Dead Wood is a band from the forests of Northern Sweden. They play a mix of Country/Folk/Pop-ish music. It comes as a follow up to James’ old band James Auger & The Natives which broke up in a dramatic fashion the day before the album release. Everything was recorded in James’ farm house in a tiny village in the middle of nowhere. We interviewed James, Jonathan and Erik of Dead Wood to get to know them and their music a bit better, as well as see what is in store for their future as a band! Enjoy!
Entertwine: Could you tell us about the involved members and their roles within the band? What is the significance of the band’s name?
Jonathan: I’m the drummer and I come from more of a hard rock/rock ‘n’ roll background. I take a lot of influences from those and put them into the Dead Wood stuff. My musical influences are people or bands like Bruce Springsteen, AC/DC, Van Morrisson. Literature or the written word I feel is one of the most important things ever. I come from the south of Sweden and moved up north for work.
James: I met Jonathan on facebook through a selling site, like where you buy and sell furniture and stuff. I asked him what he did for work and he was a teacher, and I was currently doing a teacher qualification and he managed to get me a job. I met him for the first time actually at the job he got for me. I’ve played guitar since I can remember and music has always been my mistress. I have a bit more of a folky influence, but country is up there at the top for me.
Erik-I play guitar, mainly lead. I come from Hammerdal, which is about an hour away from James and 25 minutes from Jonathan. I like pretty much all music, but my passion is country, blues, rock, ballads etc. I started paying guitar when I was 12ish. I work as a farm hand right now but I’m hoping to join a music university in a while. My main influences music wise are Yngwie Malmsteen, Joe Bonamassa, SRV, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Hiland, Brad Paisley, Vince Gill, Brent Mason etc.
Could you elaborate on the breakup of your previous band?
Well, we’d received a record deal with a small indie label in the north of England, and we’d built a studio in a garage and spare room and worked for about…7 months just writing and recording and jamming, generally having a good time. And then, the guitarist left as he needed more time with his family, so we brought in the guitarist from the drummers other band. Anyway, this one day the drummer flipped out because I had touched something of his, I mean, I didn’t realise certain things in the studio were out of bounds to me. So I tried to smoothe everything over with him and it just got worse and worse, and then 2 days before the album release show, which was kind of expensive…like, we’d rented a 300 year old warship for the night that the record company paid for. Everything was perfect before that, got on super well and everyone was happy, and then it all just fell apart, so I got the producer of the album to play drums, hired in a friend of mine to play guitar, and luckily, the bass player Ian Dixon stayed with us. But since then I haven’t seen or heard from the drummer, even though we lived in the same tiny village for a while.
What is life like in Imnäs (Northern Sweden)? How does your new life in Imnäs differ from the time you spent in England?
Life is a lot more laid back and I spend a lot more of my time outside and walking through the forest, fishing, training my dog and what not. I live near a Eco Collective that are really great guys and they have a wonderful venue. I’m actually playing a show there this month at Kulturhuset, Skogsnäs. I prefer my new life here, I feel like I have more time to do what I want to do with my life, play music, be out in nature, be with friends and just…live life!
Tell us about the three songs you’ve released so far (‘The Queen and the Peasant’, ‘Saint’, and ‘Send Me A Sign’); these songs were recorded in the studio at your farm house, correct? What was the writing and recording process like? What instruments, musical equipment, and recording software was used to record these compositions?
Well, The Queen & The Peasant is about the romanticism of moving away from your problems with the thought that the grass is always greener, but it never is to begin with. I’m just lucky the grass finally did turn greener. Saint is about the struggles of early married life and always striving to be the person that you believe your other half deserves, but always feeling that you fall just shy. Send Me A Sign is a little bit more politically charged about the worries of money and feeling like everyone wants to take your money for what they don’t deserve and the countless sleepless nights I have had thinking about my choice between food, or heat.
And yeah, everything was recorded in my house in a couple of spare rooms upstairs, a battered old macbook and a preamp. I used to have a really nice studio back in England but I chose the move here instead of keeping it. It took me a while to record as half way through we moved house. It was super nice to just work by myself and have no time boundaries, the last time was a rush all the way to the finish. I used Logic Pro on my laptop, I find it’s the easiest. It’s really simple and to the point. The writing of these songs was done over quite a long period of time with different pieces of paper all over the house. After a couple of months they all came together and made the EP.
What does 2015 hold in store for Dead Wood and James Auger? Do you have plans to record and release a full-length album in the near future?
2015 holds a lot for us. I have managed to loan a small house on an island in a lake. I think we’ll spend some time up there writing, recording, fishing, drinking beer and what not. Just having fun. We’re hoping to play a lot in the summer, maybe a few festivals. I’m definitely hoping we can get an album finished by maybe August time, ready for a September release. I suppose it depends on how long it will take to move our stuff to the house in a rowing boat.