Having just finished supporting Canadian pop-punks Seaway on their UK tour, we sat down to talk to singer DJ and drummer Ryan about life on tour and what they have planned for 2018.
2018 has already been off to an exciting start for Scottish pop-punk quartet WOES with a new record deal with UNFD and recently released single Real World. On top of that, the band just finished off an eight-date UK tour with Seaway.
WOES were also handpicked by Neck Deep to support them on their huge UK headline tour last year and most recently released the punchy Losing Time to follow up 2016’s self-titled EP.
So with all this goodness going on, the boys chatted about their plans for this year and touring the country.
First of all congrats on signing to UNFD – how has it been working with the new label?
DJ: It’s been awesome so far! They’ve been really supportive. I remember one of the first meetings we had with them they told us that they liked what we were doing and all, they were really encouraging of us, they didn’t want us to keep making the same music as we make now, they really want us to grow as a band and try different things. And we explained some of our ideas that we would like to try and they were totally on board. For me, from that first meeting that’s when I knew they were the people I wanted to work with because I want to go and try different things.
Ryan: Totally! It wasn’t just “okay, you can go and make music and send us that”. It was more “you can send it to us and we can tell you what we think you should do, what you’re ding right or wrong, and give you feedback and get more involved.” And we thought that was good.
Are you guys working on a new record with them?
DJ: We’ve got an EP which we’ve finished up in December. Two of the tracks are out already, Losing Time and Real World, and there’s another three tracks on the EP, coming out around March – there’s not a date just yet. And then when we get home form tour on Monday, we’re starting to write the album – quote on quote THE album *laughs*
Any ideas so far what you’re going to put on the album?
DJ: I don’t know, I mean a lot of the stuff I’ve written for it so far is quite different. I always do that I think whenever we start writing. I write a bunch of different sounds and see what sticks and what we like, what sounds really big. And then it comes back to what we’re classically good at, which is pop-punk. We’ll see what sticks and just go with that!
Lyrically, where do you draw your stories from?
DJ: It is personal, I think what I try to do is draw from my personal experiences, of things that happened to me in my life, good and bad. And pick out the small details, you know, when you think about a memory it’s the really small things you remember. I want to pick out those small details that made me feel something and hopefully use those to make the listener feel something. So I prefer my lyrics to be less vague and more autobiographical so that hopefully when somebody hears them they kind of, if they’ve been through the same thing I’ve been through or similar, they get the same feelings I had.
Ryan: There’s never just one thing in particular, like a rhyme at the end or whatever. Even in our old bands, Sean and DJ’s lyrics, there was always a meaning that was quite strong behind them all.
You’ve just released Real World last week, how’s the new single been received?
DJ: Yeah, it’s been great! It’s always really nerve-wracking when you release a song. The two songs released from this EP so far have maybe been a bit poppier than I think people would expect from us. And both times we’ve been really nervous that there’ll be a backlash. But it’s been good, people seem to love it. And we like playing them live. What we’re releasing now is more closely aligned to hat we’d actually like to play going forward
Ryan: The stuff we used to play was, we used to play them as fast as we could but now I feel like our music is nice and vibe-y and fun to play. And it’s fun to watch each other play it, you know.
If you could write a song with any band, who would it be and why?
DJ: We have totally different answers for this! So we’ll do this separately. *laughs* You go first, because I think yours will be hilarious!
Ryan: I wanna do a song with Post Malone! I think that would be absolutely dynamite. He’s so sick. There’d be so much vibe on that and everybody would love it.
DJ: Mine would be Justin Vernon from Bon Iver. Bon Iver is my favourite band. I’ve seen them a million times and I’d love to work with him. Maybe we can get them both on the same track!
DJ: And then you could produce!
It’s the last night of the tour, how’s it been touring with Seaway and Lizzy Farrall?
Ryan: It’s been amazing.
DJ: It’s been really good. Seaway guys are lovely dudes – you can learn quite a lot by watching them every day. What they do, they as well as anybody in the world which is just your up-beat party tunes. And every night they’ve always got that same level of energy. It’s really inspirational watching them every day.
Ryan: Even just watching them set up – they have the same steps every single day and they nail it very single day. On this tour as well, we all feel much more comfortable. It’s such a good vibe every day, there’s no rushing about or getting stressed. We just go and smash our set, you know, and then get to watch a band that you actually really enjoy every night.
DJ: I think this is the first tour where we’re coming back to places and when we get to the venue and there’s people there who have WOES t-shirts on. Or, we played in Southampton last night, we never played there before but there was a lot of people singing lyrics back. To never have played there before and already have people know the songs is just mental. You know, touring is hard and it’s difficult being away from home and all that kind of stuff, but when those things happen to you, it makes it worth while.
As you said, touring can be quite hard. What is the one thing you need to have on tour with you?
Ryan: Well, my phone obviously *laughs*
DJ: Mine isn’t a thing, my girlfriend sends me pictures of our dogs every day. Just a bit every day to see how they’re getting on.
Ryan: Mine’s definitely my phone. Every second of the day.
Ryan: I was gonna say that! *laughs*
Looking back on 2017 – what were your stand-out moments?
DJ: Playing at Brixton with Neck Deep was a highlight – we found out that we were doing that quite early in the year and we broke the whole year up to that night. Unintentionally and intentionally, if you know what I mean. When we were writing songs, we’d imagine how they would sound at Brixton but we also kind of put so much pressure on it because we used it to build up our whole year and just to finally get it out of the way and smash it and play the show was amazing. That was a highlight.
Ryan: Just achieve goals with the squad, we’ve all been through the same stuff and be there together and we all know what it feels like – you can’t buy that feeling. And you can never recreate it, you know.
DJ: Losing Time was our only track released in 2017 and we were afraid that people wouldn’t like it, but it was our most successful song we’ve ever released – to know that you’ve tried a different thing than the last record and that people are into the direction you’re headed is validating your decision makes a lot of difference.
What does 2018 have in store for you?
DJ: Up until now we’ve been a band we’ve been spending more time in the studio than on stages, and we want to play as much as possible this year. We want to be on tour, we’ve only played in the UK so far but we want to tour Europe and America and Australia, and play as many shows as possible. Just keep playing and playing and getting our name out there. We’ve got an album to write, I don’t know if it will come out this year or not. But we’re gonna write the best album ever this year.
Looks like 2018 will be big for WOES and we are here for the ride!