Get to know the Boorloo/Perth-based psychedelic dream doom band and their debut EP of otherworldly sounds, ‘Solaris’
Combining crushingly heavy doom-filled grooves with dreamy sonic soundscapes and a heavy dash of psychedelic influences are Bloodwood, as heard on their incredibly impressive recently released debut EP, Solaris.
Across five tracks, the five-piece showcase their range from the epic seven minute opening cut Sunrise that progresses from atmospheric psychedelia to distorted riff city, through to the completely beatless and mellow ambient closer, Infa.
To celebrate the release of Solaris, we checked in with Bloodwood to get to know a bit more about them and their sound - listen to the EP and get to know below.
How did Bloodwood form?
Jason and Cal have been playing with each other since god was a boy in various bands and creative pursuits. Jim met Jethro on the internet and was initially trying to start a band that sounded like The National. Jordy had been searching for a new “heavy” project and had been in a post-rock band with Jim & Jethro before, so we got him in too. So we all naturally found each other and realised we had a penchant for post-rock, doom, and chatting about sci-fi and high fantasy - which comes through in our music. It was all quite serendipitous and cool.
Who’s in the band and what do you all do?
There’s been a bit of movement over the years - Jim was originally on bass but hurt himself playing Ice Hockey and couldn’t play anymore, so Cal moved from guitar to bass, and we all realized he was better than Jim. Jim always wanted to experiment with synth and ambient stuff, so it naturally kinda worked out. We joke that Jordy is a bit like a hell-jacked Gandalf who just vibes out and shreds real hard, and we recently picked up Jethro, who has been great at shaping our sound and actually getting us organised. Jason is the unsung hero of the group, just quietly drumming away and being a low-key weapon.
Tell us about your creative process?
We’re big on recording ideas separately and working on stuff outside the rehearsal room so that when we are together, we actually have something to work on - otherwise, we will just goof off and shoot the shit.
In terms of where the song ideas actually come from, it’s still a bit of a mystery to us as well. We usually start off with an idea or narrative and expand from there. A lot of the narrative comes from stuff we had been consuming recently - we’re all a bunch of losers that play way too much Magic: The Gathering and read/watch a heap of fantasy and sci-fi, so that comes into the creative process a fair bit.
In terms of writing lyrics, Callum will ad-lib a lot of words against a theme for the songs, and whatever sticks in his mind is what he settles on for the final song. On Solaris, a lot of it was focused on the climate catastrophe. Bones was meant to be read as the anxious dread around the future through the lens of a relationship breakup. There’s a similar sentiment in Sunrise as well but with a hopeful edge. Sunset is just a cowboy power fantasy song.
Cal always prefers to have words that fit structurally in the music since the instrumentation is so strong, so if it comes out a bit nonsensical, he’s not too phased. Also a few cultural idioms in there; we love it when Thom Yorke does it to bend your perception of something you hear every day. A couple of riffs on the EP are just the product of 2-3 cans of beer and messing around with a fuzz pedal.
Tell us about your new EP Solaris?
“Solaris” started with the idea of a sentient planet or moon called Solaris that would be destined to die with the sun it is shackled to. It could only hope on the odds of a civilization finding it and helping preserve it. At least that was the jumping-off point; the final product has cowboys, realising the person you’re with isn’t the person you should be with, heaps of existential dread, and a dash of hope at the end.
Our influences are pretty broad - we actually put together a playlist on our Spotify of what inspired us, and it’s crazy how varied it all is.
To name a couple of big ones, though, We Lost The Sea out of Sydney, REZN and Russian Circles out of Chicago, Caspian out of Massachusetts, and Mt Mountain from Perth (RIP).
Marcus Davidson is the real hero of Solaris. We self-recorded a bunch of parts and flung them at Marcus, who helped us put it all together and record the drums. We’re terrible at providing feedback that actually makes any sense, but Marcus was able to patiently work with us to get to a sound that we all really dug. “Thank fuck for Marcus” is something we probably said on a daily basis throughout the recording process.
We found this dude on Instagram called Roderick (@rfernandes_art_design), who did the illustration on the front cover, and our mate Brad (@bradleypinkerton) took a break from doing art for Harry Styles to do our yet-to-be-seen vinyl cover. Those guys had to put up with our lack of proper directions and dealt with us like absolute champs.
What's coming up for the rest of the year?
We’re hoping to have a couple of singles or another EP done - we’ve always toyed with the idea of teaming up with another band and doing a split. We have a couple of faster, more post-metal ones in the pipeline that we’re working on right now. We’re still due to do our launch show for Solaris too, which will be announced in the next couple of weeks. After that, who knows, maybe a multi-media vr activated cryptocurrency-infused concept album…. That’s unlikely, though. Oh and we might have a limited run of vinyl out soon too.
How can fans best support your music?
Buying the EP from Bandcamp would be great haha! But, honestly, anyone who comes to a show, plays the tracks on Spotify, or tells their mates about us is really helping us out. We’re big on feedback - all too often, you get a “that was sick” or “great set”, but you don’t often get people telling you how you could do better - we’re open to that. Usually it’s just Jim’s Dad telling us we sound like AC/DC, which to some might be a complement, but his old man really hates AC/DC.
What have you been listening to lately?
We’ve been listening to a lot of 50s-60s jazz and crooners strangely enough, the melodrama in the singing and the excitement in some of the blues-influenced songs when they go hard on an electric organ is really cool to me. We’ve been on a big farm-emo tear at the moment, too - which all started with Orville Peck, Colter Wall, and Sun Kil Moon. We’ve been loving the new Tangled Thoughts of Leaving album as well, it goes real hard.
Other than that, our usual vaporwave playlists for that slick corporate advertising aesthetic, and listening to Jordy tell us about how jacked he is getting.