Patchchord News , UK Editor and Photographer Martin Bone caught up with Band WEIRDS for a an exclusive interview and discussed their new single and upcoming tour.
What are your names (and band name!) who plays what?
Hey! We’re Aidan, Zachary, Matthew and David and we’re Weirds.
Why did you pick your band name?
I think we were discussing names for bands, that if we saw on a bill, we’d want to go and check out. We then came up with Weirds.
How did you form?
I’d forgotten about this until recently but I think discussions of starting a band first began sat outside Leeds Festival 2009 by some lake at about 10pm listening to White Lies in the distance, the plan was to get there, sneak in on the Friday and we had tickets for the Saturday so it would all work out fine… Clearly the planning of two 15 year olds, however many bottles of cider down. We all knew each other at school & Aidan informed me that Matt and Dave played so we all used to meet up and play in different bands. Weirds as a band didn’t start until 2013 though.
Where are you all from?
We’re all originally from Nantwich in Cheshire, and moved to Leeds a couple of years ago.
Why did you decide to play the genre or genres you do?
We didn’t really, in an alternate Universe we might have been a Jazz band, its just what comes out when we play together. I think we’re pretty proud to say that we have our own unique sound but thats just how we write. I was talking to someone after a show recently and they said that they didn’t know what genre to slap on us; indie rock or heavy rock. I’d like to think we combine the two, we just do what we want, I can’t imagine writing music would be much fun with any set of strict rules.
How long have you been together?
Weirds started in 2013.
Do you write out your lyrics?
Aidan writes the lyrics, he’s been carrying around this brown notepad for years and takes it everywhere with him. He’s always writing in it. There is a song on our forth coming record called ‘Old World Blues’ , the story goes… he was sat waiting to board a plane at Marseille airport, he was going through a really tough time. Anyway, he realised he’d left his notepad in his case and needed to get the words out. So started writing these lyrics on the back of his ticket, thankfully he didn’t lose it.
In a sweaty, crowded airport in the South of France at the height of summer on top of dealing with the other shit, you can imagine how they came out.
Where do you usually gather songwriting inspiration?
Probably just from what we’re listening to. You know, we never set out to writing a ‘song like this or that’ or whatever because it never comes out right. We also don’t want to sound like anyone else. We just write and see how it develops, it will usually start out with a riff or a vocal line or a beat etc. and we just go with it, if we like it we keep it. If we don’t it gets wiped off the board.
Do you think that online presence is important for fans to find you and critics to find your music to write about?
In this day and age, you have to have an online presence, it’s part of the responsibility you take on if you want to be taken seriously. Unless you’re Mark E. Smith (The Fall) and you don’t give a fuck but it’s a completely different ball game to how it used to be. I was speaking to someone before that told me he used to run to the shops to get the latest copy of NME or Kerrang! just to find out the line-ups for the festivals in the 80s that he frequented, and that was before travelling 20 miles to the nearest City to get his ticket and favourite band’s t-shirt. Everything now is so instant and we’re all guilty of getting used to that because it’s all we know. It definitely has it’s positives though, it allows people to see when/where you’re next playing, people are able to buy merchandise etc. all instantly on their phones or computers.
I don’t think there will be any another bands that’ll be able to use the internet like you could when it first became a household essential though, like The Cribs or Arctic Monkeys, no one will have that impact using the Internet like they did and fair play to them… but they had good songs. That’s the most important thing because you could potentially write one song with your mate in 30 seconds, post a photo of yourselves, upload the song, buy a load of followers/likes and call yourself a band but that isn’t going to get you anywhere, people like that are just kidding themselves.
Radiohead’s In Rainbows is a great example of a great band using the internet to their advantage, you could pay what you wanted. They didn’t give a shit if someone paid £0.01, they still had their record and that’s what they cared about.
What do you think about online music sharing?
Going back to the Radiohead comment, nowadays it’s just a part of the business. I’m not going to get upset because someone wants to listen to our music for any reason, whether that be that we get paid for it or not. However, this is part of a deeper problem with a public attitude towards music in general. Music isn’t valued in the same way as it has been before, and this is due to the advent of streaming/illegal downloading and the instant culture of the internet, and the people that lose out financially are the artists, labels and venues. It’s a double edged sword- more people than ever can access your music, through legal means and illegal means. It’s about where you stand on that blade.
Do you ever give your music away for free? and if so, why?
Yeah we did a few free downloads for quite a lot of our earlier stuff, regardless of the fact that we were also selling it on Vinyl at shows/online. I think it’s a great idea for a band just starting out to give their music away, it gives people a chance to listen to it whenever/wherever they want for nothing and people definitely appreciate that. If someone is frequently listening to your track at home then theres a good chance that they’ll come and check you out, it’s the start of building a following without the use of any PR or advertising. No one starting a band ever makes any money early on, or even breaks even, That is just how it is and you have to take that risk, you have to just get on with it and remember why you do it, because you love it.
What do you think about the resurgence of Vinyl?
It’s great! We love vinyl and it’s one of the reasons we approached Alcopop! Records in the first place, because of Jack Clothier’s love for physical releases! He just kept releasing records on vinyl since he started the label, despite people being inclined to buy CDs/Digital simply because of his love for it. We started buying vinyl when we were about 16 years old, so 7 years ago now, we used to go to Manchester and look in Piccadilly Records and all of the charity shops. There is definitely something extremely satisfying about getting a new LP, I must confess, I do flit between Vinyl and CDs though, but it’s being able to see the cover, read whats on the in sleeve etc. that makes it so much better than buying something on a screen and having to download any extras, I never buy MP3s anymore.
I’m just wondering when VHS players are going to come back into fashion.
Can you give any smaller or local bands looking to get gigs and airplay more tips?
We’re still a small band ourselves so all we can do is share our experiences and what we’ve learned. The main thing is nothing gets easier just because you get more recognition, whether that be a label, PR, management or whatever. Stick to your guns, don’t compromise and keep things simple. In list the help of your friends too, if someone is a particularly artist or you like what they do then talk to them about it and see if they’ll help you out, for us when we see a band with great artwork or cool videos it gives you that extra incentive to check the band out. In terms of getting gigs- if you’re having trouble finding a show- put on your own and put it on well. With getting airplay, it’s a difficult one because there is millions of bands all gunning for it, BBC Introducing is a great platform for emerging artists, get involved and don’t be afraid to ask anything, they’re there to help. We’ve had great support from both BBC Introducing in Stoke and BBC Introducing in West Yorkshire, they have helped us a lot and we’re grateful for them.
Can you tell me about Valley of Vision and how it all came about?
‘Valley of Vision’ was the first song we recorded for the album, and one of the quickest to write and record. We wanted to write a song that had a conventional pop structure but revelled in odd guitar sounds and heaviness. It came together really quickly in one evening, and then took a few days to hone down in the practice room. The lyrics are inspired by a puritan prayer of the same name found in a book of medieval Latin songs- which has been a huge influence on a lot of Aidan’s lyric writing. We liked the symmetry of the title and how it looked on paper. The video was a whole different beast- after seeing films like ‘A Field in England’ and a few early Lars von Trier films, we wanted to make a video that was brutal, and almost an anachronism- in that even thought the video is clearly filmed in the present day, it was rooted in an oddly psychedelic history- it could have been from the Middle Ages or the Industrial Revolution. We worked with a great film company, Bracken Films on it- and shot it at Ribblehead Viaduct in the Yorkshire Dales. It was horrendously cold, misty and wet and getting up at 5am and running non-stop till 3pm across the uneven terrain of the viaduct wasnt pleasant. Huge thanks to Jim and Zander at Bracken though, they worked super hard on it and are definitely on the same page as us in terms of visual direction.
So you have a Tour planned tell me about this?
We’re playing a small run of headline shows in mid March, including a 3 night London residency which we’re really excited for! Then we’re off out for a longer bunch of dates with The Wytches, which will be great. They have a really dedicated cult kind of following that they’ve clearly worked super hard for and are a great band. Nice guys too so i’m sure it’ll be a blast. We’ll then go out again after that when the album comes out but that’s all we can say about that yet.
Do you have anything you would like to share, from new merch to upcoming shows/tours or songs/albums? Music video etc.
Our debut album is out in May which were super excited about. We worked really hard on it over late 2015- March 2016 so we’re dying to get it out. With the help of everyone involved it’s ended up exactly how we envisioned it which is a rarity. We didn’t want to rush putting it out and wanted to make sure it was all right, which it is so we’re super proud of it.
Whats the plans for the future then?
Hopefully to emerge from the other side of this dystopia that the world has entered into this last year!
You can find more about Weirds at their official Facebook page Here