Following on from our recent exclusive feature on Midlands band Weak13 we sat down with frontman and mastermind behind the mayhem Nick J. Townsend to discuss the groups origins, their inspirational phoenix-like rise from the ashes of adversity, and learn what connects opinions and a particular piece of the human anatomy…
#1. LADIM: Thank you for this interview and if you would like to introduce yourselves.?
“Well my name is Nick J.Townsend, I founded the band WEAK13, sing and play guitar for it. I don’t say this often enough publicly but I just think everyone in this band are awesome. My drummer Neel Parmar and bassist Wesley Smith are so fun to work with. Neel is a pure party animal, his drumming just blows me away, Wesley is one of the best bass players I’ve worked with, such a heart too; when you work with really nice guys that can really play it makes being in a band so enjoyable”
#2. LADIM: Lets cut to the mustard, as it were; when can we expect the new album?
“I keep getting asked that. Hopefully before the end of the year. WEAK13‘s debut full studio album has been in the pipeline since late 2011, beforehand only EP’s, Singles and demos were released by us. I’ve planned a studio album for years but when you have no label, no money and no one with weight in the industry helping then you have to really work hard to make big ideas happen. I’ve sacrificed and invested a lot of my time helping bands in my position and that takes a huge chunk of your time. In England if you are in a rock based band trying to do something original then unless you have lots of money the majority of music publications, venues or labels won’t touch you“
“Finding the correct people to work with on an album is very important, a producer is the extra member of your band and he or she is the person who needs to understand how you tick musically. We were very lucky to meet a genuine honest and talented chap called John Stewart who loved what we did and committed to producing an album for us. He’s a guitarist too so I found it easier to explain stuff to him. As a guitarist and singer I’m trying to put my best on the record and having someone in the studio that is willing to push you into doing that is exactly what we needed. This album should be completed by late 2014 and it’s taken a lot of preparation, some songs have been written within a few weeks, others within years, we had to decide on thirteen songs which would make it to the album but we have enough material for two more albums at least“
“The lyrics and themes on this album are varied ranging from: sexual prowess, conspiracy facts, remorse, revenge, entrapment, revelations, slavery, depression, anxiety and greed. Some tunes were written about major life changing moments in my life; I don’t expect everyone to understand but I think they’ll relate to them. When I started writing lyrics years ago I was just angry at the world but now I’m more focused. Some singers write about stuff they’ve never experienced but I try and make sure mine are as personal but more importantly they’re stories that happen during my lifetime. I only felt qualified to write about death after brushing with it several times, a lot of people I loved have passed away and are on this album in some way. Years ago I was nearly murdered because of music, people who I thought were my friends watched it happen and abandoned me; they were too scared to help and left me for dead. When life gets interesting so do your lyrics”
“It’s taken years to get to this point and I regret nothing, this to me is just the beginning, no idea what the future holds either but this for me is all about the music. England has a history of delivering some of the biggest rock bands on the planet and yet the mainstream music scene here shows little support for new rock music. Still no record label backing but a lot of people want to hear this album and many from different countries too thanks to the Internet getting the band’s music heard and seen via music videos we’ve put out there. The finished album will be on iTunes etc and all the online stores and we’ll probably release it ourselves, we’re spending time making sure the album is how we want it to sound”
#3. LADIM: The bands previous releases have garnered much attention on the worlds stage, yet in the UK it seems a lot harder for other bands to get noticed..?
“Many Bands in the UK and around the world want to raise their level of attention on the Internet, most are too eager for instant fame and rush into things without thinking them through. Some, within weeks of forming, are convinced that if they get a record deal there and then that it’s a good thing; personally I’d wait until I had enough good original songs to warrant that and get things right before approaching a label; we’re literally only now starting to consider offers for WEAK13 because it’s getting to feel like the right time for the band. You see acts hammering away on keyboards typing messages to labels begging to be signed when they haven’t yet sorted out a demo or even a photo of themselves, let alone have time to write good original tunes”
“The Internet has bred an “I want it now” culture which leaves many open for exploitation. It’s become less about quality music and more about numbers. Venue promoters, for instance, target naive amateur bands via the web and offer promising support slots so they can attract any followers they’ve amassed to buy tickets and finance costs for the big headlining acts they’ve already booked; they don’t give a shit about music; they just want your friends to start regularly going to their venue because thanks to the Internet you can calculate how many friends they have. Once introduced to the gig circuit at an early age many get pressured by promoters to sell tickets, forced to become little online spammers, get little time to expand their music and split up within a year or so before having chance to actually enjoy being in a band, experiment with music, record a tune, make a music video or do something fun away from a keyboard. Bands seem so worried about what everyone else is up to that the last thing they are doing is looking at themselves”
“We’re happy that a lot of people give WEAK13 a listen, but we’ve taken our time on our own terms. I don’t really get much inspiration from other bands these days, I’m more into art and film. It’s only through me having an interest in films that we have music videos made without backing from a label or record company, I’ve gradually through trial and error worked out how to produce them myself but I’m still new to it and have a lot to learn, some are real DIY jobs and others could be deemed as very professional I guess, we’re not made of money and it’s more about being creative and artistic than pleasing a committee. I spent 18 months (longer than some band’s life expectancy) working with a Film-maker and producer I befriended because I had an idea for doing a music video for a WEAK13 demo we recorded called “Wake Down” (see YouTube) set in World War 1 and I honestly didn’t give a shit what other bands were doing; it was about art not capitalism”
“Music videos are said to be dead but I kind of agree and disagree with that. There are more big bands releasing boring videos than ever before so I think that’s why many don’t see them as important. To me, a music video is another opportunity to explore the themes you’ve already created in a song and I think many bands rush getting them made or don’t even take any interest in how they look. We try and have a lot of fun in ours, bands are missing out on the joy of being creative; the “Sex Pest” Music video was a laugh to get filmed and it’s got us a lot of online attention because we’ve captured genuine fun. In the age of the Internet, having a good music video is a great way to get people to notice your band….but you still have to write good songs otherwise people won’t give a shit”
#4. LADIM: Do you feel WEAK13 is now realized as the band as you initially saw it to be?
“Close to it, maybe if I was a better singer it’d be perfect. When people hear the finished album they will hear how I hoped the band would have sounded when I created it years ago. The past three or four years have been the most productive because I’m working with musicians that truly understand me, no disrespect to anyone previously in the band; I just didn’t musically click as well with them. I first met Wesley Smith and Neel Parmar on the gig circuit when they were playing in other bands; eventually circumstances led to both of them being able to work with me. As soon as the three of us began to jam there was a chemistry like I’d never experienced before, the songs I’d written started to make more sense and it’s just elevated ever since. Whenever we do anything together it feels like one, there’s a real understanding we have of each other musically and it’s natural”
#5. LADIM: It would be remiss of us not to ask but; is there any chance of a sneak listen to the new album?
“It’s gotta stay secret I’m afraid till we release it but I promise we’ll give you a heads up nearer the time. However during April we’re releasing a new single on iTunes (and other online stores) which is from the forthcoming WEAK13 studio album and a new music video for it which we think is our best so far. All we are going to say about the song is wait and see. We’re not even going to tell you what it’s called because we’re that confident. Just keep listening for WEAK13. The single will be up for six months and then we’ll take it down and release the whole album. Some of our music video links are on twitter.come/weak13 and our old demos are on reverbnation.com/weak13 but the best stuff is yet to come. The new single in April will show people exactly what we’re capable of”
#6. LADIM: Penultimate question time! Finish the following sentence:
Opinions are like ..?
“Er….I guess opinions are like anal sex, naturally it just feels better giving opinions than receiving them. Not everybody likes opinions”
#7: LADIM: And finally, the shameless self-promotion bit! Where links can we click to go find out more about Weak13 and grab some of the bands music?
All links below!
Music Video: “Sex Pest” by WEAK13 (2013). http://t.co/LG8eTSn1W0
Music Video: “Go Away” by WEAK13 (2012). http://t.co/e7lDDeKXMi
Music Video: “You Don’t Love Me” by WEAK13 (2011). http://youtu.be/h4Uz64Wrg-4
Music Video: “Wake Down” by WEAK13 (2010). http://youtu.be/19fB3IcEdRE
Music Video: “Lunatic” by WEAK13 (2010). http://t.co/2m9rkHL9rI
Music Video: “Nothing To Lose” by WEAK13 (2010). http://youtu.be/27CsNec_8tQ