The Weekend Run Club are one of the most ambitious groups that have graced our ears in the past few months. Currently revisiting their pre-pandemic release "Zoo," the band is off to a running start this year as they bring a bold and vibrant sound all of their own. 2021 also sees the group launching their new line of merch which makes the pot a little bit sweeter. "Zoo" is the debut release from the band, which is filled to the brim with catchy guitar hooks, prominent vocals and in your face melodic energy. We had the pleasure of chatting with the band for an exclusive interview which you can dive into below. Let's get running!
Last year before the shutdown, we saw you releasing your new album "Zoo." When writing the new tracks overall for the release what was your inspiration behind it? What drove you musically?
Mitchell: I think the album really happened through exploring our own band dynamic and discovering how to work together as a group. Some of the songs existed prior to our first EP, so the album really covers quite a long chapter of the band’s current lifespan. We just kept exploring with new songs and eventually, we almost had enough for an album, so we wrote the last few closer to the release deadline. I think a lot of the songs on here reflect how we were still testing the waters with our own energy as a group, yet they include exhibits and snapshots of our own personal lives as well. With most Weekend Run Club songs, you can expect a deep dive into our hearts as we sort through the messy bits of the human experience. A lot of our musical ideas played off of one another as we each put our own little spice into the songs. For me, I see this album as an attempt to be honest with the world. I wanted to introduce myself to music as someone who’s just trying to navigate life with the cards I’ve been dealt without missing out on too many of the good things. I want to introduce myself as someone who is at least willing to try to talk about the uncomfortable and scary things in life.
When creating and penning the latest songs, what artists or influences did you channel?
Mitchell: I’m inspired by artists that say things in a way that resonates with me. It can be really hard to come up with something new to say, so I try to have lots of intent with the way that I say things. One artist who’s really inspired me this past year is Mal Blum because of how they can state such profound ideas in such an honest and straightforward way. I’d love to explore writing on a spectrum of vibrant, lofty sounds of artists like Boy Pablo to the alternative, more intense and intimate sound of Nothing But Thieves. As far as my vocal influences, I’m currently inspired to be the manchild of Ben Platt and Conor Mason from Nothing But Thieves.
Bridget: My drumming style has been really influenced by people that are constantly trying to create new sounds and ideas with a pretty minimalist kit. Zack Mykula from the band PUP is incredible at this, as well as Whistler Isaiah from Hippo Campus.
Joey: While we do listen to a lot of the same bands, there are plenty of other artists who influence our music. We all come from different musical backgrounds which has helped shape our sound as a band.
Haley: I think when creating, you’re influenced by everything you’ve ever listened to and liked. So when you start jamming the songs you kind of file through your brain and try out different riffs and pieces that might stick.
You seem to be very hands on in the process of your music and songwriting which is GREAT! Can you walk us through the process for the latest album, and your current upcoming work?
Mitchell: Our current work is a little bit different since we recently had a lineup change. We are trying to approach writing as collaboratively as we can. Instead of one person writing the majority of a song and having people put their own spin on it with their own instruments, we are trying to come up with less developed ideas that we can all figure out together. We love a good jam, which has been hard to do during the pandemic, but we’ve still been making it work online.
Haley: Usually someone will come forward with a piece of the puzzle. Maybe a riff, melody or drumbeat, and then in pre-quarantine days, we would have time in practice where we would play around with that - adding and taking away until we get something we’re happy with. In today’s world we’ve been trying to do the same, but digitally; sharing a Garageband file instead of jamming it live together.
When you have a concept for a song, how do you execute it? What comes first?
Mitchell: For me, I keep my instrumental content quite bare. I’ll occasionally have an idea for a riff or melody, but I mostly stick to chord structure. I spent the majority of my time working on lyrics and melodies, which I write in scraps and save for a rainy day. I have a hard time forcing a full poem into a song, so most of my lyrics are mashed up or related thoughts from full poems I’ve written.
Bridget: Usually once Mitch or Joey has the first riff or idea written, I’ll workshop a drum part over that and send it back to them for feedback. In normal times, I would just bring that drum part to practice and see how everyone reacts to it!
Haley: It can be anything from a voice memo to a fully constructed Logic session. Just whenever something strikes, we send it around and see where it goes.
With "Zoo," how does the song differ from your prior work as an artist? Or does it feed into a new realm for you as an artist?
Mitchell: Well, I’m still fairly new to being in a band. I often feel like I have a lot to catch up on as my background in singing is in opera and musical theatre. I’m still trying to explore my voice and find out what I’m capable of. There are so many genres that I like to sing that I have yet to find a sound that I’m completely settled with. I really like to borrow characteristics of other artists’ voices and try them on, hoping that something will stick. I think I’m a better musician now than I was with our first EP; I’m a lot more confident with the ideas I do have and I’m a lot more willing to admit what I don’t understand and try to learn new things.
Bridget: I think we were really able to tap into more of an identity with our sound and figure out what we wanted to explore as far as thematic content goes. We also were better able to conceive of the project as one cohesive being - the graphic design (by Joey) helped to flesh out the direction of the music, and vice versa.
As 2021 is now kickstarted what surprises do you have up your sleeve in terms of music, videos, and additional releases this year; especially in the current realm of things?
Mitchell: I really want to get closer to my band mates. I want to spend more time with them when it’s safe to do so. We’re already working on new music and we are really taking our time with it.
Bridget: In the end of January we’re going to be launching something merch-related online that we’ve been wanting to do for a long time! I hesitate to make big plans right now as the timeline of live events returning is still so uncertain. But we have started writing again virtually, and it’s actually going pretty well - overcoming these peculiar challenges makes us stronger as a team.
Joey: It’s very difficult to have a plan set in motion for the year with the pandemic, but we are doing what we can to still move forward with our music. We have new songs in the works that are coming together really well despite the limitations we’re all facing. Fingers crossed that things get better soon so we can share these songs with the world.
Listen in via: theweekendrunclub.