How do you write a Woozy song? Lock yourself in a room and play a riff over and over until you become the riff.
"We'll play a part an hour straight without taking a break, then incrementally change the parts until they feel good together," says guitarist John St. Cyr. "It's like hearing a word so many times until it loses meaning."
When the band started in 2012, drummer Ian Paine-Jesam says rehearsals were "just a lot of watching them try to play stuff and I'm just sitting there like, 'All right.' ... They'd come at me with riffs like, 'What time signature is this in?'"
"We wanted to start a math-rock band, but I was really bad at guitar," Kara Stafford says "I had only been playing for six months. Ian and I would jam, we'd been buds for a while at that point. ... 'This is not good. We should probably find another guitarist.'"
Paine-Jesam and Stafford asked St. Cyr — who was performing with bands Sun Hotel and Native America — to join their admittedly technically deficient duo. ("It felt like asking him to be our boyfriend," Stafford says.)
"We had high aspirations and really low technical ability," St. Cyr says.
On Woozy's first full-length album Blistered, out Oct. 16 on Exploding In Sound and Community Records, guitars and harmonies collide, crash, burn and blast off again in slow-motion and in different directions. Album opener "Venom" shifts gears from shimmering riffs, trickled-in snare hits and falsetto vocals to a roaring chorus and a melting, mercury finish.
The album was recorded live at The Living Room studio on the West Bank with engineer Chris George, and "Ross Farbe on the 'I think you can do that better,'" St. Cyr says. Farbe — who performs with St. Cyr in their garage rock trio Native America — stood in as the "band coach."
"He's good at basically calling you an idiot without making you feel like an idiot," Stafford says.
Woozy performs at 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18 at Gasa Gasa with Celestial Shore, Caddywhompus and Natural Blonde.