When we decided to start a new magazine, we thought long and hard about the best way to introduce ourselves. Mission statements? Manifestos? Rambling paragraphs about what we stood for and how we were different? Nah. Not for us. Instead, we decided to catch up with some of our favourite bands. Not to try to group them together, or to make a new scene – just to say they’re great. That’s what Upset is about.
“We’ve been a band for about three years now,” begins WOAHNOWS frontman Tim Rowing-Parker. We’re talking to him outside Brighton’s Pavilion Tavern – the Pav Tav to those familiar – in the heart and chaos of The Great Escape. Tonight, his band play as part of the annual Big Scary Monsters vs Alcopop! extravaganza, but right now he’s munching down on a local Grubbs burger, recounting the Plymouth punks’ story so far.
“We did one EP that we put out with a mate and just stuck it up on the internet for free, then BSM were up for putting out the next one. We’ve just been doing odd bits and bobs – touring bits here and there. We’ve generally used the band as an opportunity to travel – most of the European tours we’ve done – we go to Greece, Spain, shit like that. It’s just an excuse to do it.”
Their debut album ‘Understanding And Everything Else’ surfaced in May, stuffed with 13 indie punk bangers; equal parts irresistible hooks and awkward punk scruffiness. It’s not just a great debut album, it’s a great album, and one you’d think they’d been toiling away over for their entire three-year existence. As Tim explains, however, it only came to fruition through stepping away from the band entirely.
“When we started writing some songs, we thought we were going to smash this out,” he explains. “We did a long tour with Bangers, then an even longer one with Gnarwolves and we got back home and were like ‘we don’t really want to be in a band anymore. Let’s just not do that for a bit’. We were putting ourselves under pressure – we got a label, then all of a sudden there’s a PR guy and so on. So we took a bit of space.”
Life returned to normal, or as normal as it gets when you return home from being in a touring DIY punk band.
“Dan – who was playing bass – was getting married, and the venue he used to run, the White Rabbit, was closing down. Whirley was at home in Bristol, and I was just at home surfing and shit. Walking my dog, so not up to much!”
All that time, though, Tim continued to write and the songs started to take shape. Then, they just kept coming.
“You can be lazy with writing by just not doing it. But if you try and force it, it’s just gonna be shit. You’ve got to let certain things come naturally. You can’t go ‘right, pop banger. I’ve got half an hour to do one, let’s go’.”
Maybe not, but he’s made quite a few of them. With one album under their belts, then, what’s next for WOAHNOWS? As Tim brings us up to the present, they’re quite content in riding the wave and seeing where the road takes them, with an eye already on album number two.
“Where we are now as people, we’re fairly flexible with what we can and can’t do. I think if something comes up that we want to do, then we’ll do it. There’s no pressure. And I’ve been writing loads, I want to start thinking about the next record. It’s not the easiest thing in the world, but we’re going to try and do stuff that we haven’t done before, and avoid treading old ground.”
Taken from the August issue of Upset – order a copy now.