South African musos, Ryan Morris, Adam Jenkins and Tyron Layley met back in school, when dreams of being in a band were just that, merely dreams.
The trio soon began writing music together, the chemistry instantaneous, and their individual visions started to take form. Clad in black jeans, leather jackets and overly sized boots, the collective began performing at skate parks in the dusty beach town of Ballito.
Moving onto dingy pubs and later some small outdoor music festivals; there was only so much South Africa could offer and the band wanted more – more choice, more venues, more fans.
Relocating was the wiser option, and so they did – packing their bags and jetting off to London city as a band. Arriving at London airport, the band were left with one question, what now?
“We didn’t know where to hang out or where to rehearse, we didn’t even know where to live! Lewisham was our first taste of London and it was terrifying!” says Adam.
They began touring English territory, achieving great success away from home. With all the determination and drive needed to make their eight and a half thousand mile move worthwhile, the band wanted something that would show South African friends and family that they had truly made it.
Asked by their publisher at the time, to score some music for CSI:NY – not something they would normally do – What Now began to experiment with new sounds, revealing Move Like A Sinner, a catalyst for the new album.
“The song and lyrics were written and recorded in a day. With the lyrics we tried to push our own limits and write about something more grown up and real. It describes sex in the heat of the moment and just the raw passion of it. Nothing dirty or sleazy, just poetic and real,” explains front man Tyron Layley.
The single precedes the release of their second album, also titled Move Like A Sinner, set for release this March.
Recorded as a band project in a miniscule home studio, the release will serve as a new beginning for What Now, as their sounds begin to infiltrate not only the UK but their native country as well.
“We are totally excited about the release of our new record in South Africa. For a while our stuff was never available in SA, so it’s great to finally get more recognition in the country we are originally from,” exclaims Ryan.
Eyes firmly fixed on the future, What Now make good on the promise they made each other so many years back in South Africa – to take on the world.
We chat to guitarist Ryan, also known as Eyeliner Boy about the music industry, the new album and the way forward.
Indiedoesit: What is it like to record an album on your own?
Ryan: It was fun at times but also a bit stressful. Naturally we are all perfectionists and we analyse things a lot, but on a whole it was an awesome creative experience.
Indiedoesit: Are you happy with the result?
Ryan: Definitely! We wouldn’t want to release something we not happy with.
Indiedoesit: What do you think this reveals for the future of the music industry?
Ryan: All musicians are taking things up themselves. So many bands are recording, writing and making rad awesome music videos on their own. Gone are the days that you need thousands of dollars to make things happen musically. You can basically do everything in your bedroom, scary, but exciting at the same time.
Indiedoesit: Being from SA, what was it like never having your music released here?
Ryan: For me personally it was really frustrating because we would always get asked why our music is not available, especially because until recently there wasn’t a local iTunes. South Africa is still one of the only countries I know where people are still buying actual cd’s in stores. So it’s good to finally have that product.
Indiedoesit: How do you think the SA scene will take to your sound?
Ryan: I’m sure they are going to love it. I think we offer something refreshing although South Africa is really bringing out some awesome bands.
I think South Africans are breaking out of their naturally conservative mentalities and its encouraging artists to really push boundaries.
Indiedoesit: How does the London scene differ from the SA scene?
Ryan: Put it this way – it’s a million times harder. Every second person I know in London is in a band or group. There are hundreds of more venues so it makes it harder to choose where to play. It pushes you to just be what you want and makes you really hard as a musician. Where I think in South Africa it’s easy to figure out what channels to go through and what you need to do to make it.
Indiedoesit: Any possibility of returning to SA for a tour?
Ryan: Definitely. We are planning a tour for this year.
Indiedoesit: What’s your most memorable experience as What Now?
Ryan: Playing shows with Anberlin was one. We grew up listening to them and now we get to gig with them.
Also making our first music video. We had never done a music video before and I will always treasure the memory.
Indiedoesit: What do you aim to achieve through your music?
Ryan: We want to show people it’s ok to be yourself, it’s ok to be who you really are. We’ve always believed in ourselves and there should be no reason why you shouldn’t.
Indiedoesit: What’s your plan for the future?
Ryan: I’m going be very blunt and honest here… to become the biggest band in the world!
Look out for What Now’s debut album “Move Like A Sinner” out 1 March.