Indie-pop outfit Whosah recently released their sophomore EP, Work. The record consists of four tracks centered around common struggles and self-discovery. Work was produced by Nashville-based artist, Chase Coy. The band release the first single “Ghost Town” last November. Learn more about the Minnesota band and their recent college circuit experience from the responses below.
How would you describe your music to others?
It’s kind of an indie rock twist on Walk the Moon and The 1975. We like to say Pop with a Purpose.
How did the band meet?
Mack, Spencer, and Dave are all brothers, so they’ve known each other a while. Dallas was a friend of the family they knew from school and church for a long time. Nate, the bass guitarist, met Spence and Dave while he was playing with another band at a show; they convinced him to fill in for a couple shows and have loved playing with ever since.
What is the story/meaning behind the name, Whosah?
Whosah started as just an idea we had for a band name in high school, but over time it’s developed into a simple way to describe our persona as a group: definitely fun-loving and energetic, but at the same time a little mysterious, a little unknown. It turned out to be a great way to start conversations with people at shows, because “What does your name mean?” is always the first question on their minds. We love meeting people and making friends so we kept it.
Who and what influences your music? Why?
You get a different answer depending on which band member you ask. We all agree on well-written pop music because we believe in making music that people can listen to and presenting the purpose of the artistic piece alongside that listenability. Right now we’re jammin to bands like Twenty-One Pilots, Betty Who, and always Relient K. Those are a few artists we think combine those two sides of music incredibly.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Well, Dallas and Nate both run marathons and they’re hoping to pull us all into it. Mack and Nate are both taking classes in school and the other three work full-time jobs, so music is definitely one of our big uses of free time. All of the guys love just spending time with the family and each other, sharing meals and laughs and stories and life with one another.
How would you describe your writing process?
In the past our frontman Spencer would bring the foundation of a new song to the group, like a melody and a simple beat, and everyone else would add on their layer until the right ideas came out.
On our more recent music, we’ve been keeping simplicity a central focus. We’ve noticed that some of our favorite tunes are defined by just one guitar lick or unique groove, and we want this core idea to help structure how we approach the process. This has made writing less like abstract painting and more like stone carving, weaving each subtle part of a song together like a team of architects until we have a cohesive piece.
How often and how long do you practice together?
We all come together one night a week for about 3-4 hours to rehearse upcoming sets, but we spend countless hours outside that, either practicing on our own or working with another band member to refine live backtracks, talk about new opportunities for shows, or field questions for interviews, like right now.
From start to finish, how long did it take to create, Work?
The songs you hear on the EP began over two years ago with sketched out lyrics and rough demo versions. From there we worked remotely with Chase Coy, who would be producing and recording the music, to pick our favorites from an ongoing vortex of song concepts. Recording the album all happened in about a week and a half, but there was a lot of tweaking and post-production to put it through after that. Final versions of the tracks didn’t come out of the process until several months after that, and even more time before it was in disk form, but we’ve loved every minute of it.
Can you talk about the inspiration behind your single, “Ghost Town”?
Ghost Town originally came from work that Spencer was doing with a group of people that just felt lifeless to him. The first line, “Come 5:15 this place is a ghost town”, was literally the state of the office, because nobody there had any interest in being passionate about their work or in community with each other. The song came out of our desire to live a life that we believe in and are invested in long after we “clock out”. We aspire to act like human beings full of life 24 hours a day, 365 days a year; whether in the context of a 9-to-5 job or outside of that, we firmly believe that this is not only possible, this is how we were made to be.
Do you play covers at practices or shows? If so, which ones are your favorites?
We love to play music that other people can recognize and connect to. “Stacy’s Mom” by Fountains of Wayne gives Dallas a great guitar solo to rip… Mack always comes back to the slow jam of “Pina Colada (Escape)”… Spencer likes playing “My Girl” at shows that his mom comes to because she’s always been a Temptations fan… We have a lot of fun mixing old and new together to bring people of all stages of life together for the love of good music.
What do you typically do post-gig?
First, we love talking to people there. We want to spend time genuinely connecting with people and hear their stories, and post-concert is one of the best times to do this. Once they turned out all the lights at the venue and kicked us out, we sometimes keep the party going at a nearby Applebee’s. We love food and Mack’s always hungry.
What image do you think your music conveys?
We hope that our main message is one of hope. We’re imperfect humans and we live in a world that looks dark, but when you dig into our stories and our emotions, you find that our experiences as people are not so different, and we’re all apart of this bigger story. We strongly believe that every one of us deserves to be respected as an infinitely unique, infinitely valuable being, because we all are.
What has been one of your biggest challenges?
As a band, you’re always presented with hard metrics: how many people watched your music video, how big the venue of the next show is, how popular your instagram feed is… Through all that mess, it’s a constant struggle for us to keep success in the right frame of mind. We are playing music because we love to play music and share that with other people. No number of Spotify streams will satisfy us if that is what we allow to define our success or failure. If we are pursuing lives we love, we already are successful.
What has been your funniest or craziest fan/show experience?
A few summers ago we got an opportunity to play for a county fair talent show; when we won that, the folks organizing the county fair parade asked if we would perform on a float. Bundle all the challenges of performing together, and then add that the ground under you is moving at 10 miles an hour… Every turn we took, we did all we could to plant our feet and grab any equipment within reach, laughing like kids in a wagon. The whole experience was a blast.
Can you tell us a little bit more about your college touring experience?
Colleges are for us some of the most fun atmospheres to play. At each school, we meet so many new people with new personalities and new stories. Playing at a college is a lot like someone allowing you into their home. We really love to enter a space as complete strangers and, through our music and our personal interactions, leave at the end of the night as friends.
What is something odd you want fans to know about you?
At a Christmas show late last year, Spenc gave Dallas a Squatty Potty as his Christmas present. The stool for better stools.
What can we expect from Whosah in the coming months?
We’re just gearing up for a regional tour in the first couple weeks of April (no joke!). We’re having our good friends The Millenium and John Chuck & The Class join us on some of those and we are so stoked. We’ve got a couple more college shows coming up this spring, and you can always expect a new video or two from us or new versions of our music.
“Before the new record’s digital release, it was already in the top 200 on CMJ charts. So far the band’s travels have been mostly in the Midwest, but recently we’ve been looking to expand upcoming tours through the rest of the year to places we’ve never been to. Schools in Phoenix, Rhode Island, Washington DC, and Canada, etc are spinning “Work” right now, and we can’t wait to try to extend those relationship by going out to as many of those schools as possible and getting to know them at a live show.” -Dave