By Margaret Chrystall
INVERNESS band Woodentooth spent last winter creating their new EP and the summer playing live – you can buy into both experiences at possibly their last gig of the year.
If you haven’t caught up with the band’s music yet, they reckon it’s "driven, grungey rock" from guitarist Pete Nairne, frontman Rory Baldwin, bassist Iain ‘Huggy’ Howie and drummer Derek Urquhart.
The core of the current band got together in 2012, though Rory and Pete go all the way back to mid-90s band Lymerick Smith before their last band The Ball Deep.
But Woodentooth has only been around since 2014 – completed when Pete, Rory and Derek acquired the services of Inverness bassist Iain, best-known in musical circles as Huggy whn Zombie Militia went on a hiatus (but back together for their first gig since at Mad Hatters on Saturday, October 31).
He said: "I joined Woodentooth just over a year ago. Derek approached me in the Market Bar alleyway – as these things usually happen – asking me ‘Are you doing anything musically just now?’, I said ‘No’ and he said ‘Do you want to join us?’"
Rory and Pete’s previous band The Ball Deep had come to a natural end when both bassist Scott Tracey and drummer Craig Aitkenhead – who was also drumming with Stetsonhead and The Little Mill Of Happiness – had decided to take some time out.
Woodentooth’s biggest and most recent project this year is the release of EP Winter.
It’s been mastered by Iain McLaughlin of new independent Inverness record label IMOUT Records and was recorded at Chamber Studios in Edinburgh with in-demand Scottish engineer and producer Graeme Young.
Woodentooth reveal they were seduced by the idea of working with a retro Neve console and other analogue treasures in Graeme’s studio.
Huggy said: "Though we went down to record just one song, we ended up with five well-produced, edited songs."
They are releasing the EP from their own website and after a chat about the pros and cons of selling through different rutes, Rory said: "At least with the online distribution we are pretty much in control of it and we have our own label to release it through and we keep all the royalty sales and all the CD sales which are paying off the cost of the actual producing it.
"We’re just about breaking even. The more CDs we sell at a gig the better it is – we sold loads at Belladrum."
It's also a good way t find out who their fans are beyond friends and family.
Huggy said: “I find the people who come up to me about CDs – and I direct them to Rory – are people I’ve never met before, so I think it’s people hearing us for the first time rather than people feeling morally obliged through friendship! But I think it’s people who have enjoyed themselves and want to hear more.”
Rory added: “And there’s the odd copy for friend’s parents.
“It’s sometimes strange when you sell a CD and they ask you to sign it! We’ve still no idea of what you’re supposed to write. You always think of something cool to write five minutes after you’ve signed it.”The EP was officially launched at XpoNorth – and the band has played that event, two Mad Hatters gigs, plus Belladrum, North Hop and the Jocktoberfest festivals over the summer.
But if there’s one slightly more unlikely place across the world you might find them playing, it should be Tucson, Arizona.
In the usual band quest to find the right name, a Facebook conversation with two musician friends turned up the word "woodentooth".
"There are no other bands called Woodentooth,"said Rory, who Googled the world to be sure.
"But there is a record shop in Tucson, Arizona, though they’re two words – Wooden Tooth.
"I did email and ask them for a T-shirt, but they haven’t got back to me yet."
If Woodentooth sent a copy of Winter, they might be offered a gig with their almost-namesake.
But the next big project is more likely to be the next EP.
Rory said: "We could call it Summer or get all 70s and call it Winter II."
Woodentooth play the Market Bar on October 17. Learn more: www.woodentooth.com Hear more: soundcloud.com/woodentooth Keep in touch: Twitter: @woodentoothband