“I’m not too bad to be fair. It’s not as bad as it looks.”, so says pop-punk guitarist Danny Swift of WSTR, in spite of being sodden and muddy after their set on the main stage at Butserfest. The press tent isn’t doing a whole lot to keep anybody dry from the terrible weather either, and yet nothing seems to lower WSTR’s spirits. It’s a confident frame of mind needed now that they have released the video their first single in months, Lonely Smiles. Its collision of fun and fury might just be what defines them – a happy-looking montage of fans holding sheets of paper that specify who and what makes them smile, set to a chorus opened by the line “tell me what’s the fucking problem”.
This is only the beginning, as they have just announced an eleven-date UK tour during October and November, leading to the release of their eagerly awaited debut album Red, Green and Inbetween, to be released on 20th January 2017. Rockshot’s Nick Pollard spoke to WSTR’s Danny Swift, Sammy Clifford (vocalist), Alex Tobijanski (bass) and Kieren Adler (drums).
It is over a year since you released your EP SCRWD. What do you think had changed about WSTD since then?
[Danny] (from a few inches lower than the others) I got a bit taller.
[Everyone else]: (laughs)
[Sammy] Or the band has shrunk. And we have some more music, but it’s not out yet… it’s coming…
Are there any changes that you’ve noticed about your audiences?
[Sammy] For sure. The first shows that we did, we hadn’t even released much. We’d actually only released one song and hadn’t released our EP yet! Now that we have released our EP, the crowd actually know our songs!
[Alex] But we’re all the same.
[Danny] We’re still the same idiots as before.
A couple of hours ago, you performed on the main stage here at Butserfest. How do you think that went?
[Alex] It was sick.
[Sammy] Wet and maybe dangerous.
[Danny] It was great, but it looked bit strange with everyone sort of bobbing along in their raincoats!
[Kieren] And it was James, our new guy’s first time on the drums on an outing with us. He really mashed it. He is great.
[Danny] And I met him for the first time just an hour before we got here!
How different is your new single to what people previously expected of you?
[Danny] It’s still pop-punk, but…
[Alex] It’s probably more pop than punk. It’s a pop song.
[Danny] We’re basically Busted! (laughs)
That’s quite bold. Are you nervous at all about how fans might feel about any changes?
[Danny] There’s always that nerve. That doubt, where you’re not sure what’s going to happen.
[Sammy] We have been teasing it for ages, and fans have been getting really pissed off with us!
[Danny] We just want to get it out there. Everyone’s been waiting for so long.
What about the friends and family who have already heard it? Had good comments from them?
[Danny] They fuckin’ love it! They sound proud of us.
[Kieren] But still, when it gets out to the world…
They could be lying to you!
[Kieren] Yeah! They just don’t want to be mean to us!
[Sammy] No, I think they dig it.
[Danny] But it doesn’t matter. We’re excited.
Everyone is getting this question today at Butserfest, so… if you were a food, what would you taste like?
[Alex] I bet (Danny) Swifty would taste like a Peperami. (sniggers)
[Danny] At least I’m spicy.
[Sammy] No, probably just pasta.
Is that what everyone gets when they come to visit?
[Danny] No! I guess we could be a Full English or something?
[Everyone] (garbled excited conversation about scones, black pudding and Oreos)
[Danny] (sighs) Now everyone is going to laugh about my Peperami.
Anyway, you are in a supporting slot on a tour during November.
[Danny] We’re going on tour in Ireland with ROAM, which I am really excited about because I’ve never ever even been to Ireland in my life. It’ll be great.
[Alex] And ROAM really are our mates, and have helped so much, like today I forgot my bass stuff for the second time in two shows, and Matt (Roskilly, bassist from ROAM) backed me up. He saved me. And it’ll be great to hang out.
Sounds fun. Thanks very much for your time.
Interview by Nicholas Pollard and live photography by Natalie Lam