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When you think of the term “psychedelic junk”, some pretty strange images in my head. Like hard-rubbish day at Grace Slick’s house or a garage sale at the Hendrix estate. We’re talking the weird and wonderful, buried beneath a pile of colourful unmentionables with a can of beer spilt on it. And now, you’ll also think of Sydney four-piece WAWAWOW.
Originally starting out as the rhythm section of a previous band, WAWAWOW was born out of a love to jam and take tracks into stranger places than ever before.
Throw caution to the wind and shoot your neurons to the realms of WAWAWOW, a psychedelic paradise you might never return from…
“We try to get as far away from the singer-songwriter feel as possible. There’s no band leader and every track has it’s origins in hours of recorded jams that we cut together over a long period.”
“A lot of our songs are the result of us putting four or five different songs in one. We started experimenting with synthesisers as bass to give us a wider range of weird and the amount of pedals and gear tripled. Someone once called it “Psychedelic Junk” and we felt that pretty much summed us up.”
The band gave us a little taste of what’s to come in February when they released their manic single Space Invaders. It’s three and a half minutes of yowling vocals, eerie synth lines and slashing guitars that barely stops to take a breath.
It’s kind of like the end part of an actual game of Space Invaders. There’s so much going on. It’s frantic and frenzied, but it’s also tight and elegantly meshed together.
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“We all have wildly different tastes in bands, but wholly agree on the influences we take on. Like the way Queens of the Stone Age play the “wrong” note, but the right-wrong note. Or the way Devo will use bizarre sounds as an instrument in itself. They are some of the ideas we consider a lot in our songwriting.”
These different tastes have clearly been developed by a broad array of influences. But when you put it all together, it just makes sense.
“There’s definitely a mix of styles. Hayden’s guitar is this gritty, psychedelic Ty Segall chaos which contrasts nicely against Wade’s hip-hop inspired synth-bass filth. There’s also a pseudo-80s B-52’s feel in that our vocals are lyrically pretty absurd, put through pedals and thrown around sporadically. We’ve always embraced the idea of a straight rhythm section from bands like The Strokes. Just something to hold together all the junk smashing around on top.”
And, with the success of jam-inspired bands like King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, WAWAWOW have been able to embrace their own style rather than conform to the norm.
“Previously we were focused on condensing hours of jams into a tight three-minute pop song, but the public embrace of bands like King Gizzard have given us the confidence to expose our jammy nature and not be so rigid about structure. It’s been a lot of fun to bring that to the stage.”
And bringing that sound and structure to the stage is something we should all be excited about seeing a lot more of. From fuzz, squeaks and sounds so strange they can never be replicated again to glowing drumsticks and black lights, seeing WAWAWOW is supposed to be a show.
“We’ve made a lot of audio landscapes that aren’t quite songs, so we try to integrate that live. As a result, the gig doesn’t stop between songs and becomes kind of this monolith. We’ll take any shred of silence and fill it with something.”
With so much going on, it can often be difficult to reel it all back in and lay down some solid tracks in a recording studio.
“When we heard how great Pretty City sounded at Enmore Audio we knew we had to check it out, which ended being a great decision. Naturally, being us, we went straight to experimenting with some of the gear they had there, though it’s easy to get lost in adding as many weird sounds as possible. Our drums were definitely the best they’ve ever sounded and most of that is down to the engineers Cefe and Dan, as well as the great vibe of the place.”
So when can we look forward to hearing some more of this wild stuff? The band wants to keep the good times rolling, with a few more singles to be released this year and a follow up EP planned for sometime next year.
“We want to keep a constant stream of tracks coming out, and in a constantly evolving scene, it seems that we just need to see where the noise takes us.”
Watch Tom and Molly talk about WAWAWOW and every other band playing the launch party on The Daily Squeeze: