Music Profile | Woolworm

Subconsciousness fucks us up, and most of the time we don't really know why. It could be that nightmare where you're falling off a cliffside into a pile of jagged rocks, or maybe the one where your molars start crumbling for no apparent reason in the middle of a speech. You wake up and everything's fine, but you're still haunted by the thought. Panicked, even. For Woolworm member Nick Tolliday, hell is the recurring dream where he's not their drummer anymore.

"Have I ever told you I have a dream where I get kicked out of the band?" he asks of bassist Heather Black, while the pair--as well as the four-stringer's pint-sized pup, Nigel--sit outside a Vancouver coffee shop to discuss their new full-length, Deserve to Die. "I realize somehow that there's a show, or a tour, and I just haven't been told; I'm not there. I don't get angry, I just get really sad. I'm just aware that the show is going on while I'm sitting in my apartment crying, or something."

Mind you, the quartet--rounded out by guitarist/vocalist Giles Roy and guitarist Alex Pomeroy--are tighter than ever, at this particular moment just days ahead of their August 24th record release party in Vancouver and a Canadian tour. Following 2015's four song crunch-pop EP Everything Seems Obvious and the surprisingly throat-stomping, two-song Vampirism, Woolworm's latest presents a perfect blend of their indie rock and hardcore influences. It's taken more than ten years and a couple different projects to get to this point. Oddly enough, it's a path arguably kickstarted by the time Tolliday treated his bandmates like a "fucking prick."

"This band that Alex and Giles and I [were in] when we were just out of high school, I can't remember exactly what happened but I had some blow-up at practice in Giles' basement and hucked a drum stick across the room and walked out," Tolliday recalls with a laugh, revealing that the hot-tempered incident led to a six-month time-out between the friends. This led to Roy and Pomeroy founding Woolworm, which Tolliday wouldn't join until 2013. "I still feel a lot of regret about that moment."

"I think all four of us deal with guilt and shame," Black continues before volleying in a positive twist. "When we're together it goes away. We've been making music together for so long now that it's comfortable to be around the guys. There's no judgment."

But fittingly enough for an album titled Deserve to Die, Woolworm's latest is often lyrically bleak. Black notes that the record was recorded while its members were individually dealing with "break ups [and] lost friendships". "All of that hectic chaos, I hear it in the record," she explains.

While Roy gives up a geeky but tuneful exclamation of "holy moly!" on the first line of "Catbird," a Weezer-esque waltz, the narrative quickly shifts from bright-eyed curiosity towards shrugged-shoulder apathy  ("got stoned/walked home"). The chunky, post-hardcore groove of "Unwise" has the frontman nihilistically crooning, "I don't really care what tomorrow brings" before unfurling a phlegmy scream; the dramatically distorted title track keeps up the pace with the singer's defeated "so long to feeling good." It can be a downer, but channeling dread together for so long ultimately raises the spirits of Woolworm's members. At least, that is, until they fall asleep.

"It's the stabilizing factor in our lives," Tolliday states matter-of-factly. "If I didn't have this to do I'd be a lot more miserable."

Woolworm are currently on a Canadian tour and play Claude’s House in Moncton tomorrow night, September 12th. You can see the full tour schedule here.

Photo: Kate Forbert

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