When Chordblossom came into existence, it was always our aim to shine a spotlight on the artists and bands that make up the music scene in Northern Ireland. We’ve been doing it for over ten years now and one of our favourite methods is our Introducing feature.
Put the kettle on, curl up on your sofa and and join us for a quickfire Q&A with some of our favourite new musicians. Who knows, maybe you’ll even discover your new favourite artists.
This iteration of Introducing features the musical talents of WOHN who just released their latest single ‘No Shelter’ earlier this month.
What was the inspiration behind your band name?
The name came from the last letter of John’s surname, gelled into his first name “John’ When the band first started it was just John demoing solo, since then it’s grown into a complete 4 piece where everyone has an equal input, we just kept the name because it’s easy to remember!
You’ve just released a new single. How did it come about and what does it mean to you?
This song was one of the quickest to write instrumentally and didn’t require much rearranging. As the practise came to an end, John started to strum on what is now the verse, and without even finishing a bar of the riff on guitar, the drums locked in with that tight response. We went from packing up gear, to unpacking what this song could be instantaneously.
Everyone pitched in ideas for how the song would shift, particularly when arranging the false build-up and when to let the final section hammer down. It was one in which there was no need to overthink and go with what felt right to follow each section. Lyrically the song tries to convey a dark and creepy sense of your own mind haunting you. Having no release from the pressures you put yourself under.
Have you any more releases or studio time lined up for later in the year?
Keep your eyes peeled. There will definitely be more music this side of the calendar. Musically, the next release should give another flavour of what is in store when people want to see us live. We had a great time recording at Start Together Studio’s, and there is more to come from this session.
Tell us about your song writing process.
There’s no one set way within this band. We love to surprise one another with ideas and demos sent around the band, keeping it interesting for all of us. This has come in the form of a riff, lyric or drum pattern and beats. Often if an idea has come into the practise room, everyone begins to add their own piece to the puzzle and the result take a whole new direction.
It’s important for us to treat each song in its own individuality, and not have rules as to how that song may transition into different section, but just let how it feels really dictate. This sometimes can be grinding out, rearranging, leaving, and coming back with fresh ears or it can be like our latest release, No Shelter, which was written very quickly within the space of the opening Guitar and Drum pattern.
Who were your favourite artists/bands growing up? Have your influences changed over time?
This really varies throughout the band. We have music that we all love and share from Pixies, Nirvana and Alice in Chains to our locals, And So I Watch You From Afar. Then there’s variety across the band.
John… Always gotta say Nirvana for my favourite, then more current bands like DIIV, Violent Soho, Beach Fossils Reece… Queens of the Stone Age, Melvins, Ovlov.
Matthew, Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, Mac Demarco.
Dylan, our Drummer is always a source of new bands to listen to. His taste can range from QOTSA, to Radiohead, to Foals and bands like Big Thief and Frightened Rabbit, to name a few.
A lot of the music taste is shared, and that certainly helps the song writing!
With the NI Music Prize round the corner, what’s been your favourite album and single released this year?
It’s wonderful to be shortlisted among the artists. We’ve been enjoying loads of the releases from that listen, such as Wynona Bleach’s Moonsoake, Virgins’ Signalling, The Florentina’s, Robocobra Quartet and ROE releases have all been getting spins. One of the favourite choices would also be Ferals’ Simple lives, there’s so many great choices and talented people.
If you weren’t a musician, what line of work would we find you in?
We all have day-jobs to fund this passion we all have and like to work. Matthew is working as a civil servant, John’s just started there and Matthew is keeping him in line, and Reece works hard for a Coleraine produce company. Our drummer, Dylan, also followed a passion of teaching, and is a school teacher.
If you could collaborate with one artist or band from NI, who would it be and why?
From growing up listening to their records throughout childhood, ASIWYFA would always be sick. The lucid musical styles from ASIWYFA would hopefully blend well with our own. It would be really interesting to collaborate with someone like ROE or Kitt Philippa, who’s music is very different to our own.
On that note, The Divine Comedy would be wonderful, even to collaborate over tea or coffee. Simply to pick his brain about music. Dylan thoroughly enjoyed throwing keys down on Duke Specials piano in the studio. Maybe he could do a cross-over into that world when he’s not pounding the drums.
It is intensely difficult to be successful in the music industry. What does NI need to do to invest in/develop to boost your chances?
It’s certainly not easy for anyone at this current time, with the cost of living that surrounds the masses. In terms of the music industry moving forward in NI, on one side I’m sure any help to fund artists to create is key, so as to have time to hone in on their craft. But also, to invest in time to educate young musicians through the processes and steps of the industry with schemes, so as money can be spent wisely and in appropriate areas.
What does success look like for you?
Success really comes in being able to play music. I think if you expect anything from music, you expect too much. Certainly, we will work for it and if our music can resonate and mean something to someone the same way it does when we play it and listen to the music we love, that’s amazing. Whether that’s someone on the train going to their first day at university, soundtracking someone’s workout or being a soundtrack when someone needs solace from the world for a minute.
We’ll take any of it, and if not, at the least, we have a lot of fun making it. So, by that token, we would love our music to grow and hopefully have that expand and reach more and more ears out in the world.
You’re going out on tour and can have anything you want on your rider, what would we find on yours?
One Thousand Brown M&M’s… and a copy of Wayne’s World at that. But no, plenty of coffee, guitar strings and drumsticks would be nice. Lord knows we never have enough. Couple bags of cheesy chips and those chocolate Mikado sticks, for sure.
Where and when can we next catch you live?
McHugh’s in Belfast this coming Saturday, 8th October. Happy to be putting on our headline show alongside the support of The Continentals and Ethan Hollan. Beyond that, we’ve recently been travelling around Ireland playing gigs from the North Coast to Dublin. These have been our tightest shows recently as we’ve had the time to really gel as a group. With future releases we hope to keep that momentum continuing.
If you enjoyed this feature and fancy discovering some more new artists, we suggest you jump on over to our archive of Introducing pieces.
If you are a band or musician based in Northern Ireland interested in taking part in our Introducing feature, we recommend submitting new music to us via our Contact page and if we enjoy it, you’ll no doubt hear from us.