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This article was published on 02 May 2017, and is filed under Music.

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WOWH

WOWH comp2

For those of you that haven’t had the pleasure of hearing WOWH either through your speakers or in real life, then I’m confident you’re going to be pleased you know them now. They are a funky, pop-y, joyful duo made up of talented singer-songwriter Nick Harrison, and drummer and producer Toby Couling. Both hailing from Guildford’s music scene, the two have been friends and music colleagues for a long time, but this is something new and exciting. With the release of their single Suffer getting tongues wagging, I wanted to catch up with the funny pair for a chat…

AJ: How far back do you guys go?

TC: It’s almost 10 years… a decade of friendship.

AJ: Do you remember the specific moment you met?

TC: I knew a friend of Nick’s and I’d heard of him before. Then I think we were just walking along the street in Guildford and we were like “Yo whassup”. I remember it. Do you remember?

NH: It was outside Nando’s.

AJ: You’ve both been in various different bands over the years and now you’ve ended up at this point in your lives together. Did that come about naturally, or had you been discussing the possibility of doing something together for a while?

NH: We’d worked together before and then I went on to do different things and Toby was touring with bands like The Noisettes and Tom O’Dell. We caught up and Toby said “I’ve just started renting this studio, you should come and check it out”. And so, never one to miss an opportunity to play music, I went down and we just started writing instantly.

AJ: As an outsider this project seems like the real deal.

TC: We’re putting a lot of time into this now and we’ve both sacraficed other work and opportunities to do this, and it feels good to do that. It feels good to work for other people because there’s less pressures, but different pressures are good. We’re doing actual creative stuff now and people are starting to dig it.

NH: I remember the first time we ever played together, I knew instantly it was going to be great. He made me laugh. He made his own interpretation of this fill on the track that was amazing that no one else had bothered to go anywhere near.

AJ: He’s the one!

NH: HE’S THE ONE! And he had a laminated C.V

– hysterical laughing –

AJ: Oh my god.

TC: I didn’t even realise why that’s funny until right now

WOWH50103 vs1

 

AJ: I saw you perform last month at The Islington. It was really fun and energetic and people in the audience kept joining you on stage. I did wonder if we were all going to have a go playing with you.

NH: Did you think “I don’t remember learning the songs”?

AJ: Exactly. No, but I did wonder how involved those other musicians are in the writing process, if at all. Or do you just jam together in preparation for the live shows, for a bigger live experience?

NH: Me and Toby write and produce the tracks. Sometimes the guys will come and help play on them, but fundamentally it’s very much us two. Our friends come and boost the live thing; the calibre of those musicians really elevate it. We couldn’t possibly recreate the sound with just two of us.

AJ: Who writes the lyrics?

NH: I’ll sit down and bash them out and then we bang heads about them I guess. I need Toby to tell me that he likes them.

TC: Nick is constantly trying to get me to understand his lyrics. Which is a good thing, because if I get it then other people will get it. We were watching this band recently in Oxford. It was pretty out-there music, almost a bit sketchy. But they were doing it with 100% force that I believed what they were doing and understood it, and therefore really enjoyed it. It’s helped me realise that conviction is art. If you can truthfully let yourself be 100% you, then you’re giving everybody the opportunity to see that and make a sure decision of what it is.

NH: It’s just believing it really. And when it comes to lyrics, sometimes I think “Oh God they’re not clever enough” and worry I’m not imaginative enough. But actually it came out of me, and it was an honest expression.

AJ: Nobody’s going to question it if they believe you.

NH: For example with Suffer, we’d had it for quite a while before we released it. It went through different stages. It got to a point where we were like “ok it’s done now”.

AJ: During the process of writing it, are you thinking that it’s going to be a single release?

NH: I suppose we always try to write to the best of our ability. We really struggle with the concept of singles. Obviously there are some songs that will stand out, slightly catchier arrangements I suppose.

AJ: You only write hits.

NH: We Only Write Hits!

TC: We’re always trying to find the best formula for pop, and do something that we believe in that fits it.WOWH50081 vs1

AJ: Who are your main musical heroes and influences for the sound?

TC: Ok classic for me, and I’m not going to say what Nick thinks I’m going to say.. Steely Dan. Aja, that album, for me is pretty much perfect. I love that album. I’ve got it on vinyl which my dad had, and I’ve got it on CD and on MP3.

NH: I suppose for me Michael Jackson is my all time hero, then Prince, then The Beatles. Pretty standard ones really. I don’t think I’m very adventurous.

AJ: How about anybody that’s still alive?

NH: Well I guess any of the Motown stuff, everybody loves that.

TC: Reef for me were a big inspiration as well.

AJ: I do like that you can hear a big mix of influences in your sound. What about any current artists, famous or new that you’re digging?

TC: There’s an album that my brother told me about. It’s by and Australian singer-songwriter called D.D Dumbo. The album is called Utopia Defeated and it’s one of the coolest albums I’ve heard.

NH: Hiatus Kaiyote are an amazing female fronted band.

TC: They’re from Melbourne, two Australian acts! There’s some great stuff coming out from Australia at the moment.

AJ: You’ve both been in the industry a while now, have you noticed any major changes in the way things work. For example the expectations on you now for things like social media.

NH: You just have to be on it, as much as you might want to shy away from it and not do it. Young people expect to have insane access to anything they like all the time. I’m realising the importance of it and how effective it can be.

TC: I remember things like MSN messenger back in the day. Even then I didn’t have that capability or lust for that kind of communication, I was always trying to seek out something real. And that’s what I’m still like, or even more so. I do struggle with it all, but I understand that it’s a good way to put yourself and your music to people that might not have heard you. We both have an emoji that we picked. My one is the prayer, which some people think is a high five, but I think its the namaste. Nick’s is the Whale.

AJ: Why?

NH: I just like Whales. The animal AND the country.

TC: Also we’re quite aware of the planet Earth and how much we love it. But anyway that’s our little emoji sign-off for most things.

whale
person-with-folded-hands

AJ: How do you take your tea?

NH: Decaf, sustainably sourced. Non Moo-Moo juice. Yep, ultimate hippy tea for me.

TC: It depends what time of day. In the mornings it’s a Yorkshire teabag with Moo-Moo milk. Then in the middle of the day it’ll be decaf. If I’m with Nick it’s going to be whatever we can get our hands on that isn’t Moo-Moo milk. And then in the evenings it could be Roobios or ginger. Or I make my own ones which is fresh turmeric, ginger, lime and manuka honey.

AJ: That sounds delicious, I’m glad I asked!

TC: And then at night it’s Peppermint or Camomile.

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You can catch WOWH at a number of festivals this summer, including Glastonbury and Secret Garden Party. But until then, listen to their stuff here:

// words and photographs by Sarah Brimley