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Interview with Last Of The Wonder Kids

Last Of The Wonder Kids: Alex Brown, Lorna Findlater, Ash Kershaw
Last Of The Wonder Kids: Alex Brown, Lorna Findlater, Ash Kershaw

Last Of The Wonder Kids are an alternative indie-fuzz from Grimsby whose song 'Weakness' caught my attention with it's nostalgic feeling and driving rhythm, and I instantly had to hear more. I reached out to the band and singer and guitarist Ash was kind enough to answer a few questions for us about the song, making music through lockdown and a lyric with a double meaning that no one has picked up on yet...

How would you describe your sound to the readers?

We get called indie-fuzz, lo-fi pop, alternative surf punk rock… Someone once said to me we’re like The Jesus & Mary Chain on skateboards, I don’t know if it was meant to be a compliment but I guess I kind of related. A lot of driving rhythm, chaotic hooks and pop melodies.

Who are some of your biggest musical influences?

A massive question, but I’ll try tone it down. We all have our own influences but as far as the music we make there’s a few bands we collectively love. I suppose when we formed the band we listened to a lot of Cage the Elephant, Weezer, Pixies, Dandy Warhols, that kind of stuff. It’s changed over time and we’re constantly inspired on the road by the bands we meet and the developing scenes but I think those are the sort of bands we always come back to when we’re together.

How has the pandemic affected how the band works together? Have you found any more challenges with making music or have you found the extra time to be creative for you?

There’s been ups and downs. Not gigging was a shock to the system, out of nowhere we wiped clean our diary in a matter of weeks. I don’t mean this to sound egotistical but when you’re gigging all the time you have constant affirmation, every show you play you have people coming up and saying how much they enjoyed it and you constantly expand your network and fan base. Suddenly we felt really distanced from everybody, we was running out of anything interesting to say across social media (which was our only connection to the outside world) and I think that knocked our confidence and our creativity suffered for the first month. Luckily though the week leading up to the first lock down we’d just finished up recording our track “Animals”, so after a few weeks we shook ourselves out of it, managed to get it mixed and released and suddenly we felt a bit more relevant again. This gave us the boost we needed and I managed to accept the situation and start using the time to pen song ideas and draw and create again, and as we started checking in with other bands from the scene we soon realised everybody felt the same and we knew we hadn’t been left behind. After that it was just a case of holding tight, pooling our ideas and every time restrictions were lifted and we could get into the studio we’d hammer out a song. We had to kind of write them as we recorded because we didn’t have any opportunity to all play together, so strangely we ended up recording songs that we hadn’t really played as a full band. So we had to then learn to play the songs together that we’d already released, that was weird.

Your new song ‘Weakness’ is an epic indie song that I’ve really been enjoying recently, I love all of the different layers to the song, and the instrumental breakdown at the end. Can you tell us a bit about the process of making this song?

Yeah so this was kind of a tricky one. This was actually one of the first new song ideas I had back in April in that original lock down. I knew I wanted it to be a relentless barrage but it was pretty hard explaining it over the phone or in zoom calls to the other guys, so I spent the time alone developing it. I knew I didn’t want a traditional solo but something more driving and psychedelic so there was a lot of Summer days driving my housebound neighbours wild chugging that riff up and down the fretboard with phasers cranked up full. I got the whole composition penned out and then when we could finally practice the guys added what they could in about 2 sessions that we managed to all get together. Suddenly we went back into restrictions but decided to push on the idea anyway, which is when we started heading into the studio whenever we could even one by one to get each layer down and slowly built it up, writing it as we went.

What was the main inspiration behind the lyrical content of the song? Is there a particular lyric that is your favourite?

I guess overall it’s about keeping a brave face and not looking weak, burying feelings, preying on people who express theirs and also looking at how I deal with my own feelings, often hiding them in the songs I write. My favourite line is actually a little double meaning bit that nobody has picked up on yet at the end of the first verse, everyone assumes its “It’s my turn to turn up the radio mic” since it’s about converting feelings into songs, or more specifically "radio waves" as the lyrics say, when actually it’s “It’s my turn to turn up the radio Mike”, a reference to R.E.Ms Michael Stipe; “The world is collapsing around our ears, I turned up the radio”.

I imagine this song would be amazing live, especially with that driving rhythm section. What’s something you miss most about about playing shows?

To be honest, everything. The road trips, service stops, sweaty bars, pissy toilets. The nerves, the people you meet, the other bands you see, especially the amazing ones when you die knowing you have to go on after them and they’ve just smashed it out the park. Late night sing alongs in the van on the way home from shows, that’s a big one. I’ve had many hazy hours laid out across the back seat belting “Waterloo”.

You released a few other songs throughout the last year as well as ‘Weakness’, are these songs going to be a part of a bigger project in the future?

Maybe, but we constantly keep writing new tracks. As soon as they’re released we’re looking forward at what we can do next and how we can do it better. We’ve spoken about it though, I guess we’ll see what the next few months bring and look at how we feel about them when we’re back on our feet, work out our priorities.

What’s next for you guys? Do you have any plans for 2021?

Yeah I can finally confidently say our diary is filling up with dates from the end of June so our plan is to take up right where we left off, get back on the road, piling in the shows and keep releasing music. We’re polishing up a couple of new tracks at the minute that I really think will be our best and most confident work yet so I’m really buzzing about the coming months. We’re also looking at taking on a fourth band member to really push the dynamics of our live set, so it’s all exciting at the minute.

And lastly, can you recommend any music for us and our listeners? Anything that you have been really loving recently?

Yeah so I’m currently listening to Sharon Van Etten's “Epic”. The first singles have been released from the upcoming “epic Ten”, an anniversary edition featuring all the tracks covered by different artists, so far there’s covers by IDLES, Big Red Machine and Lucinda Williams, which you need to check out but also it’s made me dig out the original record and just remember how perfect she is.

Thank you so much again to Ash for taking the time to answer those questions for us, it's really appreciated. They are definitely a band who I think we're going to be hearing from a lot more in the future, so make sure you give their songs a listen, follow them on social media and share this interview around as well.

Thanks for reading, until next time...

Listen to Weakness on Spotify here.

Follow Last Of The Wonder Kids on Spotify here.

Follow Last Of The Wonder Kids on Instagram here.

All After Midnight links here.

Follow me on Instagram here.

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