interview: housepanther & wrecker
words: Kenn Enns
Homewrecker (n): a person who is blamed for the breakup of a marriage or family, especially due to having engaged in an affair with one member of a couple.
Homewrecker is the collaborative release of Bailee Woods, the creative force behind the Winnipeg band housepanther and Jory Strachan, from the Montreal solo-project Wrecker. For moment in music that can often be heavily drenched in irony, having two friends speak from the heart feels hopeful, and refreshing.
The homewrecker split sounds like sharing a secret with your best friend. It’s like sitting on a back porch at night, passing back a disgusting (but cheap) beer and spilling your guts knowing that it will be okay, because you probably won’t remember what you said when you wake up anyway. It’s honest, open and genuine. It’s discussing past relationships while still carrying some form of love for that person in your heart, even though you could never make it work.
“I ruin everything I get oh so close to. It’s easier to watch you love someone else anyways.”
The Grey Estates: What inspired the split and what made you two want to work together?
W (Jory Strachan, Wrecker): The way it started off was we had been chatting for quite a while and it started as a joke. I had just started finally putting out my own songs and I was telling Bailee, I’m going to call my project wrecker ad we should put out a split and call it homewrecker -- that’d be hilarious. Then we kept talking about it and actually did it.
H (Bailee Woods, housepanther): We actually began writing songs around that idea. So the main inspiration was this joke but, we both thought it would be cool.
That it would be a good joke though! How did the term “homewrecker” influence the album?
H: Whether it’s self-destruction or destruction going on as part of a relationship, that’s what [homewrecker] means to my writing.
W: To me, it’s pretty by-the-definition, and it’s about unpacking infidelity.
The album talks a lot about heartache, was there any personal experiences that the collaboration drew from?
H: I would say, mostly, my songs are about break-ups or the failing of relationships. Whether it’s me fucking up the relationship or somebody else growing out of a relationship. It’s definitely about failed relationships on my part.
W: Yeah, the whole thing is about failed relationships, for sure. They’re very personal songs. I think for myself, even though I inadvertently do write heartbreak songs, I try very hard when I’m writing, to not. (Laughs) To process, to get it all out --
H: -- and to be as sappy as we want to be with these!
W: The original idea too, was to try and write crushingly sad songs, as much as possible and to be so brooding that it’s kind of kitschy. But I think the way it turned out, it turned out a lot more honest once we started writing. I think with Bailee that the song, “17% wine,” actually has a very pop-y hook, but it’s still very personal. And so much true-er than just trying to be extremely brooding. But it’s still sad! It’s sad as fuck!
What was the song writing process like? How did you choose which songs and which styles would go together for the album?
H: I think it was mostly collaborative. It was two of my songs, two of Jory’s and one song we wrote together. We went into it with a theme. We kind of recorded each other demos on our own and Jory was first, so I got an idea of what [Jory’s] songs were going to sound like. Then I wrote back and once we got into the studio we got more into collaboration. You definitely hopped on my songs and I did some work with yours.
W: I was living in Alberta last summer, out in the bush, out by High Level. I was tree planting and doing that for the first time and living in my van. Every once in a while, when I would have an internet connection, I would try and send Bailee lyrics and songs and demos. We sent those ideas back and forth for a long time.
What are your favourite iconic duos? Like, peanut butter and jelly or like, Ja Rule and Ashanti? So either music, food or otherwise to describe working together.
W: I think I have to pick... what were the character names again? Did you see a Star is Born? Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. I guess I probably shouldn’t pick them if I don’t know the character names but I’ll go with them.
Who is the Bradley Cooper and who is the Lady Gaga?
W: I’m definitely Lady Gaga
H: So I’m Bradley Cooper? A brooding alcoholic?
W: It’s funny when we were recording in October, Bailee definitely fucking -- spilled the beans.
H: It was at a party, my friend brought up this picture --
W: Yeah your friend made a meme that was like “when housepanther and wrecker make an album together” and it was just a screencap of the movie.
Bailee, do you a have a favourite combo?
H: I’m always going to be a Tegan and Sara fan.
W: Who is Tegan and who is Sara though?
H: I think Sara is the sassier one so [Jory] might be Sara, and Tegan is like the more brooding, angsty one. So I’m Tegan.