RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW BRISTOL BAND WAKEY WAKEY RISE & SHINE
Hi folks. What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
Smudge: When I grew up and realised I didn’t have to sit in a corner being angry or scared of what people might think of me or how people might have treated me for being myself. I used music growing up to get rid of the negative energy that was surrounding me and rejected it out of my body through singing and playing. That’s when I knew music was my thing.
Seamus: My Dad got me my first drum kit after showing me the infamous clip of Keith Moon blowing up his drums with dynamite on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Show. I basically saw the explosion and I apparently said to my Dad, “That’s what I want to do!” Here I am over 20 years later and I have still not blown up my drums with dynamite.
Introduce us all to the members and your musical history.
Smudge: In the band, we have on sticks Seamus, on the 4-string headless bass we have Duncan, on the modulation teleportation synthesiser we have Harri and finally me, Smudge. On lead vocals and guitar.
Seamus: We all have different musical backgrounds and many of us played in bands before this project. I played in a Soul band back when I was a teenager and have been in other multiple projects before WWRS. Duncan and Smudge have had similar experiences and played in a couple of bands too whereas Harri never played in a band before meeting us.
The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in, How do you feel you are doing?
Smudge: I think it’s too early to say how we are doing but all I know is I’m having fun and who doesn’t love having fun?
Seamus: It’s best not to focus on that and enjoy the journey. If you start looking at it as a numbers game you’ll never be satisfied.
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
Smudge: who isn’t? Sasquatch is definitely real!
Seamus: Is Sasquatch the same as Bigfoot?
Let’s share the love, what bands are doing really well in Bristol?
Smudge: Right now, I think Bristol has an incredibly high volume of talented artists everyone should check out. One band that blows me away every time I see them is Bingo Fury. There are also loads of artists I’ve yet to see like El Knight. Her voice is wicked!
Seamus: I’ll add Getdown Services and Mass House to the hat. Both of them are bloody brilliant and have amazing stage presence. Worth seeing them live if you get the chance.
What advice would you give other artists starting out?
Smudge: Be yourself and have fun.
Seamus: We’re still essentially starting out even though we have all been (bar Harri) in projects before this but the most important thing is to have fun in what you’re creating. If you’re not having fun with it, how can you expect anybody else to like what you do?
Did you buy anything you don’t need during the pandemic?
Smudge: I’m still buying silly things I don’t need, I don’t think a pandemic was going to stop buying random junk. I have recently found out I have an obsession with digital toasters.
Seamus: Alcohol, when it was deemed a non-essential item.
What was the worst experience on stage?
Smudge: I recently had a squeezed wedge of lime thrown at me while on stage, if it wasn’t squeezed I probably would have enjoyed the refreshing burst of citrus mid set.
Seamus: Mine was in my old band when our guitarist had a melodica solo and completely missed his queue but then tried forcing it back in about two bars later. It was so tragic he cried backstage at the end of the gig, the poor lad.
If you had to describe your band/music to an alien how would you describe it?
What makes you stand out as a band/artist?
Smudge: One, Harri being a druid
Two, Duncan’s secret time-stretching abilities
Three, Seamus’ ability to write his name with his left foot
Four, for me being a schmuck.
Seamus: Can’t really disagree with that statement.
I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it.
Smudge: Expect all the emotions you have after watching the full 8 years of an HBO series in one song.
Seamus: It’s a song we have been playing at our shows for over a year and it’s always one that gets a good reaction. Mainly due to the fact we have a monkey chant and some random squeal noises from Harri.
Talk me through the thought process of the new tune.
Smudge: Do you know bands that have a song title named after the band, well we wanted to do that and not do that at the same time.
Seamus: We’re going back into the studio in January to work with Alfie again. It’s a very comfortable atmosphere in that basement and Alfie is very encouraging with letting us experiment with the sounds of the instruments. That does lead us to make decisions that sometimes we have to scrap the following day as it can get a bit out of hand. Although a few of the “weird” things have managed to stay on Softly Softly Catchy Monkey.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tune?
Smudge: I love silly challenges like getting a silly phrase into a silly song about absolutely nothing, the learning curve was probably learning how to be more silly.
Seamus: It’s always a learning curve for me when I have to listen to the boys explain how they want the drum parts to sound. I don’t think we’ll ever find a language to communicate that effectively but we get there in the end.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
Smudge: I’m already thinking about remixing it for the 10-year anniversary release, my fingers are crossed we stand the test of time.
Seamus: You always have thoughts of “what if?” when you finish recording a song and you run out of studio time but we always make decisions democratically as a band to avoid us being too anal about certain parts. I think it’s quite healthy for us because otherwise, we would all be self-indulgent twats.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?