The Dread Crew of Oddwood Interview
Interview by: Zelda|
My first time meeting The Dread Crew of Oddwood was at San Diego Comic Con in 2008 or 2009. I was cosplaying Zelda that year, and was exiting the convention center walking back to my hotel room when I walked past a band of rather handsome pirates. They stopped me and immediately proceeded to serenade me with a Zelda medley on all manner of strange instruments. Thus started my love affair with The Dread Crew - needless to stay, it was the still one of the best things to ever happen to me.
Since our first meeting, I have seen them perform at all manner of events - Ren Faires, local bars and venues, opening for some of my favorite metal bands - The band has an incredible energy, play awesome music, and are interesting people to boot. I asked them if they might take the time to answer some questions for the site - There are currently 7 members in the band, Rouba Juba (guitar), Wolfbeard O'Brady (accordian), Smithy Crow (upright bass), Gunmaster Castle (drums), Riven Rahl (toy piano), Stark Cordwain (tin whistle), and Deckard Cordwain (mandolin).
Q: For anyone who isn't familiar with who you are or what you do, give us a rundown.
Castle: The Dread Crew of Oddwood is a Heavy Mahogany band that also happens to be piratical in nature. We rock out pretty hard, and have a lot of onstage antics and theatrics.
Rouba: The Dread Crew of Oddwood is a group of guys who sometimes casually play Magic: The Gathering
WolfBeard: The Dread Crew of Oddwood is a group of Nautical Warriors bent on piracy, alcohol and hooking up with pretty girls. They also sometimes play music.
Q: So – Why a pirate band? How did it come about? You have a lot of unusual instruments in the band (toy piano, accordion, mandolin, upright bass, ukulele) – Where did you guys even learn to play them?
Castle: A small group of us used to play music in high school together, and after Wolfbeard O'Brady hosted the one and only EccoCon (a large convention for fans of Ecco the Dolphin for Sega Genesis), we recruited the only other people who showed up, all of whom happened to be musicians. And here's the kicker—every single one of us was dressed like a pirate, to support the game's nautical theme. So we went with pirate-inspired music, and, to stay true to being badass, we chose obscure acoustic folk instruments with which to titillate (wo)mankind's senses. Thus, Oddwood was born, and evil was vanquished forever!
Smithy: I was just trying to float to America (see: http://dreadcrewofoddwood.com/dread_tale_audiobook ) when these guys picked me up. They all dress like pirates, so I figured I'd start, too.
Rouba: Doesn't everyone know how to play these instruments? We don't have any difficult instruments like Oboe or Violin in the band...
WolfBeard: Because we're from the 1700s. If you weren't a pirate back then you were a loser.
Q: What was it like working on your music video (Queen's Decree)? Where did the concept for the video come from?
Castle: It was incredibly fun due to the whole slaughtering of puppet Spaniards and such. And I got to put my Oddkit (portable drumkit) in the ocean for some shots, that, regrettably, did not make the final cut.
Rouba: It was cool. Concept mostly came from the director, actually, not the band.
WolfBeard: It was stressful, yet ultimately very rewarding. Lots of creative tension between band members and filmmakers. We had an incredible time on set though- and out in the desert shooting puppets with black powder and shotguns.
Q: You've traveled all over the country playing Renaissance Faires, conventions, music venues, and opening for some talented bands in the rock and metal scene. How does it differ playing an acoustic set to a Ren Faire or Comic Con crowd compared to when you play electric sets for a metal or rock crowd?
Castle: Different energy when we're acoustic versus plugged-in/electric. First off, we can get away with a lot more high-energy theatrics and ridiculous antics whilst acoustic, and it's essentially how Oddwood started. When we're plugged-in, we can't run around as much, but you get a lot more of the musical side of our performance. They're both similar in that the metal, rock, folk, and punk fans who come to our Rennaissance Faire shows will mosh and headbang and yell just like you'd see them doing at the electric shows, which is awesome and hilarious. Our fans are die-hard and we love 'em. For me, I can get away with lighting my Oddkit aflame or kicking the bastard over without worry of breaking expensive electric equipment at our acoustic shows. And Ruba Jouba chopped a mandolin apart with an axe once. You can't really bring cool (or any) weapons into pubs and venues. There's more room for blood and gore and general mayhem acoustically.
Smithy: The main difference between acoustic and electric shows: At acoustic shows we're not plugged in, so we can run, jump, and dive-roll a LOT more. Also, the metal crowd doesn't just stick to our bar shows! They headbang and yell at us at the ren fair, too!
WolfBeard: We love both types of shows- in different ways, but they are very different shows. You haven't really seen us until you have seen both.
Q: As a heavy cosplay site, and because your costumes are awesome, I feel obligated to ask – Who puts them together? Do you all design and create your own looks?
Castle: We have tailored our own outfits for Oddwood, based on what some of us wore before we travelled through time to the Present-Day. Anything we don't have, we make, or rather, Jorge Miguel, our cabana boy, makes, in his garment factory in Tijuana. He's good. Real good.
Rouba: Yes. Wolfbeard makes a higher volume of them than anyone else in the group, I think.
WolfBeard: I very much enjoy crafting items of usefulness from the skins of animals. Our cloth pieces come from our women. And Jorge Miguel.
Q: What about the music? Dread Crew is a pretty sizable band and everyone in the band is an incredibly talented musician – Do you all share in the songwriting too?
Rouba: I wrote a bunch of music for the band. I think Wolfbeard and I write the most, but everyone chips something in.
WolfBeard: I get really drunk sometimes and then find scores with lyrics on them in my house. Rouba does this a lot too, but it's usually from opium instead of alcohol.
Q: What has been the most memorable experience for you during your time in Dread Crew?
Smithy: We've been on tour three time. SO much has happened! I'm gonna have to go with Rouba Juba pooping into a condom. Rouba: One time I pooped into a condom. Castle: One time Rouba pooped into a condom. But that's only the tip of the fecal iceberg of stories to regale. Another time and place, perhaps!
WolfBeard: We have had some life-changingly epic moments at faires across the country, but one time Rouba pooped in a condom.
Q: So, being in a pirate band seems to be pretty niche. Where would you guys ideally see your band going in the future?
Castle: I think we see the band moving from being a pirate-themed band to more of a nautical warrior-themed band.
Smithy: Japan, Australia, Western Europe, and Scandinavia.
WolfBeard: Space piracy is getting pretty big.
Q: Any plans for tours coming up?
Smithy: We don't have specific details yet, but we plan on travelling in February/March, and again in August.
Q: Where can fans follow your work?
and Our website
and some analog places like Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Irwindale, pubs and venues in San Diego, Los Angeles, and occasionally all over the U.S. / Canada!
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January 19 2013