Dirty Dozen: The Wharves

The WharvesHailing from Ireland, France and England, The Wharves combine gracefully minimal psyche-rock with fuzzed out folk. They invoke the reverberated spook of 60’s groups, the mid-fi guitar crunch of Kim Deal’s The Amps, the sisterly vocal harmonies of The Roches and the narrative and structural panache of 70’s progressive folk. Thunderous drumming drives through these compositions, ensuring the wealth of disparate influences remain focused and celebrator.

Can you tell us about yourself? Where you’re from and what you’ve been up to over the past few years?

We’re the Wharves, from England, Ireland and France. We have been writing songs together and hanging out over the last few years. 

How would you describe your music?

I guess we can’t really describe it ourselves in an objective way. I visualise it quite literally as a series of interlocking fretboard patterns, counted beat sequences, finger movements and vocal melodies that are reproduced repeatedly to intertwine so they flow musically. It’s much more fun than it sounds and I love practicing until this process becomes second nature. It’s great when we get together after a couple of weeks and play through a song like it was an old friend.

What are your influences?

Does anyone really, really care? In my experience people just assume what your influences are anyway despite whatever you say, people will come up after a gig and are all like ‘ yeah, really getting the such and such influence there’ ha ha ha! For the record though I’m currently listening to L7, Ultimate Painting, Slapp Happy, Autoclave, Pentangle, The Go Go’s,  Heart, Drinks & Love.

What’s the best thing about being a musician?

Being a musician is my salvation. We all have day jobs. Marion runs venue and community arts centre ‘New River Studios’, Dearbhla is a solicitor and I work for a charity, we are all very busy and would love to afford to do music as a job but it’s just not feasible. For me playing together is like a warm hug. I love writing together & touring and it’s a time when I really feel like myself and when I’m not worrying about things, when my mind is clear.

And the worst?

I don’t think there are any real downsides. You shouldn’t have to but if you are releasing things publicly  I guess you might need to develop resilience which can be a challenge. I can remember getting wound up for weeks in the past because of an off review or comment. You can feel exposed or tricked into trying to appease critics but it’s best to soldier on being yourself when it comes to creative stuff plus no one needs universal appraisal.

If money were no object what would be your dream project?

we have talked about having some real quality time to work on music. We do OK and are quite productive as it is but it would be great to really push the potential of the band. We would love to go away somewhere inspirational and work on a record for 8 weeks or so. As it is we record reasonably quickly, albums are recorded in 4 or 5 days, I think you can hear it too as some of the songs, especially mine are quite manic. 

How do you feel about the creepy clown craze?

I celebrate that the kids are making Halloween stretch out over the whole year, however I can remember being much more scared of stuff when I was young, someone is going to get hurt eventually. I remember seeing the film ‘clown house’ in blockbuster video and being terrified simply of the VHS cover, even walking by it gave me a chill. i rewatched ‘It’ recently though and it is really preposterous, funny how it was so creepy for so long. This whole thing might be a publicity stunt for Stephen King or the final nail in the coffin for the circus industry. Who knows.

What does Brexit mean to you?

Please don’t split up our band! Seriously though Brexit is the worst thing that has happened to the UK in my lifetime. In general this government seems hell bent on segregating people by social class, education and nationality. In a situation where even David Cameron wants to walk away from it all it’s hard to remain positive but we must continue to campaign bit by bit in our small but significant ways. for example,   I was pleased that the changes to PIP where recently overturned. It was a campaign close to my heart and worked on tirelessly by colleagues in my day job. And another thing whatever happened  to ‘big society

Finally have you got anything you’d like to say to the readers of Americana UK.

I hope you enjoyed reading this interview. If you would like to hear our music you are just one click away. Listen to our new single ‘the Strike’  on YouTube, taken from the album ‘Electa’. It comes out on Gringo records on the 4th November (CD, LP or Digital) and has very some special artwork as well as 12 new songs, lovingly crafted.

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Author: Rudie Humphrey

Rudie is the weekly host of the syndicated radio show - The Horseshoe Lounge Music Session - playing the best American Roots and hosting terrific live guests.

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