Artist Interview: Russ Wood, Indie musician & producer

Today I’m delighted to be interviewing Russ Wood, Indie musician/producer with unique style and sound, blending electronica, tribal grooves, funk, rock,  and world music. 

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Thank you for allowing me to interview you today, Russ. 🙂

I’ve been looking forward to it Vacen, as it’s a great opportunity for me to tell your readers about my music.

Firstly, could you tell readers a little about Russ Wood and why you are creating music?

Music is of critical importance to me, as it provided a lifeline during my teenage years, when I was having a difficult time in my personal life. Playing in a band with other musicians became my main emotional outlet, and I soon discovered that I could contribute creatively as well. I became very serious about music in general, practicing for hours every day and eventually going to a music college here in Melbourne to study full-time. It was during this time that I became interested in funk, jazz, reggae and other forms of world music, all of which continue to influence me.

When you are creating a song do you spend time pre-orchestrating to decide what kind of sound you will be creating or is it a more organic, free-flowing process?

The process of writing and recording changes constantly for me. Sometimes I have a definite melody/riff/chord progression in mind, other times I’ll just be doodling on the keyboard or guitar and an idea pops up out of the blue. And sometimes I might have a particular style (eg Indian funk) that I want to start with and then develop the song from there.

Having listened to all of your songs from tribal grooves to new world fusion  each song is very unique. Do you feel it’s important to explore change in your sound from song to song? If so tell readers why?

I try to make each new song different from the most recently completed songs (in regard to tempo, instrumentation, style and tone), and also work on developing completely new musical ideas whenever I can. For example, I recently produced a song that included some doo-wop vocals, a 12-tone riff, and floating synth pads, all mixed in with a funky rhythm section. For me, coming up with new combinations of styles and instruments is the most important driving force when creating music.

As artists we all grow creatively and with that we also change personally. Do you feel your music has changed over the time you have been producing music? If so how has it changed?

I first started writing instrumental music (mainly rock, funk and jazz), but I realized that if I stayed on this course I would have limited opportunities to get my music to the general public. I did a few collaborations with guest vocalists, but found that I was better off doing the vocals myself, as it helped to further develop the musical ideas in a more satisfying and productive way. It was very difficult at first doing everything myself, with the vocals and lyrics always providing the greatest challenges. Then I had a major breakthrough when I started to approach the vocals as just another instrument, rather than having them up front all the time, as well as simplifying the arrangements to allow the vocals to sit amongst the other instruments comfortably. This is still very much a learning process for me.

I read while researching your work that you will be continuing to work with Laura. Could you tell readers a little about how the Russ & Chilean artist Laura Trisot collaboration came about, with Laura providing cover artwork.

Laura and I made contact initially via Twitter. I offered her a couple of downloads, and she came back with an offer to do some of my cover art. Then I asked her if I could use her artwork for all of my future songs. I was very fortunate in getting a positive reply, and we came to an agreement regarding the cross-promotion of our work. Soon after that I suggested we also set up a channel on YouTube, as I had some experience and skills in video production. It seemed like a logical step to start producing music videos featuring both Laura’s artwork and my music. So far, we’ve both been very pleased with the way things have worked out.

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Cover Art by Laura Trisot

I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours. My favourite song you’ve produced has to be Spotlight.  Do you have a favourite Russ Wood song?

Sorry, I don’t have a favourite song. I’m always looking ahead to the next one – sometimes I’ll revisit something on impulse, but no individual song stands out for me. I think my need to keep exploring and go in different directions also creates a difficulty for me when trying to promote my music, as the online retail distributors like to put everything in a neat little box.

Many music artist’s lyrics have deeper meanings, express opinions or keep an  awareness flowing of what is happening around the world.  Where does your inspiration come from when you’re writing lyrics?

Writing lyrics is usually very tough for me. I’m not interested in writing about personal experiences, but in the past I’ve spent some time working in a community support agency, so I do try to write lyrics that are meaningful in some way. It might be on a purely philosophical level, or a direct reference to some current social issue, but then I also like sci-fi, fantasy, horror and black comedy, so I sometimes throw some of that into the mix.

How do you as an artist attract listeners and potential fans to your music?

I don’t do gigs anymore, as it would be incredibly difficult and time-consuming to put a band together to reproduce the music. So I rely upon my digital music distributor (KVZ Music in Vienna), who gets my music to all the major on-line retailers. And I spend hours every day promoting my music on the various social media sites. I also believe the cross-promotion arrangement with Laura has been very helpful to both of us. I find I have to be very careful about putting too much time into promotion at the expense of writing new material. Overall I’m very pleased with the way people have responded to the music – it’s not for everyone, but I often get very passionate feedback from those that do like it.

Do you have a big WOW that you would like to share with us?

I guess my biggest WOW was when I signed the distribution deal with KVZ Music, after going through a very tough application and evaluation process. But a close second would be when Laura agreed to work with me, as I think she’s a great artist and her enthusiasm is so out there!

Thank you Russ. It has been an absolute pleasure interviewing you.  Please pass on my sincere thanks to Laura for allowing me to use her cover art here today. 

You can find Russ Wood and Laura Trisot on any of the links below. I do encourage everyone to visit bandcamp or YouTube to listen to Russ Wood’s amazing music and be captivated by Laura Trisot’s wonderful cover art.

You can find Russ Wood on bandcamp here

Russ Wood on Twitter here

Russ Wood on MySpace here

Russ Wood and Laura Trisot on YouTube here

Laura Trisot  on Facebook here

Laura Trisot on Twitter here

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Fantastic interview with Russ, Vacen!

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