'The Wholls' - Interview
As 2016 draws to a close, music fans across the globe can start to look back at the year and appreciate how great it was for the indie and rock scenes! Rock outfit, 'The Wholls' may not have had the same exposure to the public eye as other 2016 emergents such as 'Blossoms' but they are a perfect example of the new raw talent appearing from nowhere in the last couple of years.I spoke to self-confessed "Music Nerd" and bassist, 'Joe Stevenson' about their influences, playing live and much more.
The second you hear ‘The Wholls’ distinctive sound, especially ‘Roll Out’ (The best example of their musical innovation and Stevenson's personal favourite when playing) you can hear the range of influences that have permeated their way into their music. Elements of rock, blues, rap and hip-hop all feature, and as he said, “If you looked at all our record collections they’d probably be completely different”. When asked what band they would most like to be compared too , he answered "Why not go for a 'Kings Of Leon' or 'Chili Peppers'?" and in a way they are quite similar to the latter, not in their sound but in the way they manage to create a wonderful blend of styles to create a sound slightly different from anything else around at the time.
When asked what their influences are, many bands claim to have a whole host of them, however, those in the indie or rock regions tend to proceed with a list consisting of 'Arctic Monkeys' , 'Oasis' etc which in actual fact is quite a narrow spectrum of sound. 'The Wholls' on the other hand, have a genuine range in influence and it is this that has allowed them to break through this year. Stevenson added that they do not particularly set out to create a unique sound, but "when you have so many different ideas being thrown into the mix from different musical backgrounds then its going to produce something new". However, the natural talent is clear to see, with brothers 'Tordy' and 'Santino' writing the basis of 'X21' in around 20 minutes!
Alongside the abundance of talent breaking through over the past 12 months, the public demand for energy and on stage presence seems to have made a comeback, with more angst filled bands such as 'Baby Strange' and 'VANT' really coming into their own. This is certainly a category 'The Wholls' fall into. The passion you can feel in their music is amplified by the hundreds when playing live. One of the main aims of rock & roll is simply to bring the raw elements of the music as close to the fans as possible and these guys seem to take this to the next level, with most of their previous gigs ending in stage invasions. Stevenson recalled numerous incidents of head butts, broken equipment and even chipped teeth from their past few performances! They are just what you want from a rock band, passion, energy and a true love for the music they are playing.
Another factor of indie and rock music that seems to have returned is the creative direction a band takes, and their connections to it. Again, The Beford group take this to another level, with Stevenson producing all the artwork himself and explaining a unique story behind their name. Apparently ,'Wholl' is a shortened version of a cocky expression used in groups of friends in Italy. They would traditionally go up to each other, grab their crotch and use the expression...what sort of banter that is i'm not quite sure. But, with 3 of the band members having Italian heritage, the term became used in the band and later filled the role of their name. Stevenson himself claimed " It's a shit name, we tried for ages to find a new one. I wrote down about 100 ideas but none seemed to fit so we eventually stuck with it" . Although it might not be the most artistic name out there, it adds another element to the bands image to have a story behind the name.
2016 IN MUSIC
We also took time to appreciate the year's music, talking of some of the best new acts. Stevenson revealed that the band have been massive supporter's of 'Hello Operator' and 'Bang Bang Romeo' , describing their female lead-singer as "A preacher for our generation" . He also cast his vote on the BOOT MUSIC poll, for Indie Track of 2016, choosing 'Charlemange' by 'Blossoms' adding that "Whenever they come on the radio it just makes me happy inside" which I think can be said for a lot of us! (Vote for your choice by clicking on the link below!) However , even though the year has showcased a huge resurgence in great music, the Nation-wide venue crisis continues. Stevenson shared the same concern, aware that half the music venues around London have been closed over the last ten years and commenting that "It was a pleasure to play in 'Barfly' (A small Camden venue) before it closed" but was truly worried about the way the country is heading.
'The Wholls' came across as a very humble band, committed to live music and passionate Rock&Roll ,which is perfectly demonstrated in their new video for the single 'Perfect Waste Of Time' which you can watch on their Facebook Page.
You can also head to their website http://www.thewholls.com/ For more info and news on their upcoming UK TOUR which , yes .... begins in Berlin!