Woody Cook and Truth Tribe

Interview with… Woody Cook & Truth Tribe

BN1 had a fat afternoon at the house of Woody Cook – some of you may know him as a DJ, or as runner up of The Circle, or even as Fatboy Slim’s lad. But he is about to show you a whole new side of himself by introducing you to Truth Tribe – an events company with a big heart. 

Will, of PHASE Events, and Harry, aka Dirty Harry, joined us as we chatted over some Really Happy Chicken (shout out to one of the best vegan chicken places in Brighton!). Very quickly talk got around to some gossip about Woody’s time on The Circle…

Were you happy with your edit on The Circle? 

Woody: I was really happy with the way I came out, whereas some other people came off the show like… what? You know, the thing is that you have to be ahead of them and give them a story. Otherwise they make you the story. 

There was a bit they left out though at the end when I found out I was going to be in the final. See, I had an effigy of Boris Johnson that I created, like a scarecrow of clothes, with his hair and everything. They showed one shot of me making it, but they never showed the end shot because it said, “Hi, my name is Boris” on a little sticker… I started dancing with him and when I picked him up, he melted and his spine fell out. And I thought, what a political message, you know, I tried to dance Boris, but he’s spineless and melting like the Wicked Witch of the West. And they just didn’t put any of it in! Apparently it was too political or something? I just think, you know, what happened to the soul of life? Of the sort of cutting through to the reality behind TV?

Was the Boris effigy something you made out of boredom or was doing stuff like that what kept you sane? 

Woody: Haha yeah pretty much, I made this giant marble ramp out of cardboard and started flying marbles across the room! And I read all seven books that I bought in with me – all about how music works. Except one that was, How to Start a Record Label, which was written in, like, 2002 and was about weighing up vinyl versus CD’s and the major “new thing” for distribution being the power of the internet… I gave up on that one! All the other books were good – I tried to get as much out of the time as I could.

Woody Cook
Woody Cook. Credit: Erik Selby

So is that what inspired the idea of the Truth Tribe?

Woody: I came up with the name for the idea about a year and three weeks ago, but we wanted to do something for a while. My friend Will, who runs PHASE Events had the same idea for a company like Truth Tribe, so we sort of merged together. At the moment we are building the music first, because that’s one of the most important things. But it’s the Truth side of it that’s important. I think a lot of campaigning and stuff comes across the wrong way. In the 60s, campaigning was associated with the culture of music and messages were attached to that, rather than people just crassly shouting things over and over again like today. 

Culture in itself is created by the people we respect and the heroes that lead the charge. And it’s one of those things where in times before us, you would aspire to be these celebrities. At the moment a lot of idols shouldn’t be held up so high, like, everyone aspires to be these rappers who preach flexing and this culture of knocking people down rather than bringing someone up, especially on social media. Certain people can flip the scales like Kendrick Lamar and be actually good for everyone. But then there’s also a lot of bad influences. I’m gonna try to be a good one.

Happy, wholesome Truth Tribers - Left to Right: Will of @Phase_events, Harry AKA @dirtyharrydnb and Woody Cook
Happy, wholesome Truth Tribers – Left to Right: Will of @Phase_events, Harry AKA @dirtyharrydnb and Woody Cook. Credit: Erik Selby

How is Truth Tribe going to tackle some of the issues you described above?

Woody: Social Media like Instagram, even TikTok as much as I dislike it, can be powerful tools for education. I mean, I could sit on YouTube for ten hours and learn nothing, but suddenly I found all these videos that are really helpful and can teach you so many life skills. There’s a stigma around self-help books – that you shouldn’t read them. But I read some and it changed my entire life. People ask me oh, how are you so, like, naturally nice? Well… it’s just some books you know, it’s almost like instruction manuals. It sounds weird, but there are certain things that they should teach us in school, but they don’t. So my idea is to have a place where there’s an unlimited stream of videos, like a feed, and each one is actually beneficial to you, but not boring!

Harry: A lot of it is awareness, which we can bring with videos that are entertaining and accessible, as well as a lot of music videos and things people like to click on. We’ll be using a lot of the same techniques as social media use, but making sure the content is quality.

So will you be curating the content? 

Woody: It’s got to be a certain standard because that’s the idea of truth tribe, if we aren’t honest in our content, suddenly the name’s void and the whole thing is ruined. In terms of campaigning, I want to use our platform to shout out people who are doing the right thing. Instead of platforms like Twitter which are so often used to incite counterculture, we want to be aiming the social media gun in a positive way. Just like when a celebrity shouts out some small business that’s actually doing things sustainably or having a positive social impact, and they blow up massively. I think the problem now is instead you get celebrity-endorsed teeth whitening kits or whatever. Businesses that are transparent in their practices and have a positive impact are really attractive to us, and we want to use the Truth Tribe platform to get their message out. 

So that’s half the company – the campaigning side – how does music come into it? 

Will: So most people enjoy listening to music, whether it’s like rap, house music, electronic… it doesn’t really matter. It’s something that unites everyone – it doesn’t matter whether you’re rich or you’re poor, old or young, how you vote, your social status or where you came from – you can come together and just forget all of that for a moment. If you can kind of build the right kind of messages in with that, hopefully you can influence a lot of people in quite a nice way. And I think that’s kind of what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to get events going that bring a lot of people together, to take a break from society in a little way, have a nice time and enjoy themselves.

What is a Truth Tribe Event like?

Harry: We did an event the other week in Ramsgate. Which was a bit of a weird place to play honestly, there’s like a little bar next to the biggest Spoons in the country. It’s really weird! Was a fun night though.

Woody: It’s going to be a long process. We’ve come up with a lot of these ideas, and when we talk about them, it’s always with the next 4 or 5 years in mind. It’s a gradual process, because we want to invest in the best equipment and the best people. With every event, we get a bit more capital behind us, and put that straight back into the next event. We want to be known for having events that just go that little bit extra, to be more interesting and immersive. Like how raves used to be in the 90’s. I mean even the posters were a work of art! 

Everyone can feel the vibe at a festival where everyone loves each other. I like the idea of Truth Tribe as a beacon fire, because we want to try and unite people from different walks of life. I think there’s so many people who think like we do, and we want to build that tribe. 

Woody Cook Truth Tribe Brighton
Truth Tribe got your back. Credit: Erik Selby

We love the ethos of Truth Tribe, and can’t wait for it to get bigger and bigger! 

Join the collective: follow @wearetruthtribe on Instagram.

For some raging bass follow Harry: @dirtyharrydnb

To find the freshest DnB nights Brighton has to offer follow Will and PHASE Events: @phase_eventsuk

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