Weaving a project of their own

Perhaps it’ll be three members of the Woven Project one evening, and the next time maybe it’ll be somewhat of a duet or even a full-on seven-piece ensemble in attendance. That variety and malleability gives the music collective a unique disposition: the ability to produce new interpretations of their work with every gig they perform without the necessary intent. It’s an interesting concept to say the least.

“We had both been in bands before,” explains Brian Barnes, referring to himself and Brian Batey, the two founding members of the Woven Project, “and egos sometimes got in the way of making music.  We gelled because of the lack of ego in both of us – which is now the ethos of the Woven project – as well as sharing the same approach to song writing and ideas with no outright ownership.”

This happened early on in 2009 in the Hartlepool area, and an initially planned casual performance for a birthday party didn’t quite happen, and instead, the two of them, one an accordion player, the other a guitarist, started rehearsing twice a week, really just for the love of the music. However, with that unassuming connection, that synchronicity in ideals, they soon realised that they were on to something. When they started playing live, their bohemian spirit caught on and allowed an atmosphere of collaboration and participation to occur by virtue of them being totally open to others in the audience joining them on stage and adding ‘”something to the mix.”

“There is a nucleus of two to three members but we have an open door policy for new members and for existing members. The door is always slightly ajar letting a lovely breeze in most times.”

Needless to say, they went down a storm that evening and since then, in the short time they have been together, they have performed prolifically across the country to growing acclaim notching some 70 gigs in the meantime.

It’s a mixture of their folk-tinged acoustic sound coupled with the quasi-improvised nature of the line-up that gives them a certain warm appeal, and with comparisons as varied as Radiohead, Tom McCrae and The Unbelievable Truth, the inability to define them rigidly is refreshing.

“Being completely acoustic means we travel lightish,” Barnes tells me, “and also, because of the many flavours of instrumentation within the project, we usually have a different all-round sound every performance because we generally never have the same line up twice.”

Another wonderful by-product of the communal construction of the group is the variety of creativity at play, with no one method dominating the artistic creation of music.

“Some songs can be very embryonic and can come from a spontaneous jam and some jumbled words, but also a lot of it stems from personal experiences, sometimes light and sometimes dark, although always having the melancholic sound. And of course the many ups and downs of our lives also inspires us.”

There is plan to release music with the hope, of course, of a record contract, but more than anything, true to their sincere character, the Woven Project are happy to continue making songs and performing live, to get as “many ears as possible” to hear their music. Production is already underway.

“We have six tracks down that are ready to be mixed,” says Barnes, “we have another three to record, and are hopefully releasing a self-financed mini-LP of at least five of those tracks in February 2011.”

By then, who knows who will have performed with the Woven Project, assisted them in producing the album, wrote songs with them and so on… perhaps even you, the reader, will jam with them one day and what a nice possibility that is.

Published in Narc Magazine

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