It’s a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll and, according to Turner Midzain, lead vocalist/guitarist for the Calgary-based stoner riff rock outfit, Woodhawk, the shortcuts to the summit aren’t even worth taking.
“I think the journey is the most important part. You won’t get to your destination without taking it,” says Midzain of Woodhawk’s path to recording their sophomore album, Violent Nature. “You don’t always end up where you wanted, but you wind up where you have to go.”
In Woodhawk’s case, that landing place turned out to be Vancouver’s Rain City Recorders, the same facility that yielded their scorching full-length debut, Beyond the Sun, back in 2017. There the normally freewheelin’ trio (once again) entrusted producer Jesse Gander with translating their emotionally weighty new material into an electrifying, but cohesive new album.
“To get where we are, we went through unexpected trauma and had so much going on behind the scenes that I don’t think Woodhawk would be the same band if it didn’t happen. Everything that went wrong went wrong for all the right reasons. But you didn’t see it at the time.”
Armed with the perspective they’ve acquired in the two years that have elapsed since their previous release, the flourishing songwriter, Midzain, and his bandmates, bassist/vocalist Mike Badmington and drummer Kevin Nelson have endeavoured to bring a heightened level of personal authenticity and meaning to their striking compositions.
“It was our outlet. It was a place that the three of us could go and find a humbling, therapeutic ground that we all felt connected to. It helped us through whatever demons we were battling. Whatever we were going through, playing together was the one thing that consistently allowed us to voice our concerns and talk about matters that usually weren’t talked about,” he explains. “It’s okay to say that you’re not okay.”
Cutting straight to the heart of the matter, Violent Nature doesn’t sacrifice style for substance as Woodhawk’s famous knack for turning out anthemic riffs and contagious rhythms endures. Still, there is a newfound sense of vulnerability and self-reflection that permeates and illuminates the dense metaphorical mirrors of Violent Nature. Thankfully so. The cracks are where the light gets in.
Woodhawk celebrate the release of Violent Nature on Nov. 8 at the Palomino (Calgary) and Nov. 9 at Temple (Edmonton).