With a deeply atmospheric post-punk sound that bridges the gap between PJ Harvey and Fleetwood Mac, DIY outfit WAHL are ones to keep tabs on.
The South London duo, comprised of multi-instrumentalist Rachel Still and drummer Kayleigh Cheer, honed their explosive sonic direction in their Brixton living room and are fast winning hearts on the live circuit.
Before the pair play Hidden Herd Presents at The Finsbury on Friday 15th November, we spoke to them about their influences, new music tips and more.
How would you describe WAHL to a stranger?
“Layers and hooks, but most of all go and have a listen for yourself. I’ve always disliked confining us to a genre because we don’t think of ourselves that way. Equally, I think defining your music as an artist is very hard. As soon as you name an established artist or genre, the listener has an expectation. Sounds pretentious, but it’s intended to be whatever you want it to be.”
Who are the biggest influences on your sound and why?
“Currently, it’s the community of musicians around us. Each time you see someone raise the bar, it makes you look at yourself and raise yours a little in response. As a duo, our sound largely comes from how we approach writing. However, for first making me want to be a musician, Buddy Holly. For making me want to perform, The Killers. For making me want to do what I wanted and nothing else, Patti Smith.”
What was the best gig you’ve played so far?
“We toured Europe over the summer and played a Slovakian festival called Festival Končiny. To play underneath the stars and surrounded by mountains was magical. The crowd packed out the tent and made us feel like we were at home. It was a night we won’t forget.”
You’re based in London – what’s your local music scene like?
“The London music scene is brilliant at the moment. There are so many phenomenal musicians all doing their own thing whilst still looking out for one another, regardless of genre. It’s more based on a common ethos and a passion for what we all do than anything else, and I love it. I’m beyond grateful for it, to look all around you and see your friends smashing it is a wonderful feeling.”
Who are the THREE other new artists we should listen to right now and why?
“I really rate Gaygirl and Calva Louise – they’re actually touring together soon which will be amazing. Two bands which have their own sound and just kick ass live. Pelicandy are great too, their songs are so well written and we’re both big fans of them. All great musicians making great music.”
And finally, what does the future hold for WAHL?
“We’re releasing our debut EP on 15th November and have our show with Hidden Herd that night. Then hopefully a smooth transition from Pumpkin Spice Latte into Gingerbread Latte season, because I never quite get that right.”