Brisbane’s pop-punk gems Waxflower have just knocked it out of the park again. We caught up with frontman Tristan to find out a little more about their new track.
Waxflower are bringing a new energy into Australia’s pop-punk scene, and have been since their 2019 debut. Championing all the things that emo-kids you have come to know and love; big choruses, acidic riffs, and deep lyricism, the Brisbane four-piece do an old genre justice, but turn the dial up to eleven.
Their latest single, Again, does just that, breathing a new life into a worn genre. Featuring the talents of Eat Your Heart Out’s Caitlin Henry, the band have potentially released their strongest release to date. Fresh off the press, we caught up with frontman Tristan Higginson to break down the release.
HAPPY: Congrats on the single. I had a listen and it was so awesome.
TRISTAN: Thank you. Yeah, it’s really exciting to be putting this one that we’ve been sitting on the new stuff for quite some time. We’re really excited to kick-start this next little era of the band. Thank you for reaching out to me.
HAPPY: That’s all right, it’s our pleasure. Like you said, what we’ve been hearing a lot of about this track is how it’s ushering in a new era for you guys. How so?
TRISTAN: Yeah, so this is the first single and all the songs that we have out currently, we recorded in late 2018, apart from the last one which was recorded at Christmas last year, but that was like an acoustic track. This is like the first new, full-band music that we’re putting out in like a year. It feels like we’ve been releasing music that we’ve been sitting on for ages, which I think is more representative of where we are currently as a band. I think we’re really excited to get the stuff out because it feels fresh for us. Yeah, all of this is going to be a cohesive of body work, I guess, compared to the last album which was more us figuring out what we were doing.
HAPPY: Yeah, totally, so you feel like you’ve finally found your sound on this album, whereas the last one was a bit more experimental?
TRISTAN: Yeah, I think when we recorded that stuff in 2018, that was only a few months after we had formed the band. So, I guess this stuff was written after having been a band for almost two years, so it’s definitely playing to the strengths that we are going to add along the way, I guess. It just sounds more like the band that we want to be, I think. Not like the last album was super all over the place or anything, but I think it was like a stress point coming in the studio last time of like, okay we have these studio days booked, we just need to write and write and write. We were lucky enough to come out with the six songs then. But I think this time, we had more time to write and I think it shows in the tracks.
HAPPY: Yeah. Well I noticed in the sound of this new track, it opens and it was a little bit like… I don’t know whether it was synth or the little electronic bit at the start. I was like, wow, that’s such a fresh idea to combine that into a pop-punk sound.
TRISTAN: Yeah, I think with that sort of stuff, because I’ve been playing in bands since I was like 14 or 15 and the name of my first band was actually my brother’s MySpace band, and we were called The Electro Kid. So it was like that MySpace electronic, pop-punk stuff. And Waxflower’s probably the first band where we didn’t have any of that stuff. I guess it was a very conscious decision, like, ok, that stuff hasn’t worked for me in the past, let’s go to a more down-to-earth, rock sound. I think that stuff’s always been a part of what I like in music and it’s kind of crept its way back in as we’ve become more confident in this band. So there’s a little bit more about the new stuff. I think again, it’s probably the song that has the most of it, just with the drummer loop and there’s like glockenspiel in the chorus as well. So there’s a little bit more production going on. But yeah, I think it’s definitely a mixture of that stuff and throwback pop-punk sounds and then also mixing in new-school pop-punk as well.
HAPPY: You said that the song was written a while ago, but it’s always the way that releases end up really suiting the moment.
TRISTAN: Yeah, with our last releases, they’ve always been very sad and downbeat. There’s been an element of hope that runs through them all, but they’ve been like straight-up, sitting at home alone sad songs. I think it was very representative of where I was when I was writing them compared to… even though this year has been objectively terrible from a worldwide standpoint, for me personally, I’ve had a lot of good stuff happen to me and I’ve been a lot more stable. I think that’s come across in the writing of the new stuff.
HAPPY: Well, you had Caitlin Henry jump on, which is such a cool idea for the vocals. Yeah. Has collaboration had to make you reconsider the way you go about songwriting or anything like that?
TRISTAN: Not really, having Caitlin on was absolutely amazing. I’ve been an Eat Your Heart Out fan since the beginning, so it was pretty crazy to get her to come out and sing on the part. Yeah, we had had the song written and we were thinking that it could be cool to have someone come and do the dialogue that’s happening on the bridge of that song, but we weren’t sure who. And then like, okay, I think Caitlin is absolutely perfect. Fit the song because we have the Australian accent, we didn’t really want to have it as an Australian accent and then it comes in with an American one [laughs]. And then working with Stevie and her in the studio, making up the end of the song where it’s like the duelling vocals was, I’d never pictured that the end of that song was going to turn out so huge. The whole experience and having that come out of basically nothing in the studio, was an amazing experience to witness.
HAPPY: I’d love to talk about your music videos for a bit, I know Nick does the work for these and they turn out so amazing. Do you guys come up with a bit of an aesthetic route for the clip, or it is just all Nick’s project and he takes it under his wing?
TRISTAN: Yeah. Usually Nick will come to us… or he’ll come to me first and be like, hey, what’s the song about, give me a little write-up and then he’ll come back with an idea and it’s always good. I have one rule now, I never want to bet wet in a music again. After we did our second music video, there were parts when I was in a bath. We were there for so long and it was so cold, and I ended up being so sick. But yeah, with this video this was the biggest music video, I guess, we’ve done so far, the biggest production. And I think like having Nick on board to handle sorting all that stuff out and organising that helps because it’s one less level of communication. Like you cut out the middleman right there, especially like in the editing process as well, it really helps. Yeah, Nick’s a huge asset to the band itself.
HAPPY: Yeah, totally. Well, congrats again on the single and thanks for the chat!
TRISTAN: Thank you so much!
Grab your copy of Again here