Jamie Woolford - Let Go

January 31, 2006

Photo Credit: www.themilitiagroup.com

Tell me a little bit about Let Go.

We started around Christmas time I guess of 2004. We started playing shows and then we put together a four song recording which we started shopping to labels and we eventually got the attention of The Militia Group. They agreed to put out our record and we went back and recorded a bunch of more songs which became our record. It then came out on October 4 I think 2005 and right around that time we started touring and we've been trying to get on the road as much as we can and play for as many people as we can since. Me and Chris are from this band called The Stereo and Scott was in a band called Gloritone.

So you guys got together and decided to do your own shit. I was reading an interview you did where you said you have a picture of Paul McCartney hanging over the control room. I liked that. Is he a major influence?

Yeah, I'm a Beatles nut and I just think it's funny to have him just kind of watching over. I don't really take it too seriously but at the same time everybody has a person that they look towards whatever their interest is. There's someone in that field that they look to as an inspiration or a role model. That sort of thing. I'm just in awe of what he's done in his life. I'm fascinated by him.

How do you describe Let Go's music? I know everybody always likes to put people in a little cubbyhole or label them or something. How do you describe your music?

I definitely don't know. I do think it's poppy but I like to think of it as just rock music I guess. Rock music in the sense that I always thought of when I was growing up and listening to rock music. I don't feel like it's some sort of hyphenated thing like an indie-rock or it's this pop-rock or anything like that. The stuff that I listen to and the stuff that influences us to make the kind of music that we do to us seems like it's time tested classic stuff. You would never call The Beatles 60's rock really. You might have called Van Halen hard rock but it's still just rock. At least I like to think of it like that. Like we just play rock music. I don't have any sort of allegiance to a certain kind of style of rock or anything like that. I think the record speaks for itself. It jumps around a little bit. It's guitar driven but it's not necessarily always that way throughout. There are some moments of piano and stuff like that. It is what it is.

Besides, we all know that The Beatles are God.

Yeah, exactly.

I thought it was kind of cool to find that you have a touring band member. Your iPod.

We definitely wanted to get an idea of stripping down the sound of the record to a more raw thing live. There was a lot of stuff that we wanted to take with us. It's just so clichť just guitar, bass, and drums and screaming over the top of it so we wanted to do something a little different. It doesnít seem like itís that uncommon to do this anymore. To have some sort of programmed something happening during your set but we seem to be, I donít think weíre even the first, but we seem to be the only ones getting attention from doing it with an iPod. I like the idea that we do it with that because itís so tiny and no one knows whatís going on. Itís always really fun for us to play the show and look at the audience trying to figure out how weíre doing it. Because they donít see a big computer on stage or DAT machine or anything like that. Itís hidden back by the drums and everybody is confused. They think itís a guitar pedal or something like that. They donít know. Itís like two shows going on. There is the one that weíre playing and then thereís the one that weíre watching.

Actually I think thatís very innovative.

Actually at times it can be a pain in the ass. Itís getting a lot easier but in the beginning it was very tedious to get everything on there at the right volumes and stuff like that so that when we played it during the show it wasnít too loud or too quiet. It took a little bit of trial and error to get it right but I think weíre doing okay now. Weíll go back and weíll fix something but thatís good because we have opportunities to change the song and weíve manipulated that preprogrammed backing stuff so it matches how we want to play the song. We donít just have some sort of tempo that we always play at. The song will fluctuate on the iPod throughout a song so it feels like weíre playing more like humans would as opposed to some rigid click track.

You play the same songs at every show you do so I can imagine you want to change things up a little.

We have 10 or 12 different lists on the iPod that we just pick one each night and some versions of the songs are sometimes a little different. We have enough going on with the thing now so thereís so much variety. There are ones we havenít even played yet. You get comfortable in one and you want to keep doing that because itís fun but weíre switching it up. Weíre going to continue switching it up and add new material. So far itís worked out just fine. The one guy who would probably have most to say about it loves it which is our drummer. He has to have that thing blaring in his headset all night long so heís locked in with it. Itís pretty interesting. He loves it because there are never any discussions. We were never rushing a song or anything like that. Itís always right so we like it.

The Let Go band with three guys and an iPod. At least you donít have to pay the iPod.

Yeah, thatís another thing. If all the keyboard stuff thatís all on the iPod, if we had to pay somebody in real life to do it, a lot of the touring we do...right now weíre in the beginning phases of our band and itís difficult. Youíre not always getting paid a lot of money so there is an economical benefit to this as well.

Tell me a little bit about the record you guys released.

It was recorded at my home studio by me. We made it very quickly and I think weíre all very happy with the way it turned out. When youíre making it, sometimes itís difficult to sit back and really look at what youíre doing. Now itís been a few months and itís one of those things that if you work on it for a month straight, you donít really want to listen to it again for a long time. Just recently I had a listen and I was pretty happy about it. I think itís good. I guess if I thought it was bad I probably wouldnít say but Iím happy with it. I think everybody in the band is pretty excited about it.

When you were writing the songs what were you thinking about? I liked the first one, ďIlluminatiĒ.

It depends on the song. Generally Iíd say the overall theme of just disbelief and paranoia. Itís really dramatic stuff. More dramatic than Iím actually in real life. If I were to write verbatim what happens to me in my real life it would be pretty boring. I like to interject a lot of fiction. There are things that are real about what Iím singing about but in most cases itís been dramatized to make it more dramatic.

I like the CD cover with the guy in the bear suit. Who came up with the idea of a guy in a bear suit?

I think it was a combination of me and Chris. We had all talked about different ideas. Iíve been doing artwork for records for a long time and my whole thing about it is I always like a record cover to have some sort of twist of reality. If you look at it, even something like the setting, you can have a picture of people standing there. But if theyíre in a setting that you can never find, if theyíre in a white room where you removed the setting, then it becomes somewhat surreal. I like putting stuff in the thing that it doesnít look like something you would see. Itís not a common thing. Thatís what I would think makes classic album covers. When you take it out of what you would normally see and it can be very subtle or it can be completely crazy like someone just floating in midair or something like that. In this particular case, what we came up with didnít really make any sense to anyone including us and it looked just so kind of iconic with the imagery and we just went with it. Everybody has got a different opinion or an idea about what it is or what it means and we just say yes to everything because we left it open that way.

The guy in the bear suit is whatever you want him to be.

Yeah, a lot of people have said it looks like heís juggling. People have said that it looks like a bald guy standing on the opposite of a camel. People think itís an astronaut waving goodbye to his spaceship. Thereís been a few jokes about itís actually our friend Jimmy without his shirt on. A lot of people think itís somebody on stage from behind with the spotlights. All of that stuff, I think itís neat that everybody is coming up with an idea. Itís not just a finite thing like this is what it is and thereís no discussion about it. The fact that you can actually have a conversation about it is neat. It becomes an interactive thing. Everybody seems to be like ďwhoa, cool.Ē If anything even if you donít like it, thereís some sort of discussion about it so itís neat.

Of course it could also be a guy thatís waving at his psychiatrist thatís on the other side of that mirror.

Yeah, exactly. It could be just about anything.

Thereís a reason Iím wearing this bear suit. Theyíre out to get me. I see the camel thing though.

Our record label, when you shrink it down really small like if itís going to go in a small advertisement or something like that, it looks like somebody juggling. To us we didnít care. We like this image and nobody gave us any grief about it. Definitely people have wondered. They donít understand and itís probably frustrating for them that we donít say anything because weíre just like ďyeah, whatever.Ē We like it that way.

What kind of touring have you guys been doing?

We havenít done a ton yet but we feel like we havenít really scratched the surface. Chris and I in our last band The Stereo, we just lived on tour basically. Weíve done two tours right now. We did a two and a half week thing to CMJ and back. Then we did four weeks over November and December and weíre about to leave next week. In like two weeks. Weíre going to do some southwestern stuff. Weíre going to go to Japan for probably a week and when we come back weíll have a little bit of time off and then we start up again I think in April. April or May. Iím not sure. Itís all coming. When youíre a debut band with a debut record you have to wait a turn a little bit. We were used to being able to just put out a record and go with our last band so itís a little bit of a shock that the opportunities werenít just entirely rolling in yet. Now theyíre finally starting to happen so weíre like ďokay, cool. Now we have to start pushing our record really hard.Ē Even though itís been out for a little bit.

Besides that, Japan. Thatís cool.

Yeah, itís great. Weíre very excited about all of it. Weíve all been in touring bands a long time so to us this just part of the job.

You know what to look out for.

Yeah, Iíve been touring since I was in high school. Iíve seen and done probably, well maybe not done anything but Iíve seen a lot of things. Itís a fair assessment to say that itís a no brainer. When we get out there itís just autopilot.

Everybody seems to have a home studio. What all goes into having a home studio and why do people decide to have something like that?

My home studio is really not that much to look at. It doesnít really look like a recording studio or anything like that. Thereís some recording equipment in there but more often then not people have some sort of computer based recording system. Itís a good way for people to make demos of their songs and stuff like that. Mine is a little bit more elaborate than just that. Iím actually able to produce albums in my house. In addition to the Let Go record Iíve made probably 15 records in the last year out of my house. Then countless local band demos and stuff like that. Basically this is my job other than the band. I do this to supplement what Iím doing and apparently it seems like itís going pretty well because people are liking what Iím doing and I really havenít had any time off with the exception of cancellations where itís cool to have a vacation now. I like the work. I like making music and I like helping other people make music and recording it most times. Sometimes you get a band that is very bad or theyíre not great people or something and you have to suck it up and work with people you donít really like or you really donít like the music. Or you think theyíre bad musicians. More often than not thereís some sort of rewarding aspect to everything that I do so itís totally fun.

Let Go