We’ve noticed there’s a trend emerging, among the new bands we feature here on TeamRock, to conjure up the most obscure of terms with which to describe their sound to curious readers. So here, with Leeds quartet Weirds, we welcome the advent of “amphibious doom pop”. Blending moody, muscular guitar with experimental, reverb-soaked psych rock, Weirds join the growing wave of innovative underground music coming from the northern city.
So, below, the fathers of amphibious doom pop join us to talk us through their sound and what they have planned for next. Maybe it’ll… frogspawn something big. (Sorry.)
Can you introduce yourselves – where are you from, who does what and what are your roles in the band?
Aidan: We are Weirds, from Leeds. We’re Aidan (vocals), Nash (drums), Matthew (bass), Zachary (guitars).
How did you guys meet and start making music together?
Aidan: We all went to school together and started making music in the school practice rooms there. We were bored as hell and wanted to do something different, and the school music department definitely hated us – we just used to thrash it out on lunch breaks.
What were your key influences or inspirations in getting the band together?
Aidan: We’ve always had a varied taste in music, and we all still listen to different things today. I guess at the start we were into grunge and indie stuff, we were big fans of Foals’ earlier stuff, and Nirvana.
You’re from Leeds, a city with a rich and impressive heritage when it comes to underground music. Does that add an extra pressure to the band, or is it something you just feel proud to be a part of?
Aidan: We aren’t originally from Leeds, we actually all grew up in a small town called Nantwich. There was no scene there whatsoever, so there was nothing there for us. Leeds just called out to us, there were too many good things about its music scene, we couldn’t not move there. I guess when we first moved to Leeds, we knew the scene was tight knit and really well established, so that took a while for us to get used to as we’d never experienced that as teenagers. Now, we feel like an established band in Leeds, and are proud to say that we are based here.
How would you describe your sound in three words for people who’ve never heard you? Aidan: Amphibious doom pop.
Tell us about the new single?
Aidan: It’s called Phantom and it’s probably the poppiest thing we’ve written on [new album] Swarmculture. We wanted to write a real heavy but also melodic and simple song, and Phantom is what came out. It became this sickly sweet, bombastic dystopian slice of pop.
What drew you to the themes you cover in the song?
Aidan: The song is about feeling trapped in your home - ‘It’s not looking good at the ranch, there’s a phantom’. The chorus is really direct and imperative, like a lot of my lyrics.
You’ve released an elaborate video to go alongside it – can you explain it to us?
Aidan: We wanted to create a video that was totally at odds with the sickly sweet nature of the song. We just had this image of our album cover burning, and we felt that it represented the album being born into the world well, with an element of catharsis. We were reading and watching a lot of stuff about the KLF Foundation’s …Burn A Million Quid at the time, and we filmed it in an old military barracks. The bleakness of the video creates a tension against the melodies of the song.
Your Facebook page has been a source of some contention. What’s going on there?
Aidan: Oh man! What a long story. To cut it short, our Facebook page was hacked a month before Swarmculture was released, and whilst we were on tour with The Wytches. It got taken over by a viral videos page which spouted out videos of cats eating giant pizzas and shit [sounds pretty good to us - Cat Vid ed], and we could see all this happening and had no control over it. We were obviously gutted at the time, as social media is an important tool for small bands like us. With the help of Facebook, we regained the page, only for it to be hacked a second time. It was third time lucky, and now we have our page back and security is super tight. The whole thing has made us reflect on the monopoly that big companies have over the tiniest of independent operations like us, and how bands operate within those systems.
Is there any other new music to look forward to?
Aidan: We’ve been writing a few bits, but it’s very early days at the moment. Once we’ve finished touring this record and festival season is over we want to quietly begin writing some new stuff properly. We’ve got the itch to do it.
Can you talk us through your recorded history - what else have you released so far?
Aidan: Our first single was a double a side on Denizen Records called Crocodile/Yolk, we then released another double a side on Too Pure called Off The Hook/Heavy Rain. We then released a couple of tracks for free, then an EP last year called Weird Sun, then our first album Swarmculture this year, obviously.
What do you hope people will take away from the single, the video/artwork, and your music in general?
Aidan: We hope people can enjoy it, find meaning in it and emotionally experience the music. Our live show is a really intense experience, and the album is a different representation of that. We hope people will enjoy our sound in both areas.
What’s next for Weirds?
Aidan: Festivals this summer/autumn. We’re playing a few, but we are super excited for 2000 Trees and Liverpool Psych Fest in particular. They are two festivals we’ve always wanted to play.
What’s been the highlight of your time in the band so far?
Aidan: I think this year we’ve achieved a lot of the things we’ve always wanted to. We’ve got signed, released a record, made some cool videos, toured relentlessly and are playing festivals. I think writing and recording Swarmculture is probably our biggest achievement as a band so far.
What do you have planned for next?
We want to write some new material. Tentatively, we’ll start soon. And we want it to be super different to this record.
Weirds’ new album Swarmculture is available now via Alcopop! Records. You can catch them on tour at the dates below:
06-08 Jul: 2000 Trees Festival, Upcote Farm, UK
21-23 Jul: Truck Festival, Oxfordshire, UK
10-12 Aug: LeeFest, Tunbridge Wells, UK
23 Sep: Liverpool Psych Fest, Liverpool, UK