For added enjoyment, click here before you begin the interview and you'll be able to listen while you read.
Eli Palnik and Jeremy Shanas are The Northwoods. Welcome to OpEdNews, Eli. Please tell our readers a bit about your music.
The Northwoods is an acoustic folk/pop duo. We place a strong emphasis on vocal harmonies and a loving message. We are two childhood friends that decided to make music together about two or three years ago. Our friendship began in the North Woods of Wisconsin when we were 10 years old.
You're referring to the North Woods around Camp Ramah. Your camping experience obviously had a big impact on you two or you wouldn't have alluded to it in the name of your duo. Can you tell our readers what was so special about Ramah?
It was the place where we spent every summer of our lives up until a few years ago. The whole school year, we dreamed of those two months we would have together. Two months with our dearest friends, far away from the worries of school and home... Priceless.
I know that's true. My own three kids spent many a summer up at Camp Ramah as campers and then on staff. During those summers at camp, did you and Jeremy sing together when you were youngsters? Did you ever imagine yourselves recording music and developing a name as talented performers?
No, no we didn't. In fact, we didn't start singing together until our last summer as campers,when we were 15 years old. We always played music and we always loved music. The actual thought of performing and playing together never really set in until later on. It was always a dream of ours to write music, but the reality was that we lived far away from one another during the year. It never seemed like it would actually formulate into something as valid and as strong as it is today.
So, how did the two of you reunite later and put The Northwoods together?
I was finishing up my senior year at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Jeremy was attending Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Some of my friends were looking for a house, but needed a 7th man. I immediately thought if Jeremy moved here, we could finally start doing our thing. We could finally play music together all the time. I called him and said, "This is it! You gotta move out here [Boston]!" He dropped everything and did exactly that. Shortly after he was settled in, it all began.
So, you were in Boston for a time, but you're in St. Louis now. How did you end up there? St. Louis isn't usually thought of as a music hub.
Jeremy is originally from St. Louis. I had graduated school in Boston and we were thinking about cities to possibly move to: New York City, Nashville, Chicago, Colorado... They all sounded glorious but one key factor was missing - the money to do so. St. Louis was somewhere we could go for a while. It was relatively inexpensive, and Jeremy knew a lot of people there.
So, how did your music begin to take off?
We got a gig playing every Friday night on the patio of this little restaurant. We pieced little things like that together, and after a while, we started to build momentum.
What do you play?