LOUDER WITH: WEATHERSTATE at Slam Dunk
Despite kicking off their set with a few technical glitches, “Weatherstate” took it all in their stride and played to their biggest turnout yet! We spoke to frontman Harry Hoskins and bassist Joe Hogan about all sorts from their experience of the past 18 months to the privatisation of the space race!
There was a slight delay getting on stage due to technical issues but other than that how was your set?! It’s been a long time coming, what was going through your head?
Harry: At one point we were told we might not even get to play at all! Thankfully we got about 10/15 minutes, we got through it and we still had a great time. We have been really looking forward to performing so we’re just happy we got to come on, even if it wasn’t for as long as we’d have hoped.
You played the Slam Dunk warm up show yesterday with “Roam” and “Bleak Soul”, how did that go? Did you feel more prepared for today?
H: Absolutely yeah! To be going on stage again is unreal. I’d forgotten what it feels like, and it just feels so good to be back.
J: It’s just such an adrenaline rush, even being at the Heavy Music Awards the other night, it’s been so long since we’ve done anything like this that we just didn’t know what to expect. We’ll be stood on stage seconds before a song is about to start with our hands shaking like mad, and all you can think is ‘oh my god, how do I do this again?!’ then your hands just start playing, it’s like muscle memory!
A lot of the imagery around your new album campaign has been very well crafted and considered – how is the space theme important to you, in terms of what it represents?
J: Well first I think we need to give a big shout out to Jack Pollard! He comes up with a lot of our socials stuff, he comes up with our videos as well.
H: Yeah, he was a big part of the band even before that because he used to run a record label and if it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t have had half the opportunities that we have. He started off as the guy who was helping us to write our EP and then ended up being the guy that comes along on tour with us, takes all of our photos, takes all of our videos, so a lot of it is his vision. It’s amazing the stuff he comes up with.
J: In terms of the imagery, it was quite late because the pandemic happened and that’s when a lot of the prep for the album had started. So, when it comes to the space theme, a lot of it was just a way of getting away from what was happening in our world.
H: We didn’t want something which was going to age badly, so any themes about the pandemic or Coronavirus. I wanted something that when we release an album, it's timeless. I won’t give too much away but our next video explains a lot of that, and you’ll see what we mean about this.
J: In classic “Weatherstate” fashion, it’s very tongue in cheek! It’s all a bit silly!
Can I ask – how old was the computer you’re using in the “Current Dose” video for the pop up and screensaver to look like THAT!
J: So that was just knocking about in the place!
H: We filmed it in a place where we have filmed a lot of our videos. It’s this youth centre nearby to us and the guy that runs it, Tom, because we’re still classified as younger people, he lets us rent it for next to nothing and basically gives us the keys. It’s like a three-storey centre. Every time we have a new video, we’re like ‘Right let’s get back down there,’.
J: The thing is, it’s used for such a wide range of things. As they run like a charity, they get a lot of donations, so the money goes back into the centre.
Now that Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson have stolen your idea of making it to space, it’s perhaps clear that billionaires have too much money on their hands – what do you think about the concept of billionaires? Should they exist?
J: Right so, yes and no. I do actually think that privatising the space race is a good thing in terms of it really speeds up our progression. One of my personal fundamental things that I think we should be doing is trying to get to Mars as soon as we can. I understand why people look at it and think ‘These billionaires are going mental, they’re just wasting their money’, but in reality, they’re spending their money on something that we can all benefit from in the long term. After all, the technology they’re using has led to the development of things we’re starting to use more and more like electric cars and things.
H: Wow, I really wasn’t expecting a question like that…
J: Don’t worry mate, I’ve got you.
After the year we have all had and with the current state of the world, do you think punk rock music is just as important, if not more than it was before?
H: Absolutely. Like I said, when we played the warmup show yesterday in Brighton, the feeling that you get on that stage and the community of everyone there having a good time, bopping their heads and singing along, you just become so numb and forget about it. Over the last 18 months, knowing you’ve got shows lined up you just hope they go alright.
J: Seeing other people enjoying it so much and seeing so many friends that we haven’t seen for so long makes it all worth it. There wasn’t a single person in the entire venue that was upset or a bit grumpy, everyone’s just so excited to be back and to be seeing people again.
H: A lot of people think that London Industry people are the kind to turn their noses up particularly at smaller bands like us, but the vibe there was so good. Everyone’s just so grateful, you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. Walking out on stage then, regardless of the pandemic, that’s the most people we’ve ever played to, so just walking out to that was like holy shit! If you’d have told me I was going to be doing that about a week ago, I’d have been absolutely cacking my pants!
J: I think the fact that people are so eager to come back to gigs and stuff really goes to prove how important it is to people. If you’re not in the industry and you’re not a creative you can look and music and kind of look down on it as something that’s just a bit of a hobby, but you come and you look out into the crowd today and realise that people need this. You don’t just want to go to a festival, some people need it to get by.
H: It’s good to see everyone coming together. You can understand the anxiety of some people coming back into settings like this, but I feel like everyone has done their bit. We’ve all been double vaccinated of course and been testing negative so I’m glad that people are getting together to do that. This seemed like a million miles away six months ago, it honestly felt like gigs were never going to be allowed. I feel like this is a good compromise now.
J: With everything that’s happened over the last 18 months, music is still so important to us as individuals. I know that for us mentally, without music it would have been so much more difficult to get by, but we’ve had things to focus on. Like, I got furloughed at work and I had nothing to do for months so I was just sat at home. Obviously, we couldn’t go round to each other’s houses and see each other but we had to write an album. So, it’s like a reason to get out of bed in the morning and like, with me, that’s really important otherwise I wouldn’t.
H: Festivals are the kind of things people look forward to all year and save up their money to buy tickets for. The idea of something like this being pulled at the last minute is gutting, especially for the organisers so hats off to them. One thing that I did see, and I want to talk about this, is a lot of negative comments surrounding line-up changes and bands pulling out. I fully understand the upset, like “Sum 41”, we love “Sum 41”, but in the comments when people give them a hard time, I don’t think they realise how much people put into this. Even earlier like I said, our set getting cut short because of the stage, it sucks but I’m not going to walk around with a face like a slapped arse because we were just given the opportunity to play some songs and we had a great time doing it!