Louder with Sean Duddy of Woes
Updated: Feb 6, 2020
Smashing the mould and carving a truly unique path for your band is something countless musicians aspire to, but few actually bring to fruition. For Edinburgh quartet Woes, however, that aspiration has been realised on their debut full-length record, 'Awful Truth'. Receiving a rapturous reception from press, peers, and fans alike, the record has catapulted Woes into the next phase of their journey as a band, however the story of the record's creation wasn't entirely seamless. We caught up with bassist Sean Duddy ahead of their headline show at Liverpool's Zanzibar Club to discuss the crafting of their band's mission statement, touring antics, and their alternate existence as Twitch streamers...
Your debut full-length album, ‘Awful Truth’, is out now- how have you found the response to that record so far?
It’s been really great! We had a goal to make something that we really loved, but also write something a little bit different because - I don’t want to say that we were bored of what’s going on - but we wanted to write something that we were excited about. There was a part of me in that was worried if people were going to ‘get it’ and respond to it, but I think the risks we took really paid off in the end! The label was excited about it, the fans were excited about it, and we were really excited about it as well. It’s a record that we’re really willing to push and happy to tour, and something we’re really proud of, and the reception has just been nuts!
‘Moneyshoe’ was the first single that you premiered live back in October on your tour with State Champs- did you have any worries then about how people may react to the progression in your sound?
I worry every time we release a song, but I think that doubt is actually very healthy, because it pushes you to want to make sure that what you’re releasing into the world is of the highest quality that it can be. There is always a worry when you try and do different things, but we’re also at the stage in our career when we don’t have that much to lose. If we were a bigger band, we might be more worried about all these fans that we might potentially lose, but with us, we do have fans, but they’re hardcore fans, and so we can be sure that they’re along for the ride, and they were. For us, this is now the real beginning of Woes.
Last time we spoke, you had just released your EP ‘Self Help’, which, while it was a step away from the confines of the ‘pop punk’ mould, felt more like a ‘stepping stone in the right direction’ for you as a band. Do you feel that creative journey has been realised on ‘Awful Truth’?
With every record, there’s a part of me that’s a horrible insane perfectionist that makes me think that we never fully realise [our intentions] completely, but I think that all things considered – the time constraints, the calibre of songs that we wanted to put out, and a reasonably hefty touring schedule for a part-time band who also work full-time as well – we managed to do that quite well. I’ll never be fully satisfied, which I think is common theme throughout the band, and I know for a fact that our next album will be ever grander and even more different than our last, and hopefully that’s a cycle that will continue throughout for a long time!
The range of influences you’ve drawn from is so expansive- was it ever a challenge to narrow your focus to find a cohesive sound for the record?
Massively, and I think that’s one of the things that we didn’t master completely. I think you can definitely hear the different influences on certain songs, and that’s sometimes a bad thing, because you want to have one cohesive album rather than songs that sound like ‘Woes does this [genre]’ or ‘Woes does that’. We had a bunch of songs written for the record that we had to choose from, and we didn’t want to pick too many of one kind of song, we really wanted to get that balance. We also have to consider the fans as well, because we didn’t want to completely abandon them and what they wanted from us. Going forward – and we talk about this in the van all the time over a couple of beers – that one of the things that we took away from this record is that we want to sound less like ‘Woes doing emo-trap’ and more of a blend that just sounds like ‘Woes’. When you’re trying to get an album out into the world, you really realise how much work goes into it, and we definitely underestimated how much we’d have to put into it to get it to where we wanted it to be, but we took the time to get it right and I hope that it shows!
As we well know from your recent tour documentary, Woes tours are never dull! How have you found taking this full album out on the road for the first time?
Very exciting actually! It gave us a kick up the arse a little bit, because we suddenly started thinking ‘well, maybe we should get a sound guy and sound more professional’ and ‘maybe we should get a backdrop and look more professional’, which is also part of the perfectionist in me. We’re never going to be the best band overnight, but it really made us think about the steps we can take to take us to the next level and give the shows the same attention and care that the record was given. It’s been really exciting to get the right crew in and focus on giving the songs the kind of sonic love that they deserve.
Having more songs in your roster inevitably means some older tracks will have to go- how do you find the merging of old and new when compiling a setlist for tour?
It can be difficult- if you speak to more experienced bands you really get the sense of how difficult that can be, like with Neck Deep for example, who have three albums and EPs, and they’re trying to balance all of that out and keep everybody happy. For us, we’re only just entering that problem, and while it is a nice problem to have, it’s still a problem at the end of the day. Personally, I like to look at what people are listening to and ask on Twitter what people are listening to, and as long as you’re connecting with the people that are coming to your shows, then you’ll be able to make a setlist that will please everyone- or, almost everyone!
As a band, you have also dabbled in the Twitch world- if you had to choose, would you rather be a Twitch streamer with a million followers, or a musician with a million YouTube views on a music video?
Definitely a Twitch streamer with a million followers! If you have a million followers on Twitch, you’re really famous, you wouldn’t have to be making music, you could just clock off at 4:30 every day and hang out with your boys! But, I actually think you should be aiming for both. We’re all personable people, we enjoy a good live stream, and we do some relatively interesting things, so there’s no reason why we can’t do both! I think the most successful bands now are the ones who are trying to take advantage of everything that is at their disposal right now. But I’d love to be a Twitch streamer with a million followers, that would be bomb!
'Awful Truth' is out now via UNFD.
Check out the audio video for the band's latest single, the title track from 'Awful Truth', below:
Woes are heading out on another UK-wide run this autumn, supporting Trash Boat- dates can be found below and tickets are available here: