Woahnows (The VH Interview)

Hi Woahnows, How are you doing?

Very well thanks, you?

What are your pronouns? 

They for me (Tim) and he for the other two (Adam and Phil)

How would you describe Woahnows?   

A punk band trying to be an indie band

Has this description changed as you have developed? 

I think it’s always been the same, I’d demo stuff that to me, felt poppy and pretty indie, but I think we can’t help but end up making everything sound a little more brash than intended. We’ve definitely got closer to it on this record though.

You have had a strong start to 2019 with the album announcement, what does the rest of the year have in store for you?

There will be a couple of singles, then the album. Also some cool shows, doing one with Swearin’ then some album release shows with Katie Ellen (ex-Chumped) and some other festival sorta things.

What can you tell us about the album? 

To me, it’s a pop record. In terms of the songs, they’re a lot more direct and personal than before. The last record was personal, but written as I was working out a lot of things about myself, which at that point I wasn’t comfortable sharing with the wider world. As a result, they seem much more vague. This time round they are more focus and vocal led.

Where has your inspiration for the come from? 

So much, I listen to loads of soul stuff, and I think that rubs off a lot whether it’s obvious or not. I also just love the feel of those old power-pop records, bands like the Exploding Hearts, the Nerves and the Dbs. I do find their lyrics pretty outdated though. All seems a bit “creepy guy” to me, so I updated those themes to fit with my more queer poly outlooks.

Has all the eventfulness of the last couple of years made it easier or harder to write songs?

I mean the world is just so overwhelming right now! I suppose it leaks in to how I feel, but for me, with everything moving so fast, I’m focusing on the micro, about being good to people around you, and trying to be a good person. The record is more about that than trying to tackle the wider cluster-fuck of world issues right now.

As songwriters there always seem to be positives hidden within even the bleakest of your lyrics, are you positive people?

I really think we are. Writing songs is such a great place to put that negative stuff, to let out out, to share it with others and let people know we all struggle, that someone else gets it, feels the same. 

 

Is it getting harder to find the positives with the uncertainty at the moment? 

Yea I’m freaking out about the climate. I’m wondering where I’m going to live, if my mum will be ok. Strangely enough though, it does become with a slightly positive twist. I often think, well…. one day we might be at war, or have no water, and I’ll think back and think of how good we have it now. That’s my most used trick to enjoying who and what is around me for what it is right now.

With ‘Dipping Out’ the first single from ‘Young and Cool’ you continue to be honest about the regular struggles, is it getting easier to open up about these things?

Yea I think so. I know the whole band struggles with their own stuff personally, but as we’ve grown older (we were never cool) we’ve become better at supporting each other with open conversation, and showing our love. The others have really supported me in being me, as I’ve learnt to express that outwardly to the world some more. It’s scary at times. I feel really supported and privileged in my life, so I feel it would be unfair for me not to be open, not everyone has that support, to pass a little on.

Do you find when you address mental health, gender politics, emotion etc.  in your music that it opens a conversation up?

Not so much, but then again, the record isn’t out yet. I hope it does.

How important is it to keep these conversations going in the DIY community? 

Very. We can take responsibility for ourselves, and to be in dialogue with others. It’s so important to talk, but more so to listen. To not get defensive when our privilege is challenged. I do some work at the Exchange in Bristol, and sometimes all we do is talk, but as a result I think we’ve helped to build a really warm, cool space.

From your years of experience are things getting better within the scene? 

Much better. The diversity on bills is improving, people are more aware of what that means now. People seem safe and more supported in calling others out where it needs it. That can only be a good thing. I think it’s already sunken much further into the fabric of the whole thing. There’s still a way to go, lineups are still often overwhelmingly white and able, people, almost always women, are still being touched and harassed by assholes, even in places we like to call safe. Things do seem to be moving forward though.

How can we push in the right direction?

Talking, but mostly, listening. Being an active bystander, supporting each other. More events and schemes like ‘first-timers’ are great too. Anything to open up music to more people. I’ve been involved in DIY most of my life but I still feel like an outsider at times, and I’m privileged up to my eyeballs. There are still gates, and keepers.

Has making music that has influence and comparison to various genres made it harder to find where you fit in?

Oh totally. I don’t think we’ve ever fitted in. Too punk for indie, too indie for punk, to weird for pop, too pop for weird. I think most people just don’t know what we are. Without sounding pretentious, I do feel like we really are our own thing. It’s sorta like lots of stuff, but also nothing else. I do often feel we stand alone. I’m sure we don’t, but it does feel that way.

What are your five favourite albums? 

This will obviously change by the time I’ve written it, but for now.

Parquet Courts – Light Up Gold (the new one’s good too)

Big Thief – Capacity

Tenement – Predatory Headlights

The Beautiful South – Carry on Up the Charts (it’s a best of, but whatever)

Dusty Springfield – Dusty in Memphis

Where can we find out more or buy some records?

I have a feeling it’s all on the Specialist Subject site, or maybe http://smarturl.it/woahnows

Woahnows will be playing some shows in the run up and to celebrate the release of ‘Young and Cool’ on February 22nd.

3 February – Crofters Rights, Bristol with Swearin’
15 March – The Castle, Manchester
19 March – Exchange, Bristol
20 March – The Lexington, London
12-14 April – Washed Out Festival, Brighton
19-21 April – Manchester Punk Festival
24-26 May – Booze Cruise Festival, Bristol

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