FROM the chill and beauty of Austria…
it is off to Athens, Georgia – and a chat with the incredible band, Wieuca. The guys talk about their new E.P., Local Celebrity, and the ideas that inspired it. I ask how they came together and what the scene is like in Georgia; whether a bass player replacement disrupted the recording/band chemistry; if the U.S. band reckons they have grown since their debut – and whether they are coming to Britain.
I ask which artists inspire them and what tour dates they have coming up; if they all get time to chill away from music; what their aims are for this year – they provide advice for new musicians thinking of following in their footsteps.
Hi, Wieuca. How are you? How has your week been?
Jack Webster: Bangin’. I saw the Drive-By Truckers twice.
Andrew Cleveland: Great. It’s rained every other day in Georgia. Perfect weather.
Jack O’Reilly: Good. Yourself?
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
Jack Webster: Hey. I’m Jack: newest local celebrity to the Wieuca fam.
Will Ingram: I’m Will and I’m (just) a baby boy.
Andrew: Hi. I’m Andrew, A.K.A. ‘Ace’: second-newest addition to the squad, handling all the Electronic bleep-bloops.
Jack O’Reilly: Hi. I’m O’Reilly - and you know that’s the sitch.
Will: We also have a guy named Rob...
Local Celebrity is your new E.P. What can you tell me about its creation and the stories behind it?
Jack Webster: Will made my sister some dope kicks in exchange for a feature on Friendster.
Will: I draw trippy things on people’s shoes when trippy music isn’t paying the bills.
Jack O’Reilly: Cradle-to-grave; this record was made in a shorter span than anything else we’ve released to date.
How do you think your new stuff differs from your early material back in 2012? Is the new E.P., in your view, the best thing you have done?
Will: It’s probably the most ‘us’ thing we’ve done. When we started, we just played music we wanted to hear that didn’t exist - like Alt-Country mixed with Emo. The problem is, if you don’t know the exact points of reference (say, Texas Is the Reason and Whiskeytown) it kind of just sounds like Indie-Rock. Local Celebrity has been our most successful effort to smash very disparate styles together without losing what makes them distinct.
It marks the departure of long-time bassist and producer of Sam Kempe - and welcomes the arrival of Jack Webster and Andrew Cleveland. Was it a hard transition – or was it quite a revelation?
Jack Webster: While it’s refreshing and exciting to experience new-fangled band chemistry; I find it shatters the grand illusion a bit to join a band that you love listening to.
Andrew: I lived across the hall from Will last year and we would always jam on the sounds coming from the other rooms - so, this really just feels like an extended late-night beat battle.
Do you know whether there will be more material later in the year? Do you think that far ahead?
Jack O’Reilly: Some of us do, fortunately…
Will: Yeah. Get ready for the E.P. - that combines Black-Metal and K-Pop. I’m dead-ass.
Tell me how the band all got together and how ‘Wieuca’ came to be. What is the inspiration behind that name, too?
Robert and I had been playing music together since, literally, the day we met at eleven. When we both knew we were moving to Athens for college, it was like: ‘Alright, I guess let’s be a real band now’.
Is there quite a big music scene where you are in Athens, Georgia?
It’s huge for the size of the city. All your waiters are old hipsters pissed that their band never got famous.
Do you all have similar taste in music? Which artists are you all inspired by?
Jack Webster: Early Young Thug
Andrew: Prince, Nas and James Blake
Will: I hate music.
Jack O’Reilly: Definitely not. Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers and Ween.
IN THIS PHOTO: TWEN
Can we see you tour soon? What gigs do you have coming up?
Will: We’re doing SXSW - just for the tacos and margaritas.
Jack Webster: ...and the Tito’s.
Will the U.K. be part of your plans? Have you been over this way before?
Andrew: I learned the word ‘queue’ from Netflix - so that counts for something, right? Plus; a couple of years back, Jack and I gave up coffee for tea in the morning.
Will: Actually, yeah; we’ve been planning for fall 2019. We’re scared.
What do you all hope to achieve, personally, in 2018?
Jack O’Reilly: Too personal...
Have you each got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
Jack Webster: The one that sticks in the mind (laughs) for me is covering a classic Wieuca jam (Low Probability) with my (other) band, Big Morgan, at the Guilt Complex release-show in May 2017.
Andrew: One time, Will and I saw this guy in McDonald’s spill three milkshakes on the floor over and over again - and he felt really bad about it.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Jack Webster: Come thru!
Will: Be anything except a new artist coming through. Go into rogue taxidermy.
Andrew: Always pull up.
Do you all get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Will: No chilling allowed. Don’t watch T.V. - and sleeping is for idiots.
Jack Webster: I like to cut the felt around town at local billiards halls and shoot dice very competitively.
Andrew: Sleep is the cousin of death but, yeah; I mean, I try to get my seven-and-a-half in. I really like old European cars.
Jack O’Reilly: A vod sod fills the musical void half-empty.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Jack Webster: The Who - My Wife
Entwistle (John) at his finest
Will: Gays 4 Donald by Pink Guy. Pretty much sums up the U.S.
Andrew: James Blake - Love What Happened Here
Jack O’Reilly: Comment Elles Dorment - Jacques Dutronc