By Chris Jimenez
VANCOUVER — Imagine a vine covered white house at the end of a long street emanating a mixture of bluegrass, punk and indie music, drawing in anyone that passes by. First the rumbling undertones of the stand up bass reverberate the senses and then, all at once, the vocals and guitars hypnotize the listener. That is the sound of Devil in the Wood Shack. This six-piece band, coined after reading Grimm Fables, is made up of Joshua Wood and Wes Coderre on guitar/vocals, Thalia and Justine Apostolopoulos on cello, banjo and vocals, Rory Troughton on drums and Conrad Shynkar on upright bass. They achieve a quality in music that feels both unhinged and calming.
The band’s alcohol-drenched beginnings started with Wood and Coderre coming from Ontario, slowly accumulating each additional member through drunken nights until they reached that inevitable jam session at the original band house they call the Wood Shack. Troughton and Thalia meeting Coderre through drinking on two separate occasions, Thalia introducing her sister Justine to the group and lastly Shynkar through driving the band to their very first festival in Kispiox.
“That festival was originally supposed to be a weekend but it took us a week to get there,” Thalia says. “We were cool with it, but the van kept breaking down, so every hill we hit the van would break down and we would camp out a couple of nights on the road and just continue jamming.”
“I remember going 10 miles an hour thinking ‘are we going to die out here?’” Coderre says with a laugh.
That was the explosion,” Woods says. “That’s where everything happened.”
At the Kispiox Festival Conrad joined the band because we had a moment of realization that we were all on the same page. By breaking down over and over and being put in a position where we set up a show on the side of the road and loved it. Coming back from that festival was the aftermath of the realization. It was complete chaos and absolute creation.”
The band continued to hone their skills, adding their own flavour and influences to the table, along with moving to a new wood shack where they were able to focus more on the band.
“I think the moment was when we knew we were having a damn good time but we all realized there was more to it,” Wood says. “At the old wood shack it was an open house, we had a lot of street kids, train hoppers and a lot of hippies. I think at one time, legitimately paying rent, we had eight people and it wasn’t that big of a house but it had a natural incline for a party house.”
“I think there was a point where we all started taking it seriously and knew that we wanted music to be something very concrete for the rest of our lives,” says Thalia.
The band shares their views on the Vancouver music scene, finding their niche through the past few years and who to sell their music to.
“It’s hard for us to fit in. Our music is a bit weird,” Coderre says.
“It’s what I like though,” Wood chimes in. “There are a lot of cliques. I’m sick and tired of seeing a band fitting a square into a square and a circle into a circle. It’s nice to see a star try to fit into a square with pieces breaking off and creating their own little communities.”
The Devil in the Wood Shack are releasing their self-titled LP on May 26 at the Astoria. They have also recently released a music video by Anthony Russo for their song “No Condition,” which you can watch below.BC, British Columbia, Devil in the Wood Shack, The Astoria