WOOL, “Stars”

Sjimon Gompers

Wool

Raleigh, NC's starstruck dreamers, WOOL. (courtesy of the band)

Every so often there is a single that transports your entire sense of being to places where even the sky can't reach. Such is the case with the premiere of this new interstellar song from Wool, with “Stars”. A creative crew that heralds from Raleigh, North Carolina; Troy Brian Hancock, Zack Oden, Johnny Hobbs, and Raymond Finn continue to make music that is not of this planet alone. Following up 2013's Delta EP and the recent single “Divine“, “Stars” takes off into the hazy density of black holes, red dwarfs, and seltzer water supernovas of the mind's eye.

With the application of head changing effects, WOOL makes a dream machine spaceship. “Stars” orbits on account of steady percussion programming, Hancock's moonage-space-dream vocals, with everything wrapped in the rhythm and sustained fuzz guitars generators. Troy and Zack find the right affected keys and treatments for a guitar sound that creates an instant chemical and empathetic response from the listener. The song connects the dots from the star-gazing earthbound folks with ears to hear to the galaxy trekking star-bound fans of the final frontiers. For over three minutes you can experience the bridging of solar systems and planetary collisions compliments of Raleigh's indie quintet with “Stars” in their eyes.

WOOL took the time today to take us through the galaxy of, “Stars”, and the report from Raleigh, NC.

“Stars” is one of those tracks that sparkles and shimmers just like the intergalactic rocks of the song's namesake. Give us the story about recording those deep space, super dreamy guitars and sleep coma vocals.

“Stars” was recorded by us, in our homes, near our beds. Raymond, our drummer lives in an attic apartment overlooking the train track. He engineers the bedroom recordings. We started there on a very cold NC winter day. Troy, the singer-songwriter-guitarist recorded a scratch guitar track over some 808s, a couple 909s, and a 707 or two, to start the groundwork. From there, we found a Saturday night when we wouldn't be disturbed and could be as loud as possible. We also needed that Sunday to recover from getting weird all night. We met at Johnny's house on the outskirts of downtown Raleigh. It was pouring outside. After running through the rain with computers and speakers and guitars and amps, we set up in Johnny's extra bedroom, and got down to business. We used one omni-directional microphone for everything, rigging it however we could since we forgot a mic stand. We laid down Johnny's bass track first. After the 3rd take we had that enveloping sound that we were looking for in the low end. Zack then recorded his guitar part. While running through the song a couple of times, he was tweaking what he would normally play live, to fit what the song was becoming. It was the same song, just an alternate dimension's version of it. It was becoming fuzzy like tv static and the “scratch” drums were giving the song a human-like machine-man feel. I think that is when we decided to keep the scratch drums instead of record real ones, as well as keep the scratch guitar track in the song. Troy then looped the mic cable over the door and recorded the vocals. After a couple of takes and some overdubs, we were in Slumberland. We pulled his dry level back a bit and let the reverb do its thing. The last recorded part, was very on the fly, and we were real iffy about keeping it at first. Troy recorded a fuzzed out version of what he originally played on the guitar scratch track. It acted as a warm cozy blanket to tuck the song into. Troy was real pleased with how it turned out. And that was it. Raymond took to mixing it on his own time at home over the course of about three weeks, sending a new version of the song each day to everyone and getting their notes on it. Slowly but surely, it became the “Stars” you hear.

Were the electronically enhanced drums used like constellation points to keep the spacy voyaging of “Stars” on course?

They were used more like waypoints on our intergalactic GPS guiding us to our boy's house.

Like the recent emergence of your new single “Divine”, and then with this single, “Stars”, is it safe to say that we are hearing the follow-up to 2013's Delta EP in progress?

“Divine” and “Stars” won't be on the follow up. However, the “Stars” sound is something we are really digging for our music, and we will probably be moving in that sort of direction…but there are some new, move your buns jams we've been working on as well. We want to keep it fresh.

We are obsessed with these various micro-communities and indie clusters, so give us the report on DIY Raleigh, NC; the good, the great, the bad, the down-right-awful, and the amazing.

Oh man. Raleigh is cool. There are a lot of people doing really rad stuff. The Hopscotch Music Festival that started in 2009 by some friends of ours is a fucking hoot with so many cool bands, venues, and people. As far as DIY, there is a place called Chateau Moby Dick in Durham which is 20 minutes away, that is a house show venue. A lot of amazing times have been made there. There is also a place called Ruby Red in Raleigh that has some some killer shows. Its a warehouse that has been converted into artist studios with a big ol' basement where the music happens. There is a place called Nice Price Music and Books, that has slowly but surely become more music than books. Two of our friends who worked there, bought it from the previous owner after years and years of owning it. It is now the place to see see some very intimate shows from some amazing touring bands a couple nights a week. Its awesome being surrounded by books while watching bands there. It has a very cool vibe and very supportive scene.

Local artists you all love?

Spider Bags, T0w3rs, Heads on Sticks, Organos, Airstrip, Whatever Brains, Zack Mexico (OBX friends), Sylvan Esso, Dividends, Gross Ghost, Future Islands, Jenny Besetzt, Hammer No More the Fingers, Toon and The Real Laww, White Cascade, Goodbye Titan.

Non-local artists you all love?

Real Estate, Cloud Nothings, Lotus Plaza, Eternal Summers, Angel Olsen, Painted Zeros, Yuck, Tame Impala, Mac DeMarco, DIIV, Perfect Pussy, Spacin, Oberhofer, Small Black, Wing Dam, Diarrhea Planet, Saint Rich, Lower Dens, Total Slacker, Ringo Deathstarr, Honduras, Toy, Little Dragon, Neon Indian, TOY, The Babies, RiFF RaFF, Phosphorescent, Grizzly Bear, Joanna Gruesome, Deer Hunter Flaming Lips, Telekinesis, Outkast, M. Ward, Destroyer. We could do this all day.

Listen to more from WOOL via Bandcamp.

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