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Interviews: Uncle Woe

On this new occasion, we have had the opportunity to interview the Doom  Metal band, Uncle Woe, from Canada. Check out the interview and follow the band on their FACEBOOK PAGE.

1.Where did you get the idea for the band name, you planned it or came out just like that?

Haha, I’ll be 100% honest with you. The first time I heard the words Uncle Woe together… when my daughter, Cordelia was a toddler that’s what she called her Uncle Will. I think I tucked that name away in my pocket and waited for the right time to pull it out and use it. Furthermore, my brother and sister have both slipped through the æther, as it they say, into the realm of the dead; both entirely too young. So, in that sense, I kind of latched onto the ‘uncle’ element because I will never be a proper uncle to the living. It’s just a nice bit of irony, I guess, and I’m a sucker for punishment.

2.Why did you want to play this genre?

I don’t think it’s something that happened in any one moment or by any specific catalyst. I was raised on all the “proto-doom” and heavy psychedelic stuff, if we can call it that for a moment. Black Sabbath, Blue Cheer, Mountain, Motorhead, Hawkwind, Blue Oyster Cult, etc., as well as all the more progressive stuff from the same era; Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Strawbs… I was a teenager when grunge was happening. I was really into metal too. I had a DOWN poster on my bedroom wall before Nola came out, you know? Elements of this kind of music have been there in everything I’ve done. I’ve worked on a lot of other stuff over the years; post-rock and projects that were more kind of straight-up Prog, but there was always a layer of grit to everything. The post-rock I’ve made was always right on the precipice of falling more into post-metal, you know? I fronted a band for a few years that was a bit more aggressive and technical than Uncle Woe, but even then everything we did had elements of Sludge and Grunge going on.

3. Did you know each other before the band was formed?

We did know each other before Uncle Woe was formed specifically, yeah, but we met through music anyway. We played together off and on for a year and a half or so, but we were really directionless. We’re both into so much different music that I think we brought way too much to the table to sort through and pick a sensible direction to follow. We actually drifted apart for a few months at one point, and that’s when I came up with Uncle Woe and recorded the first album, Our Unworn Limbs. I think that’s all we were waiting for in the first place when we were jamming casually. As soon as I carved out the Uncle Woe sound and it clicked, we were back together and forging that road together.

4. Each band member favourite band?

Rain: If I had to pick ONE band, I guess I’d probably have to say Pink Floyd. They cover enough ground over their full discography to satisfy most of my musical leanings. Obviously, they’re not a metal band by any stretch, but they had their fair share of loud, aggressive moments.

Nick: It must be Dream Theater. They have been most influential and constant on my playlist since I started listening to real music in high school. They are a band that demands you play the album from start to finish.

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs?

Oh, mostly depressing stuff. There is a lot of death in my writing; some personal and some fictional. Death and personal tragedy, watching people get lost in addiction, aversion to organized religion, exploring philosophy… that’s where we’re at.

6. Where was your last gig?

We’ve never played a gig as Uncle Woe, sadly. We were just getting ready to do that before lockdown began. I guess prior to that, the last gig I played in a band, not including a handful of coffeehouse acoustic things I’ve done here and there, would be at The Opera House in Toronto. That was a few years ago though.

7. Where would you like to act?

I would definitely love to get back to the Opera House again. That’s a great venue.

8. Whom would you like to feature with?

Well, there isn’t really a local doom scene by any stretch of the imagination with whom we could set up shows. Even our closest city, Peterborough, doesn’t have much action we would fit into easily. When we, as a society, make our way back to holding live events, we, as a band, will be thankful for just about any opportunity to get out there and do our thing.

9. Whom not?

I don’t have a list of bands I wouldn’t play with.

10. Any of you has ever suffered from stage fright? Any tip for beginners on how to beat that?

Nick: Stage fright is important. It keeps you on your toes. I don’t consider myself a great drummer compared to those who focus on rudiments and technique, and drumming always comes with a lot of effort and concentration on my part to achieve anything worth laying down. By knowing your music and your instrument you can mitigate this pre-show fear, however it never fully dissipates. Use what remains to your advantage and stay sharp. This, for me, is generally right at the beginning of the show, and once the first piece is done and the audience reacts, you can ease into the rest of the show and hit your groove a little less on edge. 

11. What bands have inspired you the most?

Pink Floyd, Yob, Tool, Deftones, The Mars Volta, Sâver, Sumac, Slomatics, Bismuth, Nirvana, Crowbar, Mountain, Robin Trower, Portishead, Meshuggah…

12. What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you for? 

Haha, I’ve actually never really had any strange requests. Just standard fare stuff; autographs and whatnot.

13. What do you think of your fans?

Oh wow, our fans are fantastic! We’ve been lucky to have a solid core of fans remain engaged with us in these last few months, following and supporting what we’re up to. It’s great, and we are beyond grateful for that.

14. What do you think of our site?

I think this is a great forum, and I really appreciate the room you offer artists/bands to explain their work. I’ve not often had the opportunity to get in-depth about specific song meanings and structures and discuss the artwork. These are things I like to read about from other bands, and I’m glad to have the chance to get into it here about our album.

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