Today on The Diversity of Classic Rock, we are lucky to have a Manchester based folk singer-songwriter named Toria Wooff on the blog. I’ve been following her on Instagram for a while and she recently released an EP called Badlands. The EP has caught the attention of Vents Magazine, BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Radio Ulster, and Twisted Hand Music. The album artwork is stunning, done by Australian artist Harley & J, well known for their 70s, psychedelic, and zodiac inspired art.
If you want to learn more about Toria, keep on reading!
Angie Moon: How would you describe yourself and your music?
Toria Wooff: I would describe myself as folk. I take a lot of inspiration from many different things: gothic literature, paintings, my synesthesia etc. and so it’s hard to really pinpoint how I sound to myself but folk seems to encompass it all. I also love to tell stories, murder ballads etc.
AM: How did you get into folk music?
TW: I grew up loving classic rock and Led Zeppelin quickly became of huge importance to me. All I wanted to be was Jimmy Page, but couldn’t really get the hang of playing anywhere near his style, I thought until I heard Led Zeppelin 3.
I think, because of finding these songs (like That’s The Way) easier to play on my acoustic, I fell in love with this side of Zeppelin. I then obviously found my way from there into Fairport Convention and such.
AM: Which musicians are your biggest inspirations?
TW: Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, and Alice Cooper.
AM: What was recording Badlands like?
TW: I recorded at Sloe Flower Studios with James Wyatt- who I actually met on Tinder! He understood my ramblings about colours and feelings and managed to get all my crazy thoughts into some kind of form. I loved working on this EP, it was my first real experience of recording professionally and I think we are a pretty good team!
AM: What are the songs on the EP about?
TW: ‘Cases’ is about how everything inevitably goes wrong. I can be quite cynical with my songwriting!
‘For Liam’ is a track I began writing for a collaboration I was going to do with a dear friend but on completion I found it to be too personal to share and instead named it after him. The song is about going on a physical or metaphorical journey with someone only for them to decide half way around the world that they don’t want to be there anymore and that you should probably get on home.
‘Collision Course’ is a song about quitting a job, which I once thought was my dream.
‘Smoke’ is about realising that you’re not a kid anymore and coming to terms with that.
AM: What have you been listening to lately?
TW: Everything. I am guilty for sticking on the same albums for years. I think that comes with the territory of being heavily into music from 60s/70s- sometimes you can get lost in that era and not want to come out of the other side.
I have recently been introduced to Jason Isbell, however! I am obsessed (and fancy his pants off.)
AM: What is the music scene like in Manchester?
TW: It’s incredible! I’ve been playing here for maybe 3 years and I’ve managed to meet some incredible people. There’s also been a surge of female singer-songwriters the last couple of years and I think thats really cool. It’s also really respected and welcomed.
AM: Which venues are your favourites to perform at?
TW: I love the Three Sisters, Gullivers, Eagle Inn, and Castle Hotel.
When you get down to Manchester you should visit The Castle- It’s such an intimate space and really pretty.
The Whiskey Jar is also one of my favourites- I managed to bag myself a headline gig there on November 22nd!
AM: What are your favourite things about vinyl?
TW: I started collecting Vinyl at 12 years old when I got a Dansette Major for my birthday. It’s a cliche, but the smell of records and opening your turntable really does fill you with a nostalgia- even for a time you never experienced.
I also have this old single someone gave to me which has Donna Hearts Carl all over the sleeve, over and over. I think it’s really sincere and grounding to know that something has been in the hands of so many different people and has meant something to someone. You can’t really get that if it’s not physical.
AM: What is the accomplishment you are most proud of as a musician?
TW: I think Badlands is probably what I’m most proud of. And not just the music, I’m proud of how I’ve grown as a person throughout making this EP whether it be becoming more protective and assertive of my art, becoming more patient and steady or being grateful for having people actually be interested in my silly little songs.
AM: What goals do you have for 2020 and beyond?
TW: My biggest goal is to collaborate with Robert Plant. But in the meantime I hope to just keep writing, keep building my fanbase and keep getting to see amazing places and amazing people through making music.
AM: Any words for your fans?
TW: I am absolutely in love with you!
Shout out to my good friend and Topaz level Patron, Patrick and my friend Matt.
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