Wood, 27, came to town 10 years ago to study photography at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). He’s put his fine art education to good use as a marketing and design associate with Creative Alliance, where he designs promotional posters and helps run social media. On the side, he and a crew of friends photograph and design album covers for local musicians. He is releasing his own self-titled album in May.
Though not religious, Wood strongly embraces his cultural Jewish identity. For his upcoming record release party, Wood has partnered with “a local sweet Jewish man,” Dave Alima of The Charmery, who Wood developed a friendship with through sending each other messages on Instagram whenever they posted Jewish- themed photographs. Alima’s ice cream production facility in the Union Collective near Hampden will host Wood’s record release party on May 17.
When did you start making music?
I started playing violin at 5, but gave up on that at 19. I played piano a little as child and picked it back up when I was older because playing a violin in a band was a weird vibe. I started doing my solo music about four and a half years ago. I made a bunch of demos and had an old band in college, but after I graduated I started slowly getting confidence to release my music. I was hoping no one would hear it, but they did.
I’m releasing an album in May. I’ve been writing it for two years, which is the longest I’ve ever spent on a record. I’m recording with a producer called Mateyo. He’s a local R&B and funk singer/producer. I’m excited I have a band and I’ve added a bunch of layers I’ve never done before. I’m in the process of finishing it, so my confidence level is both thinking it’s the best thing ever and also thinking I should never release it.
Tell us about your photography.
I published a photo book of band portraits in 2017 called “Features.” It’s a 200-page book with like 50 to 60 bands, mostly from Baltimore, shot between 2012 and 2016. I do photography for a lot of artists, and I have a team that I make album covers with. I like to make a lot of art relating to music, but sometimes landscapes. I shoot all the time.
You just shot a music video, right?
Yeah, it was funny, a few of my friends who were in the video, including Britt from Outcalls, were talking about their recent trips to Israel and I thought, “Man, I have so many Jewish people in this video and I didn’t even realize it.”
But anyway, the music video is a Zumba class. I got my friend who is a Zumba teacher to make a full routine and then I got a bunch of my friends to learn it. It’s a funny and ridiculous concept. We’ll see how it turns out.
Have you been to Israel?
I went on birthright. It was really beautiful. I went older, I was 24 or 25. It was nice not going when I was younger. I was able to both understand the things around me and the struggles people their face. I saw the complexities of it. You know? If I went when I was 18, I would’ve been more concerned with trying to have fun and thinking, “Oh my god, I can drink alcohol here!” but by 25 you’re like, “whatever.”
I got to sight see, and went once I was good at photography. I took a bunch of photos. My mother was a little disappointed because she wanted touristy photos, but I just took pictures of rocks and stuff. She was like “These are nice but what else did you take?” I said, “Just these.”
Do you consider yourself primarily a musician, photographer or designer?
Oh man. It’s so complicated. I do design full time, but I also consider myself a full-time photographer and musician. I spend pretty much every weekend doing one of those things, and then during the week I get home from work, walk my dog and then continue working on music or editing photos all night until 12 when I go to sleep, I wake up for work and then start over.