WOODHAWK (from l-r): Mike Badmington (bass), Turner Midzain (vocals/guitar), Kevin Nelson (drums)
INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
Woodhawk are a hard rock three-piece from the Canadian city of Calgary.
The band pride themselves on creating a sound that is energetic, anthemic, and has substantial guitar riffery at its very core.
Having recently been hard at work putting together the finishing touches to their forthcoming debut full-length album ‘Beyond The Sun’, I chatted to vocalist/guitarist Turner Midzain about this and more.
How did the band get together initially?
Woodhawk was founded by Mike and myself. We had a previous band that ended, and we were looking to do something new. We had a few fill-in/temporary drummers to get us going, but we really didn’t get rolling until Kevin joined the band.
How did the name Woodhawk come about?
The name Woodhawk actually derives from Mike’s and my love for craft beer and breweries. One of our favourites is Wychwood from the UK. We talked about calling the band Witchwood or Wychwood. But there is already a lot of “Witch” bands, so we somehow landed on Woodhawk and it just stuck.
In your own words, how would you describe your sound?
Though we are frequently described as a stoner rock band, we like to believe we are just a hard rock band. We fill our songs with big riffs and smooth melodies. There is a lot of energy in our music, but also a lot of heart.
What are the band’s musical influences?
Our roots are very much engrained in the 70’s, but we also really love a lot of the modern bands out there these days. We’re lucky to be around in a time that we feel has some amazing artists. No particular band influences us, just whatever our flavour of the week is.
What would you say was your approach to songwriting?
It all starts with the riffs, then we build the music around that. We continue writing and arranging until we’re happy with where it’s sitting, and then we add lyrics. Sometimes we’ll change the music because of the vocals, but it usually stays the same. For ‘Beyond The Sun’, we really had the pleasure of having two years to write it. We filtered through about 15 songs to get to the nine we chose.
Whilst we’re on the subject of ‘Beyond The Sun’, how has recording your debut full-length album been?
Recording this album was different than any other record any of us individually had done. We had the amazing experience of working with Jesse Gander from Rain City Recorders, and he was very much involved in the process from the beginning. We would send him demos months in advance and work on those parts and songs, so when we finally got to Rain City to start recording, we were able to do all the instruments at the same time, with the end result being that all the bed tracks were just the three of us playing in the same room at the same time. That’s something we feel is very much reflected on the record.
And what can listeners expect from it?
‘Beyond The Sun’ shows more than just our full out, balls-to-the-wall riff songs. We really focused on the songwriting to make a good album as a whole. There are big, anthemic rock songs, but also some laid back tracks that show a different side to us.
The album’s lyrics take from the idea of escaping the place you know as home and venturing off into the unknown, but in the end, home is not a physical place, it’s where your heart is. It’s what you take from it.
How has the reaction been to your latest single, ‘The High Priest’?
The reaction was amazing. That was an older song, so we had been playing it live for a while and it was always well-received. It felt like a no brainer to release that one first, as it kind of picks up nicely where the EP left off, but with a nice transition into where the rest of the album will sit.
How is it for the band playing live and touring?