Over the last year, rock newcomers WITTERQUICK have quickly emerged as one of the UK’s hottest new bands following the popular release of singles ‘Soldiers’, ‘Fade Out’, and ‘Rise’, a sold out UK tour with fellow rockers Nothing But Thieves, and piquing with their debut EP ‘Beneath the Spinning Lights’, which saw them attain UK chart success (alt chart #9, album chart #35), TV, and major radio play.
I’d heard amazing things about this Exeter quartet and wanted to open up the hood and dig a little deeper to find out what makes these guys tick, here’s how we got on….
We know that you’re based in Exeter and there are four of you in the band, take a few moments to tell us about yourselves
We formed about 4 years ago. We were in different bands that all fizzled out around the same time. Ben and I were writing for fun, and one night I invited Will over to sing on some songs. He'd been writing too and we pretty much haven't stopped since then. The lineup has changed a little over the years. Sean joined us on guitar a couple of years back and we've had the worst luck with drummers. We're rivaling Spinal Tap in that area. They've all been incredible drummers and people, and we're still good friends with each of them, but they've had to leave for different reasons.
Claim to fame? Our first EP broke the top 10 alternative charts, that was a surprise. Some pretty big YouTube stars are fans too, that's always nice.
The name ‘WITTERQUICK’ has fascinated me, I did a quick search on Google and it came back with “Rather independent and passionate, you like the feeling of freedom and deny love fusion” – is this close to what you think/know it means?
WITTERQUICK is the name of a character from the 80s cartoon Visionaries. We wanted a one word name that hadn't been used by anyone before and WITTERQUICK made the cut. Every band name is awful, it's the music that makes the name.
I read on Facebook that WITTERQUICK’s sound combines the intensity of punk-rock and the feel of the 70’s and 80’s stadium greats, with the melody of a pop band. You then add that you don’t model yourselves on anyone and have no interest sounding like anyone else, does this make it a tough conversation when people ask “who you sound like”?
Absolutely. You have to be pigeonholed and categorised otherwise the industry doesn't know what to do with you. We sound like WITTERQUICK, and the people that we connect with feel that. That's our experience.
Which bands made you want to pick up instruments and form a band in the first place?
Do you ever play cover versions? If so, which ones and why? If not, why not?
We did a cover of ‘Wrecking Ball’ by Miley Cyrus when we toured with Nothing But Thieves, that was fun. We wanted to do something a bit different. That's been the only time so far. If we're going to do it we want to do something special, otherwise you're just playing someone else's music and what's the point of that.
I read that you’ve shared the stage in the past with Nothing But Thieves, I’ve seen them a few times now and love their sound, what is it about their music that you enjoy?
Sometimes those guys bottle lightening. They really do, and that's rare. We've been around those guys since the very beginning, seeing where they are now is amazing.
You’ve worked with producer Romesh Dodangoda (Bring Me The Horizon, Twin Atlantic, Lower Than Atlantis), do you think that working with Romesh changed the way that you approach your song writing and recording? Did he have any ideas when you went into the studio with him?
Our songwriting hasn't changed as such, but we've learned a hell of a lot from Romesh. Our songs are more polished before we get to him now, the structures and build are cleaner because we know what he would do.
It was refreshing to see you say “We don’t work with any professional writers. We’re not created with auto-tune. We’re not designed by a focus group. What you see, and hear, is us. And only us.” – Tell me how you approach the song writing process, who brings what to the table and how do you agree on the finished product?
Will writes so many songs, every now and then he'll send me a batch of like 10 or something "oh I recorded these last week, what do you think?". It's amazing to have that. I work with him on the ones that stand out, and we fine tune them til we're confident, then we play with them full band and have Ben and Sean add their magic. Will and I write lyrics for different songs, some speak to Will, some to me. It's whichever hits us, we kinda claim it.
What has been the biggest show you’ve ever played, tell me about how you felt before and after the show and any memorable moments….
We played a sold out show at KOKO in London, aside from festivals that's been our biggest. Big shows are an entirely different vibe from club shows - there's so much more room, the audience are much further away. It's a completely different experience, and you need to engage with the crowd all the same. There's always more adrenaline before a big show, your body is freaking out at this strange experience, but your head is like "we got this". Once you're on stage you just do your job and try not to get lost in the moment.
What’s been the strangest/weirdest thing that has happened to you on stage at a show? (streakers/technical failures etc…)
We played a show in Brighton and some girls in the front row got very ‘handsy’. Will and I got grabbed a few times, we almost couldn't get free. I think Will got pulled in actually.
We had another girl climb on stage and take a selfie with Ben once too.
You’re hitting the road again in July taking in Leeds, Manchester, Southampton, London & Cardiff before playing Exeter Cavern for one hell of a homecoming show, which cities are you MOST looking forward to playing on the tour and why? Have you played these cities before?
Home shows are always a big one for us, it's like you have more to prove or something. Our last few Exeter Cavern shows have sold out, that feeling is indescribable. We all broke down on stage one night at the end of a tour because the crowd were singing a song so loud, we just stopped and let them take the lead. Hearing hundreds of people all singing their hearts out is a hell of an experience. We haven't played Leeds in a long time, and have never played Southampton, so they're going to be fun ones.
You can catch the band on tour at the following dates.
17th - Leeds
18th - Manchester
19th - Southampton
20th - London
21st - Cardiff
26th - Exeter
For details of venues and to buy tickets, click HERE
Do you tend to find audiences change depending on where you are in the country? What about overseas audiences (assuming you’ve played overseas)….
Absolutely. Some crowds are out for a good time from the start, genuine party atmosphere, others you need to prove yourself and get them going. It's definitely a geographical thing. European crowds are definitely in the party category, they're jumping and screaming before you get to play a chord!
Festival season is pretty much upon us, where can we expect to see you this year?
We're only jumping around a few festivals this year, we can't say which yet. Next year is going to be a big festival year for us.
Let’s talk about guilty pleasures, anyone in the band harbouring a secret love for STEPS or AQUA?
Now I don't believe in the guilty part, if you're into something you're into it. Screw what people think. Back to your question though, we're all big gamers with particular vices. Ben's into Dark Souls and videogames in general, Sean loves his boardgames, Will and I are big into D&D.
What do YOU, as a band want to get out of your musical careers? When will you feel that you have achieved everything that you planned to do?
We're fortunate enough to have the beginnings of a very dedicated following. We always hoped to connect with people but some of the stories fans have told us about how we've helped them is beyond anything we hoped for. We really had no idea how powerful this all is. We genuinely feel that we've achieved something very special there, and that's the peak for us. On from that it's just numbers. We plan on making our music for as long as we can make it, we haven't really set a target because we know that none of that means anything.
Are you signed to a label? If not, do you think it’s important to be these days or can you make just as good a job of it yourselves?
We're not currently signed, but we have been. I won't sugar-coat it, it's an awful, awful, industry. But then which business isn't? If you want to 'make it' you'll need a label and all the support that comes with it, but that doesn't come for free. There are very few examples of anyone doing that job independently. You can certainly make music and reach an audience without a label, it's arguably easier now than ever. This next generation are going to be the ones to really make some changes, and the changes are going to be huge.
Lastly, there are GAZILLIONS of bands and artists out there at the moment, tell us about 3 that you’re really into at the moment and why our readers should take time to check them out.
The Kaizens - these lads are great friends of ours and we are constantly seeing them improve. We have played multiple shows with them and they know how to rock the hell out of a stage!
Elessar - close friends of ours again. They have just released a new song with a new sound/image and they're owning it in their own way. Keep a close eye on these guys.
Wildwood Kin - we are massive fans of these ladies. Our fans know we love harmonies and the harmonies these ladies do are incredible. We've seen them a lot and they blow us away everytime.
We’d like to thank the band for sparing the time to chat to us and look forward to catching them at their homecoming gig at The Cavern in Exeter on 26th July. To keep up to date with the band, please use the links below