WEATHERSTATE (from l-r): Toby Wrobel (drums/vocals), Joe Hogan (bass), Callan Milward (guitar), Harry Hoskins (vocals/guitar)
INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
From Bristol, Weatherstate are a talented four-piece who specialise in producing a punk sound that is nostalgic yet fresh, and is also rather reminiscent of the early works of Sum 41, Weezer, and Green Day.
The band’s 2016 release, ‘Dumbstruck’, saw them make their mark on the British underground punk scene, gain a large devoted following, and led to live sets supporting the likes of Trash Boat, Creeper, and The Dirty Nil.
Now, having recently unleashed a new single, the boundlessly energetic ‘Rotten Lungs’, the quartet’s guitarist, Callan Milward, chatted to me about that, their experiences up to now, as well as what they have lined up for 2019.
How did the band form?
We initially formed out of the ashes of an old project. Myself, Harry, and Hogan were living in Bristol at the time, and had been playing in a band since we were sixteen, but after eight years or so of doing that, we decided that we wanted to start a new thing, and so we drafted in Toby from another band I had been involved with to smash the drums, and that’s essentially where Weatherstate started.
What would you say was your approach to songwriting?
Up until recently, we used to come up with power chords, melodies, and structure before we brought a song to a rehearsal room to jam out. We never used to demo anything, and that only changed recently, when we began writing our follow up to ‘Dumbstruck’.
Speaking of ‘Dumbstruck’, which was the band’s debut EP, released in 2016 to an overwhelmingly positive response. Was that honestly something you were rather taken aback by, especially considering it was your first release?
Despite it actually not being our first release (‘Dumbstruck’ was actually our third), we do now see it as the band’s first, because I think exceeded expectations for us, and surprisingly, we found ourselves with a lot more eyes on us than ever.
At the time, I found it insane how quickly everything started to grow for us, and we had to learn fast.
The band recently unveiled a new single, ‘Rotten Lungs’. What inspired you to write that, musically and lyrically?
We had been tied down with trying to write as many songs as we could. I think we simply wanted to write something outside of the Weatherstate pattern, and I remember wanting it to come across as more abrasive, aggressive, and snottier than anything else we had been writing at that time.
Shockingly, it was the easiest song to write for the record, as we wrote and recorded the full demo for it in 24 hours, but I feel sometimes that is the best way to write.
Lyrically, it’s about the deterioration of both physical and mental well-being caused when you isolate yourself from the world, and it also touches on the toxic effects that it can have on your own frame of mind, when trying to help a friend who might not want to be helped, and I think that’s reflected well in the aggressive nature of the song.
And how has the reaction been to that so far?
Great! We’ve been so stoked to get this out into everyone’s earholes.
The band hail from Bristol, which is a city becoming known for championing emerging bands/artists from a wide variety of genres. In your opinion, why do you think that is?
I absolutely love Bristol as a city, but we’ve always had a love/hate relationship with the place. I think Bristol is killing it at the moment, because it’s one of the best places in the country from a creative perspective, the talent is just on the next level, and the community is something I hold dear.
However, we’ve never really found our feet there to call it “home“. Simply, I don’t think we’ve connected there as much as we would have liked to, and that’s always been made tougher by the fact none of us actually live there now (laughs).
We’re excited to be going back there in the new year, though.
You’re also signed to Failure By Design. Do you feel fortunate to have backing by a record label, especially as there is lots of bands/artists now out there who are unsigned?
Failure By Design are killing it right now, and we’re so stoked that we get to work alongside people we consider besties.
The band have supported such outfits as Trash Boat, Boston Manor, Moose Blood, Creeper, and most recently, The Dirty Nil. How were they as experiences?
Yeah! The Dirty Nil shows recently were especially great. It’s almost impossible to match a band like that in terms of a live performance, but we aspire to be as rad as those guys, and Trash Boat helped us out with our first major tour, so we owe those guys a lot. All great experiences.
And how is it overall, for you all, performing live?
It’s something I personally thrive off. Every show, we attempt to top the last one, whether it’s perfecting the stage show, or knuckling down on getting everything tighter, and that’s something I feel every band really should be doing, but also, try not to take yourself too seriously, as being obsessive can take the edge away.
Being a live band is an essential part of Weatherstate, of course. It goes without saying, really.
Next year, the band will be releasing their debut album. Have you started to record it yet? And if so, how is the recording process going?
Yeah, it’s all in the can. We started recording it last year, and finished it up around April this year.
And at what point in 2019 are you seriously thinking of getting that out by?
It’s going to be a surprise!
Also, how will it differ to ‘Dumbstruck’?
I don’t want to go too much in-depth, but I think it’s a good representation of every bit of influence Weatherstate has taken in since we started on a creative level and a personal one.
I think I would say, compared to ‘Dumbstruck’, it’s a more focused and aggressive effort on all parts.
And finally, album aside, what are the band’s initial plans for next year?
To spread the good word of rock n’ roll.
‘ROTTEN LUNGS’, THE LATEST SINGLE FROM WEATHERSTATE, IS AVAILABLE NOW, AND THE BAND’S DEBUT ALBUM WILL BE RELEASED AT SOME POINT IN 2019.
FURTHER INFO ON WEATHERSTATE CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES: