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It’s Eze Walters’ birthday as we begin to chat about Woodlock, the delightful success story of three boys from Yarrawonga in regional Victoria making it in the big time, and as we chat about the band’s rise to stardom, it’s easy to hear from the nerves creeping through. The band is about to converge on their second and biggest tour of Australia yet, and as their fan base grows, the group is playing bigger venues as well – and that is an idea that scares Walters a little bit.
“It’s very exciting because this is our second tour and we love to be out on the road playing shows as a band. It’s also very nerve-racking, though, because there is a certain amount of expectancy from our audiences and our management and publicity. We are headed off to Western Australia and Tasmania for the first time ever and we can’t wait to get over there and play a few gigs.”
If you haven’t heard of Woodlock, the band comprises brothers Zech and Eze Walters and childhood friend Bowen Purcell to create a group that play blissful, relaxed, chilled-out tunes. Influenced by the likes of John Mayer, Bon Iver and Coldplay, the band has created their own fresh and unique sound that is creating waves all around the music scene. Having just released a new EP, Labour Of Love, recording with one of Australia’s elite producers has allowed for the band’s sound to develop twofold.
“We recorded this EP with Wayne Connolly, who has worked with some of the biggest names in the Australian industry. Over the course of ten days we hit the studio, and I think that this time around we had a lot more creative control over the process compared to our first EP (Lemons). As we were new to the industry at that stage, we followed the producer’s instructions quite strictly.
“With Wayne, this time he wanted us to have our own input into the sound of the record and really nurtured the songs. It was very scary before we started the project because we were blown away by the amount of artists that he has worked with.”
Woodlock, as we know them today, is a successful enterprise that is sweeping the nation; however, it was nearly all over before it began. With the grand plan to buy a caravan for $250 and travel around Australia playing to new faces, being cooped up in such a small space became too much for Zech and Eze.
“At that point in time we weren’t really a band, we were just doing a road trip to find ourselves, but yeah, that was my bad. My brother and I are in a band together so we have to look past our differences. There are times, however, where we both think that we are the one. That can be challenging at times, but we put each other back in our box when necessary, which helps.”
The band formed to raise money to send themselves over to Africa and has since spent the majority of their time busking on every street corner in Melbourne. The vibe, as you would expect, is worlds away from performing shows in Australia.
“That trip was pretty intimidating, I must admit. We had to play a show in a prison. That was pretty interesting.” You would think that the band would opt for some Johnny Cash songs, right? “They didn’t really know any of our new songs so we had to opt for some classic hits – ‘Who Let the Dogs Out?’ and ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ went down a treat. They were lovin’ on that.”
One of the biggest shows on this tour is set to be a gig at Rottofest on Rottnest Island in WA. The first time that the band has toured to the west, there is a certain pressure of having a low attendance at their gig; however, Walters isn’t that phased. “We have never really done a bigger festival like this, so it will be a lot of fun to play alongside Andy Bull. We are predominately based in Melbourne and meet a lot of Western Australians on our travels. We’ll just perform extra hard and hopefully everyone loves it.”
In addition, the band is set to play in Geelong, Ballarat and Melbourne on the 25th, 26th and 27th of September and cannot wait to hit the stage for some regional gigs. Sounding like a jam session featuring John Mayer, Bon Iver and The Beatles, make sure you check out one of Australia’s up-and-coming talents. Playing all around the country, you would be mad to miss them.
When&Where: Beav’s Bar, Geelong – September 25; Babushka Bar, Ballarat – September 26; and NSC, Melbourne – September 27
By Tex Miller