Interview: The Hundred Acre Woods

Interviews / December 16, 2013

We recently had the chance to reach out and pick the brains of the guys in The Hundred Acre Woods, a folk-punk band hailing from Philadelphia. They’re getting ready to release their first 7” EP on Lame-O Records (Modern Baseball, Ma Jolie), titled “Cold in the Morning,on January 14th. Pre-orders are live at the Lame-O webstore, both as a standalone purchase on randomly-colored vinyl, as well as a bundle package, which includes a limited-edition T-shirt.

Before you dive into our chat, though, be sure to check out the EP’s announcement video, which we’re premiering.

Nearly every one of your earlier releases sports a definite Americana or folk feel. And in a scene dominated by the resurgence of pop-punk and often times, cookie-cutter metalcore, what exactly causes a group of young dudes to mark their territory with a genre not regularly associated with house shows and VFW halls?

Zack Reinhardt: I think Winthrop and myself have definitely been huge proponents of doing our own thing since we started THAW, but nevertheless, the proximity of us in relation to other Philly bands has definitely rubbed off on our more recent releases, as seen with our Modern Baseball split and the upcoming 7”, Cold In The Morning. When we started the band, we had a pretty good idea that we were a folk band, but it has definitely branched out in the past few years.

Winthrop Stevens: Zack and I both have family ties to West Virginia and Appalachia and that definitely influenced our songwriting starting out. A lot of my cousins from that area are bluegrass players so that was always something I was exposed to growing up, so I guess it just feels very personal to me. While we’ve strayed more into the punk direction, I feel like that personal quality is still something we try to emphasize in our music. Banjo!

Cold In The Morning seems like a definite progression from what listeners were treated to with the two tracks on your Modern Baseball split. What was the writing process like this time around? Was it as organic as the finished product sounds?

Pat Loundas: Our tracks on the Modern Baseball split and Cold In The Morning were born out of the same sessions so they will definitely have a similar vibe, although “All I Love” was the outlier of those tunes. This was the first time that we wrote the songs from start to finish as a group, rather than one person bringing a finished song to the table and I certainly prefer working this way!

Stevens: I totally agree. I think that there’s something great about getting into a room with your best friends with skeletons of songs, and molding them into something concrete. I feel as if I wouldn’t have taken some of the songs in the way that we did if I had just been writing them myself. I think feeding off of people you really relate to in the writing stage adds such a dynamic to your work.

Kooger: #michellekwan

You’ve recently announced a set of winter tour dates, as well, in support of the EP. Will you guys be hitting on all three of those tracks and do you have any older material that you especially enjoy playing? Any surprises in store for the audience, or is that a THAW Trade Secret?

Reinhardt: We’ll definitely be playing the songs off the EP, as well as the usual catalogue, but we’ve also been working out some new jams.

Loundas: We’ve been rotating those songs into our live set since the spring so I’m sure people who have seen us a few times will recognize some of ‘em! We’re also gonna try to revamp some older tunes for the LP which may make an appearance on this run. That part is a secret though 😉

Stevens: We’ve all been toying around with the idea of learning a cover or two and it’s going to be rad! #teenangsttour

Kooger: #buttworld

Reinhardt: #ironmaidenbaby

At Modern Vinyl, we’re all about the vinyl format and the labels that put it out. Eric and Emily of Lame-O are definitely some of the good people within the business, despite their imprint being quite young. What’s it been like working with them?

Loundas: Working with Lame-O is a dream! Eric and Emily are super cool, professional and definitely have their priorities straight when it comes to helping bands. They’ve done a lot for us already (including this interview hehe) and I know that train will keep on rolling. AND I can’t think of the last time I had a meeting with Eric that did not also involve drinking craft beer. Beer is great.

Stevens: Yeah, Eric and Emily are the absolute best. It’s great working with talented people, but when they are your friends in the first place it feels so natural. Thanks guise!!!

Reinhardt: <3 <3 <3

Furthermore, what can we expect for the physical release of the EP? I know you hand-packaged your self-titled EP in really nice cardboard CD and cassette sleeves, and this year’s split had some killer artwork and variant options. Are there more adventures to be seen with 2014’s output?

Loundas: I am so stoked to hold and see and smell the jackets IRL. We already have colors in mind for a second press, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it haha.

Reinhardt: Yeah, we’ve got another cool/kinda goofy idea for a lil secret surprise for some of the 7 inches, but you’ll just have to buy one to see!

And I have to say, the artwork for “Cold In The Morning” is certainly eye-catching. Was that contributed by an additional artist and what was the thought process behind it?

Reinhardt: I had reached out to a friend of mine, Lynda Lucas, who does graphic design work through a little company called CCOOLL that she and a friend of her’s run out of San Francisco. I gave her the tracks from the record and a general idea of the aesthetic we were looking for and she just ran with it. The art we went with was one of the first things she showed us and we all really dug it.

I also noticed that you’re taking part in the Wax Packs 7” releases, something we’re pretty excited about over at Modern Vinyl. How did you initially get hooked up with Secret Audio Club and what can we expect from your offering?

Loundas: Kyle from Secret Audio Club found us on AbsolutePunk on the day we released our split with Modern Baseball. He has a soft spot for banjo and shot us an email; five minutes later we were on the phone and talked for over an hour discussing the Wax Packs series and got really stoked about it! We already had started on our new take of “Pipebomb” and we figured that would be a great way to release that recording. The dudes at Secret Audio Club rule and Wax Packs is a great series that everyone should check out!

Are we going to be treated to a full-length offering from the band next year, as well? I know I’ll be itching for it.

Loundas: That’s the plan! We’ve been individually working on new tunes for the last few months and are gonna work our asses off this winter to write and record a full length that will hopefully be ready by next summer.

Stevens: The most recent songs on Cold In The Morning and the Modern Baseball split are definitely a lot louder in contrast to some of our earlier releases, and I’m really excited to continue developing that with this next full length!

And finally, we always like to ask about personal record collections. Do any of the members of the band have one? If so, who’s the most passionate collector?

Reinhardt: We’re all pretty avid collectors I’d say. Besides basic living expenses, I think records are probably the thing I spend a majority of my money on (that or bike stuff), haha. Most recently, I just got the Alex G/R.L. Kelly split in the mail, as well as Tawny Peaks’ LP. I’ve got a few gems on my Christmas list too (Porches. – Slow Dance In The Cosmos, Listener – Time Is A Machine).

Loundas: For a while, Koog and I only had one working receiver so we combined our record collections and had a few shelves filled with records. We also buy records from almost every band that comes through our house (Moonbase Nix) so that has definitely fattened up our stash. I’m waiting on a ton of records right now that I’m stoked for, including Toe’s discography, Hymn For The Greatest Generation by Caspian, Killing Thing’s Closed Casket 7”, Summer Death by Marietta, to name a few.

Will Davis: In college I used to collect records much more avidly, I still appreciate my own collection and try and nab a 7” or a full length from a band every now and then. Recently, I grabbed the new Saintseneca 7” as well as some older Flaming Lips records.

Modern Vinyl would like to give a huge thanks to The Hundred Acre Woods for this interview. Be sure to check out the band’s previous releases over on their Bandcamp. “Cold in the Morning” is slated to be released January 14th on Lame-O Records. Don’t be shy, pick it up!

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James Cassar
James Cassar is Modern Vinyl's Managing News Editor and a co-host of The Modern Vinyl Podcast. He is also an artist manager, co-owner of the record label Near Mint, and can be found in bed before 9 p.m. James lives in Philadelphia and no, he won't check out your band if you add him on Facebook.

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