“To me the Irish musical culture always represented what we’ve wanted to represent as a band, and that’s that ‘everyone have a go’, inclusive sort of vibe. Even if you’re not necessarily a musical maestro you can pick up a set of spoons in a pub and get involved in the jam.”-Joe
They are young men with inexhaustible musical energy. I have grown fond of this band ever since I got to interview lead man Will Tun and now the mic is pointed at Joe(Waste Ventura) who is the band’s accordion player extraordinaire. He just finished his degree in International Relations,and he is now working for a local ecological charity organising a mini-festival celebrating local and sustainable food. According to him: ” I’ve just finished my contract with the Reading Town Meal– it went great despite the fact I only got 3 hours sleep and there were a million things to organise. Such is the life of an event organiser!” Sounds exciting. I am curious to know what’s been going on since the Wasters shared their story with us and also what awaits them in 2014.
1. Will Tun and the Wasters(with MC Amalgam) create an eclectic kind of music in a sense that you are not afraid to experiment. You guys bridge the gap between hip hop, folk and electronic music. Did you expect to attract this huge following when you started out?
No we didn’t expect any sort of following- we got excited when a few of our mates came down to the local open mic night! It’s always been about having memorable nights and sharing great experiences with friends, I guess three years on we’ve made a load of new friends along the way, which we’re very grateful for.
Regarding the idea of bridging the gap between genres I think there’s never really been a gap in our heads, it’s now we’re just trying it out for ourselves. When we were 15 and we first went to squat parties you’d have a room with a load of punk bands, some hip-hop artists, a massive rig playing dubstep, jungle, whatever. The atmosphere was just amazing and I think at gigs like that, the spaces in between genres, is where you can find some of the real unity vibe. You can’t have unity if you stay divided between genres!
Plus, if you think of so many bands who are regarded as classic now, they’ve always been the ones mixing the style up- I mean the Pogues are a classic example of bangin’ genre-crossover band right?!
2. It’s been three years when you all started out as a band. How was the journey as artists and friends at the same time?
The experiences from the band in the last 3 years have been amazing in terms of how we’ve developed as people. We recorded and released our first CD “A Year Wasted” just before we started Uni, and the response we got from that meant that we spent every spare weekend travelling 6 hours, on a Megabus across the UK to play with our favourite bands. As we’ve all spent the last 3 years in different cities across the country, it’s something that’s really kept us close.
The band is really kind of a vehicle for a group of friends to have these shared experiences anyway, and that’s what you remember when you’re grey and old, the experiences you’ve shared with others. And for everyone we’ve met while gigging, it’s never felt like a band-fan relationship for us, it’s always a personal thing where a lot of the friends we’ve made have been through the band, which is just this kind of amorphous bubble of Wasters who wanna drink, busk on street corners and travel round the country to gigs. It’s beautiful believe me!
3. I love the new EP and the remixes. What’s up next?
Cheers for digging the EP, it’s pretty exciting for us to have so much collaboration and all these amazing artists remixing our tracks, I never in a million years thought we’d have a Ragga-Jungle remix of one our tunes! I think in the future we want to collaborate and experiment as much as possible, it’s just too much fun not to. I think the ongoing collaboration between ourselves and MC Amalgam has really helped to push us with the experimentation and style, while keeping the overall vibe and message.
We’ve all finished Uni, and we’re moving to Bristol together as a band, so it’s really a time in our lives just to get out there, live it, and try new things. It’s just fucking cool that we’re in a band with all our best friends to experience that!
4. Tell me about covers. What are the songs you’ve covered live onstage that you found you and the rest want to do it over and over again during shows?
We’ve started covering Classics of Love, by Common Rider. They are the first band Jesse Michaels started after Operation Ivy split up and they’re just amazing, have the best ethic and message, but are also criminally underrated. Will Tun has been getting into loads of music with really fast, spoken word style lyrics, and Operation Ivy have been one of the most important bands for the rest of us growing up, so it just made so much sense to try and put our Folk/Ska vibe on it. Add in a hip-hop verse from MC Amalgam and BOOM! there’s a cover, Wasters style. It’s a real bounce along jam vibe, so I don’t think we’re gonna stop playing it anytime soon.
5. You are currently supporting Blackbird Raum( I have seen a couple of live videos on youtube and I think they are exciting). How was the gig?
Supporting Blackbird Raum was amazing thanks- they’re doing something unique with their sound within a rich vein of American bands that have come out of our generation, the likes of Mischief Brew, Guignol, Savage Wasteland Collective, all the Plan-It-X bands.
The United States has produced so many great bands, but I don’t want to fetishize their musical heritage, what I find really exciting now is all the UK bands doing it for themselves- Damsel, Ash Victim, Dangle Manatee, Bandit the Panther, Let’s Go Nowhere, Perkie, Olive Anne, there are too many to name! The sad thing is, I’ve spoken to a lot of people who are quick to be dismissive of this style of music, they say it’s boring or that it’s ‘not real folk-punk’, whatever that means. But for anyone who’s been to a free DIY house-show, spent time watching poetry in a shed or jamming in a field drinking cider til 4 in the morning, then you’ll know just how welcoming, supportive, open-minded and accessible this scene is, and any music that represents values like that is fucking amazing in my opinion.
6. Autumn is here (and soon Christmas holiday). What are the exciting things that happened to WTATW this Halloween?
Plenty of exciting things are happening to us this Autumn- we’re starting a whole new chapter of our lives by collectively relocating to the city of Bristol as a band. We’ve got a bangtidy 7 bedroom house where we can put on a shitload more house shows and really devote ourselves to honing a sound for our first album. Before any of that though, we’re going to be touring Ireland with our good friends Jake & the Jellyfish. We’re finishing the tour in Dublin with one of our favourite bands Chewing On Tinfoil so it’s a real dream come true!
To me the Irish musical culture always represented what we’ve wanted to represent as a band, and that’s that ‘everyone have a go’, inclusive sort of vibe. Even if you’re not necessarily a musical maestro you can pick up a set of spoons in a pub and get involved in the jam. In that way it’s kind of a spiritual homecoming for us, even though we’re obviously a product of being born and raised in our particular community in Reading.
7. While growing up, what’s that pivotal moment in your life that made you decide you want to be a musician?
There wasn’t really a specific point in my life where I wanted to be a musician, I’ve just always thought the release that you get from going to a gig is unlike anything else. When you’re 15 and you go to a Rancid show, and you just get that “wooooaaargh” factor, well I guess I thought it’d be fun to get that buzz for yourself, and now we’re living it with Wasters. It’s fucking fantastic, there’s still nothing like having that connection with a whole crowd of people all in it together.
8. What can one find in your suitcase/backpack when you are touring? What are the things you can’t leave behind when you hit the road with the gang?
I normally have more books than clothes in my bag with me, and enough space for a bottle of cider of course! Our bassist Ivo found a nice leather suitcase in a bin about a year ago that we’ve been using as our merch-bag ever since- we’ve branded out into Will Tun & the Wasters chili hot-sauce that we sell on tour. We’re trying to come up with more ideas for ridiculous merch, so if you have any suggestions let us know!
A collection of clips from their tour of Ireland with Jake and the Jellyfish in October 2013
The song is Wandering Ways from our debut EP from 2010 ‘A Year Wasted’
Available for free download at willtunandthewasters1.bandcamp.com
Keep looking for that double rainbow ;)-WTATW