89 – In the Loop: A Conversation with the Woodwired Duo

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Learn why Hannah Leffler and Cheyenne Cruz think you should start an ensemble by making the people–not the music or existing repertoire–your top priority. They also share tips on how to use a looper pedal in a musical and educational way, and discuss the recording and production of their new album called “In The Loop.”

Show Notes:

“You have to pick the humans that you want to work with first and then find repertoire and music around that.” 
  • Hannah Lefler (flute) and Cheyenne Cruz (bass clarinet) describe how they started their unique duo.
  • Their strong friendship contributes to their success as a duo.
Woodwired Duo as a Creative Outlet:
  • After graduating from UNT, Cheyenne was looking for something creative to spend her time doing. With Michael Lowenstern’s music for clarinet and electronics as a guide, she and Hannah decided to transcribe and arrange some of his pieces for their instrumentation. As they developed their musical style, the group began to write their own compositions.
  • While Cheyenne writes a lot of the original compositions, Hannah does a lot of the adapting and arranging for the group. The duo collaborates on their compositions throughout the writing process.
  • Their new album, In the Loop, features 10 tracks, nine of these are original compositions written by the duo.
Woodwired Duo discusses how they incorporate a looper pedal and other effects as tools in their compositions. 
  • The group will play a phrase of music into a microphone, then the looper pedal will play that phrase endlessly until they tell it to stop.
  • One of the forms the group uses in their pieces based on looping begins with playing a percussive phrase, followed by some chords, and then improvising on top of the loops they have created.
  • Several effects that are available for electric guitars are used by Woodwired Duo to create their unique compositions.
What do you need to get started performing with a looper? 
  • Microphone
  • Audio Interface
  • Computer
  • Speaker
Cheyenne and Hannah discuss the benefits of using a looper in your daily practice and with students. 
  • “Instantaneous feedback”
  • Loopy HD is an app that allows students to create loops on their phone.
  • “Learning how to play with a loop has made me a much more consistent player.”
How can you get started with looping? 
  • Listen to a lot of different kinds of music and then try to recreate a piece that already exists in the world.
Performing vs. Recording:
  • Cheyenne and Hannah discuss the impacts that their microphones and other equipment have on their live performances.
  • During their recording process for In the Loop, Woodwired Duo decided to make their tracks as authentic as possible by recording using their usual setup and routing everything through the studio microphones. They even recorded two of the tracks on their album in one take!
“Find something that you are endlessly interested in”
  • As a Duo, Hannah and Cheyenne believe in the importance of sharing the joy of music with others.
  • Doing outreach events and presentations at regional flute and clarinet days has brought the world of electronic music to students who may not have been exposed to this genre yet.


Lightning Round:

If I were to walk over to your music stand right now, what would I find on it?
  • Hannah: Indiana Jones’s Flute part and Anderson Etudes
  • Cheyenne: Alessandro Carbonare Clarinetto II suono: arte e technica
What piece of music or album changed your life irreversibly?
  • Hannah: William Bennett’s CD of Opera Fantasies
  • Cheyenne: Larry Combs and Eddies Daniels – The American Clarinet
If you could play any other instrument what would it be and why?
  • Hannah: Cello. The cello makes me weep!
  • Cheyenne: Cello!
If you could go back in time and meet any musician who would it be and why?
  • Hannah: Shostakovich. I love everything by him.
  • Cheyenne: Mr. Charles was one of the first documented clarinet performers. I want to know what his first name was and what pieces he played.
While we are back in time, what advice would you give to your younger self?
  • Hannah: I would tell myself to calm down a bit and have a bit more fun!
  • Cheyenne: I would say the opposite. I would tell myself to work harder and practice a bit more.
What is the best advice you ever received and who gave it to you?
  • Hannah: Be open-minded and listen to other types of music! Don’t put yourself in a box.
  • Cheyenne: When playing for Michael Lowenstern on a masterclass he said that I needed to take a shot of Jack Daniels before I performed. It’s so easy for me to get inside my own head before I perform, so now I think about taking a metaphorical shot before performing so that I relax and enjoy the performance.
What is one book you think everyone should read?
  • Hannah: Maxwell Maltz – Pyscho-Cybernetics 
  • Cheyenne: Trevor Noah – Born a Crime
Purchase Woodwired Duo’s new album, In the Loop, on iTunes or at woodwiredduo.com.

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