On their debut album, ‘Swarmculture’, psychedelic grunge quartet Weirds offer a kaleidoscopic set of compelling songs. From the explosive space rock of ‘Things That Crawl’, to the bombastic riffs of ‘Old World Blues’, to ‘Weird Sun’ and its imperative experimental twists, Weirds intertwine a range of styles and textures organically.
It is no surprise that Weirds sound so natural on ‘Swarmculture’. Their origins lie in the DIY scene of their adopted hometown of Leeds. In the midst of developing their sound, they would promote shows and create zines embedding themselves into the fabric of the city’s thriving underground music scene.
The Yorkshire city isn’t just home to two of the UK’s best festivals; Leeds Festival and Slam Dunk, it also has a reputation for producing a wide range of bands across the board. Alt-J, Kaiser Chiefs, Dinosaur Pile-Up, The Sisters of Mercy, Gang of Four, Brawlers and Kamikaze Girls are just some the names that Leeds has been home to.
Now as Weirds follow up the release of ‘Swarmculture’ with a UK headline tour and a busy festival schedule, we spoke to vocalist/keys Aidan Razzall to talk about how the city of Leeds has helped shaped Weirds.
Aidan: Leeds is a great place to live. It has a range of architecture spanning from Edwardian terraces to faux Egyptian factories to huge Brutalist buildings. It’s diverse, self sufficient and proud. It has a thriving music scene and there’s a huge variety of genres and venues. We aren’t originally from Leeds, and we moved there purely because of the music scene and its reputation- we wanted to be part of it.
Its People and Culture:
Aidan: Hardworking, honest, and diverse. Leeds has a huge student population which means the city always feels exciting.
The Music It Inspires:
Aidan: All sorts. From times past, Sisters of Mercy, Gang of Four, Utah Saints. Now there are so many artists in the city. John Peel once said in the LS6 area of the city there were more bands living and working in it, than anywhere else in the country.
The Local Music Scene:
Aidan: There are so many great bands in Leeds currently that we love; Cattle, Hookworms, Menace Beach, ZOZO, W.H Lung, Eagulls, Team Picture. The list could go on and on. The scene is helped by thriving venues like Brudenell Social Club, CHUNK, Wharf Chambers, The Library, Belgrave, Headrow House, again, the list could go on and on.
Its Most Famous Musical Sons and Daughters:
Aidan: Gang of Four, Sisters of Mercy, Kaiser Chiefs, Alt-J, Wild Beasts, The Cribs. Even if some of those bands weren’t originally from the city, Leeds definitely helped to define them.
The Venues We Visited:
Aidan: When I was at University, I used to go to The Cockpit. It has now sadly closed down, and I have a lot of fond memories of gigs at that place. Saw both the Brian Jonestown Massacre and the Dandy Warhols there. Still, the city is teeming with venues now, the Brudenell is our favourite though. Our album launch gig is happening there on June 7th and we can’t wait!
The Venues We Played:
Aidan: We’ve played almost every venue in the city; you know how it is in the early days when you jump at any chance you can get for a show. We’ve played The Pack Horse, The Brudenell, Oporto, Headrow House, Belgrave Music Hall, Wharf Chambers, outside Tall Boys Beer Market in Thornton’s Arcade, to name a few.
The Influence Home Has on Our Songs:
Aidan: We live in the LS6 area of Leeds and although not consciously, it probably does have an influence on our song writing. ‘Swarmculture’ was written in dingy basements in Hyde Park and Woodhouse, so those kind of environments were probably conducive to the sound of the record. If we lived in London, the songs might sound totally different! Its hard to pinpoint.
‘Swarmculture’ by Weirds is out now on Alcopop! Records.
Weirds are currently touring the UK and will be playing various festivals in the coming months:
03 Camden Rocks Festival, London
04 Crofters Rights, Bristol
06 The Cookie, Leicester
07 Brudenell Social, Leeds
08 Broadcast, Glasgow
09 Cluny 2, Newcastle
12 Polar Bear, Hull
06-08 2000 Trees Festival, Upcote Farm
21-23 Truck Festival, Oxfordshire
10-12 LeeFest, Tunbridge Wells
23 Liverpool Psych Fest, Liverpool