Brisbane post-hardcore outfit We Set Signals literally came out of nowhere with their brand new single ‘Where Were You’ and since its release we haven’t been able to stop playing it. With 3 EP releases under their belt that combine elements of pop punk and metalcore as infectiously as heavyweights A Day To Remember and I Prevail, each release is proof that their music is constantly evolving. The band are signed in the USA (to We Are Triumphant Records) and with album #3 on the way, it’s pretty clear to us that We Set Signals are a name to watch this year.
We caught up with frontman Nick Wilkinson to get to know more about the band, their musical vision, their take on pop cover songs and when we can expect to get more new music…
Hey Nick! How’s it going?
Good thank you. How are you?
I’m doing better now that these restrictions are beginning to lift! And with these restrictions easing, what’s the first thing you’re looking forward to getting back to as a band?
Well, we haven’t had a rehearsal in awhile, so we’re looking forward to getting back to that. We’re just waiting for our rehearsal space to open back up so we can jam again. But just getting back out there and playing shows, that’s something we’ve missed, playing live. When you’ve got the new music ready to go, we’ve just been keen to get out there already.
I know quite a few bands have been tapping into the live stream market such as Twitch and Instagram Live Stories to get by though. Have you guys thought about doing that?
We’ve got some plans in the works to get that done. But I wonder if we might have missed the boat with things opening up again, but it’s more about the time to get together. We live all over the place, our drummer lives on the Gold Coast and we live all over Brisbane so trying to get everyone synchronised can be difficult. There’s definitely been talk about getting out there and doing some live stuff that’ll be cool. I think it may be me and a few of the other guys acoustic wise. See how we go!
And congrats on the release of your newest single ‘Where Were You’! I absolutely cannot stop playing this song. Can you tell us what this song is about?
Aw, thank you! The song’s about a toxic relationship I was in, where I just completely lost myself in it and I didn’t know who I was. Nothing felt good, nothing felt bad. When I came down at the end of it, I just started writing. That’s essentially the catalyst for the song.
I feel like it’s definitely more of a progression from your last album, Abandon Ship (2018). What was the band’s motivation behind this newfound direction?
When we first started, we were really putting out stuff from our influences that we really enjoyed from the early 2000’s. And I just felt like our music was just a little… dated up until that point, and it certainly came through on a few comments we were getting on the music. I just wanted to break the mould. I wanted to write something that seemed a bit more current and a lot of my influences today are really experimenting with adding the electro/EDM vibe into what they’re doing, and I wanted to align with that. I just started experimenting with that kind of music and melding it with the band, and I think we really came across something cool.
Yeah, it definitely sounds fresh and current to me! Just looking back through your music, you’ve definitely come from a straight up pop punk background who have gradually been incorporating heavier elements.
Yeah! I was always a fan of A Day to Remember and they were the guys. They were like, the kings of pop punk and did post-hardcore so well. I just wanted to do that, and that’s always been in the back of my mind about how I do things. So we came to this record and I’m like, I gotta break away, try and do things to freshen our sound a bit more.
So with record #3, is that finished?
Yes! It’s definitely done. It’s ready to go. It comes out… in a little bit. We’ll announce that with our next single that’s coming out soon.
Oooh, exciting!!! What are you hoping to achieve with the new record?
We definitely want to get out of Australia with this one. We’re signed in the US (to We Are Triumphant Records), and we were in talks to tour in the US just before COVID-19 hit, but we had to cancel everything. This time round though, once the record’s out there, we’re really just looking forward to getting out there and playing everywhere. We want this to be the record that gets us around the world.
Well, I think you’ve definitely set yourselves up on the right path for that!
You guys have recorded quite a few pop covers for YouTube, the latest being Shawn Mendes’ hit song ‘There’s Nothing Holding Me Back’. What are your thoughts on bands relying on covers as opposed to originals?
I’m just a fan of really good music. So if the cover’s done in good taste and it’s a really far stretch from where the original came from, then I’m all for it. I mean, bands have got to make a living and they’ve gotta get popular, so if doing covers is the way to do it, then that’s fine. We’re all in the race together and if that’s what they want to do, that’s all good by me!
Have you been working on any more?
Ummm, I’ve been really out of touch with the current top 40 at the moment. It’s something I’ve gotta get back into because we’ve just been speaking about that. You’re always thinking about the future like “what’s after this record?” and we were looking at doing a really cool cover so it’s definitely on the cards.
You’re not the only one who’s out of touch with top 40 radio. The last pop album I listened to was Dua Lipa…
Yeah, I just don’t listen to the radio. I mean, I have to because there is such good music out there. Sometimes when I’m driving and the radio’s on, I’ll start adding drum beats to something I’m hearing and I’ll hear a really good chorus and be like “man that has all the elements to be a really good cover”. Then I’ll go home and write songs for We Set Signals and completely forget all about it. (laughs)
Well I absolutely cannot wait to see what you guys have in store these coming months with the new single and album! You’ve got yourself a new fan here!
Interview by Tamara May (@citylightstam)
We Set Signals’ latest single ‘Where Were You’ is out now.
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