Exposure: Woodenbox With a Fistful of Fivers
- David Pollock
- 16 December 2008
Woodenbox with a Fistful of Fivers - My Mule (live at the BBC)
Blessed/cursed with one of the most distinctive names in Scottish music, folk-rock sextet WWAFOF are also a truly nationwide band. The group consist of Ali Downer (singer and guitarist; from Edinburgh, lives in Glasgow), Nick Dudman (drummer; from Newcastle, Australia, lives in Edinburgh), Fraser McKirdy (bassist, from Edinburgh, lives in Glasgow) and Jordan Croan (guitarist; from Edinburgh and still lives there). They’re also abetted by saxophonist Sam Evans (from Edinburgh, still lives there) and trumpet player Phil Carswell (from Fort William, lives in Glasgow). All clear? Good. Here’s more from Downer.
How did you all meet each other?
Nick and I played around Edinburgh as a duo called Gatsby, and then The Cigarettes, around 2005. I met Fraser when we were both at Stow College, and he used to be in a band with Jordan. They were called The Common Redstarts, and Parka before that - but not the Parka from Glasgow who were signed recently. Sam’s my brother-in-law, he’s helped me with recording stuff for a while now. And Phil I just met around Glasgow, because he’s such a well respected trumpet player. He plays with Orchestra Del Sol, and others.
And how did the band start?
Woodenbox was originally my acoustic side project, and then slowly the others started playing the live shows with me and making it a bit more raucous. After a while of doing it on my own, I also realised that the folkier stuff I was writing was better than the indie music I’d made before, and that the people coming to the gigs seemed a lot more interested too.
Who was influencing you at the time you started doing this?
I was listening to a lot of King Creosote and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy. I liked that, the idea of having your wee nickname and going about as a kind of underground folk guy, although obviously they both popped their heads out into the mainstream. They both made that Scottish folk sound seem cool to me, though, and then having the band around me just added that extra element of camaraderie.
Where did the name come from?
Well, Woodenbox was the original acoustic thing I was doing, and the rest was a kind of tongue in cheek reference to A Fistful of Dollars, because I liked Ennio Morricone’s music from the Sergio Leone films. So it started out that Woodenbox was me, the leader, and the band were A Fistful of Fivers, although it’s just a collective name for all of us now.
Didn’t you play T-Break this year?
Yeah, but we had a disastrous gig at Tut’s and didn’t make it to T in the Park. My guitar string snapped on the third song and I think we messed it up a bit, but I guess it’s all good experience. We played the Liquid Room during the Edge festival in August, though, and played the YourSound stage at Hydro Connect. We also brought out our own self-released single ‘Twisted Mile’, and we’ve just been signed by Electric Honey to put out another single next year.
Nice’n’Sleazy, Glasgow, Thu 18 Dec; Captain’s Rest, Glasgow, Wed 31 Dec; The Mill at Oran Mor, Glasgow, Wed 14 Jan; The Mill at the Caves, Edinburgh, Thu 15 Jan.