INTERVIEW: Words & Noises

Words & Noises are a British pop band fronted by Chris Selman and Simon Williams.

Making their debut back in 2013 with the release of their EP ‘Beating Heart’, the band have received rave reviews from critics with BBC Radio 6 calling their music “highly entertaining and enjoyable pop music.

Today (August 19th) sees the release of their latest EP ‘The Collector’. We caught up with Chris from the band to talk about new single ‘Play Your Cards Right’, playing live and musical inspirations…

You’ve just released your third EP ‘The Collector’ what can fans expect from your new material?

I think it’s our most accomplished work to date. A lot of time and effort went into writing these songs and we spent longer than we have in the past on recording, mixing and mastering. We do still like to have a bit of a raw, DIY sound to our music but these tracks are probably our most polished to date.

How does this collection of songs differ from your last 2 releases ‘Beating Heart’ (2013) and Loaded Gun (2014)?

They sound a bit glossier but I think the main difference is in the writing. We didn’t rush anything, more time was spent on writing and putting demos together and crafting the songs until everything was just as we wanted it to be. It’s probably a bit more mature and reflective, too – the previous two Eps were written during my early-to-mid-twenties, these songs were written in my late-twenties… so maybe a little more grown up.

Who or what were your influences/inspirations when making music this time around?

A wide range, really – I’ve always been influenced by classic British acts like The Beatles and David Bowie; I like the songwriting and lyrical style of Alex Turner from Arctic Monkeys; I appreciate Coldplay’s way with a melody; I enjoy the confessional writing style of the American singer/songwriters like Ryan Adams or Sufjan Stevens.

‘Play Your Cards’, the first single release from the EP, is perfect for the summer, can you tell us the meaning behind the song?

It focuses on the analogy that love is always a gamble. In any situation – whether it’s a date, or the beginnings of a relationship, or a one night stand – one person always has to play their cards, lay everything on the table and hope the other person feels the same way. There’s a bit of a narrative in the song, too, following the story of a person who plays the game, collects hearts and feelings and emotions, before moving on to someone new.

You’ve recently played shows in Manchester, London and Liverpool, how did audiences respond to the new tracks?

We’ve had a great response, really, which is always a pleasure. Manchester is where the band originally formed and we always get a fantastic reaction there. ‘Play Your Cards’ has gone down a treat at all the shows – I think because it’s so different, it really stands out in the set. It’s got a really strong, driving rhythm.

To any of our readers who are just discovering ‘Words & Noises’, tell us about how you got together as a band?

A few years ago I was working as a solo musician and I recruited a touring band to play live shows. It probably only lasted about 18 months but it was great fun. We would have carried on longer but various personal commitments meant some people couldn’t commit for the long term. Simon and I were keen to carry on and we just decided to get to work on some new songs – Words & Noises was born. No one else from the band is still involved in a full-time capacity but Ewart plays some viola on a couple of tracks on the new EP.

You’ve received a lot of praise from within the media, BBC Radio 6 Music for example describe your music as “highly entertaining and enjoyable… quirky, contemporary pop with clever lyrics“, how important is it for you to gain critical acclaim from within the industry?

It’s always brilliant to be recognised, especially from such an influential and respected tastemaker. The BBC have given us lots of lovely praise over the last couple of years and we’ve also had other nice words from press and radio – it’s good to know that what we’re doing is being appreciated by others.

On the flip side to that, social media is unavoidable these days, do you enjoy hearing feedback directly from the fans on Facebook/Twitter etc?

Yes, of course – I use Twitter a lot and keep our account up to date. We have some really amazing fans who give great feedback and share the music with their friends – we love it!

Which current artists are you listening to/enjoying at the moment?

I’m a big champion of Manchester music – that’s the band’s spiritual home, even though I’m not based there any more. I really enjoyed Everything Everything’s album from last year, and The 1975 took me by surprise – it’s a very slick and nicely produced album. Blossoms are doing great things right now and the Guy Garvey  album is ace.

Are there any other bands/producers/writers you’d like to work with on future projects?

We’ve just started to reach the stage where we’re working with producers and engineers who’ve worked with our musical heroes, so that’s pretty exciting. The guy who mastered our new EP has worked with David Bowie and Radiohead, which is incredible. I don’t think I’d change our own creative team. But there are loads of artists I’d love to write for! I’d also love the opportunity to perform with some of my heroes like Noel Gallagher or Paul McCartney.

What are your plans for the rest of the year?

I think the rest of the year will be a little more low key – we’ve spent the last three months gigging, touring TV and radio shows and doing interviews for press, it’s all been pretty hectic! We’ll be doing a handful of shows in the autumn then plan to spend the winter writing and demoing new material.

‘The Collector’ is out now on Spotify and you can follow the band on Twitter @wordsandnoises

Let us know your thoughts on Twitter @Celebmix

Written by Philip Logan

Twitter & IG: @philip_logan