Up-and-coming Madison-based band Woodrow is quickly gaining popularity. The band is already beloved by the community and was recently voted Madison’s ‘Best New Band’ by Isthmus readers. They just released their second EP “José,” an exploration in the territory between modern rock, catchy sing-along pop and Americana folk tunes. Woodrow consists of Connor Brennan as the band’s lead and song writer, Kevin Gale on keys, Marc Brousseau as guitarist, Connor Peterson on drums and Nate Klopotic on bass. The Badger Herald got a chance to catch up with the band to talk about the new EP and being a local Madison band.
The following interview was edited for style and clarity.
The Badger Herald: You just got ‘Best New Band’ from the Isthmus, that’s pretty exciting right?
Connor Brennan: Yeah so that was super exciting. Basically our drummer just out of nowhere a month or two ago saw that the Isthmus was doing a contest — I never even heard of it before. And he was like, ‘Hey! The deadline is in three days, we should tell people to vote for us.’
And then it was super cool, we told our friends, told our families and just got a lot of people to support us. We really didn’t think we were going to get it, especially when we didn’t hear from the Isthmus at all. And then we went on a hunt around the entire city trying to find articles from the Isthmus that day, and finally one of the members found it and texted in the group chat and we were ‘Aw! We did it!’ You know, it was really, really exciting
BH: How did you guys all meet?
CB: That’s a good question. We all came together in different ways. Basically, originally our guitarist Marc — he and I were actually roommates randomly, kind of, through Craigslist. And then I saw him playing guitar in our living room one day and I was like ‘Holy crap, you play guitar?’ and then I kind of just enlisted him into all of my musical endeavors from then on. So that started a couple years ago.
And then I met Nate who plays bass and our drummer whose name is also Connor through mutual friends that were all in the UW marching band. My friend kind of put the word out that I was trying to form a band and asked Nate and Connor if they wanted to jam and make a band.
Yeah, and finally Kevin Gale is the newest edition. He just joined about four months ago. He and I both played pianos together at the Ivory Room.
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BH: When did you form this band?
CB: Woodrow is still less than a year old. We’ll reach a year at the end of October.
BH: The new EP that you just put out, what was the process like in creating it? How was it different from your previous work?
Nate Klopotic: It kind of came up suddenly. Correct me if I’m wrong, guys. But it was the middle of summer and we had all these songs, we had this nice EP lined up. We were trying to decide what we wanted to do and we really wanted to record it soon and we were like, let’s throw it together.
“José” definitely has different vibes to it. For me, “José” was my first recording experience so that was pretty exciting. This time, I knew what I was doing more, and the songs have more edge. It’s a little more pop. There’s a little more electronic style, to me at least. It was really fun to experiment around.
BH: What is it like being a local band in Madison?
CB: It’s been interesting because this is my first time ever being, and for a lot of us, our first time being in a band, our first venture into the world of local music. So at first it was really difficult trying to figure out how to break into the scene and find places to play. Our first three shows were in my basement because we didn’t know where to play so we just set up stuff in my basement, invited our friends over and made them watch us. It kind of grew from there.
BH: It’s interesting because it seems as though the community is supportive from the Isthmus article, but you don’t know how many and how well people are receiving it.
CB: True. And I’ll tell you our biggest challenge has been how to navigate being a band… you know we’re taking it upon ourselves all of the graphic designing, the website, the facebook; there’s just so many different facets of becoming a band. But what we’re seeing is people are starting to book us. But it’s a lot of work to market the band.
BH: Definitely. Do you guys have any particular audience that you are trying to reach with your music? And any particular message that you’re looking to get across and looking for people to take from listening to your songs?
CB: The nice thing about the music is that it’s very sing along. It’s very catchy and they are very creative lyrics. And that can be for anyone. We’re not a hard rock band or a jazz band. Catchy lyrics and sing along songs can be for anybody. Anybody and everybody. Whoever will listen.