These two badass ladies are currently supporting Halestorm on their Sold Out UK Tour, sadly they didn’t make the Irish leg of the tour for a face to face chat, but our intrepid reporter Emmie was on hand in Sheffield to give us her thoughts on the girls first night of the UK leg of the tour.
“From the moment the two girls took the stage and the first beat of the drum was played, they brought the energy. Moving around the stage with complete ownership they burst straight into their set. It was clear on their faces they were more than at home behind their instruments and enjoying every second. Playing a set comprised of tracks off their debut album, the crowd took to the girls just as the rest of have with their magnetic charm. By the fourth song the band treated the crowd to a live rendition of their latest single which was released just the day before. Knowing that it is only a two member band is one thing but to see them perform this way live is mesmerising. From the way they move on stage to the way they own their instruments, they absolutely know what they are doing.
With a headline tour coming up in November, they are certainly taking over the live circuit. If you’ve not already checked these girls out, I would highly recommend you do!”
Mark Ellis captured the girls energy on stage beautifully.
About The Band:
For any of our readers who are unfamiliar with yourself / yourselves tell us a little bit about REWS.
We are a two piece high energy alternative rock band consisting of Shauna Tohill (vocals and guitar / keys) and Collette Williams (drums/percussion and vocals).
What was your earliest memory of music that peaked your interest?
Shauna – I grew up surrounded by music – my parents were in a band together and my grandmother toured all over as a folk singer. I think generally watching them play really inspired me.
Collette – My nan was musical and my parents were avid gig goers so it was inevitable it would pass through the generations. Long family road trips with great music formed the basis of my interest.
Who was the first album / single you purchased?
Shauna – Admittedly – it was BUSTED’s – What I go To School For. I had a major crush on Mattie!
Collette – Mine was Spaceman by Babylon Zoo
When did you first pick up your respective instrument / or start singing?
Shauna – I had been singing since I was a child. We had Sunday sessions with my family and usually had to do some kind of performance. I started playing guitar when I was 13 alongside bass and eventually keys. I dabbled with the drum kit!
Collette – My nan used to take me to church as a kid and I’d sing in the choir. I then started learning violin and keyboard at 8 and the moved onto drums at 13.
What route did you take with your music / instrument / lessons / music school / self-taught and any fond memories of that journey?
Shauna – I was mainly self taught. My dad showed me some of the basic chord shapes and I geeked out on books and advice from my other musician friends to get where I am today. Im still learning! My musical instruments were to aid my songwriting more so than anything but now I am focusing on developing my musical skills further.
Collette – I’m self taught in vocals but have always had instrument lessons from an early age, I think there’s always something new to learn and it’s great to work with several different teachers who can all impart different pieces of wisdom. My dad taught me a lot about music even though he’s not musical himself.
Who were your hero’s as a young musician that inspired and pushed you to want to be a musician too?
Shauna – I have always had an eclectic taste and gained inspiration from many areas in life. My musical hero’s range from Tori Amos and Jimi Hendrix to the pop-ster Avril Lavigne. The thing that drew me in about each of these people was the emotion and creativity that came through when they performed.
Collette – I was really intrigued by strong female musicians such as Annie Lennox and loved that they fronted bands. I loved drummers such as John Bonham but then I got really into the geeky side of technical playing so loved the likes of Thomas Lang.
Is there one particular album or song that gave you a “Eureka” moment from your youth that made you want to be a musician?
Shauna – It wasn’t really one specific one for me – it was anything that lyrically helped me going through my teenage angst years and parents splitting. Music, particularly rock, really resonated with me – I felt the songs really spoke to me. Thats what inspired me to start writing and playing.
Collette – Ironically I really loved Blink 182 and was inspired by Travis barker, I think that was the first album that made me think ‘Yeah, I wanna do this!’
What was the best gig you’ve ever attended?
Shauna – Hmmm… most recently Everything Everything!
Collette – I saw Beyonce and Jay Z earlier this year and their show was just mind-blowing
Do you have any musical guilty pleasures?
Shauna – I may have mentioned Busted?
Collette – Haha, my family and I always crack out the Abba and Elvis albums at Christmas, but who doesn’t right!?
One of you ladies is from ‘En-ger-Land’ and one is from ‘Norn-Iron’ – So, how did REWS come to be?
Shauna -that is correct! I moved to London fresh from an artist residency where I was spending time writing. I wanted to meet other musicians and a lady told me about this awesome musician called Collette Williams, I tracked her down online, sent a few emails and turns out she had moved to London at the same time and was looking for other artists to play with too! It was fate! We quickly met up, jammed, obviously clicked because here we are today! 🙂
Collette – Indeed….I’d moved up to London after working at a well known music school in Guildford. I’d started doing a lot of sessions and decided it would be better to be based in London to be on the door step of labels. One of my friends from University in Leeds had a sister in London that Shauna randomly met, and she sign posted us to each other! Six degrees of separation hey…
With Brexit around the corner, is there any risk of a Hard-Border between you two?
Shauna – REWS will survive no matter what. The hard-border thing… its something that I worry about but I’m hoping the government will make the right decision.
Collette – I’m keeping an open mind about it and some hope. Musicians tend to get a crap deal with these things and hopefully our prime minister will fight for the greater good of our movements if we’re lucky.
So any new music in the works currently or just released?
We are working on new music all the time! We’ve just released a new single – Can You Feel it? Check it out!
Where and when did you record it?
We recorded it in a multitude of places; mainly the Iconic Abbey Road Studios! We then had the awesome Romesh Dodangoda mix and master it! We are so happy with the results and the whole process was great!!
How does the song writing process generally work for you crazy ladies?
The songwriting process is very varied so we cant give you one answer. It is usually that one of us comes with a song and then we work on fleshing it out together. Other times, we jam from scratch and stick our heads together and agree on a concept and finish that. Sometimes its just a sparked idea that one of us comes with and we develop it all together.
What route have you ladies taken to build up and establish a fan base locally & beyond your local area?
We started with just the two of us reaching out to friends to get some local shows which helped us to meet and grow our fanbase and our now ever expanding team (management, agent and label etc). We’ve just spent a lot of time focusing on our music and developing genuine relationships with people aswel as supporting our local creative communities.
What is your take on the current UK music scene, and where do you fit in?
The music scene is currently very varied which is great! Guitar based music is on the rise again which is music to our ears (scuse the pun) and great for us especially so it’s extremely important, especially with the climate of iconic music venues closing down etc, it’s a constant battle to keep live music alive!
Do you feel there are enough venues around you to help promote and establish up and coming bands like yourself?
Yes; we’ve been very lucky to have played some amazing venues and festivals, we’re also both patrons of Music venue Trust. Local venues need help and support from communities in order to keep them alive, many people complain about them being closed having never gone to concerts or supported the live music scene; you’ve got to be in it to win it!!
What would you like to see ideally to help hard working bands / artists get better exposure and opportunities to make a living from their craft?
We think finding bodies like Arts Council England/NI are great, and also platforms such as Pledgemusic. We actually did a Pledge Music campaign when the band kicked off and they’re so essential to new emerging artists in the early stages of their development, we’re forever grateful to them.
What is the best piece of advice you have received on your journey thus far?
Shauna – Music is a lifestyle… you need to love what you do and do what you love… as it takes 10 years to become an overnight success.
Collette – Just be nice to everyone…you never know if that guitar tech is going to be the intern at that label you really want to get signed to, or perhaps that promoter is also the manager of a really good band you want to support. Basically, just don’t be a dick.
What would you say has been the biggest lesson you have learnt on your journey to date?
Hard work = success. You have to work your butt off constantly, never slack off because it does eventually pay off and people will respect you for it.
With the music industry always constantly changing – how have you had to adapt to the ever-changing landscape?
We’ve always been pretty DIY with everything we’ve done, we drive ourselves around the country, load our gear, sort the merch, advance shows etc. It’s really important to not only be a good musician these days but to be an all rounder in regards to business, music production etc so I think as the music industry continues to evolve, you should always strive to have as many strings to your bow as possible.
Does the introduction of New Technology / Digital Age / Social Media etc enhance your life as a musician or do you feel it can be more of a hindrance?
Both really. It’s great for musical capabilities but on the flip side, social media can start to take over your life. We live in an instant gratification world now where everyone seemingly has to be accessible at all times. With us both still working alongside the band stuff it can get hectic.
You girls have been touring relentlessly and hitting the festivals over the summer, what has been the highlight thus far of 2018?
Probably the Sold out tour with Halestorm!!
So moving forward you’re about to hit the road supporting Halestorm across the UK, how are you feeling on the eve of that sold out tour?
Super excited, grateful and a little nervous.
What does Lzzy Hale represent to young female musicians in today’s music industry?
She’s amazing. An absolute Queen; a musical icon, a great campaigner in mental health, and a fantastic female role model.
How do you see the evolution of the band / yourselves as artists?
Good question! I think that’s something we are happy to watch unfold day by day and see where the future takes us!
Do you have any short-term or long-term goals in mind?
Short term; we’d love to play Reading and Leeds next festival season. Long term….WORLD DOMINATION!!!
If you could tour with any band or artists who would that be?
It would be Biffy Clyro, Foo Fighters and Nothing But Thieves ideally!
If you could have wrote any song by any artist, what would that be?
Collette – Probably Everlong by the Foofighters.
Shauna – Hmmm, hard to pick… but maybe Cornflake Girl by Tori Amos?
Big thanks to Collette & Shauna for taking the time to talk to us here at Rock ‘N’ Load World HQ.
Check Out The New Single – Can You Feel it?
New Single –