Gig - Simon Wood

Woody lives in Newhaven, so we agree to meet for our interview roughly halfway between there and Lewes, on Southease Bridge. You might have seen him performing his edgy singer-songwriter stuff at lunchtimes on Cliffe Bridge, or at one of the gigs he’s done recently in the Lansdown or the John Harvey Tavern. He’s been living in the area for a year, and has been knocking on doors trying to further a career that stretches back 13 years and three albums, but has never hit the heights that would allow him to give up the day job. I get the 7.09 train in, walk down the track, and there he is, a wiry figure with close-cropped hair, drinking a can of Stella. He has five butterfly stitches from a wound in his head that saw him in A&E half the night, after an accident which will probably seem comic in a few weeks time. He greets me in an accent which is unplaceable, but has Northern tinges. It starts raining, so we walk round under the bridge, sitting on the bank, looking up at the unworldly underhangings of its wooden structure.
“My music is mostly influenced from the new wave stuff coming out in the late seventies and early eighties,” he says, with a deadly earnest tone. “There are reggae influences in there, but you might not immediately hear them. It’s toe-tapping stuff, very rhythmic. It’s 100% self-penned. It’s mostly about relationships and alienation. About not running with the herd, but being afraid of being outside the mainstream, too. I like to stand out, but I feel nervous about standing out. The two things are constantly tugging away.”

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Knock on Wood: Simon ‘Scarface’ Wood plays the Snowdrop