the AU interview: Vikki Thorn of The Waifs (Australia) talks new album Beautiful You and touring

Following the release of new record Beautiful You and as they kick off their national tour in support of that record, we caught up with Vikki Thorn; one third of folk-rock band The Waifs. With the west coast leg of the tour now well and truly under way we found a little bit more about the band’s plans for the shows, as well as finding out more about the new record.

What was the inspiration or creative spark behind new album Beautiful You?

The inspiration behind this album was the realisation that playing music together is a part of who we are and to be able to share that with people is a worthwhile endeavor.

We had 3 years of not playing music; life went in different directions for us all. It was a wonderful time & I missed the fun times and connections that comes with playing music and touring with the waifs.

Was there a particular theme or mood you were trying to explore with these twelve songs?

The Waifs don’t set out to explore particular theme or moods in writing an album. Our albums are a collection of songs from 3 different songwriters.

Though as writers we tend to respond to the world around us in similar ways & there are concurrent themes through all our albums. We don’t see ourselves as recording artists, playing live music is our passion.

For this record you initially decided to write collectively, all in the same room, what prompted that change in approach?

We’ve become more comfortable in a studio environment. It used to feel very foreign to sing in a booth separated from your band mates with no energy to feed off. We’ve learned how to have some fun in there. The Waifs’ sound has definitely moved away from acoustic folk toward a more adult contemporary sound. The irony is that it is never our intention. We always talk about making an acoustic record & we get in the studio and start playing with all the toys.

In terms of writing I feel our formula and style of songwriting hasn’t changed a whole lot. But the songs get stronger with each album. As songwriters most of the songs are a reaction or inspiration and not a thought out, considered process. We don’t collaborate when we write.

How did you find working with Nick DiDa? What do you feel he brought to the table for this record?

We approached Nick DiDa with the thought that a producer will tear things up and bring the songs together in a more cohesive way.

When we met him and started talking about what our ideas were it became apparent we had different expectations between us. To our relief he said, “Play it how you play it “.

His input was subtle but important. Guitar hooks, little embellishments that make the songs stand out more; more a friend at the table and not an imposter to leave his sonic mark.

The record has only been released for a few weeks, but what has the reaction been like so far?

Not sure. Being an independent band we are not as hooked into to the industry reaction and it has very little bearing on our career whether or not “critics” like it. So we only got to go on family, friends and fans and to be honest it’s had the same mixed reaction that all our albums have.

Some love it, some like it, only one person close to us has said they hate it but they are our harshest critic. All of the new songs have been really well recieved in our set

After over twenty years together as a band do you still get excited by touring?

After 23 years we still love touring. Even though I am a mother and wife and that experience can’t rate against anything else in my life, being a touring musician is still the thing I’ve done the most as an adult. We are very comfortable and familiar here..

It’s a curious position. Being a parent challenges me everyday in ways I have to constantly reconsider and re-adjust. But touring remains predictable, same ups and downs. Good gigs, average gigs. It used to be that I was a child and performing music was my drug that I had to have. Now it’s a guilty pleasure. I love singing and feel justified in indulging that when an audience gets something positive out of our gigs and I get paid for it.

You’ve been on tour in the states recently, how do you feel those shows went?

American audiences have always embraced the waifs very warmly. They love to be invited into a story & listen to lyrics; we got to really hone our theatre shows over there.

In my experience Americans prefer to listen to their live music sober and expect to be moved at the end of it. It makes you lift your game.

What might audiences expect from the impending tour?

I feel like the band is at its strongest musically. The people who have been listening to The Waifs for a long time, like us are all a bit older & wiser. They want to have fun at the gigs but they want something deeper as well. I feel like we got it covered. We know who we are and what we do best and are happy to be sharing it around.

With a fairly extensive back catalogue of songs, plus 12 songs from this new record, how do you decide what to play on any given night? And how much do you try to vary it from night to night?

This is challenging. If I had my way I’d change it up all the time. For this tour we’ve reworked some older tunes that we love to play and perform them acoustically. The new songs flow seamlessly in our set, which is a good sign. There always the 5 or 6 that we feel we have to play. The money songs, the ones that paid our way.

What’s next for the band?

We have our 25th anniversary coming so we are throwing around ideas for that. There is talk of recording with an orchestra, we’ve got some USA touring throughout next year and some big outdoor Australian shows this summer. Plenty to keep us busy.

———-

Beautiful You is out now via Jarrah Records / MGM Distribution. The band are currently on the road around Australia, with dates below. For more details, you can head along to their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thewaifs

Tue 15 Sep Perth Concert Hall Perth WA
With special guest Sal Kimber
5 St Georges Terrace, Perth
Tickets from Ticketek | | 132 849 www.ticketek.com.au

Wed 16 Sep Queens Park Theatre Geraldton WA
With special guest Sal Kimber
Cathedral Ave, Geraldton
Tickets from venue | www.queensparktheatre.com.au | 08 9956 6662 or the Geraldton Regional Library

Thu 17 Sep Carnarvon Civic Centre Carnavon WA
With special guest Sal Kimber
32A Robinson St, Carnarvon
Tickets from venue | www.carnarvonciviccentre.com | 08 9941 4200

Sun 20 Sep Roebuck Bay Hotel Broome WA
With special guest Sal Kimber
Dampier Terrace Broome
Tickets from Oztix | www.oztix.com.au | Oztix Outlet

Wed 14 Oct The Triffid Brisbane QLD
With special guest Mia Dyson
Tickets from Oztix | www.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545

Thur 15 Oct Nambour Civic Centre Nambour QLD
With special guest Mia Dyson
Tickets from venue | www.scvenuesandevents.com.au | 07 5475 777

Sat 17 Oct Townsville Civic Theatre Townsville QLD
With special guest Mia Dyson
Tickets from venue | www.ticketshop.com.au | 4727 9797

Sun 18 Oct Musica Botanica Cairns QLD
With special guest Mia Dyson
Tickets from venue | www.ticketlink.com.au | 1300 855 835

Wed 21 Oct Bangalow Town Hall Bangalow NSW
With special guest Mia Dyson
Tickets from Ku Promotions | www.kupromotions.com.au | 0434 705 506

Thur 22 Oct Miami Marketta Gold Coast QLD
With special guest Mia Dyson
Tickets from Oztix | www.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545

Sat 24 Oct Palais Theatre Melbourne VIC
With special guest Mia Dyson
Tickets from Ticketmaster | www.ticketmaster.com.au | 136 100

Sun 25 Oct Her Majesty’s Theatre Adelaide SA
With special guest Mia Dyson
Tickets from venue | www.bass.net.au | 131 246

Wed 28 Oct GPAC Geelong VIC
With special guest Mia Dyson
Tickets from venue | www.gpac.org.au | 03 5225 1200

Thurs 29 Oct Albury Entertainment Centre Albury NSW
With special guest Mia Dyson
Tickets from venue | www.alburycity.nsw.gov.au/entertainment | 02 6043 5610

Sat 31 Oct Granite Town Festival Mooruya NSW
Tickets from www.granitetown.com.au

Sun 1 Nov The National Theatre Canberra ACT
With special guest Mia Dyson
Tickets from venue | www.canberratheatrecentre.com.au | 02 675 2700

Tues 3 Nov Anitas Thirroul NSW
With special guest Mia Dyson
Tickets from Ticketmaster | www.ticketmaster.com.au | 136 100

Wed 4 Nov Civic Theatre Newcastle NSW
With special guest Mia Dyson
Tickets from Ticketek | www.ticketek.com.au | 13 28 49

Thur 5 Nov Enmore Theatre Sydney NSW
With special guest Mia Dyson
Tickets from Ticketek | www.ticketek.com.au | 13 28 49

Sat 7 Nov Araluen Arts Centre Alice Springs NT
With special guest Mia Dyson
Tickets from venue | www.araluenartscentre.nt.gov.au | 08 8951 1122

Sun 8 Nov Darwin Entertainment Centre Darwin NT
With special guest Mia Dyson
Tickets from venue | www.yourcentre.com.au | 08 8980 3333

———-

This content has recently been ported from its original home on The AU Review: Music and may have formatting errors – images may not be showing up, or duplicated, and galleries may not be working. We are slowly fixing these issue. If you spot any major malfunctions making it impossible to read the content, however, please let us know at editor AT theaureview.com.

Simon Clark

Books Editor. An admirer of songs and reader of books. Simon has a PhD in English and Comparative Literature. All errant apostrophes are his own.

Tags: ,