Okay, so we know about WU LYF’s sensational launch onto the scene. These ‘four dumb kids’ (as they call themselves) were surrounded by a veil of mystery and got quite a following playing their ‘heavy pop’ exclusively at a local café. It’s the oldest trick in the world to make someone deeply long for you: never let them get too close, or else it might break the mystique. We called up bass player/vocalist Tom and talked about reality shows, seeing rabbits in your sleep and how to make your dreams come true.
Skype interview by Brenda Bosma. Images found on www.worldunite.org.
What are the perks of being in a foundation?
It’s just like being in a band really. You get to travel the world. It’s also nice to meet like-minded people thatsupport us. Meeting these ‘fans’ feels pretty much like making new friends. We’re just a couple of kids who got a chance to do this and we’re loving it.
When we first got introduced to WU LYF, you were all covered in cloaks and refused to do any interviews. Now I’ve read you want to break the mystique, because it’s ‘boring and cheesy’. Can we expect a WU LYF reality show any time soon?
I don’t know. I don’t think we’d have an interesting one. We’d rather concentrate on the way the music presents itself. People shouldn’t get so hung up about our image.
Okay, but who would be the ‘Snooki’, who ‘the Situation’ and so on?
Our drummer finds the best things to say at any time. He would be the ‘Opportunist Speaker’. Evan, the guitarist, is a guy that, you know, could do it, and probably should do it, but maybe tomorrow. Ellery, our singer, is the ‘Eternal Worker’, someone who would dig to the centre of the earth, because he thinks he can. But we’re all just glorified nobodies really. Who we are is not important.
Were you ever infatuated with someone as a kid, like a pop idol or the silent girl in biology class?
I am very prone to worship in a lot of ways. It ranges from my father to Alex Chilton and a few other songwriters. I become totally preoccupied with them. It’s also trying to relate. For instance I like to listen to Paul Westerberg’s early material and compare it to his later work with The Replacements. It’s reassuring to know that’s it’s okay I write some bad songs, I know I’ll improve some day just like he did.
What was the first thing your manager and former Factory Records employee Warren Bramley said to you that made a deep impression?
He often tells stories about his days at The Factory. He has never repeated one yet, so he must have quite a few. I like the way he always tells us we’re the greatest band in the world. I think if you would look up ‘moral’ in the urban dictionary you’ll see a picture of him. He’s the type of person that would spoil a child to death. He surely spoils us. You could totally take that the wrong way and write him off as a nodhead/yaysayer, but it’s reinforcing really. And it’s fun to laugh about it.
What would the urban dictionary say if one was telling fire to the mountain?
It means standing up for what you believe in. Something like: quit shouting and throw your fists in the air.
Have you ever told fire to the rain?
No, but I think Adele has.
There are a certain dreams that have symbolic meaning, like the one where your teeth fall out. Do you have a recurring dream like that?
I have this dream a lot where I’m talking to rabbits. It starts with me and my brother walking into someone’s garden, because we think we see a rabbit. Then all of sudden there’s three of them. We’re having a nice chat and even help them over the fence. Then the owners of the garden come down and we feel nervous, because we’re not allowed to talk to strangers. Then I wake up. It’s not a bad dream, I don’t wake up in a sweat. I’d like to know what that’s all about.
Google says: to see a rabbit in your dream signifies luck, magical power and success. You have a positive outlook on life. Alternatively, rabbits symbolise abundance, warmth, fertility and sexual activity.
When was the last time you pinched yourself to check you weren’t dreaming?
The day after our performance on David Letterman, I was walking down the road near Broadway past the CBS studios, heading for Central Park. There was this afterglow and I just couldn’t believe how much we’d done in a year. It felt surreal.
Did you dream of this life as a kid, while you were shaking your percussion egg in music class?
I always sort of knew I wouldn’t have a regular nine-to-five job. I just felt there was something that I’m much better at. Not that I was destined to do this or anything, I’ve just thought I was destined to be really good at something else ever since I was little. I discovered that if you set your mind to it, you can be the person you admire in your head. You can be a glorified nobody! That also means you have to brag and take shortcuts to be in the same place that others might have worked harder to get to. That’s not bad, it just means you get there quicker.
So dreams do come true?
I think so. The stupider or the more complex the dreams are, the better. The more little things you have to work out to make your dream happen, the more fulfilling it feels.
WU LYF play on 06 March in Melkweg in Amsterdam. The show is free for Subbacultcha! members.