British trio WEAK13, released their debut full-length album "They Live" and are already in the process of writing for the follow-up album, with plans on playing shows whenever they get the chance too. Frontman vocalist/guitarist Nick J. Townsend discusses a little band history, new music, and future plans, and where to discover them on the world wide web.
1. Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.
Nick: My name is Nick J Townsend the singer and guitarist and before I answer in detail let me just say that WEAK13 came out of the gutter; we're the real deal. Every year that passes the band gets more known underground, totally independent, it's gone under numerous guises but around about the year 2010 it was time for a major shake up and make-over and I met drummer Neel Parmar and bassist Wesley Smith. Since the three of us all started working together the music has become focused and more people are aware of WEAK13 than ever before. We released demos and EP's for donkeys years but I think its safe to say that since the recent launch of WEAK13's debut studio album this year 'They Live' that the band's history really starts from now; its the first time that we can really totally justify what the band is capable of without question and the album has only been getting great reviews. There is a lot more to come.
2. What’s the origin of the band’s name?
Nick: I was born with a disfigurement on my head, bullied for 13 years and made to feel weak before I had a dangerous operation. My 13th birthday was all I could look forward to, they operated on me and I became a normal looking young boy but afterwards my bullshit detector stopped working; I could not tell who was my friend or who was a foe. I shaved off half my hair before the millennium and then created WEAK13. People started judging me for the way I looked all over again and I found it much easier to decide who was worth my time.
3. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
Nick: Originally the band was founded in my home town; a 13 letter town called Kidderminster. The current members of WEAK13 are now based in the home of heavy metal; the black country. This area and surrounding parts are filled with many brilliant bands such as Left For Red, The Humdrum Express, Wrapped In Plastic, This Elegant Chaos, Buzzard, Naked Sunday; I could go on for hours. Talent has never been a problem for the region; the real issues are the suits in charge of the music industry, our band and many around us work hard independently; have growing fan bases but we are surrounded by a music industry which is desperate, fighting for scraps and only interested in stealing your ideas for their own careers or agendas rather than take a shine to what is genuine and natural. We've had some very big bands and artists steal our ideas and themes over the years and the last thing they want is for this WEAK13 to enter their mainstream universe.
4. How would you describe your style?
Nick: WEAK13 is any style it wants to be really but we maintain a heavy rock sound and write what some would call intelligent pop tunes. The songs are catchy, guitar prominent, lyrically we are satirists. The majority of modern bands and artists dumb down the population with their uninspiring lyrics, nonsensical content and cold auto-tuned heartless voices. Our songs make people think. Subject matters in WEAK13 songs are quite diverse compared to some bands who can only sing about overindulgence on a Friday night; we write about how the media manipulates the population, how our politicians are on puppet strings, the poison that is in our foods, dealing with death and opening your mind to hard truths.
5. What have you released so far and what can someone expect from your works?
Nick: 'They Live' is our debut studio album, it took 3 years to make, 11 tracks that have something to say; every publication or reviewer who has written about the album has only praised it. We grew up with bands like Nirvana, Alice In Chains and Soundgarden; we're not identical to those bands but WEAK13 sounds like it's been forged out of a Seattle mixing pot and came out sounding like itself. Many of our music videos such as 'Down On Me' or 'Joke' are doing very well on YouTube and add a more cinematic element to the songs; we work with filmmakers and we produce our own films; in this age of illusion we have to use what you have at your disposal to fight fire with fire. These days you can't just play an instrument to get your band seen; you have to create media content; but music videos are another way to show what the band is about so it can serve you well if you do it correct.
6. Do you have any new music in the works?
Nick: Yes we do. Although we have the debut album which is only available as a physical CD to order from the band website weak13official.com we are writing the second album. Our mission is to make sure that we create a superordinate and totally different follow up album. We already have the 'They Live' album which is better produced than many signed artist's releases so it's logical for us to develop a superior second album. We've never been fed with a silver spoon, if we humiliate the elite bands with their mundane releases then so be it. At the moment we're making demos of songs that we're considering to go on the next album only for our engineer to hear. The album will take as long as it takes; we will take our time on our own terms.
Nick: We play live whenever we can; rather than just give out some dates I recommend people check the band website regularly for live dates. Every show we do is always a joy; it's always a chance for us to meet new people and we've always played well live. We have a lot of people watch our music videos but we find that those who come to a WEAK13 live show understand why we make music; we're serious musicians and the opportunity to play live is a gift. We play every show as if it were our last.
8. What plans do you have for the future as a band?
Nick: I guess we intend on changing or rather repairing the damage in the current music world; we represent the serious independent musicians who are surrounded by a hostile mainstream music industry that ignores them and we want to show others who are made to feel insignificant that they can make a huge difference on a global scale; we've worked hard; have our own identity; people love our songs. The majority of music journalists have failed to give independent artists any feeling of confidence in them; it's hard to take them serious. So we, like many others, are working around them and one day they'll have their head in their hands and realize that they missed out on a major opportunity.
9. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?
Nick: There are 11 songs on the 'They Live' album and its only available from the band website weak13official.com which we control. It's a well packaged CD; every song counts and every one who orders it seems to be playing it to death. A lot of fans have told us that they have to play it loud in their car when they drive to work.
10. What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the first time?
Nick: I have no idea; maybe to remember that this isn't some signed band with a safe fat record contract funded by an elite musical family who have paid someone else to write all their songs for them? People tell me that when they listen to WEAK13 that their memories of how good music used to be come flooding back too. These are songs written by real people about real things that happen in our society and people identify with them very well; I think I'd like them to remember that.