“The problem is that school heavily limits the time to do that naturally. Also the environment can be very, very nasty; I’ll have some young fellas come up and take the piss out of the music from time to time, which can be a little unsettling.”
Cast your mind back to the early years of adulthood, with adolescent strife jostling with the existential dread that welcomes the beginning of the end of your life. Couple that with the impending doom of a Leaving Certificate.
It was a time of upheaval.
Now imagine going through all of that while balancing a burgeoning career as one of Ireland’s most talented music producers. This is currently where Marcus Woods finds himself.
Woods is 18 years of age, yet he has already established himself as one of Ireland’s foremost musical artists. He’s received high praise from some of the country’s most respected platforms, had wide-spread radio play, sold out his first headline show and co-signs from Irish music veterans.
Having put out his first EP ‘Shibui’ on the day of his 18th birthday, followed by a summer of playing shows as a solo act and as the DJ for the extremely handsome and talented Drimnagh rapper Sean ‘FYNCH’ Meehan [see article’s author], Woods jus dropped his first full-length, entitled ‘Demo’, this month.
With such a busy beginning to adulthood, Marcus Woods has been setting the foundation for a lengthy career and now that it’s October ‘it all makes sense’. Click here to find out how you can be at the official launch party of ‘Demo’ on Friday November 2 (free entry).
‘Demo’ comes only five months after your previous release ‘Shibui’, was it always the plan to have a quick turnaround between releases?
Well, ‘Demo’ has been in the works for roughly nine to 12 months, with a lot of changes and drafts involved. I felt ‘Shibui’ was something I crafted in the middle of that, but looking back now, I’m more than eager to release ‘Demo’, especially soon after ‘Shibui’. I felt I was losing originality and a drive to produce when it came to the lo-fi sound on ‘Shibui’, so to be able to make these crazy, new, original sounds on ‘Demo’, and to drop so soon after my last, is amazing, but it wasn’t a set plan. I let production come naturally to me, and it just so happened that over the last five to eight months, the workflow was there; hence the soon, but not deliberate, release.
There’s such a sonic change for you on ‘Demo’. What was the inspiration behind that?
It was really just me being my biggest critic. I wanted to start making music that people would be able to associate with me; I don’t have a tag, and a lot of producers make lo-fi, hence it’s difficult to distinguish my production from another’s. With ‘Demo’ the inspiration was pretty much fusing ambient works and soundscape-inspired sounds from the likes of William Basinski, How To Disappear Completely and C418, with experimental and trap-influenced elements. I want people to listen to this and say, ‘This is definitely some Marcus Woods production’. That’s something I felt I lacked with my old sound.
Does being in sixth year of secondary school allow you to flourish in your artistry as much as you would have liked?
It’s not easy at all. A lack of time and the environment are a huge pain. I’ve said that production comes naturally and organically to me, I won’t sit and make five to ten beats a day; if I want to make a track, I will, if not, I’ll just sleep or go grab some food and come back. The problem is that school heavily limits the time to do that naturally. Also the environment can be very, very nasty; I’ll have some young fellas come up and take the piss out of the music from time to time, which can be a little unsettling. I’ve been so used to hanging with a more mature group of people over the summer, guys in college and other music mates, going back to school deters me a little bit, but I’ve only got until June left, so I’m not too worried.
You’ve been earmarked for your wild energy when DJing, is that something that comes naturally to you?
I want to give a crowd the rawest energy I can, so that they don’t have to use their phone and can live it in the moment! Anomaly in Waterford back in August was a prime example of how 200 to 300 young people were packed into a venue and every single one was going crazy during my set for an hour; crowd surfing, mosh pits, climbing on speakers, it was madness, and I was extremely grateful to have had that. I’d say it definitely comes natural to me. Being at so many crazy live shows in my life like Travis Scott, Death Grips, N.E.R.D, Mango X MathMan, that’s really allowed me to take that energy on and give it to a crowd during a set.
What image are you trying to cultivate with ‘Demo’?
I’m pretty much trying to give the image of ‘I am Marcus Woods, this is a demo of what I’ve been working on over the last year, if you like it, I have so much more coming’.
It’s testing out new sounds and ideas, but not going too avant-garde with it. This is a taster for people and an opportunity to establish my style of production.
What would you consider to be a successful reception of ‘Demo’?
To be honest, somebody listening to the project in its entirety and giving constructive feedback, positive or negative, would be a successful reception. Of course, I want the project to get me out there and attract more fans, but to get a critical response would be ideal. I’d rather somebody listens to the project in its entirety and tell me things I could improve or praise it, rather than somebody check the first two tracks and skim through the next 10 and tell me it’s amazing.
Listen to the album in its entirety more than once, then give me a response, I’d appreciate that a lot.
With ‘Demo’ and ‘Shibui’ being instrumental, is there any prospect of a Marcus Woods-led collaborative project in the future?
Definitely, I just want to find the right artist to do it with. I’d love to make something with one specific artist as the producer rather than make a project with several artists like a DJ Khaled kinda thing. I’m working with some artists at the moment on some singles and hits of their own, a full led collaborative project might happen with a solo artist soon, probably in 2019.
You have a close relationship with MathMan, how important has he been in your development as a producer and artist?
Adam has been a huge catalyst for me, he’s mentored me from day dot and I can’t express how much he’s helped me on my path. He’s opened up doors for me and helped me meet people who have helped me climb the ladder in Irish music. He’s helped me develop as he’s very critical in feedback and it’s been extremely useful for me to know what to work on.
While we’re making two different sounds and genres of music, he’s still been a rock in helping me develop. He hasn’t heard the full ‘Demo’ project yet bar the single ‘Somni’, so I’m extremely excited to hear what he has to say about it.
Marcus Woods will launch ‘Demo’ with District Magazine & The Sound House this Friday November 2. Entry is free with Max Zanga of Tebi Rex, Arbu and Paye Fox on support. Click here for more.