Tristan Higginson – Waxflower ‘A Hopeful Start To A New Era’

Brisbane pop punk act Waxflower have had a whirlwind start in their short time together as a band, and we couldn’t be more stoked for them. Ever since they came into our lives with ‘Cut Your Teeth’, this four piece have brought back catchy pop punk anthems, almost in a similar vein to Aussie rock icons Kisschasy.

While they’re definitely bringing the nostalgia effect in their music, with each new single release, Waxflower have progressively come out of the shadows and into their own spotlight. Incorporating infectious pop melodies with light-hearted rock riffs and an incredible guest feature from Eat Your Heart Out’s Caitlin Henry, ‘Again’ ignites the beginning of the next step for Waxflower.

During our chat with vocalist Tristan Higginson, we got to know more about the song and how it’s a personal mantra of hope which was written as a reminder that even when things seem down, we can all get back to that positive mindset. We also wanted to see if they’re getting over the Kisschasy comparisons…

You guys have had some massive opportunities for a band who’s barely a year old! From signing to Rude Records to opening for Simple Plan, all without an EP release! Has all this attention taken you by surprise?

I’ve been playing in bands since I was like 14-15 to coming up on 10 years now. Before we formed this band, I was basically ready to not pursue music anymore I guess, and I kind of sent initial demos out to Danny, our drummer and he was on board and then it kinda all stemmed from there. Within three or four months we had recorded the first batch of songs.

I definitely don’t take any of the opportunities we’ve gotten for granted. Looking back on the last year and a half, it’s actually ridiculous all the things we’ve gotten to do. So yeah, it’s definitely taken me by surprise and I think even like this year with the lockdown stopping shows and touring, it’s cemented how important playing in a band and being on the road is to me and the other guys.

I’ve actually thoroughly enjoyed all these singles that you’ve released so far. They just like these huge nostalgic pop punk anthems. Are you guys sick of the Kisschasy references yet? 

*laughs* No, I love Kisschasy. I think when we were forming this band, I was listening to so much Kisschasy. The bands we were in before this, we were kind of trying to emulate something more Americanised and this was the first time we were like, “OK, we’re just gonna be ourselves I think.” I definitely don’t see the comparisons as a bad thing though. I love that band to death. They’re probably one of the best punk bands to ever come out of Australia.  

I think when the songs that we’re sitting on now start to come out, the comparisons may start to disappear because there’s more electronic elements and stuff like that. So yeah, I definitely love a good Kisschasy reference because they’re one of my favourite bands of all time. 

I loved Kisschasy back in the day too, and they definitely achieved some massive opportunities during their hey day. In saying that though, your more recent releases have definitely begun to sound less like them and more Waxflower, which brings us to your newest single ‘Again’. It’s definitely got quite a few more electronic, poppier sounds emanating from you guys. What were your motivations behind this track? 

Sonically, it’s not something that we sat down and were like, “OK, we’re gonna actively make a change to what the Waxflower sound is.” Those sounds have always been part of my songwriting. Every band I’ve been in has had electronic elements and synths. Waxflower was more down to earth, straight up rock production for me. It’s just something that is naturally part of my songwriting that’s just come out and ‘Again’ is the song that has many of those influences. 

It’s definitely a big step up, just slightly in terms of where we could go, as well as a representation of what I think we’re capable of. We’re really proud of the songs that we’ve released so far. We’ve been sitting on these songs for quite some time, and I think this is the start of a new era for the band.  

I also love that ‘Again’ is like your own personal mantra of hope and optimism. It’s definitely a song that we all need to hear in our lives right now, given COVID and everything. Lyrically, what were you inspired by? 

Yeah, I guess lyrically, it is interesting that it ties in with everything going on in the world right now, and it definitely wasn’t an intentional thing.  The song came about at the start of lockdown, it’s more of a reflection on the stuff that I’ve been going through in the last couple of years. It acts as a reminder to myself, that things inevitably are going to have its ebbs and flows, and I’ve proven to myself that I’m capable of picking myself up over the years. It’s hard for me, because I tend to not be very good at living in the inbetweens of that sort of stuff. I usually feel like I’m completely fine or I’m really down. ‘Again’ serves as more of a reminder that you know it’s not always gonna be good times, and you’re capable of getting back up when you need to. 

How did the idea of getting Caitlin Henry from Eat Your Heart Out onto the track come about? 

We were really keen to get someone to come in and help represent the dialogue that was happening in the chorus between the two characters on the song. We’ve all been huge fans of Eat Your Heart Out, so we thought we would reach out to Caitlin and didn’t really expect anything, but she was more than happy to come on the track, which is amazing. She absolutely killed it in the studio and working with her and Stevie Knight, our producer on the last 30 seconds of that song was mind blowing. Seeing that all come together in the short amount of time we had, it was a great experience and we couldn’t be happier with the results. 

You recently played a COVIDsafe gig in Brisbane a few months back with Semantics. How’d it feel to be playing live music again amidst restrictions?

It was really cool. When shows were taken away, it was kind of like a reminder of how important it is just getting the chance to get back up that even unlike different circumstances like it was all seated and the sessions were capped. But it just felt natural getting back up on stage, almost normal, which is good,  and we’re just itching to do that even more.  We want to get out there as much as we possibly can now. 

What’s next for you guys – Are there plans for an EP soon? Or are you just going to go straight to a full-length album?

‘Again’ is the first single off of what will be our debut EP. We’ll be looking at that coming out sometime mid next year I would say. Although we might not be playing shows at the moment, we’re definitely working really hard to make sure everything is set up and in the right way to kick off this next chapter of the band. We couldn’t be more excited and we’re really proud of these songs and I think they’re the best representation of us so far. So hopefully people keep looking to get around us. 

Interview By Tamara May (@citylightsTAM)

Waxflower’s new single, ‘Again’ featuring Caitlin Henry is out now. Listen below!

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