February 28, 2019 Interview – Shauna Tohill of Rews
Do you believe in divine intervention? Some do, some do not, but there is no denying some of us are in the right place at the right time. This could have been the case when two complete strangers, Shauna Tohill and Collette Williams, moved to London around the same time, both seeking a musical outlet to call . Crossing paths unexpectedly, they struck a chemistry together that would become known as Rews.
Comprised as a duo, between Tohill (vocals/guitar) and Williams (vocals,drums), London/Belafast-based Rews combine a mix of Hard Rock, Pop sensibility and delightful vocal harmonies that is a breath of fresh air to the current Alternative Rock scene.
Recently releasing their debut album Pyro through Eleven Seven Label Group in the US, they are working their way into the spotlight, making appearances at 2019’s NAMM, as well as a first ever live performance in New York City back at the end of January. Anxious to keep the momentum going, Tohill took the time to chat about the formation of Rews, the work put into Pyro, plans for 2019, plus much more.
Cryptic Rock – Rews is a relatively new band coming together a few years ago. For those unfamiliar, tell us, how the project came together?
Shauna Tohill – Well, to begin with, Collette and I had moved to London around the same time 4 years ago. We didn’t know each other, but I was looking for someone to bring that to life with. I met a girl who played drums who had been in a lot of different projects, and she mentioned I get in touch with Collette because she was looking for a different project at the time. I looked her up online to see the stuff she was playing on and it turned out she was looking for someone at the same time to play with. We had a few conversations, met up and jammed, and here we are today with Rews!
Cryptic Rock – Very cool. Rews features yourself on guitars and vocals with Collette on drums and vocals. Was it always a vision for Rews to be comprised as a duo?
Shauna Tohill – To begin with, the vision was to get as a two piece and see if we needed to add anybody. When we started to jam, it felt really nice to have a two piece. We did consider working with a bass player as well as maybe another guitarist as well, but when we worked through the songs and tried to be more creative with it, it seemed like it worked with the two of us. It just makes it easier for transporting our gear in a car. (Laughs)
Cryptic Rock – (Laughs) It does work well. Rews most recently released their debut album, Pyro, back in January. The album is a balanced mix of heavy Rock songs with some great harmonies and melodies. What was the writing and recording process like?
Shauna Tohill – It was quite varied and really fun. From a writing perspective, there was a combination of one of us bring a full song and one of us would put a Rews spin on it, and there are a few songs on there where we collaborated on them.
For the recording process, it was quite cool to be able to record at Abbey Road Studios – it’s kind of one of the dreams we have had and every musician has to record your debut album in a place like that. The kind of influences we have range from Deftones, which has more of the rocky Hardcore kind of element, and for the harmonies, we would take our inspiration from Fleetwood Mac. It was fun working with the producers as well, because they had the same sort of vision.
Cryptic Rock – Wow, it had to be fun to record at Abbey Roads Studio considering all the history it has.
Shauna Tohill – Yea definitely! You could feel it in the walls. There is lots of musical history there.
Cryptic Rock – Absolutely. What really stands out about Rews is yourself and Collette’s voices really work well together and harmonize nicely. How would you describe the chemistry you two share?
Shauna Tohill – We get a lot of compliments on the harmonies. We have fiery energy because the music we create is kind of in your face. I feel like the chemistry we create together creates a spark. It’s strange because work almost like blood harmonies work, which is unusually when you are not related to someone at all. It’s a bit of a miracle actually in that sense. It’s cool!
Cryptic Rock – It works well and makes Rews sound stand out. You recently played a showcase in New York City, what was that experience like?
Shauna Tohill – It was an amusing time. It wasn’t out first time, we had been a few times before, but not as performances. This time around it was really amazing to be there in that kind of context and also together, because we had never been together there. It was brilliant to be playing in Berlin, we really loved the venue, it had fantastic sound. We had both our management team and label representing us too, it was nice to meet everyone. It was cool to have an experience of playing in America.
Cryptic Rock – That is great. Can we expect some more North American shows?
Shauna Tohill – Yes, we are hoping by the end of 2019 we would have done at least one tour, if not two. It’s in the works at the moment.
Cryptic Rock – That is exciting to hear. What would be your dream tour to be a part of?
Shauna Tohill – It would be awesome if we could play with Foo Fighters or Biffy Clyro. I believe it will happen one day!
Cryptic Rock – Why not, it certainly can happen! What is also interesting about Rews is you have an edge but also an accessible sound that is refreshing to Alternative Rock. With that in mind, are you satisfied with how Pyro turned out as a good representation of your sound?
Shauna Tohill – Yes, it was an interesting process. I think when you are a writer and artists, sometimes its really hard to ever feel like anything is finished. Collette both and I kind of view the album as, we are really pleased with how the album turned out, but we can pick up on things we could have maybe done better, we kind of want to improve, etc.
Generally speaking I think it is quite a good representation. It would be good if it was maybe a little more raw or there were different elements synth wise that were used. I think it just inspires us to make sure we do it different on the next album.
Cryptic Rock – Interesting. So you would like to see a more raw Rock sound for Rews’ music in the future?
Shauna Tohill – Yea, I think so. We definitely do like the Pop sensibility in the music. Not that it is essentially Pop, but having that sensibility that you were speaking about. The motto of Rews is to make sure people can sing along, feel free to dance with us if they want, and just rock out with us. I think we still want to have that accessible element, but just have a bit more of that core Rock spin on it as well.
Cryptic Rock – It will be exciting to see where things go in the future, Pyro is a good start. Last question for you. Beyond music, Cryptic Rock also covers movies. If you are a fan of Horror or Sci-Fi films, do you have any favorites?
Shauna Tohill – I do like Horror, but when I say that, I actually get petrified very quickly. I recently watched Psycho (1960), it was the first time I had seen it, which is a bit of a shame, because I should have probably watched it years ago. I think it’s absolutely fantastic! It was pretty amazingly put together and the soundtrack is just phenomenal.
Cryptic Rock – It is an all-time classic. Were you aware there have been some new Irish Horror films of recent? There are one called The Isle and another The Hole in the Ground.
Shauna Tohill – I will have to check both of them out! There was actually Horror movie from Northern Ireland called Noirland (2014). It was sort of lo-fi Horror and they asked us to do a few songs for that. It’s kind of funny to watch more than a Horror, but there are still elements of it in there.
Fri, Mar 1, 2019 02 Academy Islington, London, GB
Sat, Mar 9, 2019 Ride On Festival, Saanen, CH
Sat, May 4, 2019 Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff, GB
Sat, Jun 1, 2019 Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes, GB
Sun, Jun 2, 2019 Camden Rocks, London , GB
Sat, Jun 8, 2019 Alresford Music Festival, Alresford, GB
Thu, Jul 11, 2019 Valdebeba – IFEMA, Madrid, ES
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