Photography by Ellie India Rose Carty
Interview by Esme Carty
The energy in the lounge is vibrant, two bands have already taken the stage, but what is about to come will liven up the room. Slowly each member of Wah-Wah enters the stage and begins to set up, excited murmurs can be heard all around. Alan stands center stage with mic in hand, Austin stands to the right with the bass, Jaden strums the guitar to the left, and behind the drum kit is Devoe. The music starts and instantly people are dancing, the members are interacting with both the crowd and each other, we’re in for a good show.
A week later, I had the opportunity to interview Wah-Wah on the set of their Zoned shoot, and what a good time it was.
I: How did the band start?
AF: Me and Jaden, we’ve known each other for a long time. In high school, he played guitar and I was like, “That’s cool…let’s start something.” Then I learned how to play guitar…kind of. It just worked out and then we started making songs on Ableton. We like “hacked” Ableton, it’s a music platform.
AE: To get it for free
AF: We just started fucking around and, I don’t know, we just started it because we liked it. We wanted to have fun and make music. Then, I was friends with this kid named Gavin and he played drums–but you know when you meet someone and they're like, “oh yeah, I do this,” but you don’t really know?
AF: Yeah, so people just say shit. We ended up going to Guitar Center and we went into the drummer room and he blew our socks off. We were like, “What the fuck, let’s start a band.” We started the band and it was like seven months of us with Gavin, he ended up leaving because…people leave, I don't know. Then Austin–
AE: I moved from Delaware to here, and Alan was like, “I’m in a band, we need a bass player,” and–
AF: Low key it wasn’t even like that; I just saw this snapchat that he was moving back and thought, “Oh I fuck with Austin.” I was like, “Let’s chill as soon as you get here,” I just wanted to chill. Then we met and did, like, a “music video.”
AE: Yeah, I filmed a music video for them and we never did anything with it.
JE: For us?
AE: Yeah, remember we were in that old dude’s truck?
JE: Oh yeah
AE: Then Alan was like, “We need a bass player.” I straight up lied and was like, “I’ve been playing bass for two years.” I had never played bass at that point.
AF: I knew he was bullshitting, but the fact that he lied I was like–If you’re about to lie, that just shows you wanna do it. Lying’s bad but–
AE: I wanted it so bad
AF: I could see he wanted it so bad. With artistic shit, like taking photos, whatever you do, the one thing that matters is wanting it and doing anything to do it. Then, we posted on Instagram that we need someone to drum.
AE: Devoe was the only one who answered us and it was a match made in heaven.
I: Did you always want to be a musician?
JE: I definitely wanted to be, even before I started playing guitar. My brother had Ableton and I was just messing around on that, and it was fun.
AE: I had no idea this was going to happen. I came out to Arizona with no intentions and instantly this was the purpose that I found for myself and it’s been nonstop ever since.
AF: Growing up, your parents ask what you want to do. I’d say stupid shit like, well it’s not stupid but like, “I want to be an architect, I want to be a construction worker, and astronaut.” I don't know, I always remember growing up and having a gravitation towards music. I think the first band I fell in love with was Blink-182, or like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jimi Hendrix, artists like that. So I knew it was always there, but it was far-fetched.
AE: That’s the same for me. I was always so in love with music, poetry, and songwriting but never thought of myself as taking that as a career path.
AF: Then I was like, fuck it. I don’t want to be a lawyer or an architect. Fuck it, I’m going in.
I: What are some music influences of yours?
AF: All our influences are so vast. I think my main genre is hip hop. As for artists, I don’t know, I’ll listen to anything. Just off the top of my head, Kendrick Lamar, Wu-Tang Clan, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin. There’s so much. Even Steve Lacy, he made songs on his iPhone and is winning Grammy’s. That shit is so cool.
AE: For me it was like, the Pixies, Vundabar, Kimya Dawson, and The Moldy Peaches. I was really into the kind of choir acoustic stuff. Then, Vundabar and Pixies kind of took over. Also Jack White from the White Stripes, the way he writes is incredible, such an inspiration.
AF: Also artists like Strfkr, the Gorillaz. I really fuck with the Gorillaz.
DM: It’s random, it’s like one end of the spectrum to the next. The Kinks are my huge influence, but then Tool is a huge influence. Whatever I’m feeling at that moment, it comes out. It’s really what I listen to inspires me differently.
JE: I like a lot of soul music like the oldies and blues. I like a lot of old music. I like a lot of newer music too but I’m just drawn to the old stuff way more.
AF: Definitely, I forgot about that. My favorite genres of all time are probably blues, jazz. I’m a jazz freak. I’m a slut for jazz.
I: What is a personal goal of yours, individually?
AE: I’ve always said, for the songs that I make, I want nothing more than people to relate to it. I don’t know if I’ll ever find out the people who relate to it but that was music for me, music that I could connect to and feel. I want people to be like, “Damn, I know this feeling. I know where this dude’s coming from.”
AF: I just want to be able to make music and live off of it.
JE: That’s what I was thinking.
AF: Obviously people are going to resonate with it, there’s an audience for everything. I just want to be able to say, “I worked with this person and we made something cool,” and to be able to live off of that–that wouldn’t even feel real.
AE: An end goal would be to be able to buy my Mom a house. For me, if I could just pay rent or get by on it, I’ll be more than happy. I’ll feel so accomplished.
I: Going to that show last week, everyone that performed was excellent, but you guys commanded the room in a way I don’t think I saw anyone else do. The way you interact with each other and the crowd.
AF: If I’m talking to someone, I’m like, “I’m in a band,” and they’re like, “Oh you’re in a band? What’s the music?” and I’m like, “Fuck the music, come to the show.”
JE: I hate to explain it.
AF: I don’t like explaining the music. Just come to the show and tell me.
AE: I just want people to be able to go home and not forget the Wah-Wah show. As a performer, it is the most fun thing to engage with the crowd because it really is a performance. You can be whoever you want on the stage.
AF: I try to be like, I’m me, you’re you, let’s have fun.
I: What’s coming up for you guys?
JE: We’re working on an album right now.
AE: We’ll have a couple singles out by the end of the year. Sometime later next year, we’ll drop a project.
AF: There’s a lot.
AE: We have so much planned.
AF: Also, I say dancing is very important and a lot of people forget that. So don’t be afraid to dance. We’re trying to bring that back in a big way.
Thank you again to Wah Wah for an excellent photoshoot and interview. You can find their music through Spotify by searching up 'Wah Wah.' I also highly suggest following their journey through Instagram @wahwahband.