Interview with 'WEAK13'
Firstly, introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about the band and how you came to be?
Well I'm the singer and guitarist for the band; we're an independent act; a three-piece, we are fortunate to have a lot of people who follow the music, most of my lyrics are a vehicle for highlighting corruption and tyranny in the world, encouraging people to wake up but we mainly just like writing good rock songs in an age of illusion. I was the one who founded WEAK13 in a town called Kidderminster back in 1999 and it was around about the same time that I was studying American History at College. I'd been playing guitar for a few years beforehand in a couple of bands but I hadn't had a project of my own till I hooked up with a chap from a neighbouring performing arts course called Jim Taylor; he wanted to be in a band, I had some songs I'd written so I decided to work with him. Long story short we played loads of shows, had multiple musicians in and out of the band; Jim actually left three years later and it wasn't really until 2010 that I felt I'd found the right people to work with, Neel Parmar and Wesley Smith. By right people I mean right people for me; people I totally click with musically. I've said that before and I've had a couple of ex-members criticise me for saying that but that's my opinion.
What were you up too prior to the band, was this always the chosen path or did you have other dreams and aspirations?
When I was growing up I never really showed any interest at all in being a musician or playing in a band; being an artist was my only ambition but I swear I was a bit naive as I actually believed that when you finished school you could just walk into to the job centre and see a notice board saying something like “WANTED – Artist”, my understanding of the world was very distorted. I borrowed a guitar from a neighbour of mine called Jeremy Baker; eventually I bought my own when I was about 15 but it wasn't until I had a visit from my uncle Alam Qurashi that I decided I wanted to be in a band. He picked up my very cheap and beat up imitation Fender Stratocaster guitar and made it scream out with rock, playing in the style of Jimi Hendrix and AC/DC. I watched him improvise on the spot for twenty minutes, he was using strange shaped chords, precision phrasing, bashing complex rhythm patterns; it was the first and only time I saw him play guitar and it made me realise that a career in music was something I wanted to pursue. Total fluke that I took up singing; when I first met Jim Taylor at college we'd met another guy called Peter Harrop and we thought that he would be at our first band practice and be the frontman but he didn't show up as he'd gone to America to visit his father so I decided to have a go myself; I really had no idea what I was doing. I'd been writing lyrics for years I guess but I never saw them as lyrics; to me they were just poems, my thoughts or short stories.
Tell us about your latest Album 'They Live' and why our readers should check it out.
If your readers are disgusted with what the current music world currently spits out then they should definitely buy the 'They Live' album from our website weak13official.com. It's getting only good reviews and people message us all the time thanking us for making it - they love it. We spent a total of 3 years on it; had a great engineer by the name of John Stewart produce it and he really knew how to get our sound captured on record. We took our time on our own terms as we wanted to make sure that this album was something classic. I grew up listening to some of the best albums in the world so ours had to be up to that high standard.
Have you ever come face to face with someone within the music scene who has left you awestruck and why?
I get virtually no inspiration from the mainstream music scene as it's overflowing with what I can only describe as utter bullshit but there are some amazing musicians I see on the way up that really do impress me. Singer songwriter Ian Passey who goes under the name The Humdrum Express really grabs my attention; he's a one man army with such satire in his approach to music; I relate to him a lot. Genuine feel and passion expressed is paramount; British blues singer Rebecca Downes is incredible to watch; when I see her perform on stage I get goosebumps, she has such natural raw energy. I write a music column for an independent magazine every month and review CDs of many great emerging artists; there's real talent in the underground and the mainstream music industry is just pathetic in comparison.
If we were to head out to one of your live shows what can ourselves and others expect?
You can expect a WEAK13 show to be very eye opening; on occasions we have projectors behind us with our observations on media manipulation; we've had gigs when the whole band is performing a set wrapped up in newspaper costumes; there's normally something visually exciting happening but the main thing to expect is good old fashioned rock tunes being blasted out at you. We try to make it interesting for ourselves so it's very important that our shows are entertaining. They're loud gigs but we also play an acoustic set too as it's nice to try and show fans how the songs can work in different ways.
If you had one artist/band that you could go on tour with tomorrow who would it be and why?
John Carpenter. He's a genius.
You can spend an hour with a musical icon living or dead, who would you pick, why and what would you speak about?
John Carpenter is a musical icon to me. I grew up watching his movies and they have always been a massive influence; the scores he writes for them are just so creative and beautifully arranged. I have no idea what I'd chat to him about but I would listen to anything he has to say; I'd be tempted to ask him whether the character “Childs” from his 1982 film The Thing played by actor Keith David is the creature or not as there's no condensation coming out of the characters mouth in the final scene of the film. I'm a bit of a geek when it comes to John Carpenter; did my dissertation on one of his films for University too.
And finally and most importantly is Die Hard a Christmas Movie?
Of course it is. McClane uses some Christmas tape to secure a gun behind him before using it to blow Hans out of a 30 story window. What could be more Christmas than that?
We just want to say thank you for taking the time to answer our questions.
Your welcome. Cheers.
Check out their video for 'Down On Me'
Website - http://weak13official.com/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/weak13fanpage/