Those who were lucky enough to catch Two Wooden Stones at their intimate Beirut gig last October can attest to their musical genius, and those who didn't, fret no more, they’re back. They’ll be playing at Yukunkun on April 23, and will be joined again by local folk talent OAK.

The band formed in 2008 after singer/songwriter Shelom moved to Leipzig and met the rest of the band – Jeau Champ on drums, Tiny Dawson on keyboards, and Monsieur Simon playing double bass. In 2010, they released their first self-produced live album, "A Genesis" to much acclaim. This year, they put out a gem of an album, "Looking for the Light," which was described as “acoustic-freak-folk-rock.” Yes, you read that right - how could you not want to check something like that out?!

Beirut.com had a chance to interview Two Wooden Stones ahead of their Wednesday night show. See what's up below.



Beirut.com: What are some of the themes you explore in "Looking for the Light"?

Two Wooden Stones: We are going through dark times these days and we believe that everyone is looking for the light somewhere. Hence the idea of seeking out what 'light' is, possibly through different spectrums, be it philosophical, spiritual, etc. The album is quite "earthy," nature plays a big role, hence the 'back to the roots' approach with lots of percussion.

Beirut.com: The name "Looking for the Light" connotes the presence of darkness. Can you elaborate on how this darkness manifests itself in the album?

Two Wooden Stones: Well, light can't exist without darkness, neither can joy without melancholy. Both can be found in the album, this contrast is essential to all things.

Beirut.com: You've spent a lot of time touring; do you think the music you write is a result of where you are at the time?

Two Wooden Stones: Possibly... Sometimes new ideas come from certain situations while touring. But creativity usually comes from boredom, so we mostly compose new songs during our breaks off from touring.

Beirut.com: What do you consider to be some of the most significant moments of your artistic career?

Two Wooden Stones: Every step we take feels significant, such as touring in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, etc. But if we'd have to name a specific highlight, I believe it's the birth of a new album.

Beirut.com: What’s the story behind the band name?

Two Wooden Stones: Jeau Champ (drummer) once misread the song title, "Two Wooden Spoons" by British band This Is The Kit and we've kept the name ever since.

Beirut.com: Does your new album reflect any of your past experiences with Middle Eastern music and culture?

Two Wooden Stones: Sure. I've been listening to traditional music for a long time and I remember the first CD I got when I was a teenager, it was by Anouar Brahem. I've kept listening to various artists who have influenced our musical work such as Dhaffer Youssef and Ibrahim Maalouf. They are part of our musical education.

Beirut.com: Rolling Stone Magazine described your new album as such: “Forget the Two Wooden Stones’ folk-y tag; they’re a whirling dervish of influences, incorporating jazzy Oriental touches, multi-lingual torch songs, balls-out Nineties rock and a whole lot more.” Do you embrace this observation or prefer to shrug it off, opting instead for your more “folk-y” tag?

Two Wooden Stones: The notion of freak-folk is something we didn't come up with, it came from journalists and fans… But, it the end, we felt pretty comfortable with it because it doesn't mean anything specific. It's just a mix of genres within acoustic music; it's kind of like a grey zone of style-definitions such as folk, world music, pop, blues, jazz, or anything you like. That tag "freak folk" allows us to put anything in there, and that's what we'll continue doing.

Beirut.com: How is "Looking for the Light" different from "AGenesis"?

Two Wooden Stones: Musically speaking, "Looking for the Light" is more universal and a professionally produced album (by Torsten Schroth at Proton Studios, Leipzig), it is also more extroverted. We gained musical self-confidence, while the first album was more introverted.

Beirut.com: This will be your second performance in Beirut. What attracted you to come to Beirut to begin with and what has now drawn you back?

Two Wooden Stones: Our booking agent Louna (Tunesisters Entertainment) had suggested we tour in the Middle East back in October 2013. We loved the idea and as for Beirut, we played at Yukunkun along with Postcards; the concert went very well, it was a lot of fun. On top of it, we fell in love with the city itself and the people! We are happy to be back and collaborate with other local musicians such as OAK.

Beirut.com: What is your favorite song to perform live?

Two Wooden Stones: It's hard to decide...but I guess it is "Animal", we invite people to shout out loud with us, it gives a great energy and allows us to interact with the audience.

Beirut.com: If you could have written any song in the history of recorded music what would it be and why?

Two Wooden Stones: Probably "Grace" by Jeff Buckley, because it's the perfect blend of joy and melancholy.

Beirut.com: What is the funniest thing a fan has done during one of your shows?

Two Wooden Stones: Quite recently, someone asked us to play 'Candle in the Wind' by Elton John.

Catch Two Wooden Stones live at Yukunkun this Wednesday night. Show starts at 9pm.

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