Scott Woodruff, a.k.a. Stick Figure, has been creating multi-tracked songs all by his lonesome since his teenage days, and he has grown from using a dual-cassette deck while holed up in his room to performing his material live with his band in front of tens of thousands of eager fans. One thing that has remained the same with Stick Figure-when he creates his material, he needs to be alone.
Stick Figure will be playing this years ARISE Festival in Loveland Colorado, and this is the second installment in L4LM’s “Road To ARISE” Series, featuring conversations with 2015 ARISE Festival artists. L4LM writer Brian Turk sat down with Stick Figure to talk about his influences, music, and more…
L4LM: How did you first get into reggae?
Scott: When I was in middle school, my older brother was listening to Sublime, Bob Marley, Barrington Levy and lots of other reggae. As a kid who looked up to his older brother, I started listening to the same music. It was love at first listen.
L4LM: Do you remember the first reggae album you purchased for yourself?
Scott: For sure. It was Barrington Levy’s Too Experienced, which is a greatest hits album of his.
L4LM: You were discovering reggae outside of Boston, Massachusetts as a teenager. Was there a big reggae seen there?
Scott: Not really. This was the time when Slightly Stoopid was just getting big in California, and Sublime and Long Beach Dub Allstars were really getting noticed. None of my friends were listening to those bands.
L4LM: What are some of your favorite reggae albums?
Scott: Survival by Bob Marley. Into The Dojo by Black Seeds. I have been jamming to this new album by Hollie Cook called Twice, which is produced by this guy Prince Fatty. Such a good album. The album that has influenced me the most, in terms of how I sing and play guitar is Slightly Stoopid’s Acoustic Roots album. They did the whole album in one take for a radio station, and at the time they recorded it, they had no idea it was going to be released as an album. In my eyes it’s a flawless album, even though you hear some wrong notes here and there. The imperfection is what makes it perfect.
L4LM: In your words, could you define ‘dub” for me?
Scott: What I consider “dub” is the incorporation of echos, reverbs, delays and cool effects into reggae music.
L4LM: Your creation process is very similar to early “dub” artists. How did you start putting your own songs together?
Scott: When I was younger I started playing drums and guitar, and have always been fascinated by recording. I got my first drum set in fourth grade, and I had a dual cassette deck where I could overdub back and fourth. I would play drums and then overdub guitar, and just keep going back and forth on a cassette tape. I eventually got a four-track recorder, and then a sixteen-track. I have always been in love with the art of recording and creating different sounds.
L4LM: So you spent a lot of time in your bedroom and/or basement as a teenager.
Scott: Exactly. A combination of both. (laughs)
L4LM: With the success of Burial Ground in 2012, you started touring with a live band. Has your song-creation process changed at all since then?
Scott: Not at all. The only thing that is different is now I consider how the song will be played live, or if it can even be played live. For an example, if I used four different keyboards on a song, I would need four keyboards to play it live-so I take the performance into consideration.
L4LM: So the band doesn’t have a hand in creating the material?
Scott: I am just so set in my ways when it comes to writing and recording-so it’s just me, my studio and my headphones.
L4LM: Even though you create independently, have you ever thought of a collaboration with Zach Deputy?
Scott: No, but that would be cool. I am a fan of his work, and really admire and respect what he can do live. He knows how to work all those pedals and mics. Working with him would be fun. Totally open to that.
L4LM: I know you have a lot going on this summer. Give me some highlights.
Scott: Well, I am going on tour with Slightly Stoopid and Dirty Heads starting July 23rd. This will be our first time touring with Slightly Stoopid, and that means a lot, since they were such an influence on me. It’s really come full circle. Dirty Heads being a part of it just makes it that much more amazing. We are playing Red Rocks during that tour, and I am really looking forward to it.
L4LM: Do you have any plans for a new album in the near future?
Scott: Yeah man, I’m working on it now. I have pretty much have the next two months off except for some weekends here and there, so I have been able to really focus on new material. I am cranking away and trying to get it finished up before the summer so I can release it in the fall.
L4LM: Do you work on new material on the road, or do you save it for the studio?
Scott: It’s funny, every single tour I say “this is going to be the tour where I work on new stuff everyday, and I bring my computer and all my gear. I bring everything I need to record. Honestly, I have had a hard time finding the time to do any actual recording on the road though. There is one song on the album where I did all the work on the road. I just can’t get into my own space on the road. I need to be alone to do what I do.
L4LM: Outside of music, do you consider yourself a lone wolf?
Scott: Not at all. I love being out and about and around people. I get all of that on the road. Believe me, when I get off the road, I am ready to chill out and not do anything for a while. I am spending more time on the road than at home at this point.
L4LM: The last question I have is…Why the name Stick Figure?
Scott: When I was in High School, people started calling me Stick, since my last name is Woodruff. No one really calls me stick anymore. When I first submitted my music to a website, they asked if I wanted to go by Scott Woodruff, or have an artist name, so I came up with Stick Figure, and it stuck around.
The name Stick Figure also represents the singular man creating the songs. Woodruff’s process makes sure everything on a song is exactly what he wants to say, and it always seems to sound best in one voice. This summer is pulling Stick Figure up to the big leagues, and he is coming in hot to the 2015 ARISE Festival.
The Road To ARISE is a series of conversations with artists playing this year’s ARISE Festival in Loveland, Colorado. The ARISE Festival is three days of music, yoga, art and workshops designed with the mission to raise consciousness and awareness, and the goal to uplift the world through music. The Road To ARISE is paved with good conversation.
-Written By Brian Turk