To anyone that has been paying attention to the UK pop punk scene over the past year, WSTR will need no introduction. To anyone that hasn’t been paying attention to the UK pop punk scene or has somehow missed them, WSTR are one of the biggest names to come out in the last few years (probably chugging a beer while riding a skateboard).
They’ve had an incredible year, especially for a band with only six songs released on record. They’ve toured Europe with the likes of Neck Deep and Creeper, shared a stage at Slam Dunk with the likes of Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! and Gnarwolves, and got their chance to play the Guildhall in Southampton. WSTR are showing absolutely no signs of stopping taking the pop punk world by storm.
‘We all still have crappy day jobs and obviously the more the band picks up, the more sacrifices you have to make.
This is why we’ve chosen them to be one of our top bands of 2016. Even though SKWRD is only six songs long and released late last year, their balance of work ethic and partying has caught the eye of everyone. ‘It’s humbling for sure. We always get surprised at how many people actually care when we post a new song or whatever, it’s a great feeling.’
Because of this however the band has had their fair share of difficulties. ‘We all still have crappy day jobs and obviously the more the band picks up, the more sacrifices you have to make. I’ve gone through two jobs already this year because of touring but it’s all good! We like to have a good time while out on the road.’
‘Touring is great though, it’s the best part about being in a band. The reactions we get everywhere we go are crazy and always blow us away, we love meeting new people and seeing new places and want to be on the road as much as possible.’
As a pop punk band WSTR are influenced by the greats of the noughties. Blink 182, New Found Glory and so on and so forth. ‘They definitely inspired us to pick up an instrument and have a go at doing it ourselves. Inevitably all of those bands have had an influence on the way we write too but we don’t set out to try and sound like anyone else,’ Kieran tells us. ‘When we started writing this record we were questioning what we wanted it to sound like quite a lot. This whole angry or serious vibe has taken over what pop punk is lately, but we realised we weren’t too good at being serious so just wrote whatever came natural.’ To many people this will be a breath of fresh air as pop punk has become stale with people taking themselves too seriously. Their inflated egos growing far above their station but anyone who’s talked to the WSTR boys will be able to tell you that they’re some of the most down to earth people out there. Even online they often take time to talk to their fans and try to make sure that not everything is about them and their band.
Pop punk while never seeming to ever fully die, it went into remission and has had a revival in the last few years. ‘There’s always going to be people who like pop punk. I’ve been listening to it since I was 13 or 14 and I have no intention of stopping, I grew up on that stuff! There always seems to be a fresh set of bands coming through every couple years too, which keeps things exciting and new.’
‘It’s so easy to get your music out there with how many people are online now that literally anyone can start a band and within a few years potentially be touring internationally. I think Neck Deep really helped the UK get the recognition it deserves, and now we’ve got a handful of great bands killing it so it couldn’t be a better time for pop punk right now in my opinion.’ Neck Deep have been especially supportive of what WSTR have been doing. Ben Barlow, Neck Deep vocalist, even made a cameo in their music video for Graveyard Shift where he can be seen throwing a sandwich at members of the band. Discovered have no evidence to prove whether this action was scripted or they just bumped into each other while the cameras were running.
It being easier than ever to get your music noticed doesn’t mean that it’s the easiest thing to do however. But what can a band do to help themselves when they’re starting out?
‘Don’t rush to throw anything you can out there. It’s the most irritating thing to see bands posting ‘new music on the way we promise!’ it’s like, ‘you’ve been saying that for a year come on now.’ But make sure your songs are good and are recorded well too.’ Then another rule that a lot of bands should stick to is: ‘don’t talk shit about the bands around you, or at least not in public! We all see it; you’re just burning your bridges before you’ve even made them.’
Going into 2017 soon WSTR have got a strict itinerary. Along with more touring they ‘need to get out there and play all these new songs for everyone who’s had to listen to the same six songs for the last year.’