The Wholls have steadily gained a huge, loyal fanbase with their energetic, electric live performances and it’s not hard to see why. From Bedfordshire, the four piece band have been hailed as one of the biggest talents of 2016. Receiving rave reviews from critics and BBC Introducing we caught up with the band to chat about all things ‘The Wholls’
Hi guys, thanks for taking part in our Leeds festival special! How has the festival season been for you so far? And what has been your highlight?
Thanks for having us Northern Exposure. We’re just really happy that streakers from Newcastle finally have a medium to express themselves. Congratulations.Festival season has been pretty goddam memorable up to now!! Isle of Wight, Y Not, Reading & Leeds, The Great Escape, Tramlines and more…. basically getting to spend the summer watching some of the best bands on the planet, making friends and having irregular washing habits. Every young boy’s dream. We’ve got festivals in the UK and Europe in the diary all the way into November, then December we’ve block booked our local laundry. So many memories. An absolute highlight musically for us was yesterday at Reading on the BBC Introducing Stage, something we’ve dreamt about for years. Hasn’t sunk in yet to be honest. But also, a highlight I know we share with a lot of other bands and fans this summer is being a part of the This Feeling family. Killer stages at some of the best festivals cementing what they do on a weekly basis up and down the country championing a new breed of guitar bands, putting them together and creating what’s starting to feel more and more like a real, genuine fucking movement. If you see a band supported by This Feeling you can absolutely guarantee they’ve got something to say and their stages give them the platform to say it. Something’s bubbling…..
We love your band name, why did you decide on ‘The Wholls’? And how did you form?
Well…. I guess it’s our bastardised take on an old Italian slang word which kind of means ‘the lot’. It’s a bit naughty really. If you’re reading this it’s pronounced ‘The Wolls’ but we just chucked a rogue H in there for some reason. Done now though innit! We’re basically old school mates. About 5 years ago we started jamming in Danny (our drummers) mum’s potting shed at the bottom of the garden in Bedford. Tordy, Danny, me (Joe) and another friend. We wrote a couple of riffs, decided they were songs and put on a gig. It was pretty rough at the start. But we kept going and more people kept coming to shows. Then last year we had a slight line-up change, Sonny joined 18 months ago and showed us what way round to hold our guitars. And here we are.
If you guys were to organise your own festival, who would you have headline and why ?
Good question! We’d definitely all give different answers but I’m here so you got mine! Gotta be BIG acts to headline… I actually know the answer to this off the top of my head cos I ask it to people all the time when I’m being a music nerd (frequently). Friday would be MC5 because they’re kinda the precursor to everything I love deep down about guitar music. Wild, unpredictable and different. The Godfathers. Saturday; The Clash. Raw, clever, never sat still and productive. Stylish as fuck too. Just the best. Sunday there is only one band for me to top it off. Primal Scream all the way baby. Never done two LP’s that sound the same. Still writing killer albums, More Light from a couple of years back was glorious. And Bobby Gillespie is a genuine rock n roller. They’ve given me more joy than any other band.
Where do you usually gather songwriting inspiration? And what’s the songwriting process?
Real life. If it ain’t real and we haven’t felt it, how can we mean it? We listen to a constant stream of music too, at home, in the studio, on the road, at gigs. That’s gotta have an effect, right? But at the end of the day, it’s gotta come from the heart. You can’t fake that. Tordy and Sony are the main songwriting team. They’ve got a great songwriting process where they can bounce ideas off each other. We all have the ability at home to put ideas down and can chuck ideas in. There’s no ego’s so if, for example, Sonny (guitar) comes up with a sick bass line, or Danny (drums) has an idea for a melody that works, it’s going in. It’s a fluid process and there are no rules.
X21 was a huge hit for you guys, for those who haven’t heard it yet, can you describe the song for us?
Sexy, sparse and hooky. It was written real quick, in a day in Tordy’s bedroom with Sonny and pretty much what you hear on the record is what was laid down, bar the odd bit of fluffing in production. It was all about feel that one I think. We were all over it from the minute we all heard it.
You are known for your electric energy as a band, but could we expect any mellow acoustic songs from you in the future?
Not if I and Danny have our way haha drum n bass baby!! But Sonny and Tordy have definitely got it in em! We are actually recording a few acoustic tracks for a live session in a few days so keep your ears out for them. We are definitely at our best when we’re making a racket though! Get itchy feet sitting about strumming an acoustic. Save it for the beach.
What advice do you have for people wanting to start their own band?
Do it. Grab some mates, make a noise, write a song, go play it in front of people if you wanna. Fuck up, play it better, drink some beer. One thing we can guarantee is you won’t regret it and you’ll have a great fucking time! Some of the best times in a band are when you don’t know what you’re doing. Computers, films, pornhub…. they’re a good way to waste some time but PLAYING IN A BAND IS REAL AND IT”S FUCKING AWESOME. And you might actually get laid.
Do you have any upcoming shows you would like our readers to know about?
For sure, we’re headlining the BBC Introducing stage at Wilkestock Festival on 3rd September, Reeperbahn in Hamburg end of September and there’s a great festival in Leeds in November called Kazoopa, check that out. 26th I think. We’ll be adding a LOT more dates to that soon though so have a little sneak around online and you’ll be able to keep updated.
How can fans to be access your music?
The BBC have put some of our live set from Reading up on the iPlayer and YT, Spotify and iTunes are good places to go and we have a couple of videos up on YT as well.
The best place to listen to us though is at a gig 100%. That’s our home.
Interview/Photography Imogen Thomas