Interview: The Waifs find meaning and purpose

the waifs

Much loved Australian band, The Waifs are in the middle of a tour of their homeland. We spoke to songwriter/vocalist/guitarist Vikki Thorn about being on the road and about their new album, “Beautiful You”:

What does Beautiful You represent for the band?
It represents a band that after 23 years still find meaning and purpose in writing songs and playing music together.

How did you approach the recording process of the new release? Were the tracks developed over a long period of time or quite sporadically.
We’d finished a tour and were all in the country for a while so we took the opportunity to get it done. Half the songs were written in the three months prior and the other half kicking around a while longer. We’d toured them and they were well received in the live context so we recorded them.

How would you say your musicality has grown and developed since your previous release and where have you drawn your influence for the new track?
I cant say that our musicality has grown since the last album, every year life kicks your ass a bit harder and that turns up in the songs you write but I use the same chords to say it.

The songs give a real sense of drive and direction. How does this record depict the band and yourselves at this current point in time?
When you’re in your forties you realise there is no going back anymore there is only forward and deeper. The songs reflect that.

The single 6000 Miles delivers a solemn but equally warming and reminiscent feeling to the table. What is this song describing?
I am trying to describe the feeling I have about leaving Australia. That it is a part of whom I am whether I live there or not.

You are currently on tour around Australia with quite a string of regional and city dates. How are you finding being back on the road so far?
The best thing about being on the road is the stories people share about their lives and how our songs may have played a part in all that. My family went through some hard times when I was away on this last tour and I was feeling like I needed to be with them – not onstage. When I meet people I am reminded that we’ve all got shit going on and playing music can offer some respite or release from that. So it can be beautiful and fun and exhausting all at once. Also we found that the healthy food options up the west coast of Australia are… limited.

I understand there have been some new additions to the Waifs family? How has touring changed with the development of your personal lives.
Donna and I have six young boys between us and it’s not an easy thing to walk out of the role of mother and housewife and into a music career. I don’t like to be away from my family for extended periods, it feels counter intuitive. So we limit the length of tours and try to have them a part of it when possible. My kids understand why I leave and my husband fully supports my musical endeavours but we all struggle a bit with the distant.

Which songs from the new release have been the bands favourite to play live so far?
Black Dirt Track puts a lovely breathing space in the set I enjoy singing three-part harmonies in Dark Highway.

I feel like you guys thrive on travelling and touring. Despite its hardships, would you say this was an essential part of The Waifs’ charm?
We definitely see ourselves as a live band more than recording artists. Its not as much the touring and travelling though that can become a comfortable bubble, as the interaction and the exchange with an audiences that is a big part of who we are as a band.

What else can we expect to see from your side of the river for 2015/16?
A few gigs early in the summer and some USA touring. Then we’ll leave you alone for while.

The Waifs are on tour at this very moment. Tickets from their website. Here are the remaining dates:

Wednesday 14th October 2015: The Triffid Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Thursday 15th October 2015: Nambour Civic Centre Nambour, QLD, Australia
Saturday 17th October 2015: Townsville Civic Theatre Townsville, QLD, Australia
Sunday 18th October 2015: Musica Botanica – Tanks Arts Centre Cairns, QLD, Australia
Wednesday 21st October 2015: Bangalow A and I Hall Bangalow, NSW, Australia
Thursday 22nd October 2015: Miami Marketta Gold Coast, QLD, Australia
Saturday 24th October 2015: Palais Theatre Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Sunday 25th October 2015 Her Majestys Theatre Adelaide, SA, Australia
Wednesday 28th October 2015: Geelong Performing Arts Centre Geelong, VIC, Australia
Thursday 29th October 2015: Albury Entertainment Centre Albury , NSW, Australia
Saturday 31st October 2015: Granite Town Festival Moruya, NSW, Australia
Sunday 1st November 2015: Canberra Theatre Canberra, ACT, Australia
Tuesday 3rd November 2015: Anitas Theatre Thirroul, NSW, Australia
Wednesday 4th November 2015: Civic Theatre Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Thursday 5th November 2015: Enmore Theatre Sydney, NSW, Australia
Saturday 7th November 2015: Araluen Arts Centre Alice Springs, NT, Australia
Sunday 8th November 2015: Darwin Entertainment Centre Darwin, NT, Australia

Interview by Alex Orr.