I wanted to interview Whatevers because they're a concept punx band like my band The Potentials, we're releasing new eps on the same day (our ep is out today too by the way), and we're all going on tour together next week and so I wanted to compare notes from one concept punx to another.
Whatevers are a Clueless themed diy pop band fronted by Kandy (guitar and vocals) and Seleena (drums and vocals)
|Seleena and Kandy are Dionne and Cher!|
How did the two of you decide to move from Yiiikes to Whatevers? Why a Clueless concept band?
Seleena: Alison (Yiiikes! Bass player) had a baby so the band went on hiatus, but we really wanted to go on a summer tour again so decided we had to form another band.
We decided on a concept because we needed to differentiate it from Yiiikes aren’t musically gifted to make things sound that different! Think we toyed with a craft concept band at first cuz we make a craft zine together but then settled on a mutual love, Clueless
Plus we already had Cher and Dionne’s outfits
S: We started by taking the best quotes from the film as song titles and then based the songs round that! We have a very logical song writing process!
Kandy: That sums it up, we wanted the songs to be clueless themed without singing directly about the film/events in the film.
Did you end up re-watching Clueless for research?
S: I did. I was like I know Clueless inside out I don’t need to watch it, I got stuck so watched it with the band in mind. Plus any excuse to watch Clueless!
K: Yep, of course! I have a really bad memory, but Clueless is one of the things that stays in my brain. Any excuse for another watch.
Has writing songs about Cluess made you re-evaluate that film or view it with new eyes?
S: I don’t think so, I think I probably watched Clueless with new eyes a while a go. Most things I loved as a teen I didn’t notice some issues with it til later, usually things like slut shaming or lack of POC characters, homophobia, or even class. But I think Clueless has quite a light hearted fun look at all of those (in the TV series you saw way more of Tai’s working class roots). I mean it’s still a bit odd it’s about a girl who falls for her step brother, but he’s Paul Rudd so whatever!
K: I think it made me appreciate how much there is in the film even more (even though I didn’t do any of the lyric writing).
Clueless is over 20 years old and is a classic. How do you think younger people not even born in the 90s will related to your Cluesless references ?
S: Well I think we have done it at just the right time, the 90s is come back in everything’s gone full circle and Clueless is having it’s think pieces and parody’s, from music videos (FYI not an Iggy Azelea fan obvs!) to influencing high street fashion. So our references hopefully won’t be lost on the next generation and also be appreciated by people our own age.
K: I feel like 20 years later is the perfect time to pick something up as a theme, as like Seleena said, 90’s is totally in. Also, I think the songs relate now even if people don’t get the clueless references, being a teen has the same essence whether it’s with a pager or an i-phone, the themes in our songs are relevant.
We always get asked this a lot as a concept band so I thought we’d ask you this too – do you think you’ll ever run out of material to write songs about as a concept band. If not, what other Clueless things are you dying to write about?
S: we probably will, it’s only a 90 min film. You guys have 7 seasons! I suppose we could watch the TV show, but it was a bit naff! Or have spin off songs about the careers of Alicia Silverstone and Paul Rudd!
I’d probably take songs I write into the ‘what happened next’ Clueless the 30 something years!
K: Yeah, I feel like we have taken a lot of the main themes in the songs we have already written.
As a Buffy concept band we understand what it’s like having fictional characters be betrayed by the actors who play them. Although in our case we hate both the character of Xander and the actor Nicholas Brendon. How does it feel when Stacy Dash keeps saying the most awful things? Can you still separate the character from the actor?
S: Yeah you have it easier ha! I love the character of Dionne. I think I manage to separate the two because Clueless is 20 years old, where as I’ve only heard of the horror of Stacey Dash’s views in recent years. It’s disappointing I’m not gonna lie. But I still love the importance the character of Dionne. #stopstaceydash #banshitactors
K: What Seleena said, apart from the fact I’m really bad at knowing what’s going on so I haven’t seen much of what Stacey Dash says.
In Yiiikes you wrote songs as a three piece with bass, how has just guitar and drums worked in terms of writing songs. What was recording like?
S: I found it quite easy. I was worried we wouldn’t be able to make our sound ‘full’ but we have worked on so many projects together over the years we work really well together so always know what each other means.
Recording was easier than I thought (we got our friend Steve to come round with his four track!) so was comfortable being in our own space.
K: It was good, definitely thought we were going to sound like there wasn’t enough ‘there’ in terms of the music but the power of a distortion pedal and as Seleena said working together just works! Recording was fun, I liked doing things separately, and Steve was great!
Do you like recording or prefer playing live?
S: We’ve been lucky in that any recording we have done has been by friends in our space, so I didn’t feel all ‘argh what am I doing’ but I hate hearing my own voice! Much prefer live cuz I am a bit of a show off.
K: As much as I liked the doing things separately bit of recording and it has always been quite relaxed, live is much more fun, also a show-off (even though I tend to go quiet on stage).
Whats the future of Yiiikes, and will you be playing music or making art together again in the future?
S: we’re still gonna be Yiiikes! And hopefully be making music again soon. The next thing we work on will definitely be art related as we haven’t done that for a while.
K: Yeah, definitely still gonna do art and music as Yiikes!
Apart from Clueless what other bands have influenced your songs?
S: oh, aside from the Clueless soundtrack ha! Tacocat, Kitten Forever, Upset, The Potentials!
K: Yep, those bands!
Do you like any other concept bands?
S: The Potentials are my faves!!!!! The Home Alones, are 14 Year Old Girls a concept band, maybe sorta? MCR aren’t a concept band, but they’re fans of a concept and I’m a BIG fan of them.
K: Harry and the Potters!!! And obvs The Potentials.
Yiiiikes was an art collective and when you played live there was a visual element to it from the costumes you’d wear to the specially designed drum skin you made, and the songs were often extensions of themes and ideas in your exhibitions. Will Whatevers be just as visual, or is this totally separate to the art you both make?
S: I think it will, not as much as Yiiikes! Because we set out as Yiiikes! To be equal parts a band and equal parts art. But we both come from art/craft backgrounds so it will feature a few visual elements (mainly merch, outfits and videos!!)
K: Visual but in a different way, as Seleena said being from art/craft backgrounds our strengths lie in design/craft/visuals so we’ll be using them!
In Yiiikes you had a song called Don’t Touch My Hair and Whatevers have a song called I don’t wear polyester hair which is all about loving your hair polyester or not and telling anyone who tries to touch it to fuck off. What other real life subjects do you sing about through the lens of Clueless?
S: all the themes everything I ever make is about ha! Race, class, feminism, not feeling like cuz you hit yr 30s you gotta stop fighting for stuff or being passionate about stuff.
K: Yep, all of that!
You go on tour with us and Fomo next week! What are you most looking forward to?
S: EVERYTHING! Hanging out with everyone, seeing you all play every night, seeing friends in other towns, having a laugh, buying all The Potentials merch!
The Whatevers tape Totally Buggin is out today and you can see them on tour with my band The Potentials and super megababes FOMO in one week on the Sick Sad World Tour!