INTERVIEW: VOODOO BOOGALOO (ALICE, TX)
Who or what is Voodoo Boogaloo? Light some candles, and grab your sage stick, I’ll tell you. Voodoo Boogaloo is more than just a duo comprised of Stephanie Cardona and Logan Woodyard, it’s a spiritual experience, and it’s a way of life. It’s rap and hypnotizing dreamy vocals. The universe works in mysterious ways. So what a coincidence that I first found out about them while in a twitter conversation about Space with the producer of Machine.fm, Nicholas Young. Nicholas had recently had Voodoo Boogaloo on the show Dispatch as guests, do check it out! A link, a listen, and what luck – they were playing a show in Chicago! This band may only be a year old, but you need to put them on your radar to keep watching. I caught up with Stephanie and Logan at the tail end of their 10 week tour, where we chatted about music, magic, and time travel.
Let’s get the obvious first question out of the way. Where did the name come from?
Logan: When we first got together we found out that we had similar interests, and one of them that really boiled down was magic. What a cool thing that exists on planet Earth, magic. So we thought wouldn’t it be incredible if we made music that sounds like magic. Like does magic have a sound? I don’t know but lets try and make that sound. One person told us that he sees music in colors. He said out music is sparkling. It’s a fun way to manifest your life. Every full moon we do a magic spell, where we put a circle in the ground, and we put everything we want for that month inside the circle. So the full moon is all about reflection so it’s like we’re putting what we want out there, and we want it reflected back to us in the world. The number one thing is intention. We want to make magic music that people can dance to, Voodoo Boogaloo.
How did you two meet?
Logan: I had just moved back to Texas from Portland, Oregon, and a mutual friend was putting together a show. Stephanie got on the bill with the band she was in before this, and I was doing my rap act. We met and I was like, dang, Stephanie can sing! I liked her band so much that I recorded their album for them, I just played producer. Things were slowing down with her band, so I told her I had nothing going on, and why don’t we write some songs together. It went really well. It was really well received in our area, so we thought, let’s go on tour. We’ve played every kind of spot, sometimes for two people, sometimes for thirty people. They all went really good.
Stephanie: Yeah, even like playing for two homeless people, in freezing weather. They were a very interactive audience.
How different is the music that you are making now with Voodoo Boogaloo, than the music you were making before?
Stephanie: Super different. It was garage rock, like a four-piece band, and we played a lot of covers. I’ve experimented a lot vocally, that I never would have done in my other band. Even the instrumentation set up is different in this band. Our messages are way more positive and enthusiastic. It’s been the coolest thing I’ve ever done in my musical career.
You are really natural on stage, and interact with the audience. Was that an intentional decision you made?
Logan: It was a huge thought for me, you’ve got to rope in these people. I’ve seen so many bands that finish a song, and are just like onto the next song. Which is totally cool, but it’s like you just brought your songs with you. Where our intention is that we are trying to put on a show. We are trying to laugh with people, make friends, tell a joke. We were playing a show in Corpus (Christi) and someone said, “Your show is so cool, you should host our poetry open mic.” So we did that for 6 months. We got to really level up our talking on stage to the audience.
Stephanie: And even just talking to each other. It was really great.
Logan: It was all unscripted, and you figure out what you’re going to say on the spot. We made some of the best friends I’ve had with that.
Was there ever an audience that wasn’t as engaging as you’d hope?
Stephanie: It definitely varied. We constantly put out all in our show, that I think helps get the audience engaged right away. There was one show in New York that started with one slow, sarcastic sounding clap. Then this group of ladies cam in and loved what we were doing. They ran on stage…
Logan: Like half way through our set.
Stephanie: We took a picture with them, and then the audience really got into it. We play like we’re playing for a thousand people at a festival.
Logan: That’s the cool thing about our music, everyone likes it. My parents, grandparents..even kids like it.
Why are your songs so short? Was that a conscious decision?
Logan: I think I was thinking about that. The main idea was that less is more. I’d rather finish the song sooner than later. I’d rather finish the song with the audience wanting more. I was also thinking about this generation having a really short attention span, and maybe they weren’t going to listen to a six minuet song on Bandcamp. But maybe they’ll listen to three, two minute songs. I also want to make some longer songs on our next album.
Do you ever write songs separately?
Stephanie: He definitely makes up instrumentals by himself. I usually write all my lyrics right next to him.
Logan: I had a stay at home job, so I had a lot of time to make music. One of the ways we write lyrics is that we’ll do this meditation. We’ll have a beer, sit on the couch, and we have a tarot deck in front of us. I have this magic book that had this really basic guideline to do a quick meditation. So once we’re in that meditative space, we write some lyrics. Well then it’s like, what do we aim it at? Oh, we’ll flip over a tarot card, and there it is looking right back at us. The whole time we’re not talking. We are just looking at the card, then we write. It’s really special.
Stephanie: He had me scrape the concrete with my boots once time, to get the noise.
Logan: We call it “sample hunting” it’s one of my favorite parts about writing an album. I have a condenser mic that goes on the end of my microphone, and just go around walking up the attic stairs and use that creek. We’ve also used a butane torch.
Did you set out to make an album when you first started out together?
Logan: It was let’s make a song.
Stephanie: I think we had so much doing the first song, and the second, and the third song…
Logan: We were just fucking around.
Stephanie: We were having the best time! So we had to perform it, and make an album.
Logan: We went through two or three phases where we revamped songs. So then the slow songs got really slow, and empty. The almost hype songs got way more hyped. Everything went in the direction that it needed to be.
Do you have any ideas of the direction you want to go in with your new album?
Stephanie: Definitely a positive message. I want to go really dive in and spread the love and positivity. I also really want to get more groovy and dance in there.
Logan: Me too. The best compliment anyone has ever told us, ad we get it often is, “This is different. I’ve never heard anything like this before.” I want to do a slightly even better version of that. People often dance to our music, but I think a lot of people want to, but they aren’t quite sure what to make of it. So I want to lubricate that more, add more percussion, and write more songs.
What are some of the lessons that you’ve learned playing your first tour?
Logan: One right away is that we put a lot of work planning, prepping and scheduling the tour. It would’ve been great to have even more people there, so promotions. I would’ve liked to have promoted it more. It’s been pretty smooth. We’ve stayed within budget, and our shows have gone good. Another lesson is that it’s a lot of work.
If you could travel back in time on Earth for one day where would you go? What about if you could go anywhere in the Universe?
Logan: I want to go back in time and visit myself when I’m like six or seven years old. I want to spend 24 hours of hanging out with my little kid self. I’d love to go hang out with my little self and just be super cool for him. I want to be his friend, listen to him, and drop some radical ideas on him. I was a jock in high school, so I want to tell him that it’s okay to start music early. I also want to meet a live alien, like the group that is 3,000 ahead of Earth. I want to have a way to communicate and just ask him questions.
Stephanie: I’ve always been fascinated with the 1970’s, especially in New York City. There was so much in music going on with the dawning on Glam Rock, and David Bowie, Gary Glitter and T-Rex. I loved the androgyny, and the sexual revolution that was going on. Punk and disco were huge in that area; CBGJ, Patti Smith, The Ramones. Such an wonderful scene. It wasn’t about fitting in for them anymore, it was so much more. There was glamour, dancing, and late night partying. I really like Neptune, I like cooler weather, and it’s a lovely shade of blue. I think it’s a beautiful planet, so I’d go to Neptune, and make my own 1970’s decade there.