Crossroads magazine #54, may 2007

Interview by Guillaume Nicolas and Alexander Sackel

  translated from French by Magali Surcin


Mystic dreamer.

As Woven Hand wasn’t scheduled to play in France during their last European tour (unlike this year, with 5 dates from the 7th of June), we went to Brussels to meet and interview David Eugene Edwards. 16 HP’s former frontman answered all of our questions with amazing focus, and a calm voice, both steady and passionate, just like the man himself. We also had the opportunity to spend the whole day with the band, and listen to their amazing sound check, before they played one of their most thrilling concerts.

 

It was early afternoon when we arrived in front of the Ancienne Belgique venue in Brussels, under the lashing rain. We soon took shelter inside the lovely hall, and met the whole band nearly immediately. DEE, extremely charismatic and polite as always, greeted us warmly, and then was off for a rest before sound check (the band is in the middle of their European tour –Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Russia-, and they’ve just arrived straight from Essen, Germany). David was sick a few days earlier, and Woven Hand is about to play the biggest venue of their tour, with 1700 people in the audience and a sold-out show.

Drummer Ordy Garrison is, as usual, talkative and friendly, while new guitar player Peter Van Laerhoven remains quite discreet as he gets ready to play “at home” (he is Belgian), and it is a pleasure to spend time with Pascal Humbert, 16HP’s former bass player, who chatted with us for about half an hour, about music, 16HP, Woven Hand and Lilium, his project with 16HP’s former drummer J.Y. Tola. Pascal Humbert is cheerful and very kind, and it is wonderful to see him play with DEE again.

It is then time for the sound check, which starts on a very strong note, as the band plays and improvises for about 40 minutes around a brand new cover which they’d never played live before, Rasputina’s “Signs of the Zodiac”. This song is dazzling: it sounds amazingly good, and DEE seems to give his very best vocal performances to date! Stunning! After spending 40 minutes on that one song, they play 2 of their classics, “White Bird” and “Speaking Hands”, and end the sound check with “Whistling Girl”, from their latest album. Their sound is big, bold and brilliant, and in a nutshell, it was a jaw-dropping moment… “Signs of the Zodiac”: what a song, what a performance! The band members discuss a few ultimate technical details about the new cover, and then we meet DEE backstage for an exciting interview, with no time limit or “formal” setting, and it feels more like an open conversation than the traditional question/answer routine.

 

Hi David. And first of all, congratulations for “Mosaic”, your latest album, on which Woven Hand gives a great performance, powerful at times (“Winter Shaker”, “Dirty Blue”, “Deerskin Doll”), but also soft, atmospheric (“Swedish Purse”, “Truly Golden”), or experimental (“Twig”, “Elktooth/Double-minded Man”). I wonder what the title “Mosaic” means to you?

DEE: I chose this title for 2 reasons. Originally, I was going for another title, something completely different, but one day, my wife suggested “mosaic”. First, she loves the art of mosaic; this is something that she particularly enjoys. Also, and above all, those songs, once they’d been recorded and put together, really reminded me of a mosaic: they are like little vignettes, all different from one another, but which, once put together, merge into one: the mosaic effect.

 

Most Woven Hand albums and “Mosaic” in particular, contain wonderful piano/organ parts. On this tour, you play as a 4-member band, with 2 guitar players, but there are no piano or keyboards. Why is that? Do you think that Woven Hand will someday tour again with a piano/organ, like you did for the band’s first tour, in 2002, with Daniel McMahon?

DEE: It’s true, we don’t have any piano/organ on this tour, and it’s been unfortunately quite a while since we last played with a pianist/organist, which I miss. I really strongly hope to be able to play with Daniel again soon. I have wonderful memories of my concerts with him, whether on our first tour, which you’ve just mentioned, or when we played later on as a duet, just the 2 of us (editor’s note: they gave stunning concerts in the Netherlands and Belgium 3 years ago). I would really love to have a piano/organ on stage again. Unfortunately, we can’t quite afford a tour with 5 band members yet, so we still work this way, as a 4-member band for the time being, and it really works amazingly well. Yet I do hope to play with a piano/organ again in the future, because some songs absolutely require it, and I’d like to play those songs on stage.

 

Speaking of instruments, everybody knows that you love old vintage instruments and antiques, some of which are not usually heard in rock music. For instance, with 16HP, you used an incredible bandoneon on many songs, like “Harm’s way”, “Low Estate” or “American Wheeze” (editor’s note: he also used it during Woven Hand’s first tour in 2002, for the encores and the memorable solo version of “Down in Yon Forest”). Did you cast the bandoneon aside these last few years? Doesn’t it fit the universe that you try to develop with Woven Hand? And yet, when I heard “Puur”’s soundtrack (“Puur” is Ultima Vez’s new work, to which David contributed last year, after working on Blush in 2003), with this unbelievable version of “Low Estate”, with only your voice and the concertina, I thought that if you used it in the same way, the bandoneon would definitely fit in on stage with Woven Hand. What do you think?

Yes, you’re absolutely right. Actually, I took a little break from the bandoneon, because after using it for years with 16HP, I needed to stay away from the instrument for a while, move on, and search for new colours and new sounds. Now hold on, it doesn’t mean that I’ve given it up altogether, and to prove it, the version of “Low Estate” that you mentioned was recorded last year. We’ll see what happens on the next album, and I know that this instrument will be back in my songs sooner or later. And, you know, something else worries me a bit: it would be yet another instrument to bring along on the road and on the plane when we tour. And it’s difficult enough as it is, so we try to keep it as simple as possible. And above all, the sound of that instrument is difficult to deal with on stage, and when we go on tour with Woven Hand, we don’t have our own sound engineer, which we did with 16HP, so this is another point against touring with the bandoneon. It’s really not that easy, there are a lot of complications, especially for something that would be used on one or 2 songs only.    

 

By the way, speaking of “Puur”, there is another breathtaking voice/guitar version of another 16HP-era song, “Horsehead”. If I’m not mistaken, you’ve never played this song with Woven Hand, and yet the song would fit in perfectly with other solo versions that you play on stage during the encores, like “Black Soul Choir”, “Strawfoot”, “Wayfaring Stranger” or “Outlaw song”. Why don’t you play it?

You’re right; I’ve never played the solo version of “Horsehead” on stage so far. As for the version that appears on “Puur”, it was recorded in a very simple way, it was just myself, the guitar and a microphone in the room, and that was it. It’s a beautiful version, it’s very natural. You know, there are so many songs that I’d like to play on stage again, but on the other hand, our set-lists are quite long already, especially now that we made a good few albums, and it’s difficult. And once again, there is a fairly annoying technical difficulty: “Horsehead” requires a specific guitar tuning, an “open-tuning” which I don’t use with Woven Hand. Again, I would have to bring yet another instrument along, another guitar and, again, if I get to use it on one or maybe 2 songs only, it’s not that easy. Otherwise, it would be very interesting, as I like this song a lot.

 

Last question about instruments: what happened to your extraordinary Orpheum arch-top guitar from the ‘30s, which had a major impact on 16HP’s sound, and which you don’t seem to use anymore?

Indeed, I don’t use it on stage anymore, but I did use it a lot when I recorded “Mosaic”, particularly for the arrangements. I actually use it nearly exclusively as a slide guitar, and there aren’t many Woven Hand songs based on the slide guitar. Consequently, while it was a key instrument in 16HP, it’s not the ideal guitar to play live with Woven Hand. Yet I still use it a lot, at home or in the studio. For the latest album, I especially used it on “Dirty Blue”.

 

Let’s go back to “Mosaic”. Could you describe the atmosphere in the studio while you were recording the album? We know that you play many instruments, you recorded most of the songs by yourself, you designed the cover, you produced the record, and you supervised everything: in a nutshell, it is quite clear that Woven Hand is definitely a very personal, independent project for you, especially in studio. Is it important for you to feel that you have control over your music?

Yes, actually, I love the creative process and shaping the songs, and I really love being in the studio, recording, creating, searching, exploring. Honestly, I love the recording process as it is today. Strictly speaking, the place where I work isn’t a recording studio in itself. It looks much more like a sort of basement called “Absinthe Studio”. I love that atmosphere. I also record a lot at home, in my bedroom, my dining room, my garage, I record a lot of piano parts, voices, guitars and many other things. I now have a lot of material at home, which enables me to follow and record my ideas and desires. So I record from a lot of different places, but we always eventually meet in the Absinthe Studio to record and finalise everything.

 

In Woven Hand’s music, there are a lot of sonic details and atmospheres through noises and strange layers of sound. How do you come up with such personal sounds? How do you create those sound textures, and how do you integrate them to your music?

You know, I create all those sounds by myself, I explore and experiment a lot with many different instruments, and I record all the ideas that come to my mind. Most of the sounds that you can hear on the album have simply been recorded at home, in my garage. I also love fiddling with tools, metal pieces, chains and creaking sounds, as they can all create very interesting atmospheres and sounds within the songs. I plug in a microphone, and I record all of those sounds and atmospheric noises, then I include them in the songs.

 

Last month, you toured the USA on your own. How did it go?

Very good, very good indeed. I was opening for Serena Maneesh, I’ve known them for a few years and we’re friends. They play some sort of heavy psychedelic rock, a kind of heavy version of My Bloody Valentine, that type of music. When they set up their US tour, they simply asked me if I’d want to open for them every night, and of course I said yes. It was a tour on a very human scale, I was travelling with them and I have very good memories of that tour. Musically, it was really a very simple configuration for me, voice and guitar only, entirely different from when I play with the band.

 

Do you like those solo gigs?

I do, a lot. As I’ve just said, it’s very different from concerts with the band, and it’s very exciting to juggle between the solo version and the version with the band. I really love both, for different and very diverse reasons.

 

I’ve personally seen you play solo, and I must say that I find those performances very intimate and absolutely stunning. Amongst others, you play a version of “Black Soul Choir” that is much darker, deeper and slower that the song you’ve played with 16HP for years. This version is quite new (and often includes lyrical improvisations on stage), and it seems to me that this is one of the songs in which you believe the most, body and soul, and with which you feel in harmony. On stage, it is obvious that when you play it, this song carries you away. Yet, this is one of the first songs you wrote for 16HP about 12 years ago, and you don’t seem to get tired of it. What do you now think of this “key” song of yours? Do you still believe as strongly in the line “Every man is evil, every man is a liar”?

Yes, that’s right; “Black Soul Choir” is the very first song I wrote with the banjo. I still feel very close to that song, and I probably will until the end of my life. I never get tired of playing it. This song is a bit like a movie, the movie of my life, ideas, and message. The message, based on faith, redemption and the love of God, that I’ve been singing about in many songs, is the core of my work, and I’ve expressed it in different ways from one album to another, but I sincerely think that “Black Soul Choir” is the most representative song of all, the most representative of my ideas and what I want to tell people. I don’t care how many times I’ve played it, or how many times people have heard it, I still play it nearly every night. It is an important song for me. Moreover, it has also evolved a lot over time, from a very rhythmical country rock song with 16HP to something now very soft, intimate and deep. This song lives and evolves again and again. I don’t play it every night, but almost, and it still feels like I’m discovering it for the first time.

 

Will you play it tonight?

Yes, probably.

 

There is a question that has been bothering me for over 6 years. I’ve always been wondering about a song from 16HP’s album “Secret South”, and what the mysterious lines from “Strawfoot” meant: “I’ve been to Nebraska, it reminded me of Spain”? I never understood their meaning. What’s the connection between Nebraska and Spain? And one day, during a solo concert in Scandinavia, you stopped in the middle of the song and started speaking about the civil war, and how people lived back then, and couldn’t read or write, which incidentally explained the meaning of the chorus “hey foot, straw foot”, directly connected to the civil war (listen to this). Can you enlighten us a bit about that song, which you still regularly play?

This is a very interesting question. Let me explain. There are 2 things that you should know about those lines from “Strawfoot”. First, I know a particular place, close to Denver, Colorado, where I live, that vividly reminds me of Spain. It is a large plain, a sort of desert, similar to Spanish landscapes. One day, while we were on tour and I was writing lyrics for the upcoming album, “Secret South”, we went through Nebraska, and the landscape, the scenery before my eyes was extraordinary, and I immediately had this vision in my mind: this landscape in the state of Nebraska reminded me of Spain. I immediately wrote that line in my notebook. I love that atmosphere, I love barren landscapes, and I love the Nebraska/Spain connection. At the same time, whenever I sing that song, this line reminds me of the region I come from, Denver, because the landscapes are sometimes similar. Secondly, the line that immediately follows, “all the questions loaded, all my answers same” helps understand the sentence properly. That line is really important if you want to understand the previous sentence. I meant that wherever I go throughout the world, whether deep in Nebraska or in the middle of Madrid, people will always ask me the same questions, which I can understand: why am I singing about the love of God, what do my songs and ideas mean, etc. Everywhere I go, people are intrigued about the same things. Everywhere.

 

By the way, Spain has never been particularly favourable to you, has it?

Actually, no, it hasn’t. I love that country, but unfortunately I’ve hardly ever played there, whether with 16HP or Woven Hand. That’s a shame, especially since I have very good memories from a solo radio session I played in Madrid, and I love the atmosphere of the country. We should have been playing there 2 years ago, but the concert was cancelled shortly beforehand, unfortunately (editor’s note: 16HP was scheduled to take part in the famous rock festival El Azkena, in Vitoria on September 11th 2004). However, in January 2005, Woven Hand played for a whole week, with Blush, in a magnificent theatre in Barcelona, and it was really fantastic.

 

I’d like to know more about how much of an impact gipsy culture has on you and your music. For instance, in “Oil on Panel” (from Woven Hand’s previous album, the beautiful “Consider the Birds”), you sing “Ira, Gula, Luxuria, heavy as their holes are deep, Roma, Roma, where is my country?”. I remember that we already talked about that last sentence about 2 years ago, but I’d like to go deeper into that today. You told me that “Roma” referred to the gipsy culture, didn’t you? And this line refers to the quest for roots, country and land.

Yes, absolutely. I actually love that culture, and I’m really interested in it. It is still a great mystery to me, though. I think that the gipsy culture remains very mysterious to outsiders and Americans in particular. I love gipsy music, I deeply love their songs, and I’m extremely interested in their lifestyle, their choices and ideas, and the way they’ve chosen to lead their life. It’s fascinating and very romantic. Of course, I know that their life is far from easy, as they have chosen a very difficult lifestyle, but they have a sort of unique beauty, in their hearts and in their creativity, especially musically, but also in the way they dress. I like their clothes. They are poor people, yet they are very proud of their culture and ideas, and they’re very creative.

 

Speaking of cultural influences, I noticed, as years go by, that you are more and more influenced by Eastern Europe. On stage, you sometimes improvise in a very peculiar language, fairly close to Russian. When did you first take an interest in that culture?

Actually, it all started through music. I love traditional music. I’m fascinated with traditional music from around the world and throughout the ages. I have a passion for medieval music, for instance, and one day, I just fell in love with Eastern European music. The music, the language, the sounds just blew me away. It is among the most beautiful music in the world.

 

Overall, I have a feeling that Woven Hand sounds much more European than 16HP. 16HP used to develop, especially on the first albums, a country atmosphere, admittedly quite dark, but still, this universe was deeply rooted in American music, while that element has disappeared from Woven Hand altogether. Somehow, I feel that for instance, a song like “Brimstone Rock” (one of the strongest moments on 16HP’s second album) couldn’t have been written with Woven Hand, or fit in, but reciprocally, most Woven Hand songs do not have 16HP’s characteristic sound. Where does that come from? From the way the writing process evolved? From what you learned from your tours in Europe and the way they opened your mind? For instance, Woven Hand is very much influenced by medieval and European music. How did you assimilate those influences, and then include them into your music?

Yes, you’re absolutely right, and I think you summed it up very well: the evolution of the songwriting process, sounds, desires and ideas; travelling and opening up to the world. As for medieval music, as I’ve just said, I have a passion for that music and for the instruments used back then. I actually play some hurdy-gurdy on the new album. I love that instrument, characteristic of that period. I deeply love medieval melodies, they’re often very simple and beautiful; and I love the rhythms and the atmosphere of those sounds. I really listen to all sorts of music from all over the world, from Russia just as well as China.

 

If you had the chance to travel back in time, what period would you choose, and why? The Middle Ages?

No, I think that I’d be more interested in the time when Europeans discovered America, in 1492. I’m extremely interested in that period. I would have loved to see the Native Americans then, how they lived, their style, their community. I would have loved to be there, on their land, right then. It must have been fascinating.

 

Speaking of Native Americans, I want to ask a last question about your cultural references. In Bonn, Germany, last year, you played an absolutely outstanding version of “Down in Yon Forest” that lasted over 15 minutes, and during which you spent a long time improvising lyrically about God, and especially about the Native Americans’ land. Do you feel close to them?

Absolutely. I really love the Native American culture, their literature is fantastic, and so is their music, of course. All my life, I’ve been interested in the Native Americans, I love them as a people, and I love their life, attitude, courage and ideas. You know, many songs on Mosaic are directly influenced by rhythms used in American Indian music, I love their drums and intense, strong rhythms, and a lot of the lyrics on that album are influenced by Indian literature. “Deerskin Doll”, for example, is a love story following the great tradition of Indian literature. Originally, I’d written a long love story for my wife, and I kept the main ideas of that text and turned them into a song. I try to incorporate those elements from the Indian culture, whether musically or lyrically, with the utmost respect.

 

Throughout your career, you did a lot of covers, with 16HP (Bob Dylan, Joy Division, John Fogerty, the Gun Club, Leonard Cohen), or with Woven Hand –especially that fantastic rereading of the classic “Ain’t no Sunshine”. I’d like to know which songs you’d like to cover today. Do you have examples or ideas?

Oh yeah, if only you knew… I always have new ideas for covers, and the art of covering a song is something that I enjoy. On stage, I sometimes like to introduce a few surprises. For example, tonight, we’ll directly open the concert with Rasputina’s “Signs of the Zodiac”, the song that you heard during sound check. A few months ago, in Denver, Ordy and myself played a concert together, and we finished the set with a Bob Dylan cover, “As I went out one morning”, a rather obscure, unknown song from the album “John Wesley Harding”, released in 1967, and it was, by the way, the first and the last time that we’d played that song. I love Bob Dylan. One day, I’d love to make an entire Bob Dylan cover album with Woven Hand, in the same spirit as 16HP’s “Folklore” (editor’s note: “Folklore”, extremely dark and gloomy, released in 2002, was the band’s last official studio album. It contains 4 original songs, 2 covers –Hank Williams and the Carter Family-, and 4 traditional songs rearranged in 16HP’s spirit). This is something I’d love and really want to do, but I haven’t had time yet to make it happen. The time will come.

 

Speaking of covers, I’ve always been surprised that you’d never delved into Nick Cave’s repertoire. Everybody knows that you really like his music, and I think that the encounter of his universe and Woven Hand’s style would sound great. What do you think?

Indeed, though I immensely admire Nick Cave, I’ve never covered any of his songs. It is an excellent idea, I’d love to do it, and I think it would really sound great. He is one of the greatest songwriters I know, and he was a major influence at some stage. His voice, songs and universe… Nick Cave is really someone important.

 

Since you like literature and poetry, have you read his novel “And the ass saw the angel”?

I have, of course. It’s an excellent book.

 

Is there one song in particular that you would’ve loved to write? One ultimate, perfect song? The song that you wish you could have created?  

Once again, there are many, many of them. There are so many wonderful songs. Quite often, as I’m listening to one of those magnificent songs, I happen to think: “I wish I could’ve written such a great song”. Very often.

 

Speaking of covers again, we all remember the 2 songs you recorded in 1997 with Bertrand Cantat, who was a friend of yours (editor’s note: 16HP and Noir Désir toured together in France after the release of Low Estate, and those who were there will not forget it anytime soon). There was a powerful cover of the Gun Club’s “Fire Spirit”, and a magnificent version of Leonard Cohen’s “Partisan”. I’d like to ask you a rather personal question: how did react when you heard of the tragedy that happened in Vilnius? [Translator’s note: Bertrand Cantat, responsible for the death of his girlfriend, was sentenced to 8 yeas in prison in Vilnius]

I was very sad, utterly shocked and upset (very long pause)… I appreciated the man a lot; I have unbelievable memories with him, especially of our French tour in 1997, but also of the time when he came to the USA to record with us, etc. He is a good, intelligent person. We spent wonderful times together, and I like him very much, and when I heard what happened, I was first immensely shocked, and then I felt extremely sad for all the people involved, families and friends. From the bottom of my heart, I wish them all the best for the future.

 

After over 10 years of touring, is there a particular memory, concert or event that struck you more than any other?

No, there isn’t one in particular, but rather a lot of beautiful encounters, memorable place and sensations. For example, I can’t think of any particular concert that would’ve been our best. Sometimes, we played incredible shows in tiny venues in front of 10 people, and awful concerts in front of thousands. So there’s no rule about live shows, except that we always try to give our very best. I tend to think more in terms of special moments, moments that stood out for one reason or another. For example, last year we played in Portugal (editor’s note: on August 18th 2005, in Paredes de Coura) for the first time in our lives. I have wonderful memories of the whole day, the concert, atmosphere, smells and the sky… It was really a beautiful, great moment, and a great experience. Our first concert in Budapest, a few days earlier (editor’s note: an amazing concert at the Sziget festival on August 15th 2005 precisely) was fantastic as well. I was sincerely happy to play there and meet people. I love touring everywhere in the world, and I love playing my music for everybody. Actually, I think that somehow, places, encounters and experiences, all these things are just as important to me personally as the concerts themselves. You know, you just can’t predict how a concert will go; it’s impossible. So many elements come into play when you perform on stage. All we know is that every night, we play each concert with the same attitude and the same desire to give our best, whether in front of 20 people or 10 000 people. It doesn’t make a difference to us; we always give our best.

 

Don’t you have a favourite country?

No, I don’t really have a favourite country. I love travelling, discovering, being surprised and amazed. Tonight, I’m really happy to be in Brussels, I have a lot of friends in Belgium, especially thanks to the “Blush/Ultima Vez” experience. This country has always been important to me, since the days of 16HP.

 

Do you prefer playing in big venues, like tonight in Belgium, or in small clubs, as you did in Switzerland a few days ago?

I like all situations, I don’t have a preference. Music is what matters, and the passion you put into it, not the size of the place where you perform, or the amount of people there. I go and play where the Lord guides me, and I play for Him.

 

Do you have problems to play in France? I remember that in the first few years with 16HP, you did many long tours of France (editor’s note: among others, they had a “residency” in the Chesterfield Café in 1997, gave many concerts in the following 2 years, and played a superb, massive tour in 2000/2001) but now, with Woven Hand, things seem much more complicated. Excluding 2 dates with Ultima Vez/Blush in Rouen in 2004, you only played in France 3 times in the last few years: 2 concerts in Paris, one in 2002 and the other in 2004, and a festival in Cluses (Musiques en Stock) last summer. Compared to the Secret South tour in 2000/2001, during which you played over 15 dates in France, there is a huge discrepancy. Why is that? Moreover, you still tour a lot in some countries, like Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany or Northern Europe in general. On this tour, you even have a date in Russia, where you’d never played before (editor’s note: which took place on December 9th 2006. That concert was absolutely stunning and unique, it was probably one of DEE’s most intense concert, and he seemed genuinely delighted to play there at last), but there’s nothing in France.

Even if we toured a lot in France, and sometimes in front of very big crowds, you have to know that it’s always been a difficult country for us. Financially, it was already difficult with 16HP, and it’s now worse with Woven Hand. Of course, I’d love to play again in France, and of course, I’d like to play throughout the country again, in Paris but also everywhere else, like we did with Noir Désir, and even more during the “Secret South” tour, during which we played many concerts in many different cities (editor’s note: they had played in Brest, Evreux, Paris, Bordeaux, Lyons, Ris-Orangis, Carhaix, Bayonne, Clergoux, Lille, Toulouse, Clermont-Ferrand, Strasbourg, Herbère-Poche, etc), but for now, it is really impossible. Even playing in Paris is becoming increasingly difficult (editor’s note: that was before the multiple dates scheduled for mid-June).

 

What if you hadn’t been able to make a living out of your music, if you hadn’t been able to feed and support your family thanks to your songs? What other trade would or could you have chosen?

Without a doubt, I would have continued to work as a carpenter, a cabinet-maker. You know, that’s what I used to do before I could live on my music, I used to work with wood. Actually, when I’m home, I still build a whole lot of things out of wood, furniture for the house or the garden. I only do that for my own pleasure now, but I would have kept that trade if I hadn’t been able to make a living with 16HP’s music.

 

What do you think of religion nowadays? Do you make a difference between religious organisations, the Church in the official meaning of the term, and Faith itself?

You know, I’m not really connected with the Church in the official sense. I’m not interested in that. I’m a Protestant, and I go to church every Sunday when I’m home. I love singing for my Lord, He represents everything for me, but I’m very weary of the masses. Everywhere, including within the Church, there is so much corruption, for the sake of money, power, fame, and none of this has anything to do with faith. But this isn’t new; it’s been there since the beginning, it’s been there for ever, everywhere. I am a believer, profoundly so. But somehow, this is very personal, and doesn’t have anything to do with the masses. So yes, of course, I do make a difference between the official institution (the Church) and Faith, MY faith. I believe in Christ, in what He did for me, and the suffering He went through for us. Christ dominates my everyday life, and he is the centre of my life as a Christian.   

 

Before we finish, I have 2 rather funny questions. Last time we met, you told me that you had a recurring nightmare on tour: you dreamt that the audience hated your concert and started a riot before your eyes and destroyed everything; and it all ended tragically. Do you still have that nightmare?

Ah, no, I’m doing much better now, thank God. But it’s true that this nightmare used to haunt me for a while; it was horrible, especially on tour. It’s much better now, and I haven’t had that dream for a while.

 

A few days ago, on the German radio, you said that you were a fan of Motörhead and AC/DC. So when can we expect a cover of “Ace of Spades” or “Down payment blues”?

(laughing)… Yes, why not? Actually, that’s the music that I used to listen to all the time when I was younger, and I still like it a lot today, especially Motörhead. I have to say that I love heavy music, but simple, straightforward heavy music, in-your-face music without all the fuss, and definitely not all those bands who play tons of guitar solos with 1000 notes a second, their technical demonstrations and all the poses… (laughing)… No way! I love big heavy rock music when it’s plain, serious and straightforward. Motörhead is rock & roll! When I feel like listening to real big fat rock & roll, I play Motörhead. 

 

 

At 9pm, Woven Hand comes on stage, and for 90 minutes, their intensity, and least of all, DEE’s, will not flag. Their performance is astonishing, outstanding, luminous, haunted, diabolic and angelic, and it’s impossible to put words on it. You had to be there, and see it with your own eyes. A Woven Hand concert belongs more to the realm of experience; it’s much more than a mere “regular” concert. Tonight, in particular, the band are in top form, and decided to play loud and strong, and their sound is more intense and energetic than usual. Indeed, we’d hardly ever seen (if at all) David and Ordy (we have to repeat it: what an amazing drummer!) play with such controlled power and dangerous intensity. That night, the audience was purely and genuinely thunderstruck; it was one of those nights that you remember for the rest of your life. Die-hard fans might regret the fact that Woven Hand didn’t play many songs from their first, eponymous album, but honestly, who could have any complaints after such a dazzling performance? As they opened the concert with the brand new song that they played during sound check, “Signs of the Zodiac”, you could see dismay and bafflement in the eyes of the front row fans. It is quite a challenge to open the most important concert of their tour directly with a brand new song. But Woven Hand does live up to the challenge, brilliantly so. Once again, let’s stress the fact that this song is splendid, and David’s vocal performance is breathtaking. After such a great surprise in the beginning of the set, the band strikes back and delivers “Winter Shaker” (with a powerful drum intro)/”The Speaking Hands”/”Elktooth” in succession, with relenting intensity. They’re not merely playing anymore: they’re burning up, and those 3 songs set the tone right away: this will be very big and very heavy. The versions they play are mind-blowing. After a more intimate “Chest of Drawers”, which adds a touch of softness to the concert, their sound becomes heavy again, with staggering versions of “Sparrow Falls”, “Dirty Blue”, “Full Armour”, “White Bird”, “Deerskin Doll”, etc. We saw them more than 50 times over the last 10 years, and we’d never seen David play like that! On “Whistling Girl” (and its bewitching vocal introduction, which was one of the most striking moments of the show) and “Phyllis Ann”, David uses his wooden banjo, a very rare vintage piece from 1887, and totally captivates the audience, before hitting the nail on the head with the most powerful song of the show, “Tin Finger” (coupled with an a cappella version of “Down in Yon Forest”), ending with terrific guitar feedback. Afterwards, David comes back on his own for the encore, and plays a magical version of “Black Soul Choir”, lasting almost 10 minutes, with many lyrical improvisations and beautiful new lines. It is an unforgettable moment. Eventually, Ordy, Pascal and Peter join David on stage and end the set with “Your Russia”, which delivers the last blow to the already awestruck audience. It was nothing short of a magic evening.


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