Airick Woodhead of Doldrums is some sort of a strange man, and he knows that it is a compliment. When I first heard of his music on Daytrotter Sessions, he reminded me of Atlas Sound a bit. But the colour of winter and the crispy aroma of burnt wood that arose from his electronic beats, had something completely different from any modern solo artists. I became very, very interested in this man.
In the interview, he talked about what he would have become if he weren't a musician, his early live shows in front of the Coldplay gigs, his appearance on Portishead single, and what the concept of band means to him.
This interview was originally contributed to a Japanese music website called Private Dub in December last year. I had to censor a part of his answers since it seemed a bit too provocative at the time. So it is a full version of the interview. Enjoy!
So who are you? You say you reside in internet?
my name is airick woodhead. i am a 22 year old boy who makes music. i call my music doldrums and people on the internet like it.
How did your music carreer start? Was there a defining moment?
I've been playing since i was 9 or 10. my first gig was playing cello at a canadian folk festival with my friend liam titcomb. afterwards he tried to compensate me with $5, which i politely declined. he told me not to be so humble and forced the crinkly blue $5 into my hand. it was a real game changer for me. i think the doldrums started by having a impromptu drum jam outside of coldplay show in toronto, and then again outside of a 500,000 capacity great big sea show in ottawa. it was raining and there was a huge crowd around us, just singing and banging on shit.
You seem to be intercommunicating between the world of analog and digital, releasing VHS mixtaps and creating band websites in different guise. What's the fascination about it?
what is a band? its a name you assign to make a bunch of people playing music together a product, but usually has this connotation of a bunch of people just BEING THEMSELVES. fuck that! i want to create a fantasy reality if i was into making products i would work at ikea.
in electronic music there has always been this faceless producer aesthetic - the majority of people don't know or care who made what they're dancing to and why should they? the point is that its a real culture, one of the only ways in which we can get together in any viscerally or spiritual context in this agnostic consumer culture. companies and egotistical artists will do everything they can to make it about selling something, and the internet has allowed me to actually get my music out there without having to deal with that bullshit. i make up bands and crap because its a fun way to present my music, it kind of points to some of the problems with the old model of music culture. that was two years ago. now i'm focused on doldrums because it's taking on more of real existense - i didn't think i'd be touring so much or doing proper releases, but now that i am it feels great, and i'm stoked that people are still getting the vibe that this isn't a real band. hehe.
Amongst the other pseudonyms, you have decided to take "Doldrums" moniker, which idea was taken from the children's book "The Phantom Tollbooth".Why is that, and how does it relate to your music?
ah because my music has, you know, drums.
What do you mainly write about? It seems "Empire Sound EP" is dealing with a lot of paranoiac nature of the youth, or the sense of social stagnation, such was heard on "Endless Winter" or "I'm Homesick Sitting Up Here In My Satellite".
endless winter is about finding something personal, something in your life, that made all the spectacle of modern living seems impertinent and unreal, and so you're just staying in your bubble with someone you love. when i wrote it thats what i wanted more than anything in the world, and didn't have it, was still looking. it could be love or it could be a calling or anything. i write about things that i think are too vague for real discussion, which is why the music is equally as important in evoking the feelings. 'social stagnation', yes . . . 'paranoiac nature' of youth, yes . . . hey you read my bio didn't you! my music is about the living in an increasingly alienating modern society.
How old are the songs on the EP? The first time I heard your music was on Daytrotter and you have done many songs from the record.
i don't know . . .1 - 2 years old i think.
Are you planning to release a full-length soon?
yes, it'll be done by the new year i think. probably out in the world in the spring (the people upstairs have convinced me not to just post everything as soon as i make it!)
The cover version of Portishead's "Chase the Tear" was released as their B-side single.How did it come about? How do you feel about it?
man, they heard my cover when i guess they were just googling themselves or something, and they called me up out of nowhere and said, 'hey! we want to put this on the record". i couldn't believe it, obviously i'm a huge fan and to get that kind of a thumbs up from them means a lot to me.
Now the year is ending, could you tell us the 5 records you enjoyed listening to this year?
the chemical brothers - hana soundtrack
atari teenage riot - delete yourself
nine inch nails - ghosts
my bloody valentine - loveless
blue hawaii - blooming summer
If you weren't creating music, what would you be doing?
running a blackmarket operation out of Chernobyl selling irradiated car parts to tourists
Finally, summer or winter?
endless winter :)