Playing Glastonbury? Recording an album at Abbey Road? Been there, done that. Next!
“For us, rock’n’roll is about the passion of the playing.”
Having met by chance after moving to London to pursue their separate music careers, drummer Collette Williams and guitarist Shauna Tohill formed rock two-piece Rews. They met the person who would be their manager at their second gig, they played Glastonbury twice and released debut album Pyro all in the space of just two years. No wonder they wrote Pyro about the “explosive” journey they’ve had so far.
“It’s been quite fast and fiery to get where we are now,” says a laughing Williams, who’s from Corby in Northamptonshire and shares vocals in the group with Londonderry-born Tohill. “The songs are about everyday experiences we’ve encountered, from heartbreak to meeting creepy people in hostels who take pictures of you while you’re eating your cereal.”
Williams and Tohill have similar musical backgrounds, both having worked as session musicians and been in rock-based bands. “We met and had a jam, and it was one of those magical connections that clicked instantly,” Williams explains.
There’s no doubt that this connection has helped them to establish a cohesive sound so effortlessly. Williams cites influences from Fleetwood Mac and Avril Lavigne to Foo Fighters and Paramore, but their hooky and heavy sound has become instantly recognisable, as has their potential. Rews got signed to Marshall Records and quickly stacked up an impressive CV – from recording their debut at Abbey Road to playing on the John Peel Stage at Glastonbury this year, which Williams says is their career highlight so far.
“It was a completely different experience to the year before, where we had to carry our own gear, on foot, through mud, across the whole site,” she says with a laugh, before assuring us that it was still worth it. “But this year we had everyone helping us. When we played, there was a moment where I looked out and saw so many people that I stopped playing for a second, it was so overwhelming.”
For Rews, a captivating live performance is key. But with only two members on stage, it’s something that can be a challenge.
“You need a bit of a visual focus, so a lot of that has to be captured in different ways,” Williams says. “Whether that’s through our facial expressions, eye contact… We also love the flamboyant pop side of performance – like Lady Gaga, we try to orchestrate our stage outfits. We want to be professional and deliver the best show we can. We’d never stumble on stage hungover and give a shit show.”
Professionalism is high on Rews’ list of priorities, as is a positive attitude. “So un-rock’n’roll!” Williams laughs. “But rock’n’roll doesn’t just have to be about your behaviour. We’ve been told there’s a lot of magic in our live shows and an energy between us. For us, rock’n’roll is about the passion of the playing.” HMK