A chat with WE ALL WANT TO at Red Deer Festival
Three albums deep, indie pop crooners WE ALL WANT TO are experts as pouring out their hearts out to a crowd. The Brisbane outfit has nailed their flavour of poignant pop-rock with a dose of super-watchable sincerity in their live shows, and got to deliver some old and new tracks in the baking heat of the Red Deer Music Festival. I caught up with guitarists and vocalists Tim and Skye about their musical history, harmonious arrangements, and what’s in store next.
Anna: Your lyrics are gorgeous and very meaningful – there are real stories there. How do you go about the songwriting process, and who does what?
Tim: I do probably the slight majority myself but Skye puts in a lot of songs and lyrics.
Skye: Nine parts to one part!
Tim: Skye’s song tends to be the one on the album that will attract the most attention, so I’m all about quantity, she’s all about quality. She distils it down into one great song and I’ve got like 50 that are ok!
We go through a rock phase, then we go through a quiet phase, and there’re no rules. We don’t care – anything goes.
Anna: How would you say your sound has changed or developed since your first full length album back in 2010?
Tim: Well, we started out because I’d made a solo album and I needed a band to perform it and it was this really acoustic quiet band – we’ve basically gone on a hill upwards [since then] to rock loud-land where Skye’s standing on the stage and she’s got two loud guitars screaming. It’s pretty much gone rock, but honestly we’ve got a new lineup in the band and every album is like a clean slate, so who knows? Maybe next album we’ll take it apart again and reassemble it in a new way, put a bit of a different flavour in.
Anna: Did it mainly start as a passion project between the two of you then?
Skye: Lyrically, it’s probably Tim, myself, and Dan, our drummer – the three of us have been together since the start.
Tim: We have a long history of songs, we’ve got three albums out. So we go through a rock phase, then we go through a quiet phase, and there’re no rules. We don’t care – anything goes. We can pretty much do whatever we want.
Skye: We’ve been experimenting with potential new album stuff. I sent Tim just a huge folder of lyrics and he’s putting the music to them, so we’re going to give that a go. In the past we’ve sat down, I’ve been bouncing on an exercise ball while Dan drums and Tim plays guitar and I’ll just be writing lyrics on the spot, or Tim will come with a song and we’ll work out the harmonies. There are tons of different ways that we get our songs up and running.
Anna: Your vocals are unusual – the combination and harmonies are really interesting. How did you come to settle on that sound?
Tim: Honestly, I’m a real one trick pony with my singing. Skye’s a genius with harmonising and coming up with interesting parts so it’s great for me to have her in the band.
Skye: Thank you, darling! Yeah, I’d never sing along to CDs when I was growing up, I’d always sing the harmony on it, just naturally. Locking in with Tim is just really easy, I can already hear it the first time he sings it.
Anna: What’s the best thing about performing at a festival?
Skye: Tim’s done a million festivals, but I’ve only done a couple and I’ve been a bit reclusive this year, so I found it challenging, but an enormously wonderful experience.
Tim: It’s difficult because you never get a soundcheck and you’ve got to just play with no preparation.
Skye: We played in a rehearsal room the size of this rug today, and we were like “yeah, we’re fucking awesome, this sounds rad!” and then you get on a big festival stage and it’s a completely different beast.
Anna: What’s on the horizon for the band?
Tim: We’re probably going to get together at the end of the year and discuss what we want to do with the next album and which direction we want to take it and then just start doing it, I suppose.
Skye: I’ve been living in New South Wales this year, just to take myself away for a year. I’ve been writing a lot, so I’ll probably come to Tim with a handful of pretty basic songs, and he’ll nip and tuck them into dynamic structures. Put some sprinkles on the turd, so to speak!
Tim: No, ice the cake!
My drink of choice for the Red Deer festival is expensive champagne mixed with a bit of tabasco and cracked pepper.
Anna: What’s your Red Deer BYO drink of choice?
Skye: I’ve been working very hard for the last six weeks in a cafe and I’d splurged and bought quite an expensive bottle of champagne, and I asked my friend to pour me a glass of champagne and he poured it into his plastic cup that had had Bloody Mary in it. So my drink of choice for the Red Deer festival is expensive champagne mixed with a bit of tabasco and cracked pepper.
Tim: I’m a straight out hipster craft beer guy.
Skye: Just before you came here, he called himself Baron Von Lager and produced two Great Northern beer cans out of his backpack.