Join Date: Mar 2009
Here's the interview...
David Gold explains the origin of the Woods of Ypres' name:
Initially, we were allowed to take the name from a song called "The Woods of Ypres" by a band called Fact of Death from Windsor Ontario, where the band was founded in 2002. Their song was about Optimist Memorial Park on Ypres Avenue in Windsor, which was sort of a war memorial park in reference to the Battle of Ypres in Belgium in World War 1 - the first World War battle involving chemical warfare.
"It was original bass player Aaron Palmer who suggested we ask the band to use their song title as our band name and they allowed us to. To us, the name also served as a metaphor for us in the Windsor music scene, being the one black metal band in an otherwise all-hardcore scene. The name is perfect, symmetrical, meaningful. The words woods made reference to themes of black metal and nature and the name Ypres made reference to us as Canadians. Basically, Woods of Ypres was black metal from Canada."
Terrorizer asked David to share his essential Woods of Ypres songs from the band's career.
'A meeting Place And Time' - Woods 1 (2002)
"The original doom ballad, I consider this the purest expression of Woods of Ypres. It's catchy, sad, epic, long and about that first heartbreak that's so important for everyone to go through."
'Allure of the Earth' - Woods 2 (2004)
"Another doom ballad, this one about summer depression and longing for the shade and cool earthen walls of a grave. It has since been covered by Austalian cellists (Sebastian Simpson and Chris Doig - www.Myspace.com/SebastianSimpsonandChrisDoig) who created a version that surpasses the original.
'Your Ontario Town Is A Burial Ground' - Woods 3 (2007)
"This was meant to be a Ontario rock anthem to be covered by every metal garage band in the province until garage bands became fewer and everyone moved into the cities. It's still one of my favorites".
'I Was Buried At Mount Pleasant Cemetery' - Woods 4 (2009)
"I guess this will in time be considered a must-hear classic for the band, being the epic doom ballad at track 4 (Metallica style) on the fourth album, factoring in the reach that the music video has had in introducing a modern WoY to wider audience."
'You were the light' - Home 7" (2011)
"This was another song about pining for the love of 'Woods 4' that pushes more Woods-pop with a bright catchy chorus amongst guitar dirge. I still hear, and hope for, someone with style to eventually grab this and make a dark-pop-goth-dance remix. Listen to that chorus!!!"
'Travelling Along' - Woods 5 (2012)
"This song was inspired by my experience in Kawait, our questions and beliefs about spirituality. It's clean, catchy and traditional with a intro, verse, pre-chorus, chorus, double chorus, with an alternate lyric, a meaningful spoken word part and crushing rock outro. An assessible little dark rock track boxed up nice and tight!"
On December 21, 2011 Woods of Ypres mainman David Gold was killed in a road accident. He was 31. This interview was conducted with David on December 14th, just days before his death. It may well have been his final words destined for public reading, While David certainly expressed some hope, there is also a heart-wrenching sense of sadness underlying what he says....
"There's more to life then success", sings David Gold on Woods of Ypres new song 'Career Suicide (Is not real suicide)'. Ten years into a career that's established the Northern Ontario band as a perennial favorite in the underground Canadian metal scene, but with no real commercial success, it's as if David had written the song to try and convince himself that all the hard work was worth it. Signed to Earache Records in 2010 after self-releasing four albums that bridged black metal, melancholic doom, goth, and sludge, the release of Woods 5 is a big moment in the bands history. It should make for optimism in the Woods camp, but there's a sense of weariness in David, who considers this album that band's make-or-break moment.
"I had hoped for so much more for myself by this age," he says. "I feel like I made a contribution in creating, from which I did gain some sense of creative satisfaction, but really, creating was more like a donation to the world in which I've sacrificed my life. I've given all I had while pushing the music forward but the returns have not been enough to enhance my life or improve my lifestyle. I realize that people appreciate the music, and that's great, and we do have some very loyal supporters, but we're always in the red. Praise, emails, tweets are great but they're not currency. Still, those are the risks we've taken to make this music while we had the chance. Making this music a reality will pay off, at least personally, creatively, in the long run but it's quite the hustle to actually make it happen, mostly all on our own."
To David's credit, Woods 5 deserves to be heard. Unlike most young upstart bands that are signed far too soon, Woods of Ypres arrived at Earache fully-formed musically. It's been a fascinating evolution to witness over the years, from the gorgeous melodic black metal of 2002's 'Against the Seasons: Cold Winter songs from the Dead Summer Heat' - regarded by many as Canadian metal classic - to the ambitious, sprawling 'Woods 4: the Green Album', and Woods 5...' continues that growth, serving up the most streamlined to date, sonically approaching the immaculate sound of Katatonia's last four albums.
"On previous albums, we'd record and release everything we wroteas if it were our last album we'd ever do and were often criticized for having albums that were too long, so we wanted 'Woods 5...' to be an album that was fresh and easy to listen to from start to finish, with just enough of everything to satisfy," he explains. " I was heavily influenced by the vibes of Katatonia's 'Last fair Deal Gone Down', one of my all-time favorites and an album I could listen to from start to finish that, like Woods 5, the music made me envision the white light of flashlights in the dark. It's classic, black and white music that lifts you up and guides you through the darkness. I've never been afraid of pop and listenability," he continues. It really is a natural progression to sound more accessible with every record for any band that wants to continue to grow in popularity. It wouldn't make sense for us to get 'heavier' with every record. This doesn't mean we get weaker as we become more listenable. I think the new stuff is strong and mature, refined and professional. Our sound hasn't brought us to bigger stages yet, but I hope that it eventually will."
Written and recorded in collaboration with guitarist/bassist/pianist Joel Violette, who plays a huge role in taking Woods of Ypres into this more accessible territory, 'Woods 5' features David's intensely personal lyrics, as every album has, but there's something about songs like 'Career Suicide', the eloquent 'Traveling Alone' and the devastating 'Finality' that makes one wonder if David dug deeper into his psyche than usual, and indeed, in the making of this album, has struggled to balance both his art and his life, the two intertwining a little too closely for comfort.
"I feel foolish for self-inflicting such hurt on myself when making art like this. I recently saw a video interview of the Swedish pop star Robyn where she was asked if she aspired to live the life sung in her lyrics and she laughed and said 'Absolutely not'. She then commented that life is too exhausting if you're constantly heartbroken and that there should be a reasonable distance between the music as dramatic entertainment and real life. I realize now that I've failed at this because I live the life of Woods of Ypres a little too closely, and what I could only hope to be just entertainment is real, and it hurts. The tragic thing about this album, personally, is that thought the songs were inspired by events of my past, I later realized that the album would end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy of the future," continues David.
"This happened with 'Woods 1' and 'Woods 3', too. I write the album, we record it and then I crash, personally, in the period before it gets released. It took five albums for me to identify this cycle that happens within myself, but unfortunately I've realized it too late before I could save myself this time. At the time of writing, I am at my lowest point ever and very unsure about the future. There wasn't one specific thing but instead life as a whole that inspired the vibe of the record and the outlook of the future. At best, we live and work and make the best of things though life is dark and grim. At worst, we allow our sorrows to swallow us and we accept life as our unfavorable misconceptions about it."
That said, if 'Woods 5' is received well, it could completely change things for 31 year old David. Woods of Ypres has a loyal fanbase, but a very small one scattered across the vast continent, and after 10 years of touring Canada and America, relying on merch sales to pay for petrol, it's time to take that next step, time to expand that audience. You can only sleep on people's floors night after night for so long without it starting to jar.
"I do really enjoy touring but the process as a whole has taken a toll of me," he says candidly. "I've been doing this for almost 10 years now. If the opportunities are there, I'd love for the band to be touring more and everywhere, to Europe and beyond. Again, it's just balancing the budget that really takes the toll. The process itself is life affirming. The realities of what it costs and how difficult it is to do on your own is soul destroying. I wouldn't mind if and when things became just a little easier."
R.I.P. David Gold.