When you go to see Blackberry Wood perform, you’re not just going to hear music. You’re going to see a show.
Dressed up in 1600s carnival gear, the band believes that there’s more to a good show than good music. Theatrics and visuals are just as important, and are why they’ve put together a unique look that matches their distinct sound, for a high energy performance that leaves the audience excited and charged.
“We want to make it as entertaining and as fun as possible,” said Kris Wood, one of the founding members and lead vocalist for Blackberry Wood. “We’ve been really inspired by the circus, and how it brings together things like musical styles and different types of entertainment from around the world under one tent.”
The band was formed over a decade ago in a small town close to Tofino by Wood and Corinne CoCo when they were asked to play to back up a friends band for a New Years show. They were able to throw some material together and enjoyed performing at the show so much that they came back for a second consecutive year, after which they decided to officially form the band.
While members of the band have come and gone, one time growing to an eight piece band, right now the band consists of three members: Wood remains with the band, with Anessa Marie on saxophone and Jack Blaue on the banjo.
The name of the band was meant to be nonsensical, on advice from Wood’s father.
“He was telling me all about how names of things are created and what’s popular at different times, and he told me that what’s popular right now is two words together that kind of make sense but don’t totally make sense,” said Wood. “There’s really no such thing as Blackberry Wood until now, but there you go!”
The band has spent the better part of the last decade touring across Canada and the UK. They’ve played some of the biggest festivals in the UK, and the world, and notably have played the Glastonbury Festival.
Playing across the pond, the band has picked up a heavy ska influence, which is a popular genre of music over seas that was the precursor to reggae.
“We got to play the longest running Ska night in London a few times, going through England quite a bit it’s hard not to be influenced by it,” said Wood. “Plus we’ve all been to music school, so we all have a lot of world music background and influence.”
While Wood is still a part of Blackberry Wood, he’s also ventured off into a solo DJ career as DJ Ole Fashion as well. Often he’ll perform a set after Blackberry Wood performs, where he’ll spin tracks in the style he learned from one of the founders of the electro swing revival.
Electro swing combines electronic dance music and beat drops with swing jazz for a modern twist on an old classic, and is a style that is popular in the UK, where Wood has spent time learning and following the genre.
“I’ve been following electro swing since the very beginning when people were still saying ‘what are you doing, this is ridiculous’, and then suddenly it became really popular,” said Wood. “I’ve been educated by the founder of the genre for many years.”
While touring over seas can be fun, it’s different than when they perform in small ski towns across western Canada.
“We’ve played all kinds of different shows from huge stages to people’s backyards,” said Wood. “But I like playing ski towns in the winter, it’s really fun and always a great crowd, and my dad was actually raised around [Golden].”
Blackberry Wood will be coming to Golden for a show on Friday, January 10 at the Rockwater, and Wood can’t stress enough how much fun he believes people will have at the show.
“Come party with the circus!” said Wood. “It’s gonna be the most fun you have all year.”
A hefty claim considering the show comes at the start of a new year, but Blackberry Wood is sure to deliver a memorable performance.