Thursday, November 04, 2021

Interview with Wednesday's Child

Wednesday's Child, the London based duo comprised of Emily Roberts and Georgia Williams, recently released their debut EP, a unique amalgamation of everything from psychedelia and punk to 60's girl groups, jazz and much, much more.  I recently did an email interview with them covering their backgrounds, the EP, their upcoming live debut and a variety of other topics.  

Can you give me a bit of a background on the two of you and tell me how Wednesday’s Child came together? 

We both grew up in pretty rural places and then moved to London separately in our late teens; Emily to study jazz guitar, Georgia to study acting. During lockdown, we began collaborating by sending song ideas back and forth and getting to know each other. By the time we got to playing and recording in-person, we already had a lot of material ready to go. Both of us had Wednesdays free to meet up, and things just grew from there...

How does your songwriting usually work?

It’s different every time. Sometimes one of us has a song already written which we then bring to the band and rework together to make it sound ‘Wednesday’. Other times we start from scratch with a lyric idea or guitar riff.  There’s not been any kind of songwriting structure we go by, which is probably why the songs are more like collages than ABC. We follow our guts and enjoy mashing two opposing sounds or ideas together. If it feels good, we keep it!

Can you tell me about the recording process for the EP (since it was during the pandemic were you working together in the same room or separate)?

We wrote and recorded the early stages of "Begin Again" and "That Thing We Had" separately during the pandemic and had to send ideas and feedback over email and video call! We didn’t really have the budget to go into any studios, so we recorded almost everything in our own bedrooms. Both of these factors in combination have given the EP a very DIY and personal feel.

“Begin Again” is an outstanding song.  It’s swirling and hypnotic, yet a bit distorted and haunting, then there are the tempo shifts, jazz flourishes and the interesting noises going on in the background.  Can you tell me a little about that song?

Thank you, we’re glad it communicates all of that! "Begin Again" started with some twisted lyrics and punchy chords which Georgia wrote over the Christmas period. Emily created a hybrid of jazz, psychedelic effects and James Blake-inspired production, and we drew on nonsense poetry for some of the lyrics. All of the writing and production was done ourselves, and it became the second song we recorded together. Because this process was so insular, we were able to be as expressive and experimental as we wanted without any outside noise. It is exactly how we wanted to open our debut EP.

“Nearby Nowhere” is probably the most mainstream song on the EP with a bit of a 60‘s sound that really sets it apart.  What was your inspiration for that cut?

We were very much inspired by The Ronettes and Rubber Soul-era Beatles. Georgia was awake one night in January and feeling quite stuck, so she started to write "Nearby Nowhere" as a way to move forward and feel more hopeful. We then worked on the song at the start of the summer (it was the last song we recorded for the EP) and came up with the main hook to tie everything together. Emily took inspiration from Queen when writing some of the guitar parts as she was previously in a Queen tribute band. We enjoy mixing influences from different decades and then creating something fresh. 

I love the feel of the song “Puppeteer”.  It has a bit of a circus/carnival vibe.  What can you tell me about that one?

Emily and Georgia’s passion for musical theatre comes into play in this track where theatrical and spoken elements are in place. It’s very playful in terms of the production and all of the crazy instruments we have in there - there’s banjo, accordion, the lot! The speed change at the end was initially a mistake, but we ended up keeping it because we like how it falls apart unexpectedly.

“Gabriel and the Window” is a beautiful song and is much simpler and more straightforward than the other cuts.  Is that what you were striving for with that song?

It definitely was, but ironically this song took the longest to finish. The chorus for "Gabriel and the Window" was one of the first pieces Georgia ever wrote on the guitar, and it was for her brother who was going through a blue time. Then, jumping forward to Wednesday’s Child, we created three different versions, each with their own vibe. The first was jazzy, the second a bit more upbeat and electronic. We eventually settled on this much more intimate sound which builds into a fuller, visceral experience. It felt like the right way to tell this story, and also give a bit of softness at the end of the EP. Linking back to the song’s rooting in family, we included audio clips from Georgia’s home videos.

I mentioned the sounds going on under “Begin Again”, but there are other little things like that throughout the EP.  Could you elaborate on some of the things we are hearing?

We wanted to recognize ourselves in our music and not try to sound like someone else. As we started recording, there would be happy accidents like catching one of us giggling or improvising and it just fit as a texture in the song. We also needed to get inventive - sometimes we knew exactly what we wanted but just couldn’t find anything that sounded like it. We used pens instead of picks to play guitar, cracked knuckles for percussion, and used bird wings as beats. It helped make the EP completely our own.

You recently released a video for “Begin Again”.  Can you tell me a little about the video?

We always knew that our music had a visual extension (Georgia is a filmmaker, Emily is an artist) and there’s a storyline all the way through the EP if you’re listening for it. We wrote, directed, produced and edited the video ourselves, and ran a 50/50 female/male ratio on the project. Both of us separately came up with a similar initial concept for this music video which was the mundane morphing into the insane! It showed how much we are on the same page when we came together to share video ideas and we had almost the same outline.

Since you started collaborating during the pandemic have you had the chance to play live?

Our first gig is on Sunday 7th November at Paper Dress Vintage in Hackney, and this will be the first time playing live as Wednesday’s Child. We’re really looking forward to translating the EP’s energy to an onstage setting. 

I read you will be playing some new songs at your album release show.  I know the EP just came out, but can we expect more music sooner than later?

Definitely – we are ready for more! 

You have some other musicians also playing on the EP.  Is it just the two of you live or do you have other musicians playing with you?

We will be playing as a five piece band to achieve the fullness of the EP. We also have two support acts which we are looking forward to.

Do either of you have any other musical projects?

Wednesday’s Child is both of our main creative musical outlets currently, but Emily is also a session guitarist so has experience playing in other people’s various projects and in the theatre. Georgia is also currently developing the musical feature film AVA which draws from golden age Hollywood; specifically, swing music and tap dance.

What are your plans for the band in 2022?

More releases, more gigs, festivals!

Is there anything else you want to share with readers?

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