Stick Figure's Scott Woodruff on Making "Feel-Good Music"
The crew at Propaganda better stock up on Red Stripe this week, because the reggae kids will be coming out in droves to catch local acts like Spred the Dub, RunDownTown, and Making Faces at the final installment of the club's Summer Daze series. But the special treats of the day come in the form of national acts that will put a massive exclamation point at the end of the Summer Daze experience.
The Heavy Pets, Passafire, and Stick Figure will all have their time to shine like the sun on a kiddie pool at the outside stage. Before making his first-ever trip to Lake Worth, Scott Woodruff of Stick Figure chatted with us. Currently on a summer tour with Passafire, he shared some tales from the road, his interesting style of recording, and even the skinny on the origin of the band's name.
New Times: Where are you at right now? I know you're busy on the road.
Scott Woodruff: We are in Atlanta, Georgia. We took two days off in Charleston, South Carolina. Now, we are here tonight, and then we have four shows in Florida.
Not a bad place to have a couple of days off. Did you get to see a bit of Charleston?
Yeah, it was nice. We went to the beach; then we saw two of our favorite bands, SOJA and John Brown's Body, last night.
Awesome! I know you have been on the road a lot lately. Was that a special treat to get to see the city and some bands? Are you normally pretty busy just going from place to place?
The way our tour schedule is set up is five shows in a row and then we have two days off. It's kind of like any other regular workweek, but our days off are Mondays and Tuesdays. If there is a good show and we know the band or something, we try to hit that up on our day off or just try to relax. I try to rest my voice and go to the beach. We like to change it up; sometimes we go camping. All depends on where we are.
I was reading about how you play all the instruments when you're recording the album.
It's true. Yeah, it started out as a hobby when I was a kid. All my friends that played music were kind of into metal. They never really were into reggae, and that was all I wanted to do. So I picked up one instrument at a time; it was just what I did for fun. It started in high school, and I did it in my dorm in college. Then I started making albums, and the next thing I know, it turned into a full-time job. Something I would rather do than getting a real job. And now here I am.
I linked up with a band in California a couple of years ago, and they were just kind of a local band. We were playing a couple of different bars and random venues around the San Diego area. But then last September, we decided to take it on the road. We were just thinking one tour to see what it is all about, and ever since then, we've been hooked and just doing it nonstop. It's fun.
Are there any musicians that inspire you that record in a similar way?
I grew up as a fan of Keller Williams, but he was a little different. He has a giant looping panel. So he will beat box and loop that and play bass and loop that. I always thought that would be kind of cool. I feel like I could do that, but there is something about having a live band -- the energy and the drums.
How about your songwriting process?
In general, I kind of write about what is going on in my life at the time. I try to always write positive stuff. People in general that listen to reggae want to hear positive music with good messages. But sometimes if I am having a shitty day, break up with a girlfriend or something, I will write a song about that which will relate to my life and hopefully someone else can relate to it somewhere down the line. I pretty much just write what naturally I am feeling. And try to make people feel good. Feel-good music.
Can you tell me how you came up with the band name?
It pretty much started out as just my nickname. My last name is Woodruff, and in high school, people started calling me Stick Wood or Wood Stick. Then it got shortened to Stick. And I am a skinny guy, so I think that was part of it.
Then my first year in college, I sent my music to this really popular website called the Sublime Archive. At the time, it was just instrumental tracks. They accepted my music, and I was really surprised. And they said, "What's your band name?" So I called my buddy and said, "What should I call myself?" And he said, "What about your nickname?" And I was like, "What about Stick Figure?" And he said, "Cool." So I emailed the guy back. I never thought it would be something that would last or carry over; I thought it was just for this website. I was surprised the name was never taken because it's a fairly popular phrase in the English language.
Stick Figure is opening Summer Daze Day 3, 8:30 p.m. Sunday, July 28, on the outside stage, Propaganda 6 S. J St., Lake Worth. Tickets cost $15 before 1 p.m. and $20 after. To buy tickets and for more information, visit http://propagandalw.com/events/
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