For more than a decade, Nate Wood has expressed his multifarious instrumentalism in prog-jazz outfits like Kneebody, the Wayne Krantz Trio, and the Donny McCaslin Band. But his solo project, fOUR, which has a residency over the next few weeks at Nublu, takes the concept to impossible extremes.
To put it simply, fOUR is a one-band band. But where some multitasking artists have recorded themselves playing an array of instruments in the studio (see Prince), and others have adapted sampling technology to their routine, allowing them to play a variety of sounds onstage (see Jacob Collier), Wood is redefining the role today. In his four-limbed, ten-fingered live experiment, he manages to play the drum kit, electric bass and keyboards, sometimes while also singing, all in one take.
In our Checkout studio session, Wood puts this near-inconceivable feat on display, drawing from a new album, X.IT. He says he’s been preparing for this juggling act his whole life: “I do all these things,” he says. “If I’m playing the guitar and singing, that’s not satisfying completely, because I want to play drums. If I’m playing drums, I want to play harmony too.”
Wood, who released three solo singer-songwriter albums between 2003 and 2014, decided to take things up a notch after experiencing Deantoni Parks and Josh Dion in performance. “Once something is done,” Wood says, “Then people start doing it. It’s like something is impossible, until somebody does it, then people just do it.”
Watch Nate Wood play “Rabbit” in our studio.
X.IT will be released this Friday. fOUR appears at Nublu on July 25, Aug. 1 and Aug. 22.
Producer: Simon Rentner
Assistant Producer: Anthony Nieves
Audio Engineer: Corey Goldberg
Video: Chris Tobin