The experimental folk rock of Woodrow

7 MN

The experimental folk rock of Woodrow

Few months ago, we lent our ears to Woodrow during a one off concert at our locale. We took the time afterwards to chat to Nathan and Olivier, musicians and founders of this epic project based in Nantes. Oscillating between heavy pop, rock and folk, this humble and generous band always takes the time to savour each and every moment up on stage. 

Woodrow

Lets go back to the beginning. You were mates at school before deciding to form the band; what made you want to go into music?

Nathan: I met Olivier directly through music; we were both making music, and we got along well together. Our friendship stems from there.

Olivier: We had a project in high school and we continued it.

Nathan: We played quite a few acoustic concerts as a duo. We used to play each other’s songs. We then found Ludo and Philippe in Nantes. It took us quite a while because we wanted to play with other people but we didn’t want musicians. As Ludo was a great friend of ours, we just asked him “hey you play drums, want to come play with us?”

As a result, you went from being a duo to a true band.

Nathan: It happened quite naturally, really. We really wanted to because we had written a lot of songs.

Olivier: We already had the same ideas we have today, but we were missing instrumentation to get that powerful feel. People didn’t catch well our proposition when it was just the two of us. We already had that heavy feel but we were wrongfully categorised as “ballad” music.

Nathan: When Ludo and Philippe arrived, our mentality wasn’t to tell them “play that, play that”. We worked on the assumption that, if they were going to join our band, they could play whatever they wanted. Of course, they really respected the songs we already had.

What are your musical influences?

Olivier: They’re quite varied. It’s really more of a question of state of mind rather than particular musical genre. We use acoustic guitars but, for example, even though I love hardcore punk, I’m not necessarily going to play that kind of music. Everything you listen to is going to influence your work whether you want it to or not.

So what is Woodrow? Folk music?

Nathan: Yeah, I’d say that. Or indie rock with an experimental side to it. We don’t really like the dynamic of putting ourselves in one particular genre. We like the idea of seeing where we can go naturally. I think we’re the least competent people able to describe what we do.

Woodrow3

What is your creative process like? Who writes the lyrics? Who composes the music?

Nathan: Both of us. We’ve always written music, and we’d show each other our stuff. When we began working with Ludo and then Philippe, we tried to continue writing together just the two of us, but it didn’t work. We then accepted the fact that some songs are Olivier’s and others are mine. I don’t think you can hear it because we know each other well enough. The lyrics are the main aspect of our writing, for the rest, we work together as a group.

How did the name “Woodrow” come about?

Olivier: In the beginning, we each had names that stemmed from our solo projects. We tried to regroup them but we ended up with an unpronounceable, interminable thing. When we found our new musicians, we told ourselves that we needed to become a true band, so we began looking for a name for weeks and months. We had loads of shitty ideas. We’d vaguely agreed on a name, and then I was watching a film with Nathan, and one of its characters was called Woodrow. We looked at each other and thought: “that sounds pretty good”.

Nathan: The guys thought it was cool when we suggested it to them. It was quite obvious.

Your first video “Empty We Are” has been seen more than 50 000 times. Did you ever expect such a warm welcome?

Nathan: We had 2000 views in the beginning, which wasn’t bad at all seeing as back then we weren’t doing any concerts. A friend of ours, who had his own blog, suggested he do a little bit of publicity for us.

Olivier: Everybody talks to us about that now, we kind of feel like crooks. But it’s only Internet…

What themes inspire you and influence your writing?

Nathan: I like to not think too much. I never tell myself “Hey, I’m going to write about that particular subject”.

Olivier: For me, it’s on the spot expression. It’s a testimony of who you are at that exact moment, and of your feelings. Personally, it’s more of question of images that I develop. Isolation, urban life, the need to escape, whether it be real or chemical…

What feelings or emotions do you hope to transmit to the people who listen to your songs?

Olivier: If people are, at the very least, able to recognise themselves in our songs, then that’s cool.

Nathan: If people tell me they had a good time that’s cool. We try to make humane music. We’re not big technicians, we concentrate on what we want to do.

Any bands, albums or concerts that particularly enthused you over the last few years?

Nathan: There are a lot of bands that have set up shop in Nantes, and it hasn’t stopped. I love feeling that the town veers mostly towards rock.

Olivier: There’s one album that I’m obsessed with at the moment, it’s Porches. It’s that wild idea of isolated guys who do everything themselves and have a clear idea of what they want. A guy who creates his songs at 4 in the morning, completely stoned in front of his computer for example. I can relate to that.

You won the Label Mozaïc 2015 prize, which supports the young, up and coming local scene. How was that experience for you?

Nathan: It was unreal. We signed up without really knowing what we were getting in to. We were organising a festival a week later. So we went into it with the stress from our festival, just thinking “YOLO”. We were filmed live, there was TV Rennes, Renan Luce was part of the jury… It was crazy! We were representing Lorient because we’re from there, even though Ludo and Philippe are from Nantes. As a result, we were quite chilled. Above all, we enjoyed ourselves. The other bands’ sound was sharp and polished. We weren’t as clean and precise but people liked it. That’s what they told us afterwards.

Olivier: I prefer bands that enjoy themselves rather than bands that want to be good. I think that was the case for us. Everybody makes music nowadays, so if we have the opportunity of having good group cohesion and having a good time, we may as well try to convey that feeling.

You made your second video “As a Dancer” a few months ago. How did the shooting go?

Nathan: It’s our mate Baptiste Fertillet who did that. He uses royalty-free images and edits them together. For “As a Dancer”, the song is 6 or 7 minutes long, so shooting a video was going to be a lot more difficult. We asked Baptiste because we knew his work has a contemplative side to it and he’d be able to bring out a new meaning to our song. We gave him free reign and he did a good job.

Did Baptiste also make your first video “Empty We Are”?

Olivier: No, that was Steve Marchesse. We recorded 4 songs this summer with the Mozaïc label that should be coming out in January. We have more videos planned and we think we’d like to work with him again.

Nathan: We’re looking for honest, sincere approaches. We like to put our trust in people. 

So when will we be able to hear your first album?

Olivier: An album is a work of art, it needs to be distilled. We’re taking the time to do things right, but it’ll inevitably happen one day.

Any concerts planned for the coming months?

Olivier: We have two or three dates planned, which we’ll be divulging bit by bit on our Facebook page. We have a few concerts next to Rezé, and possibly one at the Ferrailleur at the end of the year. Our sole wish is to buy a van, tour and lead horrible lives for two weeks.

Is there a festival in particular where you’d like to perform?

Olivier: Binic Folk Blues Festival, near Saint-Brieuc. Musically speaking it’s quite specialised, but it has such a good atmosphere. It’s in a charming little town, a small Côtes-d’Armor port, with good old heavy rock ‘n’ roll.

Nathan: Ludo went to a festival in Brighton called The Great Escape. It’s kind of the best of indie music. People are there to listen to good music. And as we want to play abroad…

What was it like playing your small concert in our premises?

Olivier: It was cool. It was a challenge.

Nathan: We had to shout a bit because we didn’t have any microphones but it was fun. We tried to not complicate things and we felt good vibrations. The reception was really cool.

Olivier: It was cool to be on the same level and be in the middle of everyone, seeing their reactions. We were full of adrenalin. In the beginning, you’re short of breath and your arms are shaky, but once you’re in it, it’s just the best.

woodrow image

Thank you to Nathan and Olivier for their answers.

Do not miss the sneak peek of Woodrow’s concert at our place: here

Find Woodrow’s news on the official website and on the Facebook page.

Interview réalisée par Valentin Porcher
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The Customer also receives by email and without delay, a receipt of the order sent electronically, regarding as a confirmation of the order (“Order Confirmation”).

The Customer receives electronically, the confirmation that the Goods have been dispatched.

The delivery shall take place at the location indicated by the Customer at the time of the Order.

Additionally, by undertaking these different steps to Order, the Customer accepts to strictly comply with this Agreement, in accordance with section 1316-1 of the French Civil Code.

The Vendor undertakes to deliver the Goods and Services subject of the Order Confirmation. In the event that a Good ordered is unavailable, the Vendor will promptly inform the Customer about this.

However, under section L.122-1 of the French Consumer Code, the Vendor reserves the right to cancel your Order if the Order is abnormal, involves bad faith or for any other reason that is under the sole discretion of the Vendor. The Vendor also reserves the right to reject orders from any customer with whom the Vendor have an ongoing legal dispute regarding a prior order.

Place of Delivery

The place of Delivery shall be determined by the Customer within the Territory, under sanction to refuse the Order.

The Customer is exclusively responsible for any error in the Delivery due to a lack of indication contained in the Order.

Amount of Delivery Charges

The amount of Delivery Charges depends upon the amount of the Order and upon the Method of Delivery the Customer chooses. In any case, the amount of Delivery Charges shall be indicated to you before the Order Confirmation.

The Delivery Charges are free if the amount exceeds EUR 200,00.

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Delivery Terms are expressed in working days and correspond to an average time for preparing and shipping the Order to the Customer.

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In the event of delays in the Delivery, the Order is not cancelled. The Vendor shall inform the Customer by electronic mail that the delivery will take place later than what was contemplated by the Parties. You will be then entitled to decide whether to confirm or cancel your order and shall send to the Vendor a cancellation notice of the Order at service-client@olow.fr.

If the Order has not been shipped yet at the time the Vendor receives the cancellation notice, the Delivery is effectively cancelled and the Customer is reimbursed of the payment he/she made, within fifteen (15) days from the receipt of the cancellation notice.

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Returns

You have received your order but the product does not suit you?

You can return your products within 15 days of receiving your package, for any order.

The items must not have been worn, washed or damaged and must be returned in their original packaging, in perfect condition for resale.

How do I return my package from France?

To return your parcel, it is very simple :

  1. Go to “My account”, in the “My purchases” section,

  2. In the list of your orders, select your order,

  3. If your order is eligible for return, please tick each product you wish to return. If a product has been ordered in several copies, you can indicate the quantity to be returned.

  4. Indicate the reason for the return at the bottom of the order details and click on “Request a return”. You can track your return request in the “Returns” section of the “My purchases” section.

  5. Once your return request has been validated by our team, simply download the return form and place it in your package.

  6. Send your package to the address indicated on the return form.

Want to make a return request with a guest account?

It's very easy : contact us by email at service-client@olow.fr indicating your order number, the items you wish to return and whether you wish to request a refund, a credit note or an exchange.

The return costs are at the customer's expense (cost of shipping by the transporter chosen by the customer and any other related costs: customs duties, taxes, etc.).

How long does it take to get my money back once my package has been sent?

Refunds will be made within 10 days of receipt of your items and automatically to the account associated with the credit card used for payment or to the Paypal account used for payment.

Is it possible to return my item in the shop?

No, for all internet orders, returns can only be made to the address mentioned above.

What can I do if my item has a defect?

We take great care in the manufacture and finishing of our products. However, if you wish to report a manufacturing defect on a product, we invite you to contact our customer service by e-mail: service-client@olow.fr.

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