive to be buried in a time capsule that would be opened in the far off future (2020), what song would you choose to represent the Willowz?
“break your back”…the first song off our new album “Everyone”…for selfish reasons of course…it’s my favorite song…real spinal chill…goosebump feelings, but “i wonder” would probably make more sense…super raw song, raw emotion…i dont think that often gets captured on recordings

I love stumbling across “free” (legally free) music and was ecstatic to learn about Barracks and the fact you were just giving it away. Was part of the thinking behind that that if you give something to people, maybe you’ll hook them in and they’ll actually support you by buying either your solo album or the new Willowz album (or, for that matter, something from the back catalog)?
i just wanted it to be heard for better or worse…that’s why i made it. i don’t care if people buy any of it…no tricks here!

You’re doing a good job of putting yourself out there via the various social media sites. I know you’ve got a publicist working the new record but do you feel it’s part of YOUR job now to put yourself out there, open up your closet doors and let your fans take an intimate peak into your “underwear” drawer, so to speak?
no, i actually hate cribs and reality shows about musicians…part of what was so cool about all those old great musicians was the mystery…it seems like all you gotta do now to sell some records is compete on a show for diddy or have a disney show…it’s terrible.

Has the use of computer software changed the process – and the cost – of the way you record? What kind of economical shortcuts do you take when recording or are you able to leverage some software to obtain the sound you want without worrying about where rent money is going to come from?
we actually worked backwards…we did our first 3 records in homemade studios in our garages and basements and vans but we ended up doing this record in a proper studio with a grammy award winning producer…it made us learn the songs inside and out which we had never done before and work with more of an urgency than we had ever had to before…on the previous albums we were still writing the songs in the studio and experimenting with what the songs could be and the sounds we were trying to acheive. with our new album we put that all in our producer (stuart sikes) hands…we loved all the records he’s done and we knew all our songs and we didnt really want to do it ourselves again…needed a change and i think it worked out for the best…it’s our best album to date.

When I told my friend Marcie I was interviewing you, she told me to ask if you had ever taken your pants off while on stage. Does she know something I don’t?
yes, she does….

It seems like you regularly include Columbus on your tour schedule. Is that by choice or just the way routing goes? I even previewed one of your shows in which I said that you do the White Stripes better than Jack and Meg (do you often get compared to the White Stripes and, if so, how sick of it are you?) and also called “Cons and Tricks” a mix of the Pixies-and-Sparklehorse. Any particular thoughts about Columbus – whether it be your shows, any people you’ve met here, any restaurants/bars/etc – or is just another tour stop?
columbus fucking rocks! great times at crowne plaza! i think we have one song on the new album that kinda sounds like white stripes and i think it’s mainly because i’m trying to sing like a souful woman…it might come off like them and some of the arrangement as well. i love that first album…its great. i think we are into the same bands and it shows in different ways…as far as us sounding like them on our previous albums i don’t really hear it all that much…

With it being just a few weeks before the end of the year, I have to ask the obligatory “What ROCKED YOUR BOAT in 2009?” Music, movies, TV shows, books, pop culture events, the introduction of new sandwiches at fast food joints … all fair game.
ponyo, jeff bridges, always sunny in Philadelphia, $5 footlong, strange boys new album, taylor swift winning it

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