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WITH their astounding talent shining through, it’s not hard to see why the Durban boys of the band, What Now, (pictured) have hit the big time in the UK.
Tryon Layley, Ryan Morris and Adam Jenkins are the faces behind the alternative rock band. Having moved to London eight years ago, they’ve been making waves overseas and will soon be bringing their new sound to local radio stations.
I caught up with frontman Layley and guitarist Morris while they were in their home town visiting family.
Dressed as true rock gods, the guys were bubbly, friendly and down to earth. We chatted about their success, the release of their new album and life in the UK.
“It was always a goal that when we moved to the UK we wanted to be as big as we could be. We still have a lot to do but we’re kind of breaking through… We always visualised making it big and we’re on the right track. So yeah, we decided to pack our bags and move to London and make it happen,” says Morris.
I am a huge fan after listening to their latest album, Move Like a Sinner, set to hit our airwaves soon. Their sound is explosive, dynamic and has powerful lyrics. If you’re into rock, then you’ll appreciate their music and what it stands for.
Chatting about their latest release, Layley said: “We worked on the album on and off for two years. We wrote all our own material. We pushed ourselves musically and tapped into our own sound.
“I don’t think that kind of stuff comes easy. It takes time and experience. Also, I don’t think you should have rules in art, it should be about what you’re feeling.”
The South African trio also has a new video out for their single, If Looks Could Kill, which will be aired next week on SABC3’s Top Billing.
About the concept behind the video, Layley said: “Our drummer, Adam, said we should just make it look like a big musical machine. The video has nothing to do with the actual meaning of the song but we wanted it to have a lot of energy and be upbeat. So we had to create our own guitars. We made everything. In the video, it’s almost joined as one, like the keyboard and guitar. We used washing line strings and old machine guitars. It came out really cool. Definitely one of the better videos we’ve done. We wanted to create something no one else will ever have. No one else will ever have that guitar. We think it was awesome.”
Steering the conversation towards the big move from South Africa to London, Morris said it was a lot harder gaining success in the UK: “It’s a million times harder than in South Africa. There are so many managers, different channels and genres in London. It’s a bigger industry there and you are competing with more bands.
“In South Africa there are only a few big managers and record labels. But I guess if you can make it in London you can make it anywhere. I think it’s even harder to make it big in London and the States if you’re from South Africa.
“Also, people in London are a bit judgmental in that they’re always spoilt for choice. But the crowd is a lot more receptive.
“Even Europe is really good for crowds. Our first EP – they didn’t like it much but the new album, they seem to love it. You just have to keep pushing; it’s extremely hard to make it. It’s survival of the fittest.”
In terms of the Durban music scene, the guys said it had improved, but there was still a long way to go.
“In Durban, people are more interested in going to a club like Origin to dance than go watch a band. But Live – the Venue is really cool. I hope it continues to be around for many years,” said Morris.
So what could fans expect from What Now? Layley said: “We want to tour and promote the album and will also be coming to South Africa in October to perform. So we’ll release more singles and make more music videos and just take it as far as we can go and keep the ball rolling.”
• Catch What Now on SABC3’s Top Billing on May 23. For their South African tour dates, check out www.whatnowband.com