Indie + Alternative culture appreciates new rising artists that create diversity and new insights within their respective genres. We constantly feature notable indie and alternative artists on the verge of success. Meet this week’s featured artist in an exclusive interview.
Introducing You To Your Next Favorite Artist: the Irish/London duo REWS.
Consisting of songstress Shauna Tohill and beat-maker Collette Williams, together they are creating a genuine buzz following the release of their debut single 'Can You Feel It' in late 2015.
Collette WIlliams (CW): Mine are really eclectic! I would say the early albums I remember having an inspiration on me were Fleetwood Mac- Rumours, because of the beautiful harmonies. Blink 182- The Mark,Tom and Travis show, for the pure energy and fun (I even learned all the puns and jokes in between tracks!!) And lastly, Coheed and Cambria- Good Apollo I'm burning star IV for the great riffs and heaviness of the record.
What are your fondest musical memories?
ST: As a listener the most recent memory was seeing St. Vincent in Ivy Gardens, Dublin. Honestly blew me away!!! I knew she was good... But not THAT good! It actually inspired me so much!! What an awesome woman! As an artist - I feel Ive been very blessed to have had a number of amazing experiences but my best musical memory was being main stage at local festival (Glasgowbury) and having 100's of people sing along with a song I had written! So overwhelming and brought a tear to my eye!! Haha! I also loved singing with Snow Patrol at the MTV awards... The audiences reaction actually sent shivers up my spine!
CW: As a listener, some of my fondest musical memories were experiencing what soon became soundtracks to my life. Mostly whilst on family road trips, my dad would play bands like Rancid and the Sex Pistols in the car and we would sing (shout!) Along to them. They reminded me of specific places and times in my life. As a musician, I was one of 30 drummers filming the video for Gabrielle Aplin's track 'Sweet Nothing', the sheer orchestration of having 30 drummers playing together was overwhelming (and pretty deafening!)!!
Lately what musical periods or styles do you find yourself most drawn to as a listener?
ST: Lately I'm loving garage, crunchy rock pop & dreamy atmospheric stuff like Honeyblood & Phantogram but I love a good song!
CW: I've always been a fan of heavier rock due to the release it gives me as a drummer to go nuts! Post Hardcore is probably my favourite genre to listen to recently to get the adrenaline going! On the flip side,I also love more melodic music with great harmonies, for example Pvris acoustic sessions.
What is your creative process like? How do you approach the writing process?
ST: Totally varies for me! I really believe that songs are already all around us and you just need to tap into that flow of creative juices and listen! Sometimes I get lyrics, sometimes a full chorus others a couple of chords, a tempo or a 'concept' and then I develop it based on the real inspiration at that time! Other times I sit with an instrument more intentionally & play until I find something I like & put lyrics to it. Everything I write means something - it's always about an experience I've had or watched other people have so the stories are things people can associate with!
At the moment with REWS, we either jam or come with an idea to rehearsals then we will exchange our ideas and develop it into a REWS track!
CW: I often think the best way to be creative is to try and let it take hold of you, rather than force it. Often my most inspired moments are whilst on a train or walking around. I like to approach writing with a melody idea or top line in mind and then take it from there. Often I top and tail a song (drum line and vocal line) before filling in the harmonic gaps.
ST: I would actually love to collaborate with John Hill as I love his production style and would be really curious to see what kind of cool cross genre piece of music we could create!!! Infact, I'd love to do something with skrillex too as I loved Sonnys old rock band and I think we could create something really interesting!!
CW: I think my dream collaboration would be with Dave Grohl! He's such a talented musician and writer with a wealth of experience that could bring magic to any project. I'd love the combination of riffy tracks with great arrangements and someone that I could get nerdy about drums with!! I would also love to collaborate with Lady Gaga, just to see her creative process from the inside and be involved in some craziness!!
As an indie artist in the digital age, social media and streaming are essential tools for marketing and promotion. What do you think about online music sharing, both as a music fan and as a musician? How do you think social media/music streaming services impacts the rising musician?
ST: Personally I think it's great to be able to get immediate and easy access to music and how easy it is to discover new artists HOWEVER I get worried that there is an increasing attitude to not pay for / invest in music - especially for those artists who are amazing but at the bottom of the pile as they are struggling to make a living & just can't afford to pay for promotion campaigns/prof recording sessions etc... (And you kind of need some of these things to stand out from the mass amount of music available out there!)
I feel it sometimes encourages people to under appreciate how hard certain artists work in order to put music out there - as well the amount of money you have to invest in recording/marketing etc... VS the amount of money people would pay for a song. So I think it's important to raise awareness on this fact & encourage people to support local music that they like!!
I also don't want to discourage people enjoying and exploring what's out there too cause that is equally important! You could miss out on something that could change your life! All I'm saying is - what would your world look like without your fav music & art? If you don't support the growth of the stuff you like then it might wilt ... like a beautiful little flower in the desert! ;)
CW: I'm really torn on this one, as a consumer it's great to have instant access to new music and to explore music you wouldn't usually be drawn too but, on the flip side, we are plunging deeper into a generation that expects creation for free. The value of music seems to be depreciating and it's important we continue to invest in order to retain quality. It's an artist's responsibility to connect with their fans through media, deliver a product that evokes elation and give 110% as a musician. I believe it's a fans responsibility to invest emotionally and financially in artists in order to allow them to create further! I really value platforms like Pledge and kickstarter.
What are you currently working on? Any new projects?
ST: REWS album material!! Main focus atm! It's really exciting!! Also writing some dance / atmospheric electro type stuff for fun with my friend Andy White & solo.
CW: Rews!! Writing new material, refining our live sound and generally loving the journey. I also play drums for an indie pop band and am doing vocal/drum sessions for various labels/producers.
Thanks once again to REWS for talking with us. You can stay up to date with them via the following social links.