A Conversation with Jeremy Earl, Singer-Guitarist and Founder of Woods

Woods Plays The United Folk Festival In Westerly On July 1st

The election of Donald Trump to the Presidency of the United States in the fall of 2016 sparked all kinds of emotions. Some people were happy about it while others were outraged by the outcome and those feelings haven’t wavered. A few musicians decided to put the thoughts that were going through their mind into song and it resulted in some epic music. That’s what Brooklyn indie folk act Woods did with their latest album Love Is Love that came out this past April. The record has front-man and songwriter Jeremy Earl preaching hope in a time where things are eerily uncertain.

Woods will be performing at the United Folk Festival taking place at Wilcox Park in Westerly on July 1st.

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Ahead of the festival, I had a chat with Earl about how Love Is Love came to be, being prolific, running a record label and what the future holds for the band.

RD: Love Is Love is an artistic reaction to the outcome of the 2016 Presidential Election. Was this a very rushed and instant project that the band undertook or did it take a bit of time until you figured out what you wanted to do?

JE: We had no plans to make a new record or anything. Then the election happened and it jump-started some inspiration with some songs that I had immediately written. Pretty much for the bulk of the recor, I had songs written the day after the election. I was hunkering down in my room and going through letting my reaction to the election come out in song. I had talked to our guitar player Jarvis [Taveniere] and he was like “Whatcha been up to?” I told him and he said, “Well, let’s go into the studio and record them”.

Almost a week later, we were finished recording the record. Everything happened fast because we were motivated and we felt like we should get it out as soon as possible because we wanted people to hear it and put out a message of positivity.

RD: With a lot of the lyrical content, you can definitely sense that. Have you gone to any protests recently? What do you think would be a solution to all of this division going on in the United States?

JE: I don’t know what the solution would be other than getting Donald Trump out of office as soon as possible. That would be the best possible outcome. Right now I feel like we kind of just have to deal with it and work hard to get our voice out there and hopefully steer the ship in the right direction.

RD: It’s crazy that Love Is Love is already Woods’ 10th album since the band started in 2005. What inspires you to be so prolific rather than take a couple years off in between releases?

JE: I don’t hold back when inspiration hits. When I’m in the mood and writing songs and ideas are coming, I just let it happen naturally and if it shapes a record then so be it. We’re more than happy to record and it’s probably my favorite part being in the band.  I love going into the studio and having the freedom to do that as a musician. During the last couple of records, we started getting into a two year per album kind of routine but with the newest release it was just an inspiration after the election.

RD: Do you have a place where you prefer to write songs? Whether it’s in a specific room where you live, on the road or somewhere else?

JE: All of the above. I am open to whatever situation and environment I’m in and if inspiration hits then I’m instantly ready to write. It’s how I work, so whether I’ll be in my apartment in Brooklyn or in a house in upstate New York I’ll have guitars everywhere. I never try to force songs out, I try to let them happen naturally. I feel that’s the best way to go to get something organic.

RD: You also run the record label Woodsist that has notable artists like The Babies, Cian Nugent and Hand Habits on its roster. Do you ever have difficulty finding a balance between running the label and being in a band?

JE: It does get a little tricky doing both at once, especially when I’m on the road and Woods has just released a record. I plan things out more now to open up time for the label when things aren’t busy and slow things down a bit when Woods is on the road. It’s just a matter of scheduling the time. I’m happy to do both and it’s been a fun process along with working with a lot of great friends over the years.

RD: After the United Folk Festival, what does the rest of the summer have in store for Woods?

JE: We have a summer tour that’s three weeks long where we’ll be in Canada and then do the whole East Coast. That’s our summer plans for right now, afterward I’ll try to get some downtime and get some camping in and probably be back out on tour in the fall.