Have you heard of REWS? And their massive debut album Pyro?
No??? Have you been living under a rock?
These cool ladies are about to rock your world, for real!
Ahead of their gig at London’s Old Blue Last, I had the time to hang out with the REWS ladies and ask everything that I always wanted to know.
Get to know the banging alt rock ock duo REWS and be prepared to laugh and cry (of joy obviously).
Let’s meet your new favourite ladies in rock….
Hi ya REWS, hope all is well!
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, could you quickly describe your band with 4 words?
Shauna: High energy. Rock .
This year you have given us the gift of your debut album ‘Pyro’, which sounds banging by the way, would you like to talk me through the creation and recording process of your first album?
Shauna: It was a really long process in the sense that a lot of songs had been created a while ago and then other ones were only written within a month before we started into going to record the album. It was a really interesting process to get the opportunity to record in Abbey Road studios.
How did that come about that you recorded your debut album in Abbey Road, I mean it’s quite the big thing!
Collette: When they (the record label) dropped that on us we were quite excited, and it was on my birthday weekend. So quite the cool present!
It was through our label Marshall Records and we recorded the majority of the drums and guitars at Abbey Road and did smaller bits and the vocals at Tileyard Studios.
You surely must have a favourite song on the album?
Collette: I love playing ‘Miss You In The Dark’. Cause it is really groovy and kinda gets to the people. And especially for me, I enjoy the harmonies on the song. ‘We Explode’ is fantastic as we really get to play out and the release of high energy is really great.
Shauna: It changes all the time! At the minute it probably is ‘Rip Up My Heart’. But I do love ‘We Explode’ as well, it is just the coolest most produced song.
Pyro – What a great name! How did you come up with the name of your debut album?
Collette: Many car discussions! Haha! Driving around London and going ‘Pyro?’, ‘Fire’? and we were just trying to describe in one word the journey of the album and our progression.
Shauna: We wanted something that was really going to express what we want the album to do, which is to really create a fire and a buzz which will really inspire people.
You are coming to the end of tour, how has it been so far? Any crazy things that happened?
Shauna: There is an interesting memory which we have been talking about the whole tour. In the first we were very limited to budget so a lot of the times we have been trying to stay at friends houses. And when that was not possible we just tried to stay in places that were cheap.
So one booking was made in the horror hotel from hell, by accident.
Collette: It was like the hotel from the film ‘Psycho’. It actually had blood stains on the curtains and it had peep holes in the walls that people had punched in. It was just horrific!
Did you have any nightmares that night?
Collette: NO! We didn’t stay there! Straight out the door!
Shauna: It was actually quite a wonderful bonding and terrifying moment for us.
Collette: In terms of highs, we played a show in Birmingham which was a sold out show and it was absolutely rammed! It was Birmingham Review who had interviewed us on our last tour, it was also kind of their Christmas party as well so they all descended. And it was just really good fun and nice to have everyone together.
Shauna: Seeing people sing along is actually amazing! I cried a little bit. I just couldn’t believe it! I mean, that’s the dream. For years you have been working on lyrics and melodies and then you are ‘Wow people actually like this stuff!’ It kinda gets to you.
Congratulations Collette, you have made it under the Top 5 ‘Best New Drummers’ this year! You must be over the moon!
Collette: Thank you! My tiny mind has been blown It is absolutely crazy and I feel really overwhelmed and grateful.
Shauna, you are from Belfast, a city that I have visited quite regularly as I had friends living there, what was it like growing up in the Belfast music scene? Did you have any local venues that you played on the regular or was it hard to get heard?
Shauna: Belfast is amazing for up and coming talent. It is a really nice hub of different people who just really want to try creative things. I felt that growing up there, Belfast is a really great place to mould yourself. There are loads of venues that I played since I was a kid.
Do you have a favourite Belfast venue?
Shauna: Empire! It is just the best. And it has such a great vibe, as it is so old and it has such a great history. And people have always such a good time.
Collette you grew up in the Midlands and Shauna in Northern Ireland, what happened for you two women to be the rock duo REWS that you are now? How did your paths cross? It’s quite the long walk between the islands.
Collette: Shauna and I moved to London at the same time. There was a girl I that I used to go to Uni with and her sister was also an awesome drummer who is based in London. Shauna met her and started discussing the fact that she was looking for musicians to start a musical project. And the girl thought that Shauna and I would get on so she gave Shauna my name and we messaged online, met, had a jam and it was just fantastic!
Shauna: It was actually inspired by a Dutch surname which is ‘REUS’. It means ‘the tall people’, and because we are both quite tall and we want to tower over everyone and inspire people we thought that would be very fitting. So we just changed the ‘U’ to a ‘W’, because it is just easier to pronounce.
What’s your secret to making so much noise when it is just the two of you on stage?
Collette: Musicians behind the curtains. Haha!
Shauna: We have spent a lot of time finding our sound and we use different pedals and devices that sort of aid our big sound.
Collette: I think it is just good layering. We figured out where the melody should fit and how to structure things, especially with the harmonies on top. If you layer it all up it just creates that wonderful sound.
If you were ever to record a split EP, which artist would you like to work with?
Collette: Foo Fighters! Basically the whole Glastonbury line up!
Shauna: It would be quite cool to do something with Deftones. We draw a lot of inspiration from more heavier bands as well and it would be cool to try out a heavier sound.
Or the complete opposite, and do electro. We both talked about how cool it would be to actually do something with Skrillex!
You are two strong women who will without doubt make a mark on the rock music scene, when growing up did you have female heroes that inspired you and that you looked up to?
Shauna: My mum and my grandmother were both musicians so I guess from a young age I would have looked up to my (grand) parents in a way. My mum’s an amazing singer and my dad is an amazing bass player. As I got a little bit older, I loved Avril Lavigne. She was absolutely fantastic!
But it wasn’t until later that I got inspired by female guitarists, because there were quite few and far between in the time when we grew up. I think the most recent person that inspired me is St. Vincent. Her guitar playing is amazing! She is just so creative.
Collette: Annie Lennox. My mum was a massive Eurythmics fan and I just thought she was incredible. How powerful she was and the image she created as a woman, but also the androgyny of it. As a front woman and song writer I really looked up to her.
And drumwise, Cindy Blackman. Just rocking out and being wild behind the drum kit was really inspiring. I just thought, girls don’t have to sit down and be polite and play the violin. Which was what I started off doing and I thought, classic is not for me but I knew drums is the one!
What was the best musical advice that you have been given?
Shauna: Gary Lightbody from Snowpatrol always said ‘Keep working really hard! It takes you 10 years to become and overnight success.’ I think its brilliant advice.
Collette: For me it was a musical director called, KoJo Samuel. He said ‘Manners will take you a million miles.’, whether you are working with the most famous musicians down someone that you have met busking on the street. Respect them and be polite, because it costs nothing and you never know when that person might return the favour and get you a gig or something. That’s a good piece of advice!
As the year is coming to an end, what have REWS planned for 2018 apart from taking over the rock world?
Collette: World Domination!
Shauna: We have a tour coming up in spring, so we are looking forward to that! Loads of festivals!
Collette: Tick some more things of the bucket list. We both would love to play ‘Jools Holland’, that would would be a big aspiration. Maybe, Download or Reading festival, that would be great.
Shauna: Album No. 2! We will write some more stuff!
Thanks for your time ☺
Make sure to catch REWS live on their next UK tour in March! Find the dates and tickets here.