Filling out a venue like Koncept Space for your live debut a mere two days after uploading your very first music video online is a feat few artists have achieved. Woomb did it at the end of May, a couple of days after releasng their first single Pray for the Worst as a performance video. At the end of June they took the stage at Sofia Live Festival.
This brand new creation, conceived between London and Sofia, managed to remain a well-guarded secret for nearly half a year. Slowly, but surely it came to fruition on the Bulgarian music scene and the duo is now carving out plans to take off internationally.
The main protagonists in Woomb are seasoned producer and musician Gueorgui Linev (founder of Kan Wakan) and the well known talented photographer and stylist Hristo Yordanov. Although the latter showed promise as a performer in his school choir and later on as a talented writer in high school, it wasn't until the pandemic that he began writing song lyrics. "That's when I developed a passion for learning to use music software, recording some rough ideas and demos, and trying to play guitar."
It's no coincidence that the band's name is a play on the English word for womb, which according to them symbolizes the only similarity between people before they begin to accumulate and shape their differences.
Initially Gueorgui and Hristo bonded over their shared taste in music. "The moment we met, we got talking about our favourite artists, about memorable gigs and life-changing albums. Not long after that we started working together, but our shared taste and love for music remained at the core of our professional partnership and subsequently our friendship," explains Yordanov, while Linev recalls a conversation during which Hristo told him that as a kid he would deliberately put himself in situations that would sadden him, in order to experience intense emotions. "I used to do the same and it seems to me that the process of creating music is exactly that - searching for a way to make extreme emotions palpable."
Of course their musical influences don't always overlap stylistically."Lately it's precisely those differences that we find interesting. It is those opposing viewpoints that bring about the birth of some ideas that even we, ourselves, find surprising. The only thing we try to avoid is the obviously "correct" way of doing things. I also don't listen to any kind of music that aims to make me feel 'good'," says Linev.
The duo also see the varying degrees of experience and music training between them as a plus. "Thanks to Gueorgui's previous experience we save a lot of time and avoid certain mistakes. He is able to mould a lot of our abstract ideas into shape, which is only possible if you've got a solid musical background." For Gueorgui, the advantage of working with someone who isn't a jaded professional is that it provides more room to experiment and innovate. "It's like certain barriers that many of the more experienced vocalists and composers have set themselves aren't there. Therefore we can build something of our own, which at times can be very raw and authentic."
Interestingly, despite the acclaim he has received in Los Angeles and the UK - something many Bulgarian musicians dream about - Linev has opted to return to his homeland and work here. "What brought me back was the peace and freedom that allows me to focus on doing what I love without the constant hustle and bustle of the big city. In that respect everything here seems a little easier. My music has always reflected the energy of where I happen to live at any given time and Bulgaria brought out something new in me that I, myself, didn't expect. We both subscribe to the idea that we're simply conduits of energy that we, ourselves, don't fully understand. We know that in order to do this optimally, we must seek peace of mind and body."
The same balance needed for their songs to develop from the "womb" through birth to a fully formed entity. On ocassion, says Gueorgui, they've been known to attempt something completely different to their usual approach, like starting and finishing a new song within a week, or completely rewriting an old one. Hristo says these spur-of-the-moment creative impulses can occur within a few minutes, "but in other cases we get the skeleton of a song that needs months of rest before learning to walk and then dance."
The duo claim that being constantly on the move between London (where they record) and Sofia (where they rehearse and perform) keeps them on their toes. "From a creative aspect, it brings about some very interesting influences. Distance invariably creates a mental barrier between people both on a personal and professional level and it's difficult to find a balance in communication," Linev muses, while Yordanov says this kind of mobility makes him feel as though he's got unfinished business in both cities. "At one point I get this constant feeling of having left the house, but forgotten my keys there...however I love London. There's nowehere else I feel such freedom. The sheer scale of the city is helping me learn a lot about myself as an artist and person."
Georgi, meanwhile, continues to work on his other projects because it gives him the opportunity to put himself in different environments as a composer and thus challenge himself creatively in new ways.
The duo is already putting the finishing touches to fifteen original songs, while at the same time working on some new ideas. Obviously there's an album looming on the horizon. "The horizon is still far though. We want to trust the process and not rush release a large volume of music all at once."
According to Hristo the first songs they're working on are in are "in the transitional space between reality and a familiar dream. In the sound, I can smell wet soil, rain-soaked meadows, but some songs smell like incense and blood.' Others echo the sensation of taking the tube home drunk and alone, after a disappointing night out, adds Gueorgui.
With Woomb, however, he prefers to keep a certain distance so that the character and individuality of the project can stand out on their own and not be so easily compared to any of his previous artistic forays. He appreciates that working with Hristo gives him the opportunity to have a creative partner with whom he can trade ideas, whereas as Kan Wakan he is often left to loiter alone in his own artistic madness, "interrupted only by the musicians I'm working with at the moment or who have stopped by for a cup of tea in the studio – but this slightly more isolated way of working also has its charm." As for Hristo, he still does work as a photographer and stylist, but is quite selective and tends to channel most of his energy towards Woomb.
If you missed the opportunity to experience their musical symbiosis in a live setting in May and June, you'll have to wait until autumn for another chance to do so. Meanwhile, they'll curb our appetite with the release of Last Rays - one of the songs ever-present in their setlist. It is expected to come out in August like a warm ray of music to brighten up our last summer days.
Translated by Nasso Ruskov