Two days before the official premiere, Moriah Woods (known from The Feral Trees) shared material for her very personal album with us. Overworking trauma, fighting addiction and forgiveness is a topic close to many people. Moriah created the perfect soundtrack for this. Get to know this unique artist and learn more about the creation of the album.
Who is Moriah Woods?
I am a Coloradan singer-songwriter, and artist, living in Poland since 2014. I made the decision to move to this country when I came here as a tourist with my banjo in the winter of 2013/14. I hadn’t quite started performing professionally, maybe a few open mics and 1 or two concerts in the USA. I was just discovering my voice in music and performing in Poland gave me enough confidence to believe that maybe I could do something professionally in music. I then met the members of ‘The Feral Trees’ and the rest is history.
You put a lot of effort in creating this album.
I am a D.I.Y artist. This means I don’t work with a label, a manager, booking agency or have any financial backing, It’s just me and my band. When new songs started to build I felt a greater desire to have the people who wanted to be involved, be involved more. It’s a cooperation between me and the people – which took a lot of self convincing because I am absolutely terrible at asking for help. In the beginning of my career I was singing to myself but as things have transpired and grown I have a far greater sense of forgetting myself and just wanting connecting with the people, trying to be there for them as they have been for me, as cheesy as it sounds it is seriously one of the biggest wake up calls in my musical history. I used to be so terrified and insecure on stage that I would not wear contact lenses or glasses while performing so I couldn’t see the audience.
The crowdfunding took many many weeks to put into action because I was very nervous to be as honest as I knew I felt I had to be about the inspiration behind the album, about my own struggles and of course just asking for audience participation (help). One day I felt confident and sure, the other I wanted to stop it all. I made sure to offer the backers something in return of course. It was not purely on a donation basis, however they could pay more if they wanted. People could pre-order the album, could order their name printed in the cd, and 1 of 98 hand painted pressed cds of my previous album ‘The Road To Some Strange Forest’ (a few are still available) and we just tried to keep the social media activity regular in hopes it would spread further. In the end I felt proud of my self for facing my fears of honesty and the only thing I can hope is that it can touch people in some way and help them feel more connected.
Where did you record Old Boy?
We recorded at Mustache Ministry Studio in Warsaw. While I we were there we counted that it was my 6th time recording in MMS between Moriah Woods, The Feral Trees and a couple collaboration projects. Marcin Klimczak, the sound engineer, is also a member of The Feral Trees. He knows my voice, character and we understand each-other well. I know what to expect from him and he knows what to expect from me. He is gives me his opinions and suggestions and really helps make the sounds come more alive. After sitting with the same songs for months and months its very important for me to get some feedback from someone who has a fresh look at the material – During recording he knows I could do the take better or he is able to show me that something sounds beautiful even when I can’t hear it. He just has a great ear and passion for sound. So it’s a place I feel comfortable, safe and at home.
What did influence this album?
The new album ‘Old Boy’ is a story about losing someone to addictions and mental health complications and finding yourself in the process.
More specifically, It’s inspired by the passing of my father in 2017 from complications with mental health and addictions. He was an alcoholic, and I am grateful as he and my mother did lots of work in AA /ACOA (DDA In polish) and other 12 step programs. So, regardless of the traumas I was blessed with knowledge that comes from these programs. Through all the work I’ve done on myself over the years I have a great sense of peace, forgiveness and understanding towards his and my own conditions. This isn’t a story of anger or blame, but rather a way to cope with the misplaced sense of self and just trying to figure it all out. Music has been my greatest coping mechanism and my greatest tool for self expression. I honestly am not sure what I would do if I hadn’t been given the gift of music, and I thank my parents greatly for that, as they are both musicians. Music was in our home all the time.
This project began as a way of processing my grieving of my father behind closed doors. On this journey I realized that there is a time and place to grieve alone, but there is also a time when we need the company and understanding of other people to help us feel that we are not alone. And when I began to open up and share I realized that there are so many other people with a similar story… so it opened into a desire to share and reach into other people who might be struggling in a similar way as I have known and watched my father struggle.
‘Old Boy’ is a message that everyone’s pain is unique but not uncommon or unfix-able/unmanageable. That we are not alone or alien in the sufferings of life and we must remember that we are in this together and the sufferings are part of the journey that lead us to a better understanding if we let it. It is a very personal album.
Each song is a journey through the stages of what I was going through and also what I imagined a person who is completely lost in depression or addiction could be going through.
- When you are overcome by addiction or disabled with depression you lose a big part of yourself in that state. Old Boy is a direct question to the sufferer “where have you gone? what happened to make you go down this road?” “How could you do this to me? I am nothing like you and I never will be. You have abandoned me.” But there comes a moment when we all have to look inside and hopefully we can see that we are all suffering from something and only then we can find forgiveness and understanding, and no matter the level of “mess” one might be, ones trauma is no less significant than the other. We are one.
- Black Crow resembles the absolute numbness, disorientation and panic of loss.
- It’s amazing how we can feel so shitty about ourselves and treat ourselves so badly. If we saw or heard someone we love saying the same things to themselves we would caress them with good words and love. We have such a distorted perception of ourselves sometimes and this can be very dangerous. Of Fate is begging the person you love to see how you see them. but they are just too fucked up to ever see even a glimpse of who the beautiful person that they are.
- After flying home in the winter of 2017 I would wake up every morning around 4am and run as fast as I could to the top of one of the hills in Paonia, Co, and watch the sunrise cast over Lamborn mountain. This was my daily spiritual experience, reminding me that I’m still alive and I must be grateful for that. Everything that I’ve overcome and all the people who are fighting each day make this world a strong place. As I would come down the other side of the hill I would watch the snow sparkling in the sun’s rays with so much internal sadness I wanted so badly to try to express what I was feeling, but I couldn’t. I just wanted peace. The song Wonder came about after I came back to Poland and flipped open a book called ‘One Day At A Time in Al-anon’. where The writer describes something similar. “return to me the capacity of wonder”
- Black Crow to opis absolutnego odrętwienia, dezorientacji i paniki z powodu straty.
- Break The Chains – Coming from an unstable background I subconsciously had a tendency to feel more comfortable with people who also come from an unstable background. Later in the relationships we’d discover that there are similarities. unstable household. alcoholism, addictions… etc. somehow we damaged people find each other. My parents did the same and I continued the cycle. There is a feeling of understanding, not having to explain why I am the way i am. But as I dug deeper into myself I realized that this is part of the problem that continues the sick cycle of toxicity. It’s not possible to function or heal when you are surrounded by sick people. This song is about breaking the chains of the continuous cycle of finding those people who haven’t healed and realizing you deserve better, we deserve love.
- Watched You Burn is about realizing we aren’t so different but wondering why some of us make it and some of us don’t. We all have something that haunts us. something that takes our light away in our lives. Why do some of us fall harder than others and why do some of us survive in the end? What’s the difference between our stories that make this possible?
- I Can is taking the focus into yourself. Remembering that guilt and shame that you have felt for so so so many years that has damaged and limited your life. taking a look at how I’ve treated myself and really not offered the best to myself. I was my greatest demise.It’s not my fault the history that I come from, but what I continue to take and let fester in my adult life is. It’s about finally making that decision, no matter what has been in the past, to finally give yourself the respect and kindness that you deserve. I forgive myself and I can do this.
- I mentioned before that my father was a musician, he always played on a Yamaha guitar, he swore by them that they were the best out there for the money. I started writing ‘I Want To Live’ a couple months before my father’s passing as a prayer to myself that i’ll try my best to be more appreciative of this life. a hymn to try to pick myself up and keep me going. When it came time for the memorial in Colorado, which took place in a beautiful wooden building in the country with vaulted ceilings and stone inlay around the massive fireplace. The huge windows overlooked the entire snow-covered valley and standing proud in the center of our view you could see Lamborn Mountain. It was truely perfect. With this immense grief I finished the lyrics and played the song on his guitar in this magical space. while playing it I was completely taken to a different place and I do believe it was at that moment that I realized this album wasn’t going to be for me but directed at all the people who might be listening.
- Requiem is a poem written by Robert Louis Stevenson – The same author of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Which is also a profound story that fits very well with the theme of the internal war. I found this poem when I had already come to a sense of better understanding and peace, it came at the perfect time. This poem finishes the story with acceptance.
“Under the wide and starry sky
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.
This be the verse you grave for me;
“Here he lies where he longed to be,
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.”