IT’S ALMOST certain you haven’t heard of them, but Yarrawonga trio Woodlock have a fanbase most bigger bands would die for.
Their last national tour sold out despite an advertising budget of only $150 and they’ve sold 15,000 copies of their debut EP, and singer/guitarist Ezekiel Walters puts it down to one thing – the power of busking.
“Busking is a really good way to get your music out,” he says. “I guess that’s how our fanbase got up pretty quickly. I think people like that we’re undiscovered as well. Because we haven’t had radio play, it makes it a bit more of a discovery when people find us and they really like us – they like the fact that we’re not well known. We’ve got quite a good Facebook following; it’s crazy.”
The folk/indie trio are currently touring their way up the east coast, but it was a chance meeting overseas that sparked the formation of the band.
“We’ve been a band for about two years,” Walters says. “It was me and my brother Zechariah – we played music together at school, and we met Bowen [Purcell, percussion] on a missions trip to Africa. We were there playing music to people, then we got back to our hometown Yarrawonga and we started playing at the local pub. We were enjoying it quite a bit, so we decided to all quit our jobs, buy a caravan and do a bit of a trip around Australia. We planned to go busking, fruit-picking and do a bit of pub work to pay for petrol and places to stay. It was great fun – in the end we didn’t do anything but busk, which was pretty cool. We managed to make enough money on the street to pay for the odd slurp and a place to stay. We met a lot of people and sometimes they let us stay at their house and stuff like that.”
They’re a band that have earned their spurs on the streets, so it’s in the live setting that Woodlock feel most at home.
“We’re used to a busking setup, so it’s me and my brother on acoustic guitars and our drummer plays buckets,” Walters says. “We’re also going to have an extra member travelling with us on this tour, so it’ll be a fuller sound. There’ll be a lot of epic drums – that’s what we’re trying to go for on this tour. We’re aiming to get a lot of people into the drums and get people really enjoying it. The good thing about busking is that you get really good at performing on the spot. We get a lot of random things happening to us when we’re on the street and it’s helped us talk to people. We used to be quite shy, but you can’t be like that when you busk because you have to relate to people. I think that’s why people like us – because we’re very relatable and we just want to play music.”
Being in a band with your brother doesn’t work for everyone, but it hasn’t been musical differences that have come between the Walters boys.
“It’s good and bad,” he laughs. “We’re pretty close, so there’s not much tension. But when there is tension, it gets pretty aggressive. We had a full-on punch-up when we were living in the caravan – it was over washing too. He hadn’t put away my washing and we got into a full-on fight. I won, and I’m the younger brother too, but I’m a bit bigger.”
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