In the chair with WAX FUTURES to discuss ‘Laser Eye Surgery’

WAX FUTURES // Graham, Kieran, Simon

Ah Telford – The Birthplace of Industry. My hometown. I think Richie Woodhall was born there too…It’s also the home of the awesome post-hardcore trio Wax Futures! It always surprises me to hear there’s a music scene in Telford, even more so when one of the bands is actually good!

They’ve just released a new video for the track ‘Laser Eye Surgery’, taken from their EP ‘A History of Things To Come’ released earlier this year. It’s a real thrashy, upbeat track with passionate, driving vocals. The video reflects that upbeat nature – A scuzzy, lo-fi look at the lives of 20-something males across the land, seen through a 90’s VHS vision, complete with old school intro and synth. Pizza; video games; dossing about the house. It’s very relatable. It’s also an excuse for front man Graham to show off his T-shirt collection (including a spot on BSM Heisenberg sweater!)

With the video’s release, I put forward some questions to front man Graham to find out if there’s some intricate subtext behind the story, or if it’s just a reflection of the lives of myself and most other mid 20’s males…

BCFB: You’ve got a new video out – Laser Eye Surgery. What can you tell us about it?
Graham: Yes we do! It’s essentially a love song, but you probably wouldn’t think that on first listen. I read an article about oxytocin and how our bodies produce it when we kiss, and it’s the release of the chemical that makes us fall in love. Pretty clever stuff! We originally had some extremely over-ambitious plans to make a video for the track as an almost scene-by-scene remake of The Breakfast Club (and basically indulge my passion for 80s teen movies) however it soon became clear that it wasn’t really practical so we went back to the drawing board.

We’d worked with Paul (Broome – Kosmische Wave Film) on our previous videos and we knew he was very versatile and willing to go along with whatever silly idea we came up with. He did the video for Them Wolves’ ‘Wolf Song’, which if you haven’t seen is one of the most claustrophobic and dark videos I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. Anyway, after discussion with Paul we decided that rather than over complicate things we’d keep it simple. We were all up for a few beers and a pizza so it became a bit of a no-brainer once we’d thought of it.

On a side note, if any of your readers can accurately guess which member of The Breakfast Club we’d have been cast as in our hypothetical video we’ll send ‘em a copy of the EP on the house!

It’s got a very relatable, mid-20’s vibe to it (pizza, video games, booze etc) so I imagine it wasn’t too much of a stretch making it?
Definitely not, we are all massive geeks really so we were in our element during the shoot. It was shot in my flat so it did mean me organising it to be on a night when my girlfriend was out. I’m still not sure she appreciates the first shot of me jumping onto our sofa, but we did make sure everything was tidied up before she got back so I think I got away with it!

I feel we all come across with our personalities through the junk that appears through the video; like we all love pizza and myself and Kieran tend to stick to real ale. In all honesty I’m still waiting to hear from one of the beer companies for a sponsorship deal. Forget Monster Energy or Jagermeister, I want to get sponsored by the Wychwood brewery. I’m big into science fiction so I had to get my beloved Terminator action figure into the video and I love the bit when he stop-motion fights Hulk Hogan. Interesting pop fact: our drummer Simon is a wrestling promoter and knows literally everything ever about wrestling. Bit weird sometimes actually when we play shows and he gets recognised from ring announcing at wrestling shows in far-flung places across the UK.

What was the process behind the video?
It was quite straight forward really, just very repetitive – by the end of the shoot I’d near lost my voice. Then Paul told me that it hadn’t been necessary for me to sing through every shot because the track would be overdubbed anyway. Whoops. I think in total we ran through the track about 8 or 9 times, each time changing what we wore or rearranged the props and I think the end result when everything was edited together looks really fun. Was an excuse for me to show off some of my t-shirt collection too, although Kieran steals the show in his badass Hungry Caterpillar shirt.

How have people been responding to it?
The response to the video has been great, people seem to like the fact that compared to our last video (for ‘Clocks and Clocks and Clocks’) it’s a lot more fun! There have been a lot of comments made about the opening title with the 80s inspired WF logo twinned with the minimal synth line. Paul created it from scratch and recorded the synth himself and I think it really sets the whole thing off with the effect of looking like a re-discovered VHS tape.

Kieran’s dad’s review of the video is probably the best though. He said we should have got someone with better equipment to make our video as it’s got a load of fuzz and static on it and we would have had a better result if we had used someone who had a digital camera. Classic.

There are lots of little things going on in the video, with a lot of props – A Critters DVD for example. What were your favourite props ?
There were quite a few props in the video – it’s mostly the junk I surround myself with in the flat. I’m quite fond of bits of kitsch and pop culture so wasn’t too hard to find. The eagle eyed will spot a a Hornby magazine, a double dip, Tetris pieces, a WCW DVD, a copy of American Psycho in paperback, the original Assault on Precinct 13 (with the ace Carpenter soundtrack) and my Aberystwyth Uni mug (shout out to the English Lit class of 2008!). I think that my fave props were the action figures, however I know for a fact that Kieran’s favourite was a copy of a British Film Institute documentary called The Joy of Sex Education. He didn’t want to put the thing down!

The track comes from your EP ‘A History Of Things To Come’ released earlier in the year, what can you tell us about that?
We recorded the EP with Ryan Pinson in a tiny studio in Wolverhampton. Ryan has done a lot of work with God Damn and has also recorded most of Bad Grammar’s output. He’s a real dude and knows what he’s doing. He’s one of those rare producers that listens to what you want to get out of your recordings and works with you to make it happen. He’s also very inventive and came up with some suggestions in the studio which really helped us build up the tracks into how we imagined them in our collective brains.

The EP title comes from a line in Terminator 2: Judgement Day, which I’m sure you will agree, is one of the greatest movies ever made. We all felt the title suited the theme of the songs on the record which are mostly concerned with the fear of getting older clashing with the sense of nostalgia I have for my teenage years when every song I heard or every book I read blew my mind and shaped the way I thought. Like seriously, the first time I heard Scared of the Police by Reuben it changed my life. I can’t think of the last time I heard a song on the radio and felt the same sense of epiphany. I’m turning into a grumpy old man… perhaps it’s a side-effect of drinking ales?

Can we expect any more videos to come out of that EP?
Well, we’ve ended up doing videos for three of the tracks that are on the EP so you never know we may go all the way! We certainly enjoy the process of making videos and are really lucky to have so much support from Paul. We’ve got some new songs that we hope to record soon so it may be that the next time we return to celluloid it will be with a brand new track.

The Wax Futures boys have got a load of dates coming up which they’ve brilliantly christened “…the Vision Excess Tour (which is not really a tour), but we are hoping to expand this so if any one reading this wants to put us on then all they need to do is get in touch. We’ll play anywhere. Recently we played a house show in Birmingham in the smallest student living room known to man and it was a blast, even though my eardrums thought otherwise the next day.  Give us a couple of beers and we’re yours.

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