One of the biggest pull factors for 2000 Trees Festival is their ethos of showcasing new and exciting talent. London based indie punk group WACO have been rising in popularity and fresh off the stage at 2000 Trees, we got a chance to sit down with the band to discuss their latest EP, Uprise, their hopes and aspirations for the future and all that goes on backstage…
How did the show at 2000 Trees go?
Jak: It was a lot of fun, crowd were great.
Craig: It was fast, don’t know why.
Jak: Ask fast Chris, he’s definitely our speedy man.
Craig: Why was it so fast?
Chris: I honestly don’t know
Jak: Chris is a fast guy, we call him fast Chris.
Tom: It was a journey. It was a journey from the first song to the last song. And it got faster, it just got faster and faster. At first it was shaky, a few unusual faces in the crowd, but then people started to smile and their eyes lit up, and then the journey ended at a nice place for us.
How has the release of your new EP Uprise gone so far?
Jak: It’s just a dream come true having something on twelve inch, an actual dream come true. Having it in your hands was just crazy. It’s sold well, people really loved it in Europe, and we’re just happy to have it out there.
Tom: We toured to support it, and, well right before the record came out we were on tour for three weeks so we had our chance to preshow it and it meant people had the chance to get the record ahead of release, which was nice. And when it came out, we were already in the motions of it. It’s been great.
Craig: Like a weight lifted off our shoulders. Having something that no one’s heard is a weird feeling
Tom: Venn Records have been great.
Craig: Venn Records have been really good.
Tom: It’s also weird because we know it and have it for months and months before so it doesn’t feel new to you anymore.
Craig: It feels like we’ve tried new things with it, and I think we’ve matured a little bit but also we’re just gonna keep pushing things. Skywards, spacewards, to the galaxy.
Tom: So basically, the planet is a short term goal.
Can you tell me a little bit about the writing to recording process of this EP?
Jak: There were a few concepts we were dealing with, the story of the girl from SE17 and then that was a running theme for the EP, and then the music and songs came together. It was just people bringing in riffs, or three-quarters of a song, or a verse and working them together like a jigsaw puzzle.
Tom: It’s very much like a collage, so when we’re in our rehearsal space it’s just a case of whatever anyone brings to the table we’ll work with it, and what works, works and what doesn’t, doesn’t. You can’t really plan for what it sounds like and nine times out of ten when someone brings something to the table, it ends up sounding completely different by the end of it.
Craig: And that’s why it’s good.
Tom: We had an overall vibe and impression that we wanted to leave with it, that over the five songs we wanted to leave with it but all the songs are quite different to each other and that’s not intentional but it works how we like it to.
Craig: The running thread of the story and like what we were listening to at the time and we’re really happy with it. It’s probably different to how I could ever imagine it. When we first started writing it, I personally could never imagine what something sounds like, you can in your head for a little bit but then the end product is often very different. It’s an idea that now has a mind of its own and it’s out there and the idea’s walking around amongst us human beings.
Tom: It’s a journey; if you listen to it from start to finish hopefully it’ll take you somewhere.
Can you explain the decision behind the bright orange vinyl?
Jak: What’s the brightest vinyl you can get?
Craig: Basically yeah.
Jak: Our friend did the cover, our friend painted a background image which we imposed our image onto it. Because it was red and yellow, we want the whole package to look like something you can have as a whole and it kinda worked. It made it look like a planet which kinda also worked as well. It either looks like a bloodshot eye or a planet depending on how you’re inclined.
Craig: It looks like the sun, dunnit, and the suns the greatest thing ever. The sun and water, the two biggest things. So it’s like the sunshine.
What’s your favourite song on the EP, and why?
Tom: I’m gonna say Nancy Guntrip, it’s probably the one that was most out of the box for us. It was quiet and loud, and has got a lot going on for us, I mean we’re simple dudes and that track for us has got taste of old, taste of new. That was one, when I came back from the studio, I listened to it and went ‘oh nice, I like that’.
Craig: The intro tracks the best.
Jak: Mighty Ho.
Chris: It’s like a kick in the face.
Tom: Do you like kicks in the face?
Chris: It wakes you up.
Jak: It does wake you up. Cheaper than Red Bull.
Chris: I like different ones to play, and different ones to listen to.
Tom: I like SE17 I think, it’s exactly the kind of song I wanted to make in my life. That is the type of song, not the perfect song but that kind of lazy but rocking kinda thing.
What was the inspiration for the EP?
Jak: Real life. We’re all working, living and breathing in London, the day to day and whatever you do in your, I was gonna say nine to five job but none of us are on a nine to five.
Craig: It’s kinda the tale of betterment of a young woman who breaks out of the confines of small town, she goes out and lives in the open world without of the shackles of domineering parents or small town oppression. We’ve said it before but we really meant it, it’s our lifeboat to people who are feeling lost. If they feel lost, or downtrodden, or like the world’s caving in on them, this is our buoy to help them so they don’t sink. Whether they want to change their life, change their past, or start afresh, I think they haven’t got their own voice. We want to celebrate our fleeting human existence because I think it’s pretty amazing, whatever it means, who knows, but I think we should celebrate it.
Tom: Everything that happens in your life, influences you in one way or another and if music is a big part of your life it’s gonna somehow soak in.
What shenanigans have happened back stage at the festival?
Jak: Back stage not so much.
Craig: We didn’t have time.
Jak: We were selling our own merch, driving, being our own roadies, as a normal up and coming, well a young band is. I’d say more shenanigans happened in the long drives between the venues.
Craig: And also the nights when we’d stay at people’s houses, we’d stay in some very funny houses. People at the gigs, bless ‘em they’re great, but their kindness exceeded their means. So you’d go back to someone’s house for example, and it’d be one room with no room at all for six of us. And Chris had to sleep on the balcony.
Jak: We were in Munich and in a three meter by three meter room with us four plus crew plus the guy and his girlfriend.
Tom: He invited his girlfriend round at two in the morning, “I’ve got an English rock band staying, you should come round”, so there were eight of us in this tiny room. Chris and I slept on the balcony outside in the cold, Craig slept in the kitchen which was one foot away from the bed and the bin.
Craig: It was great and people do live like this but if you invite a band back, I just think it’s hilarious. And we also stayed in this house in the Netherlands, we got there and they had two big dogs, a rabbit, and then an eight week old baby and they still invited us back. So there was this little baby in the morning, passing around the baby, I felt like the Pope or something. Hello I’m WACO. And shenanigans backstage, getting drunk with Juliette Lewis was quite funny.
Jak: Drinking whiskey by the bottle.
Tom: Drinking with guys from H20, MARS VOLTA, RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, meeting people you really respect.
Craig: Disco dancing with Brad Wilk from RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE that was the highlight.
Tom: Juan from MARS VOLTA, I’m a big MARS VOLTA fan.
Jak: Well actually, we might be working on a video to encapsulate the shenanigans.
Craig: I think our Rotten Tooth video had some shenanigans. Being stopped and searched by German police in the middle of the night.
Chris: Trying to tell us we had drugs on us when we didn’t.
Tom: Shining torches in our faces saying give it up now and it’ll be easier.
Jak: German police have guns actually, so two unmarked cars, unmarked guys with guns came to our car in the middle of the night.
Tom: It’s sex, drugs and rock and roll.
What’s the deal with the Cherry B in enormous quantities?
*all start cheering and clapping*
Jak: You’ve done your research, I like that a lot.
Tom: Our in-joke has got out of control.
Craig: Cherry B, do you live in London at all? Well they’re these little bottles of tonic wine, a little bit like Buckfast, you get them in North and East London in corner shops and they’re a quid. Like a little shot of Buckfast.
Jak: A pick me up.
Craig: And Indian women drink them, sneak them into bingo because they’re small and we kinda like them, we’ve reappropriated them.
Jak: Cherry B has got a bad press, and not everyone who drinks them is bad.
Craig: It doesn’t get enough press, but we’re changing that. It all starts here, we’re reworking the image.
Jak: If you tell them to give us an email, we’ll work out some sponsorship deal.
Craig: If we keep saying it over and over, maybe they’ll sponsor us so Cherry B man, Cherry B it’s the greatest! I WILL sell out for Cherry B.
What’s next for you guys?
Craig: We’ve started writing new stuff already, I know the EPs just come out but we’ve started writing new stuff. We’re hoping to tour again before the end of the year, but this is success for us and we’re enjoying it so much. We’re not trying to reach someone else’s idea of success, this is it, people are listening to our music and we’re living in the moment. If things keep on like this, playing gigs with my best friends, then I’m happy.
Tom: We’re playing gigs that we would go to ourselves so we can’t really ask for much more. These band that we’re playing with are the bands that when I was growing up, all my older friends were giving me CDs that I’d listen to on repeat and now we’re playing with them. Can’t really ask for more.
Craig: So that’s what next for us, new stuff but keeping on making music. We’re going cosmic.
Jak: We’ll take over the galaxy.
Uprise is out now via Venn Records.
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