Oliver Wood says he does his best work when he’s distracted.
Taken out of context, that statement sounds contradictory, but Oliver’s main idea is something that so many of us wrestle with—this idea that if we’re left to ourselves, if given full creative freedom, our minds will actually provide some real resistance in response. It’s in those vast spaces without distraction that we often spin our creative wheels—perhaps frozen in fear because we’ve thought too long about potential outcomes or inactive because we’re unsure which path is the “right” one.
This is why Oliver says it’s important to remain distracted, that somehow a world of limitations with other pressing matters forces him to remain in motion. It also keeps him from too much self-reflection. And it’s in that space that Oliver has made so much meaningful music.
In his nearly 20 years as frontman of The Wood Brothers, Oliver has not only earned a Grammy nomination but he’s also helped build an incredible catalog of genre-defying music. Outside of the band, and with his own solo career, he’s also worked with Phil Cook of Hiss Golden Messenger, Susan Tedeschi, John Medeski, Seth Walker, and so many others.
On this episode of The Resistance, we sit down with Oliver Wood to hear about the importance of his early career innocence—that world without a need for such distractions—and his battle to get back there on each new project, including the band’s latest LP, Heart is the Hero. It’s something we can all relate to as we battle the resistance of our own and do our best to stay distracted—in a good way.
*Photo: Shervin Lainez