Brisbane rockers Waax are a five-piece who wear their post punk influences loudly on their sleeves. As they head on tour in support of their single ‘Wisdom Teeth’, drummer Tom talks to us about his musical inspirations, their Bigsound showcase and the experience of playing together live.
Your single ‘Wisdom Teeth’ has been met with a lot of praise.
How did the writing process unfold for this song?
Well Marie [Waax vocalist] came up with it, it actually started as a really different song; the call and response between the instruments and the vocals was always there and we loved the urgent feel it gave off, but the chorus was way too heavy and didn’t really fit our vibe. We probably whipped up that version of the song in half an hour and then shelved it. Then I had an idea for a chord progression for a different chorus (I sang it terribly as I can’t play anything I don’t have to smash) we figured that out and Marie instantly came in with the “never gonna leave you alone” hook and then the shutups came later. We wanted it to be a song the audience had to be a part of, we never really thought it would be a single.
Has working with Ben Preece and the team at Mucho Bravado (what is this?) changed things for yourself and the band?
Exponentially, I cannot begin to describe not just how different the band is but our lives in general are because of Ben and his lovely minions. He came in at a time when we didn’t know how to manage ourselves anymore and he comfortably took us under his wing and has been working tirelessly ever since.
All the Mucho guys have become close friends who we see very regularly, we well and truly feel part of a family with them.
How was the experience of working with Konstantin Kersting and Dave Neil at Airlock studios? How did that relationship come about?
(edit dave mastered our track we never met him, although he is very very good)
Working with Kon was stellar, he’s a close friend (especially after recording with him) and he really takes on the roll of a producer. He has a knowledge of music way beyond his years and is doing incredible things for Brisbane music.
Kon does sound at Rics, and we used to play there ALL the time, but he liked what he heard I guess and offered to record us, and we said ‘yeah man’.
You are playing with some fantastic bands on your forthcoming ‘Wisdom Teeth’ tour. Is there anyone in particular you are looking forward to sharing the stage with?
So keen for The Delta Riggs – they slay live, and I’ve been a fan since back when ‘Money’ came out, so it’s a bit surreal actually. Definitely heroes of ours.
5. What is it about performing that you enjoy the most? Is there a particular emotiveness about playing to an audience?
Man, just pure bliss. When you get a good show going it’s indescribable. Gonna get a bit weird here on ya but you feel like you are connected to every single person watching and more so to the people you are playing with – it’s a synergy in doing something that evokes positive emotions in people. #euphoria
What other artists would you like to play shows with in the future?
So. Many. I think a few dreams of ours would be The Dead Weather, QOTSA, Radiohead, Royal Blood, anything involving Nick Cave etc etc.
More locally I’d love to play with Kingswood, DZ [Deathrays], Violent Soho, Bad//Dreems a bunch of others. My personal dream is to be on massive festival lineups with really varied artists – I like a really broad range of music so being able to hang out with crazy famous idols of mine, from hip-hop acts to metal bands and everything in between would just be awesome. The more the merrier.
Is their one person that has inspired you to do what you’re doing right now?
I think it’s the art form itself that is more inspiring to me. I started playing drums when I was 16 and had no passion for anything and no idea what I wanted to do in my life, and then all of a sudden I did. That was pretty special for me.
In terms of my favorite drummer, Mr. John Henry Bonham would take the cake and I don’t even care if that’s a clichéd answer. I am a massive Zep fan, and he really tuned my taste in playing style and music.
What’s one of the craziest moments that have happened since the band began?
The Bigsound after party, it’s a really bad (for you) idea to give us free beer, and we were in a room with dozens of musicians who we had revered and looked up to for years, drunk as shit, dancing like they had never danced on stage ever in their life. These are people who are crafting incredible music and bringing Australia to the forefront of the industry, and I think the biggest cheer went up when Flo-Rider’s ‘Low’ came on. So good.
What is a typical day in the life of Waax?
Ooh fun, I’ll take you through a gig day. We will all have work or whatever and then meet at Marie’s apartment for preps and pre-drinks. Run through set lists and transitions and stuff and then drink way too much, too fast, every single time without fail and then freak out because we have to play and then try and sober up. Then we pick our clothes and get dressed and do hair and the gals to makeup and the boys complain about it taking too long. Then Marie does this thing where she fixes the ends of my jeans to make my boots look better because I am incapable of that sort of witchcraft. Then we head to the venue, sound check, drink more, play, talk to the crowd, dance our asses off for the headliner and probably go out and not remember anything afterwards. Always a good time, incidentally we are social little butterflies so if anyone is keen to hang with us after a show or anything please don’t be a stranger.
What plans are on the horizon for the band in 2015?
New single, EP release, touring more, hopefully some good support shows, I can’t give too much away but we have started to lock in some shows for next year already that we are very excited about. At this point I think we are taking it as it comes, I know Ben has crazy manager visions and plans that our brains can’t keep up with so we are just trying to do the absolute best we can to be good live, write good songs and have fun with it all. However, we all have an inkling that 2015 will be a very good year for us. Fingers crossed.
WAAX – Wisdom Teeth Tour
Friday December 12 – Alhambra Lounge, Brisbane
Thursday December 18 – Captain Cook Hotel, Sydney
Friday December 19 – World Bar, Sydney – Select Music Xmas Party
/w Apes, Jesse Davidson, High Tails & More