LEER Woodes
LEER, Woodes (Mads Colvin)

Artist on Artist: LEER and Woodes Chat About Their New Collaboration ‘Back to Back’

Sydney-based electronic music duo LEER have released two singles to date, but they’re having no trouble recruiting acclaimed collaborators. The duo’s latest single, ‘Back to Back’, features vocals and songwriting contributions from Melbourne-based alt-pop artist Woodes.

LEER’s Tom Haydn and Lachlan Henderson linked up with Woodes’ Elle Graham via Discord, where they bounced ideas around until ‘Back to Back’ was born. The new single follows LEER’s debut, ‘Friends’, featuring fio, which come out in May via Sweat It Out.

LEER feat. Woodes – ‘Back to Back’

Under the Woodes alias, Graham has previously collaborated with Cosmo’s Midnight, Golden Vessel and Set Mo, and recently launched the Tornado Club project in partnership The Kite String Tangle. However, ‘Back to Back’ is Woodes’ most club-oriented release to date.

Music Feeds caught up with LEER and Woodes on Zoom for a chat about their creative processes, their attitude to collaboration and their shared love for Fred again.. and James Blake.

Music Feeds: When did you last catch up?

LEER: Last time we spoke was on Discord like two months ago, I think.

Woodes: Yeah, it was cool. I hadn’t done a writing session over Discord before.

LEER: Do you usually do all of them in person?

Woodes: It changes. I used to do a lot of them in person, and then over Covid and doing lockdown in Melbourne, I got in the habit of writing five ideas for someone and then, similar to what we did, it’s like, “Here’s a bunch of ideas,” and you, as the artist who’s putting it out, you have the ability to select what you want.

I think you guys ran with that in a really interesting way. You took all of the hook bits and did a lot of really great editing.

LEER: I think the thing that stood out most about that first thing that we heard was the way that you use melodies and the way that you shape them. It’s weirdly unique, the way that you could pump them out. You managed to go through so many ideas so quickly. It was really cool to see.

Me and Tom both went through your discography, found some pretty cool stuff. The song that we wrote with you seems to be a bit on the heavier side. Is that something that’s new for you?

Woodes: Yeah, it’s new. I was wondering how my community or my fans would react to it because it is a bit more heavy. I guess I listen to a whole range of different stuff, but this is probably the heaviest I’ve gone. I wrote this pretty strong dance song with Kilter. Do you know Kilter?

LEER: Yeah, Kilter’s sick.

Woodes: It was pretty distorted. It was on his first album. And that one was pretty heavy. I got to sing that with him at Splendour and it was like I got to be some kind of alter-ego to Woodes. But this is definitely the most club, I suppose.

Kilter – ‘Waste Time’ feat. Woodes

Woodes: How come you chose to be a duo?

LEER: We’ve both been in the music scene, both had our own projects, and through Covid we just started working together and realised that every song we were making was a collab. It got to the point where we were talking to the person who’s our manager now, we just sent our stuff to him and we realised we had a demo playlist of like 40 tracks.

Woodes: I feel like being in a duo is a really sustainable approach because it’s really easy to be able to share and bounce of each other.

MF: Elle, you’ve done loads of collaborations as a guest vocalist and work as a duo with The Kite String Tangle. Have you got a particular way of approaching collaborations?

Woodes: I studied composition at university and I really like process of working out how to do different genres. Say with Set Mo, I knew that with house music you want to have some seventh chords and stuff. So I just sat down at the piano, didn’t really know that genre so much, but just was like building up a piano ballad that I would do.

Now I have a duo with The Kite String Tangle and it’s more electronic leaning, because we both love Four Tet and Burial and James Blake. I don’t necessarily get to express that with Woodes, but it’s a huge part of my musical identity.

LEER: I hear James Blake a lot in your vocals.

Woodes: He’s like my favourite ever.

LEER: The melody ideas, I think, must be coming from there somewhere.

Woodes: I love that James Blake and Sampha and Billie Eilish, it’s kind of jazz, where it’s these really expressive, interesting melodies, but put in an electronic bare space.

MF: Tom and Lachlan, are you drawing influence from a diverse bunch of artists too?

LEER: Yeah, for sure. We both have our own key influences, but I’d say at this point, the pool’s pretty big. People ranging from your typical tech-house guys like Dom Dolla then more radio house like Golden Features then you’ve got Zhu and you’ve got the other more techno stuff as well, like Fred again…

Woodes: I love Fred again… That was like my top album last year. So good.

Leer: Yeah, he’s turning into a massive inspiration as well. He’s inspiring everything that we’re writing going forward.

LEER – ‘Friends’ feat. fio

Further Reading

Tornado Club (The Kite String Tangle and Woodes) Share New Single ‘Intuition’, Announce Debut EP

Love Letter To A Record: Woodes On AURORA’s ‘All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend’

Love Letter To A Record: Alter Boy On James Blake’s ‘Overgrown’

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