Few bands that I’ve listened to over my time with Resounding Footsteps have effected me quite so much as Wode. When I first listened to them, I became aware of the wider array of black metal sounds and atmospheres. What drives the men of Wode to create the music they do? Let’s find out.
Resounding Footsteps: Tell me about the name “Wode.” How did you guys come up with it and what does it mean for the band?
Wode: It comes from the Middle English dialect and can mean either ‘raging, madness’ or ‘wood’ (as in a group of trees). As I remember, we had to choose a name for our first gig and it was something that popped into my head quite early on – I’m not an expert on old languages but I have read some Chaucer and it must have stuck with me. After checking the definition, the name seemed perfect and both meanings had particular relevance to ideas we were interested in, for example: wilderness and the feral mind, as well as the duality of the physical and metaphysical worlds.
RF: Give me a little history of Wode, from concept to now.
Wode: We started the band in 2010 with Tim on drums and myself (Mike) on guitar, with both of us sharing vocal duties. This was the first time I’d played guitar in a band, as I’d always been a bass player, so early compositions and performances were somewhat primitive. Naturally, ideas and abilities developed from then on and we decided to add two more members before recording a demo in late 2011. Although there was a five-year gap between the demo and album we were still active during that period, continuing to write and play live somewhat regularly. Various factors will help or hinder a bands development, but I feel that at the present moment we are at our best both creatively and as a live act.
RF: Your self-titled debut was recently released and I have to say it was one of the best I’ve seen this year. What went into the making of this album? When it was released, how did you feel?
Wode: Thank you. As I mentioned, we’ve been continuously writing since the band formed, so some of the songs on the album are five or so years old and some were written just prior to recording. I think what transforms a collection of songs into an album is the chemistry of the members playing together at that place and that time, also many of the second guitar parts were rewritten shortly before recording which I think added a level of consistency to the songs and helped to pull a lot of the different strands together.
When it was released I mainly felt relieved to have finally gotten these songs out there. I was certainly happy with what we achieved with the album, it served its purpose and explored some good ideas and themes, but our focus then quickly switched to the next release.
RF: Lyrically and musically, what would you consider the greatest inspiration for Wode?
Wode: The music always comes first when we write and as a song starts to take shape it’s usually an attempt to evoke a certain feeling, whether that’s a tangible theme or emotion or something more abstract which is then revealed as the song develops. We tend to include other styles of metal within the framework whether it’s thrash, death, NWOBHM, doom etc as we like a song to be a kind of journey and we’re not keen on excessive repetition or relying on the same old black metal tropes. The reason these other influences don’t come off as jarring is because they are always used in service of the song and as a way to feed into that initial feeling.
Lyrically, I take some inspiration from writers and films but the main inspiration is always the music itself. When playing music, images will often form based on what emotions the song conveys and the lyrics usually follow fairly instinctively.
RF: What do you see in Wode’s future? Any places you want to see Wode perform or bands you’d like to perform alongside?
Wode: The immediate future is largely already set out. We have a new record, titled ‘Servants of the Countercosmos’, which will be released in early 2017. In April we will play Glasgow’s North of the Wall Festival (alongside the likes of Mgła and Revenge), and following that a European tour in the Summer. After that, who really knows? Hopefully more releases and further touring when possible.
RF: What do you hope Wode accomplishes? What do you want Wode to be known for?
Wode: The band will enter its seventh year of existence this year, which is a strange thought. In all of that time our focus has only ever been on the immediate future, so all I can really talk about is our upcoming release. The next record differs quite a bit from our first one in that it was written in just over a year and in a much more instinctual and collaborative way than how we’ve written in the past. It’s a very focused record, both musically and thematically. I’d say it’s our finest and most ferocious offering to date.
RF: What is your process in creating and recording your music? Any sort of rituals you go through or is more haphazard?
Wode: When the band first started, writing tended to be a fairly solitary pursuit where one of us would bring in a more or less finished song which would then be fleshed out in the rehearsal room. More recently we’ve been able to write together in the room. Exchanging ideas and ‘jamming’ can take a song in unexpected directions and often creates something more interesting than what was originally intended.
As for recording, it can be an arduous process – endless takes and re-takes with the occasional flash of inspiration here and there. It’s like building anything from scratch – hard work and patience will eventually pay off.
I think playing music with people you know well can be a ritual in and of itself. Creating something out of nothing is the kind of phenomenon that relates more to instinct than to ego. A few beers to kick start the process can’t hurt either.
RF: Of all the myriad subgenres in black metal, what is your favorite to listen to and why?
Wode: I don’t pay much attention to sub-genres within black metal – most labels change over time anyway – and I think adding further prefixes to this type of music is rarely a good thing. With that said, I prefer black metal which sounds genuinely sinister or even a bit unhinged and where the atmosphere is created by actual metal riffs rather than floaty chords played over blast beats. I’d name bands like Necromantia, Master’s Hammer, or more recently Cultes des Ghoules who I think have some clear similarities (audible bass guitar, for one) but are far too unique to be easily categorised.
E.T. – Bass
T.H. – Drums, Vocals
K.S – Guitars
M.C. – Guitars, Vocals
Wode is available now, here