Cold World Drummer Gets His Shoegaze on With Chelsea Girl
The Wilkes-Barre, Pa. native has been keeping busy on the hip-hop side of things, producing original material and remixing other artists for years now. He even got to bring the hardcore and rap worlds together with "How the Gods Chill," a fierce collaboration track they did with rapper Sean Price (Boot Camp Clik, Random Axe).
In the last few months, Woj has also been sharing new music with his friends of a solo project he's dubbed Chelsea Girl. Miles away from his work with Cold World, Chelsea Girl's sound is steeped in the shoegaze and dreampop that was coming out of England in the early '90s on labels like 4AD and Sire. We're talking about groups like Ride and Lush.
Noisecreep caught with Woj to get the lowdown on Chelsea Girl.
Anyone that is friends with you knows you're always up to something musically outside of what you do in Cold World. How did the Chelsea Girl project come about?
Well, I quit my job to tour a bit with Cold World and although I had a great time on the tour I felt an overwhelming sense of alienation towards the end. While most of my tour-mates were partying or hobnobbing with the local scenesters I found myself alone in the van listening to the Cocteau Twins on my iPod most nights. It's not like they were doing anything wrong or didn't want me around, I was just sort of in my own head. When we got home I immediately started work on Chelsea Girl.
When I work on hip-hop stuff I've always approached it '90s style using pretty much only a sampler and maybe a synth for bass lines but I recently got a MacBook so I've been fiddling with Logic. Everything was produced on there besides some stuff on Haroun and Scace from Cold World's guitar and bass that were laying around the house at the time. The way I made the songs is pretty reckless. I just knocked about some synth lines, sounds and riffs, laid them down track by track and immediately wrote the lyrics and recorded the vocals. Each Chelsea Girl song was written and recording in one day, for the most part. And as soon as I finished it, I put it online for people to check out. Afterwards, I realized I had some interest from people to release the music so I took them down and got the songs mastered from my friend Arthur from War Hungry and Pegasus.
Do you envision going out and playing shows with the project?
I didn't really think of it as a possibility but I've had interest from some friends about playing in the live version and if there's a need for it I'd certainly be open to it.
It's crazy how big Derek Miller's (ex-Poison the Well) Sleigh Bells has become. Who is to say someone else from a hardcore band can't branch out to a more indie crowd? What are your thoughts on that?
It's definitely happening more and more. Another example I can think of is Cold Cave Expressing myself musically is a priority in my life and there's an extremely narrow limit to what you can convey through hardcore music. I recently read an interview with Merchandise and it seems like they went through this same thing and their new record is all the better because of it. When you create hardcore, it's usually for a specific type of person. You assume they've studied all the intricacies of the music and it's culture but when you break free of that you can create music that can grab someone from any walk of life. It doesn't matter if they know this demo from that demo or if they know a certain style is in, a good tune is a good tune.
Do you find that a lot of people who you meet through Cold World have as wide of a musical palette as you do? I'm talking about their personal tastes.
No, I can't say that happens often but I don't expect it to. My closest personal friends don't even have my taste in music. Most boys don't find the time to study so much music because they're getting on with girls! Unfortunately for me, I was in my room learning to spin in between hardcore shows in my teenage years. You're not too concerned with what kind of jacket Ian Brown is wearing when you have a love life. Although a few kids have told me that they've been getting more into UK Funky House from my recent mixes, which is really cool. One of these kids approached me at a recent show actually. He was foreign and very excited. The girl I was with fled after his first sentence. She was unimpressed.
Tell us about this new "Dear I Fear" video that has surfaced.
I found out that a friend of mine from high school made the video for Title Fight's "Head in the Ceiling Fan" and I quite liked it, so I hit him up about doing something. I sent him the songs and he picked "Dear I Fear." He told me that the concept of the video is someone flipping through channels late at night and I'm very happy with how it came out. Shout outs to Evan Evans. He's definitely going on to do more great stuff.
What's next on the agenda for Chelsea Girl?
Parts Unknown is doing a release very soon and there's going to be a European release through a new label as well. I'd like to do one more video from these songs and then start working on new material. I did unofficial remixes of The Xx and How to Dress Well under the Chelsea Girl moniker and they've gotten a pretty decent reaction so I'll be doing more of those as well. Chelsea Girl's sound is obviously a nod to '90s shoegaze for the most part but when I do remixes under the name it's more of an old school UK Garage flavor.
Since I have you here, what is the status on Cold World? Can we expect a new album in 2013 and will it be on Deathwish Inc?
Yes and yes! The new album is around 90% finished and ready to go. Deathwish has been amazing to us and I'm really happy with the material on this LP.
Get more information on the Chelsea Girl Facebook page.