Interview: Woodes

She can do pretty much anything.

Elle Graham from Woodes is our new favourite up-and-comer. Originally from Townsville, Elle writes, sings and produces her own music. She also models and creates soundtracks for fashion films. She’s recently released Woodes x Elkkle, a collab EP with her schoolmate, Callum J. Baker (Elkkle). We chatted to Elle about her lush sound, women in the music industry and how she tried to give her demo to FKA twigs.

How did you get into music?

My parents really wanted me to play an instrument through primary school so I started playing piano when I was eight. I got into orchestral percussion and I also did classical voice. My family’s really musical. My dad plays guitar and banjo and my mum plays the French horn. She can sing too.

How did you meet Elkkle?

I studied Interactive Composition at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA). You have to write music and include another element such as a film clip or a dance. He’s a year below me but we did classes together. I gave him samples of me singing acapella and he layered it and turned it into the song, ‘Too Late For Neverminds’.

How did the Woodes x Elkkle collab come about?

Callum has a shipping container studio at Phillip Island on his parents’ property, so we set aside five days and wrote the four songs on the EP. We just wanted to see what would happen if we sat down for a weekend and wrote together. We really wanted to give the demos to FKA twigs. We had tickets to her show this year and we waited in a laneway for a really long time but I think she was unwell so we just gave it to her management.

How does your music distinguish from Elkkle’s?

We’re really different. I like harmonies, atmospheres and creating soundscapes but Callum can do a whole range of things. He can be really abrasive and do hip-hop and trap.

You performed at a LISTEN event called This Girl, which had an all-female line-up. How do you feel about women in the music industry?

It’s really strange how weighted the industry is but I feel like it’s changing. I’m definitely into doing my own production because there aren’t that many females who do studio engineering.

Apparently you write music to accompany your modelling work?

Yeah, I just finished a piece for Elle Croatia and I did a few behind the scenes soundtracks for Mercedes when I was overseas. Every time I’m on a shoot, I talk to the creative team and see what projects they’re working on. It’s really nice to tie music and fashion together.

Favourite designers?

I love Nique, Claude Maus, Alexander McQueen, Dion Lee, Zimmermann and Scanlan & Theodore.

Musical influences?

I grew up watching The O.C. so I got into Sufjan Stevens, Imogen Heap and Death Cab for Cutie early on. Alexandra Patsavas did all the music supervision for The O.C. and she’s always been an idol of mine. I also love James Blake and FKA twigs. I really like the whole bedroom self-producer vibe as well.

You were recently in New York. What did you get up to?

I wrote music for a producer duo in Long Island and another producer who works in Brooklyn. I also wrote a really nice one for myself that I might include on a Woodes EP. My mum is American and she’s one of seven so I went to a big family reunion there. I also went to art galleries, visited Central Park because it’s summer, and caught the cast and crew of Girls filming in Long Island!

Why the name Woodes?

It took me a while to decide on a name. For me, Woodes has a strength to it.

Woodes is performing and curating her own installation at Melbourne Music Week on November 17.



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