Baby Woodrose

Nick: Hey Lorenzo, thanks for agreeing to this interview. I would love to canvass your musical background, with a particular attention paid to On Trial, Baby Woodrose and Dragontears. Please tell me something more about your music beginnings, how did you get in creating your own stuff?

Lorenzo: It’s weird because – ever since I got into music when I was about 10 years old, I remember imagining and inventing my own music. I didn’t think of it as writing songs at first, it was just music that appeared inside my head. Not even whole songs either, just little snippets of beats and hooks that I would hum for myself. Later, at about 13 I got hold of a guitar and started to write poems and real lyrics. I have a memory of a song called “Looking for you” which I think might have been the first real song I ever wrote at about that age.

Nick: You were a member of On Trial for many years until 2003, when you left the band. Why did you decide to part ways with them and turn towards classic rock?

Lorenzo: Well, at that point I had been in On Trial for about 17 years and I had recently started Baby Woodrose as a kind of sideproject because I was frustrated that nothing was happening in On Trial and I also badly wanted to be singing my own songs, because in On Trial I was a a song writing drummer, so it was kind of natural, when Baby Woodrose so quickly proved to be more successful, to quit On Trial.

Nick: Tell me about the name of the band. Baby Woodrose is taken from the Baby Woodrose plant (Argyreia nervosa), right? Would you tell me something more about it?

Lorenzo: Yeah, it’s a little blessing for those of us who like those type of drugs that something like this is still legal and easily obtainable. The seeds of this beautiful flower, like the Morning Glory, carry a psychedelic compound called LSA, which is very similar to LSD. It’s easy to extract using cold water and the effects are relaxing and creativity inducing. I never talk about this in Mainstream media, because I don’t want to draw attention to it and spoil it for everybody who has discovered this little secret. Nevermind, that a lot of the early songs have hints about it, luckily not many people actually listen to lyrics.

Nick: After Blows Your Mind! Record, which had been recorded entirely by you, Riky Woodrose on bass and Rocco Woodrose on drums (pseudonyms) joined you to record “Money for Soul”. How would you describe this album?

Lorenzo: Well, that was our breakthrough album, we got a lot of radio airplay, played big festivals and received awards and played live on Danish TV and sold quite a lot of records for an underground release.

Nick: Money for Soul seems like a good choice for a playlist if someone wants to make a good retro party, and it imposes such an impression on the listener. At least, I can say that for myself. What do you say? It’s a pretty good balance of dirty garage rock and some classic stuff, do you agree with me on that?

Lorenzo: Yeah, for sure. There was quite a lot of good songs lying around after the first album (Everything’s Gonna Be Alright, Volcano, Hippie Chick) and we wrote some good stuff together in the early days, just using the energy that was in the band at the time, so things just evolved naturally and this sound came up in our rehearsals with the fuzzy guitars and the drums playing the tom toms, so songs like Honeydripper, Pouring Water and Never Coming Back just simply came to life from the band chemistry.

Nick: “Never Coming Back” sounds like a tribute to The Seeds and The Sonics. Tell me something more about the bands or musicians that have influenced your music?

Lorenzo: Well, surely the chugging “HEY!” riff from that was lifted from an old sixties track by We The People called My Brother The Man, but we slowed it down and let it take off in the verses instead of just staying in that mode. You can find many examples of stuff like that in my songs, but I don’t feel ashamed of that and have always admitted it. For example, Pouring Water On A Drowning Man, that’s a beat taken from an old obscure northern soul track coupled with a title I stole from James Carr Jr, but everything else in the song is totally original ideas, it’s just a spark that fires the inspiration and sends it off.

Nick: As the next studio release, you appeared with “Dropout!” which is a collection of 10 cover songs by equally unknown and well-known bands, featuring covers of Love, The Stooges, The Saints, 13th Floor Elevators, Captain Beefheart and others, and you did it on your own way. How do you like covering other band’s songs?

Lorenzo: Well, I’ve always done that, even from way back with On Trial, doing some weird obscure track and making it our own. As a said before, I think even my own songs are extensions of that. When we started the Baby Woodrose band, we did a lot of those, like The World Ain’t Round, It’s Square and A Child Of A Few Hours. Some of them turn into original songs, others stay covers, even though they sound almost nothing like the original.

Nick: Next up is “Love Comes Down”, personally my favorite Baby Woodrose album. It brings forth the true essence of 60’s psyche rock. The production of the album and the 60′s charm make this album just great. What are your comments on it?

Lorenzo: Well, it’s not my favourite, for many different reasons. I think we had a hard time living up to the expectations people had for us at that point. But mostly I’m not a big fan of the sound which is a bit too compressed I think. Still, there are some good songs on there. And actually – recently I had to buy back the rights for the master from the totally incompetent record label who released it and have handed it over for free to Bad Afro, so that will finally be reissued on VINYL this year for the first time since 2006.

Nick: “Chasing Rainbows” brought much a more modern sound than any of the previous records. More straight structured songs, more controlled vocals, etc. This album probably helped expand your audience a bit, am I correct?

Lorenzo: Actually, I think we may have expanded our audience, but a lot of the people who were into us at an earlier point didn’t seem to like it as much. Personally, I think it’s the one album that I’m the most proud of. I like the sound very much and the songs are very personal and less superficial than some of the other stuff we’ve done earlier. It’s also clearly the most psychedelic album to my own ears.

Nick: Let’s turn to another band of yours named Dragontears, with whom you have released 3 studio albums so far, all of them published by Bad Afro Records. Your newest album and possibly the last one is called “Turn on Tune in Fuck Off!!” What can you tell about the creation process of this record? Also, why have you decided that there will be no more from Dragontears?

Lorenzo: Well, all the Dragontears albums have been made using different concepts and ways of working, but what they all had in common was the search for something new, we wanted to try out different ways of writing, recording and producing and see if we could turn the process around and come up with unexpected results. I think it worked out very well, but within that concept of searching for new methods I think it has played itself out and come full circle, so now the answer is to do something else, alas the project is closed down to make way for a different kind of project.

Nick: The song “Two Tongue Talk” that we included in Progstravaganza 3 is kinda close to Baby Woodrose’s style, but maybe a bit rockier. In the track description you gave me for the compilation, you stated that this song is about conspiracy. Would you mind telling us a bit more about it?

Lorenzo: Actually, not only that song, but most of the last album is about this concept of certain types of information, which is really hazy and hard to grasp, because it might be considered paranoid, delusional, conspiracy theories, misinformation, false flag stuff and political media manipulation. I think it’s scary to read books like Brave New World or 1984 and try to put those dystopian societies in a context where we compare them with our daily lives today on a more metaphorical level. Try it yourself and see what happens. You could also try googling “Georgia Guidestone” or some of the other clues in the lyrics that point towards different aspects of conspiracy.

Nick: Besides the standard CD version of “Turn on Tune in Fuck Off!!”, there’s was also a 7” LP with two additional tracks. What can you tell me about these two tracks?

Lorenzo: A lot of the Dragontears stuff is recorded this way, we start off with something and see where it goes – and then sometimes the songs go nowhere and are never finished, but fore these two ideas I just liked them so much I thought they were interesting enough in themselves and should be made available. There’s more stuff on the Bandcamp site if anyone wants hear more of that sort of thing.

Nick: The second Dragontears album, called “Tambourine Freak Machine” appeared in 2008 and brought some sort of relaxed space based rock with nice melodies and a sort of krautrock weirdness, an album which is hardly comparable with anything released in the past. How would you describe it?

Lorenzo: Yeah, I think there have been some electronic experiments on all the Dragontears albums, but for this one maybe we got a bit too ambitious with that particular direction – although I think Masters Of War and The River are great tracks.

Nick: And finally we come to the debut album, “2000 Micrograms from Home” and if we compare this one with “Tambourine Freak Machine”, it’s notable that the debut is less experimental. Where does this album stand, in your opinion, in comparison with the other two?

Lorenzo: The first one was clearly the most spontaneous. It just happened as a reaction to being tired of working the same way in the studio all the time and this thing evolved naturally, jamming under the influence and treating the recording studio as a playground, instead of a place of work. Some people like the first one better than the third one, but I think the last one has more of a thought out concept in the lyrics, where as the first one has more of a loose vibe maybe.

Nick: So you’re playing live with Dragontears, and there are still three more gigs, one of them in Julland and two at the Roadburn festival later. Can we expect the Roadburn gigs to be filmed or recorded for possible release at some point in future?

Lorenzo: Dealing with film is so very complicated and expensive. There are several movie projects we are discussing at the moment, but which ones, if any, will ever actually be realized is hard to say. We record all our shows, but not with professional recording gear, so we’ll see what happens.

Nick: An the concert in Copenhagen on February 4th, you covered Hawkwind’s Master of the Universe. Are you a fan of Hawkwind? Is “Masters of the Universe” your favorite album? If not, what would you say is?

Lorenzo: Show me a person who is not a fan of Hawkwind and I’ll show you a person with really bad taste in music. I don’t have a favourite album, I think the first 5 or 6 with Lemmy on bass (including the first one without him) are great.

Nick: At the forementioned gig in Copenhagen you also played a few Pandemonica songs. Is there any new stuff coming out of this project?

Lorenzo: No, Pandemonica was a project I had in the early to mid nineties. Approximately 93-96. I recorded hundreds of songs on a 4 track cassette machine and released them in very limited numbers on cassettetape, mostly for friends to listen to, but then later around 2000, I pressed up some vinyl (three albums and an EP) 500 copies each, that sold out pretty quickly, so now they are kind of hard to find, but you can download them at my Bandcamp site plus lots of unreleased stuff if you wanna hear them.

Nick: It’s been speculated that you have in plan to reform Spids Nøgenhat, with whom you released one album so far called “En Mærkelig Kop Te” (A Strange Cup of Tea). Are you planning a release with this band or did you guys just reform to play live?

Lorenzo: Well, there’s no reason to speculate as this is fact. Another old project. We reunited in 2008 to do a few shows, then did one more show in 2010 and maybe we’ll even do a few more later this year, but on a small time just-having-fun basis. Nothing serious.

Nikola Savić is a prog enthusiast, blogger and author, in addition to being the founder of Prog Sphere, Progify, ProgLyrics and the ongoing Progstravaganza compilation series.

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