Chuck Schuldiner Project

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Interview with Garret Morris of Windhand!

So recently at the much lauded Doomed Gatherings Festival I got the chance to sit down with Garret Morris of Windhand. The last time we had hung out I was stunned at how friendly he was and how easily he explained to me how to write long songs. Seriously, in one twenty minute conversation, this man taught me to write twenty minute long songs. Suffice to say, getting a chance to interview the guitarist of one of my favorite bands in the world right now was quite an honor. With tour stories and thoughts on music, this may very well be one of the best interviews I've done yet!

If you don't know them already check out Windhand on Facebook:

So, how have you been?
I'm doing well, hanging in there. Hopefully I'm not getting sick. My allergies have been really bothering me, but the tour has been awesome.

How many shows have you done so far?
This is the end of the second week, so we still have another two weeks.

So it's a long one?
I think it's a month, exactly a month. We go back on May fifth or something like that.

What is it like getting to play with Inter Arma?
It's fun because they're our best friends from home. We see each other daily at home, so now we're in Europe together. We're all just hanging out and it's there first time here to, so that's cool.

I was listening to Soma the other day, I realized that you guys have a pretty distinct vibes to your songs, can you outline how your songwriting process goes?
Usually someone comes up with a riff and just bring it to practice. If it's just a riff we have to build on it and we just jam those riffs until they sound like a song and then we play it over and over again until Dorothea has an idea of what she wants. She'll come up with a vocal melody, maybe not necessarily the lyrics. We'll demo it with a microphone in the room. Then she'll take it home and write lyrics to it and that's pretty much a song.

I tend to write full songs and just demo them on my cassette four track at home. I'll e-mail them to everybody and just say "Here's a song I have do you want to do it?" And then we'll start working on it at practice. It's pretty basic. I write on an acoustic and I just bring it to practice and show everybody on my acoustic and then just show everybody in practice on my electric. A lot of the songs on Soma are on my acoustic.

Now that Soma has been out for eight months how do you feel about it now?
I still like the record. I'm honestly anxious to move on. We've been playing these songs non stop for a long time. A lot of songs on this record were actually written before or around the time the first record came out. We were playing some of these songs on the tour we did for the first record, back in 2012. So I'm really anxious to write new songs and do a new record. I still like the songs and the record a lot though. I'm pretty proud of it, it came out pretty cool.

Of the songs does any one stand out?
I like them for different reasons. I like Boleskine a lot of work into it on the production side to make it work. We record in analogue so I have to move all the faders by hand. I like Orchard a lot. It's weird to pick a favorite song that I wrote.

Relative to a lot of the other bands I interview you guys are a lot older, what inspires you to keep going?
We've all been involved in music since we were kids. This probably sounds really cheesy but I think you're just compelled to do it. You have to do it. I've always done it. I've always written songs and made recordings. I'm sure I'll slow down at some point. I think it's just something you're compelled to do. you have to do it. Even if I got a day job I'm sure I'd still be involved in music in some other aspect.

But, last time I saw you guys, Dorothea told me that Windhand is your full time job?
Currently yes. We don't really make money at it, it's just that this is what we spend most of our time doing. It's kind of like a job in a way. It's not like we make a living playing music. Parker is the only one with a real job. I'm lucky because my wife is really supportive so she's allowing me to do this and not have a real job. I worked in a bank for eleven years and I quit so I could go on the road and do this. Hezekiah was a teacher. We all had day jobs.

Windhand is on the road 8-9 months a year so how do you deal with that with your wife, and kids if you have them?
We don't have kids. That's something we're going to tackle this year or next year. We both want children, and I can't really tour if we're going to have children. We'll just cross that bridge when it happens. It kind of sucks being away from your wife for months at a time. Being away from your pets and stuff like that. Sometimes you get really homesick. Luckily my wife is really supportive about it. There are moments where we get into arguments about it, we'll start booking a tour and it's like "I'm going to hold off and wait to tell her that we're doing this". Sometimes the touring cuts into family things that I need to go to. Sometimes it's stressful, but she's pretty understanding about it.

Will there be a new Windhand record in the near future?
We're supposed to start recording around this time next year. Late this year or early next year. We're going to take a little bit of time off this summer to try to write. We're actually talking to this guy Jack Endino he recorded the first Nirvana record and the first Soundgarden record. Relapse already spoke to him and he's available. As long as we get our shit together we can probably record early next year. There's usually a 4-5 month turnaround so we'll probably have the record out fall 2015. We'll still be touring though and we'll probably be playing those songs just to tighten them up and stuff.

This next question is a little bit weird. Finish this sentence for me "I've never told this story before and probably shouldn't but..."
We played Florida this one time... this isn't too bad of a story.., this kid comes up to us and says "Do you like spaghetti" and we said "Sure, we like spaghetti", he was really drunk. He says, "I'm going to make you guys spaghetti and you're going to stay at our house". So we say  "Okay, cool". So we go back to the kids house and its pretty normal. We walk in the house, Ryan's in front of me. The first thing I see is a couch that's completely destroyed, it looks like animals had ripped it to shreds. So we turn the corner to go into the living room, and I'm not exaggerating, there was probably a months worth of dog shit on his living room floor. It was like a pasture of dog shit. It was one of the most disgusting things I've ever seen. We just turned around and walked out of the house. The dude wanted to make us dinner and sleep on his floor and it was disgusting, absolutely disgusting.

Does that kind of weird shit happen a lot for you on tour?
There's always weird stuff, but that's a pretty extreme case, that's really bad. It usually doesn't happen. We actually had a weird thing the other night when we played in Manchester. This kid came to the show. We were supposed to go stay at his friends house after the show. The kid gets in our van and throws up in the van. Marcel (the tour manager) kicks him out of the van and makes him walk to the house. This girl answers and doesn't know who we are or why we're at the house. We're like "Dave told us we could stay here" and she says "Well he went to bed and didn't tell me about it" so I guess she woke him up and he must have said "Okay he can stay". Marcel made the kid clean up all the puke, because we have to live in that van. We were huddled in an eight by eight room, there's literally no space. I wake up at 4 in the morning and the puke kid is standing above me trying to sleep, trying to squeeze in between me and Hezekiah. I was like "What the fuck are you doing, get out of here!" and he said "There's room here", so I said "No, you're being stupid, get out of here!". It was really bizarre. I don't know what was going on. That kind of stuff happens all the time. We're not really a crazy band, so we don't have drug stories, but it's usually weird stories that come up when staying at other peoples houses. Essentially you're staying with strangers.

So strangers are weird, is that the moral of the story?

Any last words of wisdom?
Do what you like to do, even though people tell you not to do it. Go with your heart. That's pretty much my only wisdom.

No comments:

Post a Comment