INTERVIEW: SHITWIFE | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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If you’re a fan of Ladyscraper and Shield Your Eyes then then announcement that the man behind the electronics and Shield’s drummer Henri were getting together to form a new gabber-breakcore project probably made your day. The result of the collaboration has been SHITWIFE, which contrary to their name is not at all shit. Instead, it’s a noisy but oddly nuanced project that takes all the best elements from Wayne and Henri’s previous ventures and turns the volume up to 11. With their album Big Lad being released on Bandcamp, the duo have decided to set out on a countrywide album launch tour and are welcoming some of the country’s best alt. synth acts to play with them around the UK.

Ahead of their gig at the Head of Steam this week with Fractions and Outside Your House, we talked to Wayne about the album, the influence of gabber and Robocop.

How did the pair of you originally meet and decide to start making music together?

Henri Just dropped me an email out of the blue. I think he had been looking for someone that was interested in doing an electronics and drums crossover for a while and we had a mutual friend from Nitkowski and Sly and the Family Drone that put us in touch. I had gigged with Duracell a fair bit with my Ladyscraper project, so had had the idea in my head to do something along those lines for a while. I had seen Henri play with his band Shield Your Eyes and had been blown away by his drumming, so was pretty damn excited to give it a go. I think there is even a few videos on YouTube of our very first practices… it went really well!

How different is SHITWIFE to your previous projects, Ladyscraper and Shield Your Eyes? 

For me SHITWIFE feels like Ladyscraper’s raw and exciting cousin. I had really grown tired of the Ladyscraper thing when Henri got in touch. I was bored of gigging on my own and found performing solely with a laptop kind of a drag, so this was the perfect sideways shift for me. It’s definitely related in a way but I now have the best drum machine going!

You’ve been compared to the likes of Lightning Bolt and Duracell – are these comparisons that you welcome?

For me absolutely. Like I mentioned, Duracell and I gigged a bit together and chatted a lot about what he did, I always felt as though there could be more ground to be covered with his set up but the angle that I approached the project from is definitely influenced by Duracell. And, for me, Lightning Bolt really are one of the most exciting live bands going so to get compared to them is never a bad thing.

“SHITWIFE feels like Ladyscraper’s raw and exciting cousin”

A lot of people are saying that you’re either a gabber or breakcore group but you’ve also played with noise bands, so I’m wondering how you place yourself in terms of genre? Or if that even matters?

When we are driving around to gigs we listen to a lot of breakcore and gabber, so we are definitely influenced by it in a big way, and there is my history with the genre to take into account. There is also a lot of other stuff going on in there. I think, for me, we really cross over a lot of genres; at the moment we are really lucky in that we are getting booked for all sorts of gigs so I don’t think we have been pigeonholed yet.

I actually had a casual look around on Google to see where you were playing but ended up noticing that you listed on metal blogs and magazines. Do you think that the thrasher elements of your work, particularly the drums, has something in common with metal?

I wouldn’t say metal but I don’t quite know where Henri’s playing style comes from, it’s pretty crazy.

What are your particular influences on this project?

We both really like some of the big guns from the electronic world. Venetian Snares, Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Chris Clark etc. Within the breakcore world, it is often deemed too obvious to state these guys as influences but they all really make banging music and there is a lot of that in there.

You’re known for your deafening live performances – what attracts you to playing so loudly live?

Henri is a big hitter! He hits loud! So we just needed amps that could compete with his drums – I don’t think we have ever mic’d up more than his kick drum…

This tour is all about promoting your new album – what can we expect from the record itself?

Something a little different from the live thing. I always felt that Lightning Bolt were so fierce live, but after about four songs on record I have had enough, so I really wanted to avoid that – it’s raw for sure but we spent a bit more time crafting an album. I think the two things, live performance and recorded material, in a project like this can be different as long as they are both good.

RoboCop is on the front cover – is he the Big Lad of the title? Because he is quite large and I wouldn’t want to mess with him. 

He is the biggest lad.

SHITWIFE play at the Head of Steam, Newcastle on Thursday 10th September.

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