Since releasing their debut EP Fire, Rivers & The Night late last year, we’ve been completely hooked on Perth-based four-piece Wallace & The Two.
So, we asked the band to get together and interview one another. Here are the results…
Fresh off the release of their debut EP Fire, Rivers & The Night, we asked Perth four-piece Wallace & The Two to interview each other.
Crossbone to Wallace
CROSSBONE: Where does your writing inspiration come from both musically and lyrically?
WALLACE: This is actually hard to answer because in all honesty I often just write things down and sort of make sense of them afterwards. I suppose a lot of the time it comes from situations outside of my own, but even when I write a song I still put my own situation into it somehow.
Take The City, for example, I wrote it after doing a random Wikipedia search and the great fire of London loaded. Initially, it was about the fire of London but there are some far deeper themes in that song then just London burning to the ground. It’s just easier to present your problems wrapped up in a story so people don’t really know what you are going through.
Hopefully, the good thing about that is as people listen to the songs they can put their own situation, whatever it might be, into it because I haven’t given a specific theme like heartbreak or loneliness or anything like that to the song. I like being able to do that as I listen to songs. Having said all of that I also just enjoy writing songs that have no deeper significance. They are just songs about pirates or pro wrestlers, or a line that has been stuck in my head and I just want it gone.
CROSSBONE: Live your vocals are far more aggressive than we hear on the EP, what’s that about?
WALLACE: They start off pretty clean but as the gig goes on they just get pretty coarse. It’s sort of always been the way, I don’t think I write songs with my best range in mind, mostly what chords are easiest to play. It does mean that I am straining a bit, particularly the back end of the set when the dynamics of the songs really vary. But I sort of like it like that, I think it adds a bit to the live show.
CROSSBONE: Most of your guitars aren’t your stock-standard brands, tell us about them…
WALLACE: So I use a Hagstrom Super Viking for the Electric Duties and a Blueridge BR-40 with a nifty L.R Baggs pick up for acoustic. I am left handed so a lot of choice is ripped away from me, unless you are prepared to just buy one blind and see what shows up from overseas. I do really like them both, they are really great and suit me well. I am not a massive gear nut so I never really dreamed of owning a certain guitar or anything like that. I think they both do their job and there is something cool about having a fairly unique set up.
CROSSBONE: You are known to snap plenty of strings live, what are you doing about this?
WALLACE: Very little to be honest. I have gotten into a bit of a better playing routine so I am a little gentler now then I was before but that can go out the window pretty quickly live. I have jumped up to a thicker gauge, so hopefully, that can help the situation out. I suppose that’s not really very little, that’s two things that should actually help.
Wallace to Big Smoke
WALLACE: How would you describe our sound?
BIG SMOKE: Well, the songwriting process and mindset I think has come from a very folky/solo artist kind of place. All the songs have been played and written for a solo act from early days when BT was playing as Wallace on his own.
I think when he brought Andy and myself onboard, Andy and I both coming from a kind of punk rock/hardcore scene, we added a band filling that takes a lot from that kind of feel, while still trying to stay true to the spirit of what the Wallace sound was supposed to be.
I know myself I’ve given myself a lot more to the Folky style of our sound now and I’ve really enjoyed playing into the really fun and interesting parts of that style, while also pumping a lot of energy and fullness into the songs as well.
With Chris also onboard our live presence is a lot more Rock influenced in what we deliver. I’d compare us to aspects of Mumford and Sons but then also going towards other acts such as Matchbox Twenty and Gaslight Anthem even at times BT heading towards a Rise Against intensity of vocal delivery.
WALLACE: What are some unique things you like about playing live?
BIG SMOKE: Playing live for me is such a joy. I’m super excited every time we have a show to see what we agree the band is going to wear on the night, it’s my favourite gag about the band. We focus a lot of energy into our onstage look and overall atmosphere and vibe. I guess the freedom of playing the bits between the notes, fun little riffs and runs to think up on the fly.
Also, looking out at the people who might watch us play and see people having a dance to our songs even if they’ve never heard us before, it’s a great feeling that we can get people moving and having a great time the first time they listen to us. Even having strangers want to have a chat after shows is awesome too, spinning yarns with the other acts on that night and other punters is a great time.
WALLACE: Do you use a pick or fingers?
BIG SMOKE: Mostly pick. It’s a good kind of sound to have for our style I think. I’ll switch to fingers on a softer song for sure but I can’t usually hit all the notes I need to at speed with fingers.
Big Smoke to Moonshine
BIG SMOKE: What are some of your favourite bands?
MOONSHINE: I’m a sucker for anyone that was huge during the 90s; Blink 182, Green Day, The Offspring, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine, just to name a few! However, one standout from more recent times would be local boys Karnivool. Those guys absolutely kill it and I’ve listened to their albums for days on end.
BIG SMOKE: None of them sound like what we play, how does that work?
MOONSHINE: Yeah, it was a pretty strange feeling at first. For a long time, particularly while I was in high school, every band I started was a punk rock spin-off or something heavy. I had a very narrow mindset on that being the only genre I wanted to play but for a number of reasons it never quite came together. In saying that, I’ve always enjoyed any genre of music if it is played well.
I got to a point where my desire to write and perform became so strong I set aside my attachment to being in a band only of that style and it opened up my options a lot more. Initially, it also started out as an excuse to play again but very quickly I grew to appreciate the genre and BT’s songwriting and the idea that sometimes a simple beat with a good melody works far better than thrashing chords and double kicks.
I think you can still hear that influence throughout the W&TT tracks but it has been enjoyable adapting my style and finding a nice balance.
BIG SMOKE: How did the name and narrative of Wallace & The Two come about?
MOONSHINE: We all have this notion of not really taking anything too seriously and as soon as we settled on “Wallace & The Two” as our band name I just couldn’t shake the thought of this country/western vibe about the whole thing. I initially just changed our names in the FB chat as a joke but everyone really dug the idea and soon they became our alter egos.
BT has an incredible knack for storytelling and really took it to the next level by suggesting we all have this massive backstory about how we met in the wilderness and journeyed together to form the band.
He wrote it out and it has become a huge part of our whole act. Every show we do now we dress up as our characters and reference parts of it – the entire thing can be read under our Facebook bio for anyone interested. It’s just another way for us to express ourselves and have a bit more fun.
BIG SMOKE: We have 8 tracks on the EP, which is double the standard EP length, how did this come about?
MOONSHINE: It wasn’t something we really sat down and decided on for any specific reason. We just had a lot of songs written and figured if we were going to go through the whole recording process and pay for studio time, mixing and mastering, CD artwork, prints, etc we should make the most of it.
There were probably 10 tracks that could have made it – 8 stuck just because they were the ones that turned out really well and we figured why not. None of us have ever released music like this before either, as in having it available on Spotify and iTunes and stuff. I think the thought of that also got us excited and we wanted to get as much out there as we could.
Moonshine to Crossbone
MOONSHINE: How does the creative process change for you when we write a new song now, compared to you getting already written parts to our EP songs?
CROSSBONE: To be honest I can’t say there’s too much of a creative process involved in learning the songs that had already been written. I think the most difficult part of the creative process, in the beginning, was trying to decide which hat to wear! Having said that I feel like this period really helped me to get a feel for the band and the way they like to do things which ultimately helped with the transition into songwriting.
From what I can tell, the songwriting process hasn’t changed too drastically from when the guys wrote the EP to now. I think in writing the EP the process involved BT showing his song ideas to the guys who would get together to flesh it out into a full track with the drums and bass.
After this, the guys added the lead guitar parts to the songs to spice them up a bit. I think the key difference between then and now is that the lead guitar is entering the fold earlier in the songwriting process – instead of building the core of the sound up and adding the lead parts later, the lead becomes involved alongside the other instruments.
This changes the dynamic in its own way but it also opens up new possibilities for the way we can go about things. I feel like our newer songs reflect this in the way they are branching out from our previous material while still keeping the W&TT sound.
MOONSHINE: How do you feel messing up the name?
CROSSBONE: I feel like the name actually makes more sense now than it did before. I mean everyone knows drummers aren’t real musicians anyway.
Fire, Rivers & The Night is available now. Listen above.